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Am I 'morbid and sick' for contemplating being the NRP?

(80 Posts)
foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:06:30

DH and I (happy together, no plans to seperate), were discussing what we'd do if we broke up, hypothetically. This comes from discussions about the child support a friend's ex should be but isn't paying.

DH earns 65k a year, I earn nothing (SAHM). We were talking about the proportion of DH's income which would come to me as child support were we to break up (have 2 DCs, 6 and 9). After talking some more we 'agreed' that it would make more sense if DH was the resident parent as he could easily afford an au pair or similar (it would be less than what he'd pay me in CS were I the resident parent), plus housing etc etc (we rent), and he's quite senior so works from home often. I would retrain (eventual plan anyway when DCs are a little older), and pay him child support out of whatever my income was - could afford to rent a 1-bed place but not the three beds the RP would need, etc etc. I know that maintenance would be payable(?), were we to seperate but we were talking about what would be in the DCs best longterm benefit.

I came out of the discussion feeling pretty positive - it was interesting to discuss it all (we've always been into hypotheticals), to know what DH's kneejerk reaction to the situation would be. It also galvinised me to step up my retraining plans and get some more solid earning power - I wasn't expecting DH to embrace the idea of an au pair so wholeheartedly really.

I was chatting with a friend and she was horrified. She called us 'sick and morbid' for even having the conversation and said she couldn't believe I'd contemplate being the NRP - "how could you leave your kids?", she said. I've seen that expressed a lot on various forums etc when a mother is not the primary carer for the children but I'm not sure why it's so horrific a concept?

Are we completely odd for thinking about this, talking about this and am I horrible for considering living apart from the DCs if we were to break up?

GypsyMoth Wed 03-Aug-11 21:09:56

enjoy your little game,the reality is NEVER that smooth and easy,ever.

and you wouldnt roll over that easily and give in if he cheated on you,kicked you out of the marital home and the dc had a new stepmother doing everything for them,would you?

GypsyMoth Wed 03-Aug-11 21:11:19

can see a hole in your plan already.....a one bed flat?? so where will the dc stay overnight? holidays? once they are teens?

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:12:33

Hah, of course you're right, it's easy when it's hypothetical!

But her strength of feeling really shocked me. I think there are situations where DCs are best served by residing with their fathers.

diggingintheribs Wed 03-Aug-11 21:13:07

I think the problem here is 'happy together, no plans to separate'

if you were to separate you would have a whole heap of emotions etc flying around and you would never be so rational

what if he had an affair and was living with OW?

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:14:01

the imaginary one bed flat would just be while I was retraining - if I wanted a bigger place I'd have to move miles away anyway. But I'm not hanging my hat on our 'plan' - I was just a bit taken aback to be treated like the antichrist for countenancing not being the RP?

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:16:10

Or what if I had an affair? What ifs are always easy. But our friend has so much bitterness about her XH living in relative luxury while she and the DCs scrabble - they've had to change schools etc. In her case her X (no other woman, she instigated the split), wouldn't want the DCs to live with him which I can't understand either!

lazarusb Wed 03-Aug-11 21:17:20

My mother left home when I was 11. Therefore she missed out on puberty, first boyfriend, when I fell in love, exam highs and lows, having my children. She is now trying to make it up to my children. Her relationship with my brother - who was 8 when she left - is almost non-existent.

Did you think about the emotion in any of this?
Did you think about how your children would feel?
Do you really think an au pair is a fair substitute for a mother?

The breakdown of a family is about far more than who can pay the bills.
By all means retrain and have some financial independence but not because you've planned your separation.

Pootles2010 Wed 03-Aug-11 21:17:59

I see what you're getting at- the assumption that kids should be with their mums. And actually I agree with you- sometimes they are better off with their dads.

GypsyMoth Wed 03-Aug-11 21:18:44

you'd be paying 20% of your income as maintenence

plus also be paying for all food/outings etc when the dc are with you.

thisisyesterday Wed 03-Aug-11 21:20:15

I have to say, i can't imagine ever, ever, ever not living with my children. I just couldn't do it.

how can it be better for your children to live with an au-pair instead of you? not only would they haIve the breakdown of their family unit to contend with, but they would then only see their father in the evenings and instead be brought up by an au-pair....

If it were me (i am also a SAHM) I would get onto the housing list and get a council house, THEN retrain around the kids. ex-dp would look after them in the evenings while i re-trained, or would pay for necessary fchildcare once ds3 was in school.

It's easy to do it hypothetically, and just looking at it un-emotionally. But I think if it actually happened you'd find it very difficult indeed to give your kids up

diggingintheribs Wed 03-Aug-11 21:20:29

oh sure - i didn't read your OP like that though

just answering the title - no you're not. the mature thing to do is put the kids first and try and put them in the healthiest position given they will find the whole process upsetting

thisisyesterday Wed 03-Aug-11 21:21:39

i do agree btw that sometimes kids are better off with their dads, and I don't think your sick or morbid for having the discussion at all.
I just don't think, in your situation, that living with their dad would be better for them than living with you.

and i think it's seen as a very strange concept on forums like this because we're all mums and none of us can imagine having our children taken away, let alone giving them up willingly.

EightiesChick Wed 03-Aug-11 21:22:21

Agree that it shouldn't be assumed by all and sundry that children will 'naturally' be better off with their mothers rather than their fathers in every situation. So no, you're not horrible. However, also agree with all the posts saying that the 'rational' plan is not necessarily the one either or both of you would end up pursuing if this actually happened, plus it might not be what the kids would want - which should surely be the top priority.

Could you start retraining now, part time perhaps?

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:23:28

But lazarus you are assuming I would leave? I'd be down the road like most NRPs I know. Not missing out on anything I hope!

Of course it is different, and I know many NRPs who DO miss out, but that's largely by their own actions (not spending as much time as they could with the DCs, moving away etc). But this kneejerk 'being with mum is always best' - I have MH issues, if I had them fulltime I couldn't retrain, 20% of my paltry income wouldn't be much whereas 20% of DH's would be more but not enough for them to stay at the same school, same area, etc.

I was just amazed that my friend was so black and white about it. Surely there are circumstances where the father can offer the best circumstances financially OR emotionally or in any other way?

Monty27 Wed 03-Aug-11 21:23:52

In answer to your question OP, I would say yes and yes. Hypothetically of course. hmm

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:26:24

The au-pair would collect them from school, DH is senior enough that he can state his own hours pretty much. Just comparing that with trying to retrain while being a single mum on a low income - what I've taken away from our discussions is that as EightiesChick says I SHOULD retrain now - DH seems remarkably open to funding it before the 'plan' suggests and I think I'd feel better if I did so.

GypsyMoth Wed 03-Aug-11 21:28:06

bring new partners into the equation......then what

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:28:56

Monty really? Should being with the mother always be the preferred option though?

I'm biased I'm sure by having a very nasty NPD mother but it doesn't always seem that black and white to me.

Of course when I try to imagine living apart from the DCs I end up deciding that H and I would need to rent flats in the same building! But the strength of my friend's reaction did shock me.

thisisyesterday Wed 03-Aug-11 21:31:41

but what if you couldn't be down the road? what if the split wasn't amicable?

you're contemplating being the NRP in a very, very strict set of circumstances.
which is kind of pointless, because in reality it's highly unlikely to pan out exactly how you are imagining itl.

chugsy Wed 03-Aug-11 21:32:38

So not only would your children have to deal with their parents divorcing but they'd also have to get used to being looked after by an au pair and no longer living with their mother?

It IS pretty morbid to plan to do something like that, IMO.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 03-Aug-11 21:33:04

So you're children would watch their parents divorce and go from having a SAHM to an au pair and father who presumably works pretty long hours albeit as his own choosing.

Hmmm - I think if this was the reality you would be pretty shocked at how hard your children found that transition.

On the assumption of course that as a SAHM you do the majority of the childcare at the moment.

The children's interests are of course paramount but I'd have thought that meant keeping their environment as stable as possible really.

foreverdirt Wed 03-Aug-11 21:33:46

I don't think it was pointless per se, because now I want to retrain NOW rather than in a few years - that was a brilliant discovery.

And of course if I do that, being the NRP won't be the 'natural' option should we break up smile

lazarusb Wed 03-Aug-11 21:34:28

If you aren't living with your dcs day to day of course you're missing out. I don't have an issue with children staying with their fathers. It was best for my DB and I - we stayed in our home with fantastic grandparent support while our mother pursued her career and lifestyle. (I still think her choice was a selfish one). What I have an issue with is that you don't seem to have considered how your children might feel about it. You are looking at it through rose coloured glasses. If it works out like that, good for you. I trust you wouldn't overrule the au pair when you pop in for your daily visit? You'll be ok when your DH meets someone new and she moves in?......

I just think if you are going to hypothesise you should take EVERYTHING into account, not just the 'easy' financial bits.

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 03-Aug-11 21:36:18

Why couldn't/wouldn't you come to an amicable (hypothetical) arrangement with your DH where you and children stay in marital home and he funds au pair since he'd be paying for one anyway? If you're going to do the whole theoretical thing?

But, to return to the question, you're not sick etc but I couldn't even begin to imagine not being RP.

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