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Does it get easier?

(22 Posts)
Lostandfounddad Sun 26-Jul-15 00:01:43

I'm sat here feeling very sorry for myself, and pretty disappointed in myself for doing so.
My 2 children are, tonight, enjoying their first night on holiday in Euro Disney with their mum, her boyfriend and his kids. And, to be quite frank, I feel sick about it.
We've been separated, coming up to, 3 years, in September. She left me for a guy at work and they have been on and off since, but are now living together. I was devastated at the time, and to be honest have never been the same since.
My kids are my world, eldest is 5 and younger is 3 and a half. I have them half the time, and there is nothing I wouldn't do for them. Money is a struggle, despite working full time, but I scrape through. The kids are never short at my place, but I cannot afford holidays and the like, that apparently their mum can. I realise holidays aren't the be all and end all, and I make sure the time I have with them is quality time. But it still brings me down.
I think the worse thing is missing out on the 'firsts', something I've always thought of as the best thing about being a parent. And the thought that I have missed their first trip abroad, their first time on a plane and the look on their faces when they saw Euro Disney for the first time, really hurts.
So here I am, Sat watching love actually (not even sure how that happened!), feeling very lonely and missing my smalls. I won't see them for a week, which will be the longest I have ever gone without seeing them.

etKrusTe Sun 26-Jul-15 00:05:33

You have the HALF of the time! And before you brand me heartless, my children were with their father and his gf, camping for the last week.

etKrusTe Sun 26-Jul-15 00:08:04

i think the problem is that you're watching love actually! I stick to crime dramas. You're as likely to see the firsts as their mother is.

onionlove Sun 26-Jul-15 00:09:16

Hugs to you OP I know how you feel, I'm sure it will get easier, you sound like a very loving Dad, best times I remember with my Dad when I was little was just wasting time together, holidays aren't everything quality time is x

Cabrinha Sun 26-Jul-15 00:09:55

You have my sympathy.
There are other firsts though, you need to find those.
My child is going to Disney Florida this summer with her dad, his gf, her daughter. The happy family life he 'stole' from me in pissing all over our wedding vows.

So, I'm going to miss the first of her swimming with dolphins. I'm fed up to the back teeth of hearing about sodding dolphins now smile

You know what though? Witnessing her excitement about it is a first. The first time she has been excited about dolphins.

I LOVE seeing her excited and looking forward to it. And the tales she'll tell will be wonderful.

Try not to see it all as a negative - enjoy your kids, enjoy sharing their happiness and excitement. They still love you.

Cabrinha Sun 26-Jul-15 00:10:41

And YY to turning off that film!

griselda101 Sun 26-Jul-15 00:11:50

sorry to hear things are so hard, you've had a really difficult few years. flowers

i think you need to refocus on what you are able to provide for your kids, rather than what you can't / comparing with your ex etc. You provide your very best and give them all the love you can and that's great. There are many things you give them that your ex can't, as you are different people!

You might not be able to take them on expensive holidays but you can give them a great time when they are at home, doing something creative, or playing, or make their time with you really special as I am sure you do already without even trying. Any time you spend with them is precious and important. They won't love you any less for not giving them holidays to Eurodisney!!

Also it sounds as though you are a bit lost without them. I am sure it's hard, but maybe try to spend time doing something you love, for yourself. An old hobby or a day doing something you really enjoy. Spoil yourself (doesn't have to be expensive). You need your own interests and life, and when you've got those going on you'll feel less of the emptiness, comparisons etc as your time will be taken up enjoying them or looking forward to doing XXX etc. So get back into whatever it was you used to love doing before having a family or things got difficult. Or find something new to get into!

LadyB49 Sun 26-Jul-15 00:16:33

OP everyone is entitled to a bit of a wobble....a week will pass quicker than you think. If they are with you half the time then they have their own space in your home. Don't try to compete.....make your own first with them I.e. get something as a surprise for when they get back to you and set it on their pillow in their own space. A suitable helium balloon each, for example. Write missed you on them, or big hugs, anything that is loving. And tell them you hope they had a wonderful time in Euro Disney.

Lovingfreedom Sun 26-Jul-15 00:20:42

Yes I would say it does get easier but you have to fill the time without the kids and think about having fun when you have got them. You could take them camping or up a hill/mountain, cook dinner on a camp fire...something that isn't expensive but that they will enjoy and remember.

etKrusTe Sun 26-Jul-15 00:21:55

I agree it sounds like you're a bit lost without them.

Would you consider psychotherapy? My circs were totally different as my x was controlling and abusive and I had to escape, but it was also hard being on my own with myself and my thoughts and anxieties too. Court battles with a man who seemed to want to destroy me were no picnic either. I am so glad I had therapy. It really helped me see some things very clearly. I have more self-respect now, my self-esteem is repaired. I'm not saying that this is what therapy would do for you! But it did me the world of good and if I met somebody nice tomorrow I wouldn't have a full set of samsonite luggage.

My x's house is twice the size of mine but when my son got home today he said he was so glad to be home as I make him lots of cups of tea and his dad won't make children tea. So, that's what it takes to win over a ten year old. Not an x box or a holiday but cups of tea!

pumpkinpie5 Sun 26-Jul-15 00:28:57

I know exactly how you feel, and I think it is easier said than done to try and find things to do whilst they are gone so that you feel less lonely- although I do agree that this is sensible advice.

I too, am almost three years down the line after my partner left myself and my daughter. I struggle with missing out on things she does with him that I haven't had the time or money to do - and I am still trying to stay positive and move on from this every day.

I have counselling and one of the things I have come to realise is that my bond may actually be stronger with my daughter because of the one on one time we have and the effort I make (due to what's happened) actually makes the time more quality time. I am really trying to look at the positives and the good things about being able to completely focus on my dd and choose what to do with her when she is with me, and it does help.

I do completely know how you feel. I feel gui.ty every day even though the choice wasn't mine.

pumpkinpie5 Sun 26-Jul-15 00:31:24

Agree with etKRusTe about psychotherapy - I am seeing a great counsellor and it has helped me hugely.

Whendoigetadayoff Sun 26-Jul-15 05:10:18

I feel for you. It's hard being co-parent. Enjoy your week off of parenting. See friends go to cinema get early nights and get all those little things done you've been putting off.
This is first year me and my kids' dad took them on separate holidays. When they saw him for first time they talked non stop for 1,5hrs through excitement of seeing him as they'd missed him.
Yes Disney going to be fantastic but they're kids. They get excited about lots of stuff and seeing you will be as exciting as seeing Mickey Mouse. And no parent can witness all the firsts.
And no one ever needs to voluntarily watch love actually......

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Sun 26-Jul-15 05:44:39

The bottom line is you planned on being a family and with your children all the time. Now you're only with them half the time. And this because of the choices someone else made.

What I'm saying is I really feel for you and all parents who don't want to be in this situation. Whether you were left or you did the leaving, it's not what you planned and it must feel awful.

Try to do things that parents who have their children all the time would love the time for: a night out, lie ins, read a book. Then look forward to seeing your children soon and be glad that you do at least have them half the time.

Handywoman Sun 26-Jul-15 07:51:08

I understand, OP - it wasn't meant to be like this.

I also recommend psychotherapy, it is really helping me heal and make peace with it all.

You sound like a lovely dad.

Lostandfounddad Wed 29-Jul-15 09:45:39

Thanks all for the advice, a lot of it makes sense.
I'm missing them like crazy, but only a couple of days left now!
I think the scary thing for me, and some of you mentioned it, is just how lost I was with free time! I didn't know what to do with myself. I ended up going in to work one day on overtime, working late another day and the flat has never looked as clean and organised (I'm particularly proud of their craft box smile ) Think I've been a dad so long, and before that a husband, I've forgotten what i use to do for me.
My real love has always been reading, but since the marriage breakup I can't even do that. I find I have no concentration for it, and ended up reading the same page about 5 times because I realised nothing had gone in.
I know I need a hobby or something for me, but it's difficult to find time/energy to do anything. Need to do some thinking I guess...

etKrusTe Wed 29-Jul-15 18:37:56

You do need something for you, and you will definitely find it. I have the opposite problem. The children are with me 50 weeks out of 52.

I can still only read crime novels! I hate anything romantic. Makes me want to chunder.

MyGastIsFlabbered Wed 29-Jul-15 18:41:38

Yay to Love Actually. I'm the other side, my boys are 5 and 2 and live with me, they spend one night a fortnight with their father. We only separated 4 months ago so I'm still quite angry about it all, and it's hard to be level headed.

If you have your children half the time there are lots of firsts you will see, just not these firsts.

etKrusTe Wed 29-Jul-15 18:43:05

why not join a book club? Start your own if you like?

I was asked to be in a book club ages ago and they all had really nice houses and I was living in a rented hovel! so I went twice, and I got intimidated, even though they were all really nice and I wish I'd stuck with it as I've moved now.

The one I was in, it was a nice balance between people who had read the book, and people who were happy to pour wine and chat! sad I regret that I left, but I was self-conscious at the time.

MyGastIsFlabbered Wed 29-Jul-15 19:19:57

Tsk my post was meant to say yy to Love Actually (meaning avoid it like the plague) instead it looks like I like it blush

ohidoliketobe Wed 29-Jul-15 19:36:11

OP you sound like a lovely dad and yes it must be a bit rubbish at this minute. But don't obsess about money. Spend the rest of the week planning all the activities you're going to do with your DCs which will be firsts for them. Have you been camping? Even if it's just in your garden. Build the best den in the world. A picnic and a bear/ gruffalo hunt in the nearest woods? A local farm? Plenty of free/ cheap things to do if you apply a bit of imagination. I suggest searching "free kids activities" or "summer holiday avtivities" on pintrest.
Last summer my friend took her 5 year old DS to euro Disney. A few weeks later his dad took him to the seaside and they caught crabs in rock pools. In September back at school he was equally excited telling his classmates about both. At that age kids don't care or understand the cost of things.

holdyourown Wed 29-Jul-15 19:55:29

I agree with pp you sound like a great, caring dad and I'm sorry you're in this position, I know how hard it is. I second getting help for yourself - there is some good stuff online eg cbt for free, and think about stuff you can do with your dc to make your own memories and firsts - taking them to see a movie, cooking together, camping, a day out. There's plenty you can do without it being expensive and it will help you to focus on enjoying your time with them.
As for your own social life do you also have things to look forward to just for you- hobbies/sport/meetup.com etc. Building up your social life may help? There are lots of single people out there

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