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long distance and kids!?

(23 Posts)
Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:04:06

So just after some opinions/ experiences from anyone whove been in long distance relationships with kids and made them work!? Problems you faced and what you struggled with!? Thanks

cheapskatemum Mon 21-Dec-15 22:11:21

Sorry, OP, not sure what you're asking here. Do you mean how did we manage raising kids when our DH/DP worked away? Or do you mean that your kids are far away, with XDH, for example? I can answer if the former, if that's any help!

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:18:30

The former. Like how did you make it work. I'm trying to establish if our problems are due to the pressures and strains of long distance or something else.
As it is oh works away 70% of the year. Im at home with our three children.. We have our own routines and rather than sit and miss him ive learnt to get on with it and be happy on my own. In doing that when hes home i find it really hard to adjust. He seems to uproot all our routines, throw out any consistant rules i have going etc. and in trying to tell him what hes doing he feels under appreciated and not welcome in his own house!? Im not sure how to deal with this kind of thing

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:23:03

Ive explained to him how and why i struggke to adjust but he doesnt really think its caused by the distance he thinks im just being horrible! That he works for us and im just happily enjoying myself and being horrible to hik when hes back. I do snap at him i kno i do, like when he uses inappropriate language in front of the kids or lets them play football in the living room, or allows them to pull out all their toys and leaves it for me to tidy up. We live in a relatively small house so I've always taught them to only get a few things out then to tidy put away and make space if they want something new. So when he does things like this it bothers me, and makes me think why do i bother teaching them things over and over when they finally start to get it and follow it, dad comes home and undoes it all

cheapskatemum Mon 21-Dec-15 22:32:54

How old are your DCs? I can really empathise with the bit about getting on with things with DCs and then DH comes home and seems to disrupt everything. I reasoned that it was hard for him too - he was used to living a bachelor-style existence, then entered a child-filled, family home. That said, my DH would have been totally in agreement with your house rules and they seem perfectly sensible to me too! How does your DH react when you point out that something's going to get broken if the DCs play football in the lounge, for example?

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:56:52

He thinks im nagging or pickin at him I mean not all the time sometimes he gets where im coming from But i think he feels like im some kind of dictator in our house! Which i guess i am in a way but as a mother i have to be or the kids would go wild. like u say he lives with everything on his terms, total freedom after work and with hotel staff at his beckoning call. He doesnt understand why i do some things the way i do. Like i adapt to suit what works best for the kids. So for example, my youngest will have a bath straight after his tea then story or last play downstaires cuddles and milk for bed. My oh will give him his milk b4 his bath and then start playing with him. he doesnt get why it matters so he thinks im just nagging or just not letting him get on. But he will not settle unless he has him bottle for then we have a nightmare night and i feel like im resisting the urge to say 'see this is why!' Cs he sees that as patronising! I do it that way cos it works but oh doesnt see him regularly to know. I think he struggles with the knowledge that he doesnt know his kids how he wants too cos hes not around. I think if hes honest it probably hits a nerve because it highlights to him how much he doesnt know. Their likes dislikes needs etc. he doesnt see them enough to understand them like i do. He also tells me my rules contradict too like one time hes home i'll tell him our youngest needs a full bottle for bed. So he'll do it and put him to bed then the next time hes home he'll make a bottle for him for bed and i'll say oh no dont give him one of those and he'll fee like crap for not knowing so snap at me. But i'll have a reason like hes teething so he'll throw it up or something. Its so hard!!

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:57:17

Sorry the children are 1,4 and 7

Morganly Mon 21-Dec-15 23:01:14

I can see both sides here. You are effectively a single parent and have developed a way of coping with the day to day hard work of child rearing which works well for you and the children. He swans in occasionally, disregards all the rules and undermines your child rearing.

On the other hand, he is on the perimeter of his family and when he tries to reconnect by having fun with his children, you criticise the way he does it.

This is not an ideal way to live as a family and there are no easy answers. The best thing would be if he could stop being a frequently absent parent but I accept that if he is forces or similar, that's not possible.

So you need to have a very frank, open and hopefully non accusatory discussion where you both come up with lay some ideas for how to deal with this. You need to let him have some freedom to build relationships with his children without your interference. He needs to understand what a nightmare it is for you to cope on your own with children who think they can disregard household rules.

Decide on your most important household rules. I completely agree with no football in the living room. But maybe putting toys away before getting out more is not so important? Though, of course, it should not be left to you alone to tidy them away at the end of the day. Perhaps you can come up with a suggestion for how the house will be kept tidy that doesn't rely on you doing all the tidying e.g he takes on the responsibility for training the children to tidy up for themselves before he goes away again.

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 23:03:37

I guess the main problem is that we are both so used to living our lives doing everything our own way we dont know how to compromise. He doesnt like feeling like someone is telling him what to do he feels put down. And i dont like the fact he comes home and disrupts things rather than trying to fit in with us and ask why we do things the way we do if he doesnt get it. But again i guess by having to ask he feels small again :-/

Cautlyn8795 Mon 21-Dec-15 23:11:14

I completly agree morganly
Thats exactly what its like! I have laxed alot of things. And the toy thing was just an example. I do let it go if hes having a good time with them.. I know that isnt a huge deal. I try and encourage him to reconnect. I tell him to take the kids out on his own, and he does but he doesnt find it that easy cos hes not used to the juggling them or dealing with their disagreements when one wants to do something the other doesnt etc . So then i make it so he can have 1-1 with them. They kids love him to bits. They crave time 1-1 with him so badly that i do try my very best to allow them to have that. I just feel like i work so hard reinforcing behaviours with them and when dads back they just go wild. I dont want the scenario where im playing bad coo al the time. He iver compensates for his absence by spoiling them in every possible way. Which i completely understand but it just reinforces mums the bad guy and dads the cool one. Lets ignore mum and just mess around with dad. Then he leaves and it takes me a good week of chaotic hard work to get their respect back. Unfortunately theres no chance of him being home any more often than he is at the moment.

cheapskatemum Tue 22-Dec-15 17:07:15

I really feel for you. Like Morganly, I can see both sides and I'm sure your gut instinct about DH feeling bad about not being there to know his kids as well as you do is correct. I think you need to have this discussion with him, the one you're having with us. Your points are entirely reasonable imo and it's not fair that he gets to do all the fun things, leaving you to pick up the pieces (literally and metaphorically!). Do you think your 7 year old would understand your point of view? I'm not saying you dis his/her DF to get them on your side, but explain why you have the rules you have so he/she can take some responsibility too?

Cautlyn8795 Wed 23-Dec-15 23:00:01

Argh it just gets worse tonight we talked and he now says the clutter in the house gets him down loads. He wants to come home from work and relax and not do anything! Dont get me wrong there are plenty things standing in our house without a home! Toys pushed on a shelf and things not immediately put back where they belong. General kids mess and clutter But it is clean!! His comments have really upset me. When i said so when do i get my break if you dont want to do anythig when u get home. Hes said i have all day to do what i want!? Being dictated too by the minds and scheduals of three children! I think hes on another planet! He doesnt think hes being at all harsh in what hes saying and that i should spend more time cleaning! I told him it makes no difference the kids will continue to mess it up! And im not gonna be a mother who spends more time neurotically cleaning ushering their children out the way when i should be teaching them and nurturing them... Feeling really down!

RedMapleLeaf Thu 24-Dec-15 07:29:40

Don't take the cleaning thing personally. Tell him you agree, and obviously you've got your work cut out when it's just you at home, so perhaps the time for you both to do something about the tidying is when he's home. Where does he suggest you both start?

Curlywurly4 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:01:50

Talk to him and set up some reasonable expectations and explain why the house works how it does. Obviously coming home doing nothing isn't an option with three DC's, especially and 1 year old. Leisure time should be equal, so I would also leave him with the three DC's for a day so he knows how much hard work it is.

My dad worked away and it was hard for us all when he was home.

Cautlyn8795 Thu 24-Dec-15 08:15:00

I do leave him with the kids buthe just lets them trash the place then hands them back saying theyve had fun. He knows how hard it is. Doesnt make a difference, he still thinks its not his job to clean since he works so hard. And he sees my life as enjoyable cos im with our children. He doesnt suggest we 'both' do anything to clean! Hes told me he doesnt want to clean when hes home

antimatter Thu 24-Dec-15 08:20:16

He doesn't realised running family with 3 small children is like running and manage a team at work.
Everyone has a job to do and has to follow certain rules and fulfil what's set up for them.
Can he think of this situation in those terms?
Workplace has H&S rules so does your home.
He has a job to do so he is paid and you also as s parent (as is he) have jobs to fulfill.
If he is back from work his role of employee changes into a role of a parent. No one can switch off being a parent in the presence of their kids.
It's tough but then he agreed to have first then a second and a third child.

That's what he (and many other parents) forget I feel and that's also why parenting is exhausting. You can't switch off that mode of being a parent for many years to come.
So when he us back from work you are expecting him to share your responsibilities and duties of a parent.
He doesn't automaticaly do that hence disagreements.

junebirthdaygirl Thu 24-Dec-15 09:02:31

Do ye have much time together when he gets home? Do you benefit from the adult company in the evenings? Do you look forward to him coming home for you..romance etc? It's very tricky re the children. Maybe he is so uncooperative as feels so put down so tries to take the high role in putting you in your place about the housework and stuff. It's very tough all round. I would hate it if they didn't come in and take over some of the tasks that l was sick of doing all year as we all need a break from our work. So he gets a break from whatever he does abroad. The playing around a bit wild is OK as kids need that and that's why we have two parents even if they are in different places. They both add something to the mix. Don't worry too much about the good cop bad cop thing as children appreciate order and rules so you won't lose out. I wonder would a few sessions with counsellor help as they would say the stuff you would like to say.

Cautlyn8795 Thu 24-Dec-15 10:22:32

Hes point blank refused to see a councillor, he wont get help for his own problems either. Hes his own boss at work, so he says its hard coming back from work and having to fit in. Hes not used to that hes used to everyone respecting him ad everyone doing things his way and as he says. Hes not a nasty boss or anything but hes boss so coming home to me being boss in our house makes us clash. I just wish he'd make an effort to fit in! I said the very same about the patent role to him the other day that he has to learn to switch to being a parent and you never get a break from that! I actually dont think he understands what he signed up to havin kids as he never sees everything i do with the kids. He always seems to be out of it even when hes home only way he'd ever see is if he had them for a few weeks on his own following their scheduals clubs and school wise but i know if i left him to it for two weeks (if he coukd get the time off work) he'd make it easy for himself passingn them round family or making them miss their clubs cos missing one or two weeks doesnt matter! He'll bever understand it and he'll never be willing to even try!

Cautlyn8795 Thu 24-Dec-15 10:24:47

Oh and no we dont have much adult time together when hes home. He would happily get the kids babysat to go out but i never want to go. Mainly cos im tired or annoyed that im doing everything while he sits on the sofa and watches on. And if im honest i dont look forward to him comijg home anymore cos my life is 10 times harder when hes back! Its not a break its more work sad

antimatter Thu 24-Dec-15 11:34:50

Do you also do his laundry and cook for him when he comes home?
Then stop because it looks like you have 4 kids and the eldest one is a stroppy teenager

antimatter Thu 24-Dec-15 11:39:02

How can he be a good boss if he hasn't got any empathy towards you?

Doesn't he his role as a father to teach his kids about life and anything he wants them to learn about? No life skills to pass on them?

junebirthdaygirl Thu 24-Dec-15 15:30:02

Think it's more than an adjustment problem. He seems to have no self awareness saying to himself as he travels home that he needs to be aware of what he is doing. Also he seems to have no awareness of what a father's role is. More a friendly boisterous uncle who pops him and sends the children haywire. A lot of us have one of those but we don't have to live with them. Could you go to counselling yourself to learn strategies to cope and definitely a cleaner when he is away..

cheapskatemum Sat 26-Dec-15 22:40:21

I was going to suggest a cleaner as well. We had the same arguments: the house was never clean enough or tidy enough. We had 4 DSs in 6 years, I could have cleaned & tidied all day long and there would still have been more to be done. Getting a cleaner was the compromise. That's a solution to only a small part of your problem though. Your DH seems to have little respect for your point of view: you have suggested counselling and he's refused point blank to go. You mention he has problems of his own which he's not tackling, are you trying to help him with those too?

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