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Right, I really need to sort my life out

(43 Posts)
3sleepingchildren Fri 25-Dec-15 21:52:29

I am unhappily married. We are not particularly compatible, don't really agree on anything anymore. I want out, and have done for some time.

H doesn't. This is his second marriage, and he would do (just about) anything to avoid another divorce. So he doesn't agree that our marriage is over. Problem is, it's not that he wants to stay married to me, he just doesn't want a divorce.

We have 3 children. All disabled. I am not sure I could cope on my own. But I cannot continue the way we are.

We are away on holiday currently. Our children are small (under 10). He has 2 children from his first marriage, now adults. They are here with us (at my instigation - he didn't think of it). We agreed before we came away (and before my step children were invited) that we would be doing things at a pace our children could cope with (it's an activity holiday - activities suitable for children, but need adjustment for our 3, and they cannot manage a whole load of stuff all at once). When I suggested inviting my step children, I brought this up again, as I realise it is not above or style which might suit everyone. H agreed with me, at that point.

Now we are here, and my step children want to do loads more activities (fine) and want H to go with them. In their words 'it would be a shame to kiss this opportunity, and it would be nice to do this with dad'. Well, yes. Except managing 3x small disabled children on my own, on holiday in a strange place is a non-starter. And so it is t possible. This was talked through with H before we left. But now we are here, and he is in fabulous dad mode, and cannot day 'no'. So it is left to me to be the killjoy, to say no, it's not what we agreed. It's not what works. It just isn't possible. H gets in a strop with me, my step children think I'm a moody arse, and my dc are stressed because everyone around them is stressed.

Tonight, there was a Christmas dinner arranged at the resort. My youngest dc isn't well (nothing serious, but he's only 4, and tired out from excitement of holiday and Christmas, plus he a nasty cough). He fell asleep at 5pm, and I did t want to wake him to go out to the dinner. My middle dc wanted to go, and eldest didn't really want to go, but was a bit hungry. Didn't want took without me though.

I happily volunteered to stay behind with youngest (note H didn't. If I had asked - remember eldest didn't want to go out without me - I expect his solution would have been for us all to go, and I really didn't want to wake youngest up). Anyway, got two dc ready to go, and settled down.

H took them out, and I asked that he bring me back some food and drink. They get back, eldest is quiet and a bit upset (has learning difficulties, and I'm not sure what the issue is - will find out over he next few days as it unfolds/processes). No food or drink for me.

I get all 3 back to bed (them coming in had woken youngest, but not the biggest problem) and H then went straight back out to do an activity which we had planned to all do as a family tomorrow. Youngest overheard where he was going and got upset as wanted to do the activity. I tried to comfort and say we would still go tomorrow, and H said we won't have time (tomorrow is departure day). So upset children all round, and H had buffered off out to do it anyway.

Meaning he will be back late, won't pack, will probably end up sleeping in tomorrow (so guaranteed not to have time to do activity). He's just a selfish arse.

This so long already, but this so just a prime example of how things generally go. I do understand he would like to spend time with his older dc, but he is taking a week in January to do that, so it's not as though that never happens. This was always planned as a holiday for the smaller children, with the bigger ones more than welcome, but at the younger ones pace.

it is the end of the year. Next year needs to be different, but I am not sure if I can manage all the children's needs alone. But staying is not good for me. H disregards most things I say. He is crap with the dc in general (hence eldest coming back upset tonight) expect whe he is playing at being fun dad and spoiling them rotten (although this usually backfires and I end up picking up the pieces).

I can't keep on living this life, but I'm not sure that changing it would end up any better.

PoundingTheStreets Sat 26-Dec-15 00:14:59

I can't keep on living this life, but I'm not sure that changing it would end up any better.

I think you're wrong. You're not actively getting any help or support from your H in managing the three children; in fact he's actively sabotaging your plans, be it deliberately or unwittingly. You'd be amazed how much easier life is when you are in sole control with no one working against you - which isn't to say single parenthood is easy, because it isn't; but it's certainly easier than being a coupled-but-undermined parent.

Whatever you decide to do, hope it all gets easier. flowers

CalleighDoodle Sat 26-Dec-15 00:19:26

You will manage because you wont have to deal with him as well. Prize nob that he is.

Wakr him up and get to the promised activity tomorrow. Personally i wouldnt pack for him Either.

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 06:38:34

I could certainly manage around the house. I quite agree that it would be easier without him here. He had a go at me a couple of weeks ago because I hadn't done his washing. We are in the middle of a major building project at home, I had organised absolutely everything for Christmas (all presents, food, guest arrangements) and he is currently on gardening leave so at home full time too. And can't manage to wash his own clothes (or load the dishwasher, or cook a meal).

But I cannot leave the house with all 3 dc on my own. Needs wise it isn't possible. They are 10, 7 and 4, all disabled. Eldest has severe learning needs and needs 1:1. So if we split, it's a life of isolation, and after school/weekends/school holidays would be impossible.

Twinklestein Sat 26-Dec-15 09:26:31

Tbh I think the holiday was a bit misconceived. It's inevitable that the adult SC would want to spend time with their dad given they're there and it's Christmas. And it's not very realistic to expect the SC to go at the pace of 3 young disabled children.

That doesn't excuse your husband from being an arse though, he behaved appallingly and divorce sounds inevitable.

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 10:42:50

Yeah, I can kind of see your point. Except we are in Lapland, and I'm not convinced that my adult (26 and 24) SC were that bothered about seeing Santa, whilst understandably the smaller ones were. I totally understand them wanting to see their dad, my dss especially as he lives abroad at the moment, it is more the way it is all handled that bothers me.

I have no problem, for eg, with organising for H to spend every evening after bedtime (dc go to bed at 7, so plenty of time) with my SC. What wasn't possible was any kind of time out for H during the day, as obviously the younger dc wanted o do all the tobogganing etc as well, and as I said before, one person cannot cater to all 3's needs. My SC are more than old enough to understand this, and I object to being manoeuvred into being the 'bad guy' as the only one pointing out that this isn't possible.

It isn't just the holiday. H does similar all the time. Ie he wanted to go to a works do in the Spring. It would have meant us both leaving home by about 4pm to get there (and being all dressed up and ready at that point). I not finish the school run before 4.30, and there is no one else who can collect dc1 (SN school, in another county). We didn't have a reliable babysitter at that point, who could deal with our older 2's bedtime routine, and the youngest had never been put to bed by someone else (other than me or H) either. It just wasn't a feasible plan at all. Yet he moaned on and on for weeks about how he would line is both to go, and how I always said no to plans he came up with, and how I couldn't be ruled by the dc's routines.

Yes, it's restrictive having 3 disabled children. But thats the life we have. Better to make realistic plans we know we can carry through (such as with the holiday) rather than hanker after stuff we will never manage (at this point).

H went to the do, by the way. Because he can, because I stay st home with the dc. Which is something that happens a lot. I don't resent the dc for having needs. I do resent the fact that it is always me who has to consider those needs, because H cannot make reasonable arrangements which take their needs into consideration. I resent him for not doing his share.

icandothis64 Sat 26-Dec-15 11:33:03

If you were to separate I assume eventually he would also have sole care of DCs from time to time eg weekends? Could he cope?

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 11:36:12

He could cope, as in they would all be alive at the end of the weekend.

They would also be tired out, as nothing would run right - late waking, late meals, late bedtimes. They would be stressed as routines would not be adhered to.

My eldest, in particular, would not have much fun, as her needs are much more severe, and he would probably do stuff more suitable for the other 2.

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 11:45:46

From current holiday: he was 'in charge' of youngest dc through airport/on plane etc. I had the other two. Eldest has severe needs, middle one moderate, youngest mildest of all 3 (although still significant, plus the age needs of having a 4 year old). H managed to lose dc's toy and leave a bag on the plane (thankfully recovered). God knows what he will lose on he way home. One adult, in charge of one small child. He is currently saying it will be easier for a 4 year old to not have his comforter on the plane, rather than risk losing it, which just seems bonkers to me.

There's just no cohesive thought. He is a professional, holding down a responsible job (when he has one - currently in between; not a problem, and he has no history of unreliable employment) yet cannot keep track of stuff as a family, or be relied upon to sort out any family task.

BrandNewAndImproved Sat 26-Dec-15 12:13:21

I couldn't live with such a selfish arse.

I understand that it is impossible for you to go out with all the dc but is that because of their ages or because of their sn? Do you mean you literally cannot take the three dc to the park alone?

I'd let him get on with it having them eow, dealing with a crap Monday until them going to their dad's becomes a routine of no routine iyswim. I can't comment on being a sp with sn dc but I guarantee if you are happier life for you and the dc will be easier and happier.

Do you get careers allowance because of their sn, do you need to be available? If they're in special schools and you have days to yourself during school hours to get shopping, do your housework grab a coffee with a friend plus eow they'll be with him I think you will be fine not leaving the house when they're home from school.

Or and I don't mean this horrible, is it a control thing that your way to deal with them is best and you don't like your dh sorting them out and that's why you don't want them to go to him eow?

TokenGinger Sat 26-Dec-15 12:15:18

It sounds like you need to arrange respite for your children. It's ok for your husband to be sad you can't go to a do with him. I actually think that's quite sweet. Maybe he's struggling with having three children with special needs, as I imagine you do. You need time as a couple once in a while and not as carers.

TheSnowFairy Sat 26-Dec-15 15:10:33

Agree with token.

loveyoutothemoon Sat 26-Dec-15 15:51:46

Why shouldn't your DH be able to go off with his children on holiday? It's a bit much to expect them to stick around ALL the time.

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 17:23:11

I agree it's ok for him to be sad about not going together to the do. What wasn't ok was him asking again and again if there wasn't any way possible for me (note: for me, he didn't lift a finger/give a thought to how it might happen) to arrange for it to be possible. I didn't dismiss it out of hand. I thought it through, couldn't get the one person who may have been able to deal with dc's needs, thought it over some more including us travelling separately so I could complete the school run/as much of bedtime as possible (again, me complete it all - he didn't offer to take that on, just expected me to magic up a plan). And it really wasn't possible. And so for him to harp on in a sad tone just wasn't particularly constructive. His tone was suggestive of me declining the invite, rather than not being able to attend. I was happy for him to go (although he could, of course, have offered he same to me. He didn't). I didn't whine about how it wasn't fair I couldn't go, or wasn't fair that he could. I just got on with life. And it would have been easier without the implication I was messing him around.

Not being able to take all 3 out is (currently) a combination of age and SN. My eldest needs full time 1:1 at all times. I can't trust a 4 year old with SN to tag along reliably, but don't always have a spare hand for him (the 1:1 often being a two handed job). This may get better with age, as youngest may grow up to be reasonably ok, as my middle one is. It still means that eg I often can't even have a conversation with the other two at the park/shops/wherever due to my attention being fully taken up with eldest.

Respite is a non-starter. Seriously, we don't get any, and won't.

It's not a control thing (well it is, but not in the way you mean). I would be delighted if H would deal with the dc adequately. He doesn't, which means that I am left picking up the fallout. Severe autism means that routines need to be adhered to. There isn't any other way. He doesn't do that, which is deeply unfair on the children. It leaves eldest feeling unsafe and frustrated, leads to a blow up/meltdown which he then blames her for, she gets told off and left feeling like she is always in the wrong. Not good for her mental health (or everyone else's safety).

Re: SC staying with us all the time. I didn't expect that. As I said earlier, totally understandable that they would want to do things at their pace. Not ok to expect H to go with them for reasons stated above. It isn't possible to deal with all 3 dc out and about alone. H has a week booked in January to go away with the SC (following on from back to back from 5 days on a corporate jolly, so away 12 days in total). Fine (although the timing not that great), and o am happy for him to go. For them to expect that eg he spends half of Christmas Day away from young children to go on another excursion, meaning that we (me and dc) have a miserable afternoon climbing the walls of our hotel room for a few hours (confinement doesn't go down well) was a step too far for me. H completely agreed with my view when we initially talked it through. Then, when the holiday is in full swing and his elder dc suggest it, he once more leaves it to me to be the one saying no. Cowardly, and selfish.

TokenGinger Sat 26-Dec-15 17:58:51

How come respite is a non-starter? Financially or because you would feel uncomfortable doing so?

There are plenty of charities around that can help. Get in touch with your local authority. There will be a service called Young Carers that your two younger DC will likely be able to access. A young carer is considered anybody with caring responsibilities for their immediate families and they'd fall in to this category due to older sibling.

There are also lots of services that local authorities offer for severely disabled children, and local charities too. They tend to do evening sessions which will allow you and DP some time together.

Maybe as SAHM, DH has fallen in to a routine of allowing you to sort the practicalities of childcare as he sees this as your role. That's not to say it's right but he shouldn't necessarily be chastised for it. It sounds like you do a lot of inward venting and you need to have an open and honest conversation with your husband to sort a way forward.

3sleepingchildren Sat 26-Dec-15 18:31:55

Eldest would be too anxious for respite. she would not cope well at all.

Youngest wouldn't go to any club/outside resource yet. He wouldn't stay (and I couldn't stay with him due to eldest) anywhere without either H or I. We have yet to see how he will settle to school. He is a complete mix of the other two - cognitively ok, like dc2, but emotionally as fragile and complex as dc1. And so the jury is out as to where he will end up. Middle dc does ok, accesses a lot of stuff through school.

There are no evening services in my local authority. No one I know has (or has mentioned) any such service, and I know a lot of families with various disabilities.

H has indeed handed the whole child responsibility lot over to me. I have been saying for years I need him more on board - ever since dc1's needs became apparent. He responded to the, frankly shit, early years by withdrawing and throwing himself into work. By the time dc2 came along, and dc1 was at worst point, he was coming home at 10.30-11pm at least 4 nights a week, leaving me with a newborn and a seriously disabled toddler 15/16 hours a day. By the time dc1's sleep fell apart, age 4 ish, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown - up at 5 with the toddler, and not getting any break at all until nearly midnight when dc1 finally fell asleep (usually). Even then, with me practically begging him to help out more, he didn't get it and I had to muddle through until I got ill with it all. By the time I was better (only a couple of weeks) he had mishandled dc1's sleep issues to such a degree that it ten took a further 3 years (with substantial professional input) to sort out, meaning we had no time together at all in the evening as one of us (usually me 5+ days a week as he was too busy at work) had to stay with dc1 until she fell asleep, which took hours. (This links back to the 'no suitable babysitter' issues, as for obvious reasons we are reluctant to mess around with sleep and bedtimes too much).

I am not sure how an open and honest conversation would help at this point. I ask a lot, and rarely get reliable help. The last time I asked him to pack a bag for the day out, he didn't pack spare clothes for dc3. When he (inevitably) left it too long for a nappy change (he has charge of dc3 generally on days out as I am with dc1) and dc3 needed a change of clothes, it was apparently my fault there were none, for not reminding him he needed to pack some in the bag he was packing for the day (I don't pack spare clothes ever if taking dc3 out, and can't remember the last time I needed any. He always needs them but somehow it's down to me to remember to pack them, even when he is packing up for the day). He then also thought it would be a better idea for me to go and buy dc3 some new clothes (we were thankfully eating in a department store café so new clothes easily accessible) which would have meant me disrupting dc1 and 2 in the middle of lunch, paying and packing up, (would not have gone down well at all with dc1) to go and buy new clothes and deliver them to H, rather than him cleaning up dc3, putting a fresh nappy on him, and walking him out of the change room into the toddler clothes section. Where not a single parent would have batted an eyelid, and most would have thought 'been there, done that'. He got in a strop with me for suggesting this, as apparently it was far more difficult than the rest of us being disrupted. (And, remember, this is his 5th child! Not exactly a novice at fatherhood...).

Honestly, the situation between us is beyond salvageable, it's just how to work out the logistics, given the needs of the dc.

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 14:51:52

I think that you are undoubtedly going through a tough time. The relationship with you dh to one side. I think that you have painted yourself into a corner with the care of your children. From what you have said there is currently no other person who can care for them adequately other than yourself.

There are solutions but they will take time to be established. I would not rule out respite care, or having a helper (ld support worker trained) whom would work alongside you then gradually take over the less demanding dc or household tasks.

If you were taken into hospital (emergency) how would the dc cope. You need to make plans for if you were not around. It will be better for all involved if there is someone (or two) who can help with the children.

And you deserve a bloody medal. It sounds absolutely hard work. flowers

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 14:53:21

*your dh to one side. (excuse typos)

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 14:56:22

Please try and secure a solution for yourself and your dcs.

3sleepingchildren Sun 27-Dec-15 17:45:19

I see (and to a certain degree agree with) your point, except I haven't so much painted myself into a corner as been the only person who stepped up to meet severe needs rather than avoiding the issues and having a convenient escape route. But the result is the same.

I do have help 3 days in the week - privately paid for (for which I am eternally grateful that we can afford it), although I had to reach breakdown point for a second time before H agreed it was necessary (he was fine with eg the thought and cost of an au pair, but the cost of specialist help is significantly higher of course. Yet he can change his car any time he feels like it, or upgrade his laptop/iPad/phone just because a new one has come out). He resents the cost (I do feel for him being the only earner, but this was not of my choosing), and somehow thinks that me having help 3 afternoons after school now means I live a life of ease and luxury. My help is fantastic, but it enables daily life to continue rather than actually giving me time to do anything else. Eg I can help dc2 with homework without trying to meet the other 2 children's needs at the same time, or I can spend time 1:1with dc1 while the other two's needs are also being met. If even the smallest thing goes wrong in the household - an overlooked chore, or a wash not done, H never misses the chance to remind me I should be on top of it all since I now have help.

If I were taken ill, then everyone would survive, just about. It would be chaotic, and unbelievably stressful for the dc. But that's severe autism. I'm not the only carer in this situation. Local respite options are not good, and staff turnover is high. It isn't possible to even begin to settle dc1 into a place where there isn't a chance of continuity.

Part of why splitting is such a problem is that I am reasonably sure that while H wouldn't scrimp on maintenance, he wouldn't agree to continue paying for the daily help. And with (soon to be) 3 dc in 3 different schools, and no chance of eg being able to take dc1 on a round school trip to collect siblings, that would be a huge problem. Even securing transport for dc1 wouldn't solve it, as the window for pick up/drop off would cross the timings needed for the other 2 dc.

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 18:49:18

Get your ducks in a row... seek legal advice regarding what ending your marriage would look like. Perhaps a shl with lots of experiences re:sn dc would be able to secure five days a week help, amongst other things.

Photocopy and secure important documents, dhs P60, tax returns, marriage cert, mortgage info etc.

Visit websites for sn and disability parents, see if there is anything you might find application to your situation.

Perhaps when your dh has kids he would help to make sure that there is some continuity of care. Or he would only see then in the evenings at first. Just ideas...

I would rule out your dh being any useful help.

Have a realistic plan for the unexpected with regards the care of kids.

You are essentially a single parent, although you have the veneer of being married. sad

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 18:51:17

*when your dh has the kids (post divorce)

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 18:52:33

* he would also have the help...Gah! I'm no typist

3sleepingchildren Sun 27-Dec-15 19:23:42

I have copies of pension plans (annual statement arrived the other day!) and also a copy of a tax return giving current salary details.

Situation is complicated in that H is between jobs at the moment. He was (genuinely unfairly) dismissed in the summer, and is on gardening leave until March next year. He is in the middl of lining up next job, but nothing concrete yet. I will try to keep up with documents as things happen.

H's animosity will go through the roof if I wait until he has secure employment before moving forward. Likewise, we are currently in the middle of rebuilding our house. I suggested several times before works began (and during planning stages) that we should cut our losses and sell up instead. I also didn't want the project to be as extensive as it has turned out. None of that will be remembered, and he will instead accuse me of waiting to maximise my gains. It's not a situation I'm looking forward to, tbh.

LionHeartedWoman Sun 27-Dec-15 20:14:10

Don't worry about him. He's had his chances hasn't he? You've tried your best. He might change, but I wouldn't plan for that.

Put your kids and yourself at the centre of everything you plan. You need things to be as stable and consistent as possible.

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