DS10 constantly comparing me to exH...
DLCC · 06/04/2015 16:39
This may sound pathetic but I'm at my wits end and would really appreciate some advice. I have two DS's (10 & 5), I have been divorced from their Dad for just over 5 years now and have had a new partner (not live in) for 2.5 years, he also has two DS's (11&9). We all get on and spend a fair bit of time together, my partner has his children 50% of the time and my children to their Dad every other weekend. My exH also has a new partner of around a year, she lives a 2 hr drive away from us (exH is a 5 minute drive away from us) exH lives with his parents and doesn't have financial commitments apart from a loan on his car, CSA to me and he doesn't pay rent to his parents.
The thing I am really struggling with is when the children come back from his, DS10 constantly tells me what they've done, where they've been, how much Daddy has spent, how nice Daddy's GF is (and her 4 children) how much time they're allowed on their iPad's (I don't allow it in the week), how his GF isn't doing housework all the time (she doesn't work as she's decided she's better off on benefits and can do all her housework while the kids are at school) and it's really getting me down, I know it's bound to happen and I've tried to explain that if they lived with Daddy it wouldn't be all these treats all the time and also because Granny does all his ironing and housework he can devote all his time to them when he has them. I work part time and really struggle with the mortgage and cannot afford days out like he can, we go out cycling, play football the park, board games and swimming etc but I can't do the things he does. When we split he agreed to pay double the CSA amount so that I could buy a house with 50% of the equity from the family home and keep up mortgage payments with his inflated maintenance, he then dropped to CSA with three days notice last month saying that he couldn't afford to move out of his parents with what he was paying me for the children. This is by the by. I just need some advice on how to handle my DS10 when he constantly puts down what I do with him and that everything he does with Daddy is bigger, better and more expensive. Daddy doesn't organise parties, after school clubs, school trips, packed lunches, housework and day to day running of a house plus working part time. I try to just nod and let it go over my head but we are really clashing about it and it really upsets me. I'm sure that if I suggested going to live with Daddy he would be off like a shot even though his Dad doesn't even want to take the opportunity to collect him from school twice a month when he has the chance but would rather do 6pm Friday to 6pm on the Sunday. He won't commit to two weeks with the children in the summer either.
I just want a healthy respectful relationship with my DS10 as all we do lately is argue....
LadySybilLikesSloeGin · 06/04/2015 16:48
Can you spend some time together? I try to get ds to cook with me, partly so we can spend the time together and partly so that he can see that it's not easy. Sounds like you've been left doing all of the day to day care - the cooking, the cleaning, the washing, the school run etc, while your ex gets to have all of the fun. Your son only see's that he has fun at his dad's house and doesn't see that all of the shit stuff is left to you. Why don't you show him? Get him to shadow you for a day, get him to help you so that you can have more time for fun with him. I think you do need to find a way to cut out the arguing, sorry. If you had a choice between someone arguing with you or someone having fun with you, which would you prefer?
DLCC · 06/04/2015 17:08
You're absolutely right, I hate the arguing, I really do and I feel so guilty about it... we do cook occasionally, but maybe I need to do more of it, and you're right get him to shadow me or write a list of the stuff I do each day! :)
LadySybilLikesSloeGin · 06/04/2015 17:18
It's really tricky. I'm a LP too so I do everything. I make sure I take time off to do fun stuff, like take ds for a hot chocolate after school so that we can chat, go to the cinema/bowling/crazy golf. It doesn't need to be something every week, I have to have a break too so that I don't feel like a housekeeper.
All your ds can see at the moment is that the 'grass is greener'. It never is but he's too young to see this yet. He doesn't see that you're the one who's taking care of him, he just see's that dad's house is more fun. fun's great but do you really want fun when you're feeling sick etc? You can show him that you can be fun and you can look after him too. It's not a competition though, you don't need to go overboard with fun. Just spend some time with him and find some common ground. He'll soon be at the age where he can see through the gifts and the days out and he'll see that these are not really what he needs, he just needs to be loved, if this makes sense.
TurnItIn · 06/04/2015 17:22
It is difficult, I do sympathise with you.
What sort of things is he actually saying that triggers the arguments? I'm just wondering whether it's rudeness that you can pull him up on rather than him just talking about his weekends IYKWIM?
DLCC · 06/04/2015 17:50
Thanks both, it's not rudeness but little digs? such as, 'You're so unfair, Daddy's GF let's us play on the iPad's as much as we like', and when he comes home he will say things like, 'I wanted to stay with Daddy and his GF for longer', and he will phone from his Dad's to see, 'What have we got planned', for the next few days of the holidays etc and if I say well we doing this, this and this it's like, 'Oh. OK', no enthusiasm at all. Yet he'll come back from there saying ooooo we went body surfing but when I say like when we went surfing in Cornwall last year, he'll say yes but it was better this time. Another example is that I've booked tickets to the Spinnaker Tower tomorrow in Portsmouth as I'm off this week and he asks whether it's taller than the Shard and how much were the tickets (he went to the Shard with Dad and the tickets were MUCH more expensive. Grrrrrrr) I just really try to make an effort and it gets thrown back in my face. DS5 and I get all excited but DS10 just compares everything to what exH does....
LadySybilLikesSloeGin · 06/04/2015 18:09
A lot of kids play parents off against the other, even ones which live with both parents. He's probably hoping you'll come up with something better. I'd come back with a 'oh, that's not good. Careful you don't wake up in the morning and you can't move because you've turned into an iPad though,' (then cuddle his arms so he can't move) and say no more. A bit of humour does wonders I think.
TurnItIn · 06/04/2015 18:09
Oh that's tough for you.
I'm also a LP so I do understand how you feel.
Ok then, I do think that you need to try and not take it personally and also not to engage too much with it. I know it's frustrating but here's how I would respond to your examples.
"Daddy's GF lets us play on the I-pad as much as I want" - Well that's nice but I'm not daddy's GF so I'll have that IPAD now thank you. (Same as the response I used to give to my DS's when they told me that their friends mum let them do XYZ)
"I wanted to stay longer" - Oh dear DS, I'm sure you did but I would miss you too much! (I would sympathise with him on this one, I know it hurts your feelings but I think he's probably after some reassurance TBH)
"How much were the tickets?" - I would laugh, nicely, and say something like "what does it matter darling, I'm not making you pay for them!"
I think, and please believe that this is meant kindly, that it is natural for him to miss his dad - 10 is a difficult age and he's just starting to hit puberty and associate with his same sex parent. You must try not to take it personally, or as a slight to you.
As he gets older he will understand all of your sacrifices and hard work (I have an 18 year old and he is grateful to me for all my hard work during his childhood - but he can only see it now he is old enough to recognise it)
DLCC · 06/04/2015 18:33
Thank you for all your kind words, I don't think he means to be mean it's just the constant, 'oneupmanship', that gets me down I do need to be a little more tolerant, and you're right he does miss his Dad which I have to make allowances for, but it just hurts when I do absolutely everything for him, and he just wants to be with the parent that basically, doesn't?
TurnItIn · 06/04/2015 18:39
Of course it gets you down, you're only human - and you're having to be a superhuman to raise those children.
He is secure in your love for him, secure enough to be a bit of a git!, so you're doing a grand job.
I think if you change your reactions to him - reassuring him that you understand he loves dad and loves being with him and misses him - then you may well see a change in him, it's hard but worth a bash.
Good luck OP, This too shall pass.
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