Friday, July 23, 2010

Group Therapy: What's better for my kids?

Welcome To Group Therapy:

Here is a write in question for you guys.  Please let her know what you think and/or give her your advice.

"My husband and I have been married for 12 years and I've been home with our two kids for 10 of those years.  After months of marriage counseling, we've decided to live apart for awhile and see if that's really what would be best for our family.  I've come to realize that I don't  enjoying being a full time parent.  I'm thinking that the kids might be better off spending the majority of their time with their dad.  I find myself getting frustrated very easily with my oldest (10) and we definitely push each others buttons.  Lately I've resorted to a lot of yelling which isn't good for anybody.  I am afraid that my family and my husbands (not to mention our friends) will villify me if I don't fight for primary custody.  Do your readers have any advice for me? Am I a bad mother because I don't think being the primary caregiver right now is the best thing for my kids?"

Sincerely,


MailItToMe


***We would love to hear from you guys! If you have something you want discussed in Group Therapy email me at blokthoughts @ gmail dot com-- Subject: Group Therapy.

Comment, follow comments, come back and discuss others comments, and feel free to comment anonymously!

16 comments:

Southern Sage said...

Well it is tough to have much of an opinion with no more info than that. I will say that yes a large group of people will hold it against you.

You know what is truly best for your kids, or at least you have the most info to make that decision. I would think that every kid, provided the parent was not abusive, is better with their parents than without.

I think most parents, and it seems to be most all moms, think that they are messing their kids up more than they are helping them, from time to time. Everyone is a bad parent and makes bad parenting decisions but over all I think most people do right by their kids and are a positive influence in their life.

Lastly, and I don't mean to sound harsh, but YOU are the grown up. YOU set the tone of the interaction/fights/arguments etc. So if it gets to yelling then that is on you, change the tone, use a different tactic or have you considered counciling for YOU to help you deal with the kids? There must be 100000000009 books/dvds/articles/etc on different ways to handle kids, try some different things.

Good luck.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I don't know really where to start with this one.

I'm the first to admit that my husband is an incredible father. He is so good with our kids, or any kids really, and I always say that if they had to choose who to live with if we lived apart, that they would choose him. He is and always has been the fun one.

Having said all of that, I'd fight tooth and nail for them. To keep them with me no matter what.

So I'm torn because I can't decide if what you are proposing is selfish or selfless?

All I know is that it sounds like right now living with their Dad would be better;for the very fact that you propose it.

Kids are exceptionally intuitive. They know much more than we realize.

My question to you is... Will you someday want full custody of them? And if so... Will your husband or ex be willing to do that? Will you regret your decision now in the future?

I don't have an answer for you. I hope someone does.

Good luck

T said...

big one... and there are so many questions still...

are you hoping to sort things out, or is this separation definitely headed for divorce? is your husband willing to do the full time parent thing?

Sometimes I lose it. That's what moms do apparently - we lose it and we break down and unfortunately our kids get the "what the heck are these cereal boxes doing on the couch" lecture at the top of our lungs... and then we pull it together and we look at what is BEST FOR OUR KIDS. which is a non psycho mother in my case.

Just be sure that the decision you are making is the best one for your kids... if that requires them being with their dad, okay... if that requires you pulling yourself together, so be it.

The factors that DON'T matter - friends and family (and yes, bloggers) opinions. You are the mom - and between you and their dad you can figure out what the kids need.

(and trust me, the age ten just sucks rocks - mine drives me up a wall daily... but they do keep growing up... slowly)

Big Fat Gini said...

When we become parents, we have these grand dreams of happy, clean kids and picnics at the park. We have lists of things we will do and things we won't do as parents and these lofty ideas that just don't come to close to matching the reality of things. And as moms, we beat ourselves up a lot more than we should when we don't meet those high standards we've set for ourselves.

It sounds to me like you're burned out. And that is completely understandable. Being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years is tough. Really tough. There are months (sometimes years) where you feel trapped and unfulfilled. Especially if, over that period of time, you're not taking time out to do the things you enjoy. Other times, you wake up and realize your kids don't need you the way they used to and you feel kind of lost in your new role (or lack of one). And if you're feeling those things then that's an indication that it's time to take some time off.

But, I don't ever think that throwing in the towel and walking away is a real solution to the issues you're facing.

Your children need both of their parents. Especially now. If you walk away from your family, you will not ever be able to fully repair the damage. You'll be able to make new friends, restore your relationships with family members. But you will never be able to undo this decision. There will be no clean slate, no do-over with your kids.

As a child of a parent who abandoned me, I can tell you that with 110% certainty.

My best advice is to take a weekend off, start seeing a counselor for yourself and the issues YOU are having and go from there. Your children deserve a mother who is whole and happy and you deserve to be whole and happy too.

Best of luck to you....

SciFi Dad said...

I think that many people would judge you harshly if you didn't put up a struggle for primary custody, especially given the fact that you're a mother. (It's a sad reality that a man in your position would be viewed poorly by some, but by others he'd be a "good guy" for not putting his kids through the process.)

That being said, you have to ask yourself if you're more worried about the well-being of your children or how people perceive you. From what you've said, it sounds like the better option for the kids is to be with their dad right now. However, ultimately it's your call how you choose to handle this unfortunate situation.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I put in my last comment, "Will you someday want full custody of them?" I meant joint custody, even out time between both of homes instead of them spending majority of time with Dad.


Sorry about that.

And I also wanted to say that Big Fat Gini has really good advice!

Anonymous said...

You and your family are obviously going through a stressful time, and that probably spills over into how you are interacting with your children. Take time to de-stress however it works for you (meditation, yoga, take a walk, etc). You need to take an honest look at what is best for your children in the long run. Don't make choices that you will regret later, or worse, cause your children to feel rejected by you. The least of your worries should be what anyone else thinks.

While rewarding in the long run, parenting can't always be described as something that is enjoyable in every moment or every stage (although there are some that definitely are). You can't really equate Parenting to a career choice that has somehow left you unfulfilled. There are a lot of other options other than what you have outlined.

I recently read an article that had some interesting insights that are applicable to your situation: "All Joy and No Fun: Why parents hate parenting". I didn't agree with everything, but it was interesting reading. You may find the following applies:

"The least depressed parents are those whose underage children are in the house, and the most are those whose aren’t.

This finding seems significant. Technically, if parenting makes you unhappy, you should feel better if you’re spared the task of doing it. But if happiness is measured by our own sense of agency and meaning, then noncustodial parents lose. They’re robbed of something that gives purpose and reward."

The link to the entire article is here:

http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/

Best of luck to you and your family as you navigate this difficult situation.
~JT

Elaina said...

Wow, that's a toughie. I mean, if you think that it would be in the best interest of your children for them to be with their dad right now, then I think it's obvious what you should do. However, it's always assumed in our culture that, in the event of a seperation, Mom will have primary custody of the kids, and any other situation makes mom out to be the villian.


I know of a single soldier, a woman, who was stationed with us in Germany. She's divorced, and has two kids. When she got orders to Germany, she and her ex decided it would be better for the kids to stay with him, instead of her uprooting them and bringing them overseas, where she'd have no backup plan in case of field training or deployments. This made a hell of a lot of sense to me, but she was vilified even by her friends, and strangers who only knew the basic details just assumed she was a horrible mother who didn't love her kids. THe point is, though, that she made that sacrifice BECAUSE she wanted what was best for them, and I respected the hell out of her for it.

It's hard to deal with people's assumptions about you, and if you do this, there are going to be a lot of snide remarks. But if you really, truly think that it's what's best for them, then I think your choice is clear. You just need to be prepared to deal with the opinions that you WILL be hearing, because even people who have NO BUSINESS offering an opinion will still do so.

Good luck!

Erin said...

First off, I commend you for being so honest and thinking of all possibilities for your children. Thinking of all possibilities, including the unpleasant for you possibilities.

As for the nitty gritty, I don't think you can or should make an all or nothing decision regarding custody. Go for 50/50 physical custody right now, which give both parents time with the kids and time for healing/grieving for the demise of your own marriage.

Like the other poster (Big Fat Gini), I was abandoned 100% by one parent and virtually by another and despite all the logical explanations in the world (received both when I was a kid and when I was an adult), the hurt was never healed.

The kids shouldn't need to deal with or listen to your emotional baggage, they should be able to count on you to be their mother. That said, being their mother can include knowing that they need and deserve time with their father, too.

P.S. My point of view comes from the very personal perspective of having had 24/7 care of my two younger children since 1/10, when my husband, with my blessing, accepted a contracting position overseas to help the family long-term. This full-time parenting is HARD and I'm NOT mourning a marriage and trying to redefine myself.

615sWife said...

Ok I am not trying to be rude or judgemental in anyway but I think you are being crazy! Yeah as a mom you get tired but that comes with the job. What if you husband died? I mean you would have to be a full time parent then. Your children need you more then ever right now and how do you think they would feel if you said " sorry guys Im just too tired of dealing with you right now". The fights are normal it is part of being a kid to see how far the can push their parents. Your family seems to be hanging on by a thread so I would think really hard and do some praying before you decided.

Good luck

615sWife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wendy said...

Some decisions in life are never easy. People do tend to judge harshly.....so called friends, well meaning family members, nosy neighbors.

But maybe what you are feeling now is not a FOREVER kind of thing. so be careful. Make sure whatever happens the children feel loved and wanted by both parents.

I have been divorced and IT IS ALWAYS HARD ON THE KIDS.....if not at first, it finds a way to surface later.

But I don't know YOU and what is in your heart. Unfortunatly you will ultimately be the one having to make the "decision".

I wish you well with this.

wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrsblogalot said...

I wouldn't even dare to give any kind of advice but what I will say is that I commend you for being strong enough to ask these tough questions- and because ultimately all you want is what's is best for your kids.

That's what good parents do coincidentally. Even when the questions are on themselves.

I wish you the best with everything. Do what your heart tells you is right and it will be.

nitebyrd said...

I don't think you're a bad mother, just the opposite, in fact. You obviously care more about your children's welfare than keeping them for the sake of what "society" will think.

Go with your heart because that is what will be best for both you, your husband and your children. Don't give in to familial or societal pressures. You make take some flack about it but in the long term, I think you'll find you've done the right thing.

Garden of Egan said...

I can't even fathom having to answer this. I agree with all the other commenters.

Life is stressful.
Kids are stressful.
Marriage isn't easy.

Step back and take a deep breath and then get everyone into counseling.

WE BELONG