27 September 2019 at 2:12 am #30821
Hope you are well. Most of you on here will know me as someone who has been separated a few years now and tried to pass on advice based on what I’ve learnt to others having come out the other end of the tunnel so to speak but for the first time in a while now I find myself venting.
Our son started school and is now in year 2, and his mother out of the blue yesterday anounced she would not be doing homework with him any more as she feels hard done to having to work, then cook and do chores, and then having to do homework with him when she works 40 hours a week as he does not want to do homework and she finds it a battle.
My response to her was that I also work similar hours and more usually, and that I in addition to what she does have an hour’s commute home after picking him up from school on the two days midweek I have him to do the school run. I told her that regardless of her feelings that he shouldn’t be doing homework at his age, that I insist he reads and works on phonics etc and numeracy so that he doesnt’ fall behind, and I would gladly do the homework when he is with me if she is struggling. I did tell her however that I’d like her to do something education with him as opposed to him just watching TV or whatever after coming home, even if it’s like giving him simple tasks to do that he learns from or reads a book or whatever if she objects to the school curriculum – so that he does not associate me with having to do work and not much time for play apart from every other weekend due to getting home between 6:30 and 7 and then bed at 8 at the latest on a school night – and his time with her as just sitting down watching tv after school (just to be clear she does take him out on weekends etc – this is more about the daily routine for him).
She felt resentment at my suggestion she should do this, and said she was far too busy, and that I have no idea how much she has to deal with etc. Just to clarify I have him 2 days midweek she has him the other 3 days and we alternate weekends. She lives 2 mins away from school and works 5 mins away – I live an hour away from him and work is 20 mins from him, so the commute does make things difficult. We both work full time and in my eyes both put effort into making sure we do best for him but for some reason she feels hard done to.
Friends of mine think she doesn’t know how lucky she is as she gets the maitainence amount of 175 a month without fail, I cover whenever she needs to if she’s working or whatever midweek, and I try my best to help as best I can to ensure my son has the best quality of life he can. With friends who have raised kids alone without them even meeting their dad – and others whose kids don’t see their dad cause their dad can’t be bothered with them, and others who have been beaten etc… or ones who refuse to pay a penny it feels unjustified when I put in so much effort to be told by her “ask anyone, you’re the one who’s got it easy – you dont have half as much as me to do think about etc”, and reels off a list of things she has got to do – which are the same things I have to do daily or implying that I’m falling short as dad…. it just really cut me up today as I’ve had recent challenges in my life which thanks to some friends on here I’ve overcome the best I can…. it was her decision to tell me she had no feelings since before the marriage let alone two years later when we had our son tell me she regretted having a kid…. and yet still I’m trying to remain amicable and try my hardest to be civil and understanding then get this kind of thing thrown in my face. Whenever she gets fed up and cant take it anymore I usually take him for the week or whatever until she gets it back together…but any suggestion of having him more midweek despite her complaining about her situation is met with a “that’s not gonna happen”. It really does feel like the “mumsnet”TM mentality of “hey I’m single, I’m a mother let’s all gang up and tell the male of the species how hard life is cause they got it easy” when the reality of the situation is that this is far from the truth, and I think all things considered a huge wakeup call is in order. Both mothers and fathers who are seriously trying to support their kids whether alone or co-operatively deserve respect, and recognition of the challenges they face. It’s not a competition…. it’s not a fashion statement or an elite club to belong to gang up on the opposite sex. Why the hell can’t parents focus on bringing up their kids and doing the best for them? Isn’t that what all this is about?
Sorry rant over … not sure even if it’s asking advice but hopefully some dad (or mum for that matter) will read this and think to themselves “I’m not alone”, and from my usual perspective of trying to help people etc it’s simply a demonstration of we all have bad days and all far from perfect. Even those of us who appear to be coping well most of the time have peaks and troughs. It’s just a matter of focusing on those good days.27 September 2019 at 5:02 am #30822
Hi, wow, that was a bit of a rant. I hope you feel better. And manage to get some sleep.😊
For what it’s worth, my ex hasn’t done a single homework task or been to a parent’s evening or school play, and our son is in senior school, so I get why it’s frustrating.
Maybe suggest she try “smartie maths”, and for phonics we used to sing words to the tune of Three Blind Mice. It is possible to make it fun. Hand writing practice was a shopping list. My son could always spell pizza perfectly with lovely Zs.
The darker evenings don’t help – it’s all a bit gloomy – your ex may be feeling a bit down. Depressed? Lonely?
All you can do is grit your teeth, be supportive and encouraging. The mumsnet saying of “this too will pass” applies to dads just as much as mums.
It’s Friday, nearly the weekend 🍷27 September 2019 at 9:56 pm #30862
Thanks for your reply. My suggestion to her was to do anything she wanted as long as it was educational if she was struggling or disagreed with the school’s home curriculum, just so he was getting some kind of work to do when he was at hers same as me, but in her mind she has no time. I’ve found these phonics flash cards that are really good and he enjoys those, and we play cards a lot (he loves a variety of card games that help with memory and numeracy and he is so sneaky and competitive it’s always fun to play.
Yeah maybe it is darker an dgloomier, and I must admit myself sometimes in the evenings it gets a bit lonely when it’s not my turn to have him – but I’ve done nothing but be supportive to her when it comes to bringing up our son – I never tell her she’s anything but a good mother yet she makes a point of trying to highlight how I’m no good, or more to the point that she does everything and I don’t know what it’s like etc when I have him near as damn it half of the time, and any time when she can’t cope. I think any criticism as a lone parent can be difficult, but even more so when the words “ask anyone” etc are added. Just makes you question yourself sometimes, and feel no matter how hard you try you can/should do more.
Wasn’t aware that was a mumsnet saying lol though I do recall King Solomon’s ring 🙂
Yes absolutely! Hope you have a great weekend!29 September 2019 at 10:53 am #30890
Hmmm the great homework battle. I have to say it does sound like she is down and taking it out on you. You sound like you are doing a great job. I have the battles with my ex, he gets to do the fun stuff and I am the boring one my daughter lets it all out to. I try to get dad to sit and do homework with her every other week so that its a shared experience which seems to work, could you offer that? It keeps you both up to date with your sons abilities then too, homework can be a great bonding experience too. Its definitely not about your parenting her issue, keep doing the great job that you have been doing.29 September 2019 at 1:52 pm #30900
Whenever I have him (2days midweek, and every otger weekend) I do homework with him every evening he has it and make sure he reads too, so that’s not an issue. To be honest I don’t even mind doing all the homework rather than half as I always have been. It was just her saying she isnt going to cause he shouldnt have to at his age (6) and also cause she has no time after work (she has an hour more than I do in evenings she has him as she has no commute). Everyone gets down from time to time me included, but even then I dont take it out on her or ever imply she’s falling short as a mother or has it easy as she seems to imply I have. That is whatgot to me the other day I think, the feeling of trying so hard and still falling short. Her saying “ask anyone and they’ll tell you” made me feel that was the general consensus of her and her peers (the other mums at school), feels unfair that’s all. Hence the comment about the mumsnet anti dad crowd.30 September 2019 at 9:22 pm #30974
I know what you mean about mumsnet..whether your ex likes it or not homework is a thing and has to be completed whether she thinks its a good idea or not, its not easy navigating shared parenting 😕 she needs to find time. Do you attend parents evening together? You could casually bring it up the importance of it etc. During your session? My daughters dad only has her once during the week and every other weekend and I do feel like he has the good parts of parenting perhaps thats what she feels (even if its not true) .1 October 2019 at 7:19 am #30993
Yes we attend parents evening together, the school have been great and even reached out to help her when she was struggling too trying to offer support even when she has been difficult to them in the past, they’ve been a great support and really understanding. Any attempt to casually bring it up results in “I resent your suggestion that I don’t support him enough” or words to that effect when I meant nothing g of the sort and only responded to her refusal to do the work cause she feels she has no tim e with “cooking, cleaning, and working 40 hours a week” which is what many mums (and dads, myself included) have to do. I have him two days midweek and she has tried to take the Friday before her weekends too to “make it easier” I want two days midweek minimum and would have more if I could so that resulted in an argument about custody as the informal arrangement we have in place appeared to not be working, when I told her this she asked if it was a threat of a formal arrangement and I said no because there isn’t going to be the need for that as she promised not to prevent or make it difficult to see my son which was my condition of an informal arrangement, to which she responded “fine if it stops you being a baby”. It’s like she doesn’t want any help to alleviate or to have things 50/50, yet she complains she can’t cope and occasionally I’ve had to take him for a week at a time when she can’t cope or whenever she has business meetings and work social events etc. Its as though she enjoys the cliche of being a ” struggling single mum” but without the reality that many have to face.
I want to make things as easy for her as possible, as this in turn affects my son. Its difficult when he is over at mine and says he doesn’t want to go back because he says he misses me and mummy angry and shouting at him all the time, or says that’s not fair mummy gets more time. Its difficult to know how to answer things like that. I just tell him he welcome any time and mummy doesn’t mean to be angry at him she is just angry at me. He just says that isn’t fair and he doesn’t like when she shouts and slams doors etc when I drop him off or pick him up etc.1 October 2019 at 12:04 pm #30996
I’d like to say, I think you are doing a great job and obviously committed to your son. If only there were more dads like you about the world would be a better place.
I totally understand your frustration with your ex, as mine sounds similar in many ways apart from my children dont like doing homework with him as he is horrible to them if they dont understand it straight away. So I am the mean one who makes them do homework .
Keep up the good work