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05/14/2012 - mind hamster of the day

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My heart's not in the Spark tonight. My oldest son, Colin, did something pretty thoughtless today and I can't shake the aftershock. Back story - It's been 12 years since his dad & I separated/divorced. In those 12 years, I've rarely received a present that wasn't crafted at school, art camp or something like that and I've been very happy with that situation. However, in the last three years he and Logan, wouldn't have done anything if Paul hadn't pushed them to shop and/or actually put some thought into it. That all aside.... on Thursday, I got a phone call from him asking me if I would pick him up at school, take him to DQ for a birthday cake for his dad, and then drive him to his dad's house across town. I asked him if he pre-ordered, asked if his brother was giving him money for it.... all kinds of questions because, after 12 years of not being together, I had ZERO interest in helping that man get anything, much less pay for it, BUT I love my son and I'd move mountains to make him happy. I digress. The second part of the saga...in the last 12 years, I've had four Mother's Day Sundays with my sons. Their step-mother once told me that it was just another day, "nothing special" and that, if it fell on their weekend, I wouldn't get them for the day. That first year, when I countered with "what if I denied him spending Father's Day with the boys" she told me that "every day was father's day when they were together" ... has been a) getting breakfasts made for her b) receiving cards AND gifts and c) spending that nothing special day with my sons. Yesterday, as the step-mother was away... I got to spend 6 hours with them. I was over the moon. I was a little disgruntled that they a) didn't buy/make me a card, b) got into a video game battle with their step-sister and c) didn't help at all with supper prep or clean-up BUT I was very happy that they were here and we made a pretty good day out of those few hours otherwise. TODAY, I picked up Colin at school and, on the way to DQ, found out that he intended to borrow the money for the cake from me. He'd pay me back with the allowance that he earned at my house. I was crushed. I felt kicked in the heart. They'd already picked up a present, they were making him dinner and, regardless of whether Colin could see it or not, he was making ME buy my ex husband a birthday cake.
I'm so angry with him, mostly because he doesn't see where he did anything that should have made me unhappy. Despite that, he's apologized several times. I'm also angry with myself because I feel like I'm being petty and jealous.
And then there's just this indescribable ache. They barely recognize my birthday, Christmas or Mother's Day...... I think today I just realized how much they take me for granted.
ok, the hamster wheel is squeaking too loud for me to get any more thoughts down. In any kind of sensible matter anyway.....
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  • no profile photo CD557571
    After sleeping on it, I also thought of this: When they are with you, they feel safe enough to be able to ask for your help with cakes/things for their father. Obviously, they don't have that luxury when they are with the other parent, or they would be asking Dad to buy a cake for YOU. You provide them with a safe place to be, safe enough that they can ask for things that are difficult.

    I'll bet they aren't afforded the opportunity at Dad's house to work on things for you.

    You are a great Mom. Never doubt that, even when things are not the way they should be.

    Love ya, and hope you are having a better day.
    3120 days ago
  • LIZZYP609
    emoticon I wish I had some great advice for you. I don't. I know how it feels though even though the kids Dad and I are still together.
    I have a feeling the boys know exactly what is "expected" of them from their dad. Maybe they think you don't have those same expectations or it isn't a big deal one way or another.
    Don't ever feel bad for your feelings. Own them, deal with them and do your very best to worth through them. emoticon
    3120 days ago
  • no profile photo CD557571
    Love the advise and support already given.

    I hurt for you Penny. Those "special" days bring emotions front and centre, no need to feel petty. When you hurt, it's real.

    3121 days ago
  • PRIZM96
    Oh Sweetie, you aren't being petty at all. First of all, let me give you a big emoticon emoticon
    I agree with the wise words of the girls before me. Moms just often get the crappy end of the stick and it just plain sucks. I totally agree with the fact that it's ok to let them know about it too. Help them understand your point of view. They'll get it, but they may need a little push.

    I hope a smile reaches your face soon. :-)
    3121 days ago
    Penny-I have tears reading this blog! Wish I had some advice but I have lots of big hugs coming your way! emoticon
    3121 days ago
    Ah, Penny..........I so agree with OneBusyMom! I'm going to add, however, a bit of a perspective as a divorced mother.

    I have 2 older children......DS is 24 1/2 and DD just turned 28. Their father and I have been divorced for 10 years. In the beginning, while they both were older, they had some interesting takes on things from two different standpoints. They both love me without any doubt, but they both tried desperately to please their Dad and to keep him in their lives in one way or another. Yep, a step-mom entered the picture (and had been in the picture longer than I knew), but she was a very distant step-mom and still is. She has no idea what to do with kids no matter what their ages............and they are both fine with that. It's their Dad.......... DS and his Dad had a major "falling out" and they've not spoken now for somewhere around 6 years. DD, however, is a different story. Acceptance is everything to her, and she has yet to feel like her Dad accepts her as she is. So, while I'm the one closeby, (they live now in Kentucky - we're in Ohio), and while I"m the one who is the "do-er", he's the one she gets most concerned about "pleasing'. I am the recipient of cards (when they both can afford them!) and surprise planning................but that comes with age, I think. They have both gotten more thoughtful in those realms than they were in earlier years.

    In our society, for whatever reason, we don't seem to think it's ok to talk about those things with our kids that hurt. We encourage them to talk to us and let us know what's going on, but we don't let THEM see the "human" side of us. Your boys love you beyond what you know. They are *boys*, however, and you need to help them *learn* to be thoughtful..................otherwi
    se they will take you, and perhaps in later years, their wives/significant others for granted and not realize that they're doing something hurtful. It's encouraging that Colin apologized to you................ now help him *understand* the hurt.......not just see it.

    emoticon Wish I could give you this in person!
    3121 days ago
    Oh, Penny, you aren't being petty at all. You're their mom, and like most moms, you probably bust your butt doing everything you can for your kids. Of course you deserve some recognition and appreciation, especially on special holidays like your birthday, Mother's Day, and Xmas. And then to hear that their stepmother is getting pampered on what is rightfully your day, well, that would break my heart as well.

    It sounds like you can't negotiate with their dad & stepmother to have your sons on Mother's Day, but can you talk to your sons about how you are feeling? While they seem generally unaware that they are hurting you, the fact that Colin did apologize today indicates that he's not totally oblivious and how you feel does matter to him. Maybe a heart to heart with your sons is all they need to realize that they've got to start showing you that they love and appreciate you, which I'm sure deep down they do.

    Believe me, I'm not a traditional Asian mother, but in that controversial book "Confessions of a Tiger Mom", there was this one incident where her kids threw together a crappy card for either her birthday or Mother's Day, and she told them, "I reject this. I work hard for you, so the least you can do is put some effort into this one day of the year for me." And so they did. While I definitely don't agree with her philosophy on child-rearing, her response in this situation did strike me as fair. Likewise, I think it's fair for you to expect a little more out of your sons. And I think it's okay to tell them that.

    And remember, you're a GREAT mom. Your boys and Roo are lucky to have you.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3121 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/15/2012 12:13:16 PM
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