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Running the Race posted 10/4/2013 10:58 AM

With my D, I've found myself filling in different roles in my kids lives (my exw has terrible hours at her work), she drops them off at school 4 days in the morning, I pick them everyday. It's homework, dinner, and showers. Then I have them get ready for their mom to pick them up. She usually only has about an hour(if that) with them, the. She puts them to bed.
Last night I went to back to school night for my oldest, I volunteer in both my youngest classes (9 and 6) an hour a week.
I find myself being the one who tells them to do their homework, helping them with their homework, etc..
I do fun things with them when I have them every other weekend.

I have this fear I me, that eventually the kids will grow apart from me. I've seen in other situations, that the parent that gets the majority of the parental responsibilities, they usually are looked at as the "bad parent" by the kids.
I asked my exw that since school just started and we need to go through the holidays for the first time as a two household family, lets take all extra curricular activities out of the schedule. Let the kids adjust to their father (and their father adjust) to the new time restrained responsibilities.

But am I turning into the bad guy? In the future, will the kids resent me? I mean, I love my kids more than anyone in this world, the thought of messing up my relationship (which is real good now), scares me.
Now, I do want them to be close to their mom, but to be honest , I don't care in the future if they are. She did make a selfish decision that took her more out of their lives.
Anyone go through this in their D?
How is everyone's relationship with their kids? And where do you see your relationship developing into as the kids get older?

Nature_Girl posted 10/4/2013 11:11 AM

I hear you loud & clear!

I have some similar fears. My STBX is going all out Disney Dad with the kids. I can't compete. He one ups me at every opportunity. All I can do is provide a very dull but loving & stable home life. I have asked this forum a couple of times if they're sure that one day the kids will realize which parent is the one they can actually count on. Everyone here says yes, that day will come.

In the meantime I have to keep walking in faith that things will turn out.

lieshurt posted 10/4/2013 12:51 PM

I have this fear I me, that eventually the kids will grow apart from me. I've seen in other situations, that the parent that gets the majority of the parental responsibilities, they usually are looked at as the "bad parent" by the kids.

I have found the opposite to be true. I've seen kids grow up, go out and spread their wings, but then come back to the parent who was there for them, teaching them to be a responsible adult. The disney parent wasn't the one they couldn't wait to tell good news to or spend time with. The disney parent wasn't the first one they called when they got engaged, got pregnant, etc....

In the beginning, I also worried about this. However, over time I've realized that worrying about it does no good. I focus on what we have now and enjoy it as much as I can.

katiesmom posted 10/4/2013 16:12 PM

I know what you mean. My ex is a typical Disney dad, taking my daughter on vacations with his homewrecking wife, buying her things I can't afford, living in a nicer bigger house, driving nicer cars, having a hot tub at the house...the list goes on. I'm the one who has her a majority of the time, and deal with all of the mundane routines of everyday life with her (helping her get ready for school every morning, helping her with homework most nights, fixing her meals, making sure she gets to bed on time etc...)

In the beginning, I worried about this, but I know who my daughter turns to when something amazing happens to her at school, when one of her friends hurts her feelings and when she needs advice. It's me. And even though I can't afford all of the extravagant trips and gifts my ex can, she knows I am the one who is always there for her. She isn't fooled by his act and knows he is trying to buy her affections.

And, if that doubt ever starts creeping up again, I remember what she told me once. She said, "Mommy, don't ever make anyone feel like you are nothing, Because you are everything to me."

LadyQ posted 10/4/2013 20:22 PM

Well, I have to say that if you foster a good relationship with your kids, they will eventually see through the Disney Dads/Moms. For one thing, the other parent can't sustain the Disney Dad/Mom persona (mostly because they don't really care enough to).

The other thing is that the kids want part of their parent. They want their time and their love. All the cotton candy and souvenirs in the world won't matter a hill of beans in the long run.

What the kids will cherish most will be the times you snuggled on the couch and watched THEIR favorite movie, family game night, the breakfasts you made for them. They will remember that you attended their "back to school nights" and their basketball games. They will remember the fact that you were the one who went to their spelling bees and framed their "art" and hung it up in your living room for the world to see. They will cherish the fact that you sacrificed something of yourself for them. Not that you spent x number of dollars.

I'm willing to bet there's not an adult on the planet who truly wishes their mommy or daddy had spent more money on them. But there are plenty who say, "if only we had had more time together".

Talk to your kids, take the time to listen to their stories, care about your kids, discipline them and love them. That's what matters

SBB posted 10/4/2013 20:28 PM

Disney parents aren't that way the whole time. Little cracks appear and then big ones.

The sad clown has unrealistic expectations of what constitutes 'normal' behaviour from a 5.5 year old and a 3 year old. He is constantly berating them for just being kids.

My big girl has started calling herself 'stupid' - if she draws something and she's not happy with it she'll say "That is a stupid house" or something like that.

Whilst I don't think he is calling her stupid I can absolutely see him correcting her at every turn. A part of his 'high achieving' FOO mentality (read: nothing is ever good enough, I'm not good enough").

I think there is a balance. I made the mistake in my M of being 'bad cop' all the time. I intervened when he disciplined them because he would make them feel shit about themselves rather than focus on the learning opportunity. I don't believe in shaming to adjust behaviour - he does.

This meant that he got to do all the fun stuff and be 'good cop' whilst I did all of the hard stuff.

The only good thing about 50/50 is that I don't have to do all of the hard stuff, he is forced to do some 'real life' stuff too.

He doesn't measure up.

They don't just get to see his Disney side. It also happens to be the hardest thing about 50/50 as well.

I try to focus on sparkle moments with my girls. Yes there are things than need to be be done but I no longer squander those little magical moments - I relish them.

Love isn't just about fun things or stuff. It is about listening to them, enjoying them, making them feel loved, cherished and respected. Sharing yourself with them and letting them share themselves with you.

Their dad won't be their soft place to land. He'll give them money and toys but they will never feel like a priority to him. They won't feel loved just for who they are but rather just because they carry his DNA.

I'm not raising children, I'm raising future adults. Their needs are so much broader than 'stuff' and as they get older that chasm becomes more and more evident.

Time is the big one. They need someone interested and invested and invested in them, not to be on someone's 'To Do' list.

I already see it now when my big girl expresses her unhappy feelings about things that go on over there. When I suggest she talk to her dad about it she says she tries but he dismisses her or laughs - "stop being silly".

I do see them growing to crave their fathers attention. Kids have an amazing ability to blame themselves when it is absent. I also see them growing to take mine for granted for a time but I won't waver - I will remain interested and invested.

I don't feel in competition with him. Their hearts are big enough to love us both. They'll enjoy certain aspects of what he has to offer more and certain aspects of what I have to offer more.

I won't disappoint them or let them down. I'll be there in body, mind and heart. They'll always feel this even if they can't name it. If he happens to bring any goodness or joy into their lives then that makes me happy - I don't feel threatened by it because in balance their needs (emotional and otherwise) are being met, doesn't matter what the proportion of contribution is.

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