Kids Know When You Don’t Care

This weekend my daughter begins living with me full-time; no more scheduled back and forth between her mom’s house and mine. Although the ex and I live only a mile apart, my soon-to-be-18-year-old daughter decided that she just wants to call one house “home”. She chose mine. This has not set well with her mother fucker of a mom.

Growing Up
My daughter Karen is starting college this fall, turns 18 later this year, and decided that she just wants to live in one house. One place to keep all her stuff. A start down that road of being more independent and more of an adult. Although she originally planned to live in the dorms, she realized how much cheaper it would be to live at home. Since home is close to school, it wasn’t hard to forego the dorm life.

It also wasn’t hard for her to choose which house she wants to live in; her mom’s or mine.

  • Her room at my house is bigger
  • The house is bigger
  • My house is closer to her friends
  • My dog is less of a spaz than her mother’s two dogs.
  • Moving out of mom’s house means that her 14 year-old brother (my son) will have his own room there, instead of continuing to share it with his 5 year-old half-brother. (Their mother keeps one bedroom as a personal hideaway from the family an office, so that’s why the boys have to double-up.)
  • I don’t have a spouse that I fight with at my house
  • She’s known this house as a home for the entirety of her mother and I being divorced (9+ years), as opposed to the 7 houses her mother has lived in.
  • I’ve always been there for her. (Unlike her mom who moved away from her kids for 3 years.)
  • I actually know how to parent. (Keep reading…you’ll see.)

The one thing that made Karen very hesitant in confronting her mother with this decision was that she knew her mother would be upset and hurt by the choice. Karen simply hates hurting people, for whatever the reason. But, after talking to a 3rd party about the whole scenario — While at freshman orientation, Karen had a casual conversation with the mom of another freshman. That mom said that Karen just needs to do what SHE wants, even if it’s not what her mother wants. Even if it does hurt her mother, her mother will get over it eventually. — Karen was clear in her choice and her reasoning for it. She knew she just had to tell her mother what she wanted.

Better than expected
The conversation with her mother came up unexpectedly; her mother brought it up and asked Karen if she’s going to live in the dorm. Karen responded that she decided to live at my house instead and started going through the reasons why — most of the ones I listed above, but not all, and others. That first conversation went pretty well according to Karen, and her mother seemed to understand the rational behind the choice.

All Downhill From There
Her mother, being the grownup that she isn’t, didn’t let the decision rest. Over the past month she attempted to come up with her own justifications as to why Karen should change her mind, or to get her to commit to moving back next year. According to Karen, her mother said things along the lines of…

  • I gave birth to you
  • He’s not even your biological father — I was actually shocked, surprised, and hurt that she pulled this one out.
  • I’ve always been there for you and your father hasn’t  — When Karen inquired about this her mother said that I wasn’t there for the first 2 years of her life. Her mother and I weren’t together then, and Karen knows that. Karen did recall that her mother moved out state for 3+ years, leaving her and her brother here with me…she didn’t mention that to her mother though.
  • I’ll be okay with the decision if you promise to move back with me if we get a larger house so you could have a bigger bedroom her and so can your brother.

Fine, be that way
At her mother’s house, Karen had a TV in her room. There was also an extra, unused TV in a closet, and another unused one in the egg donor’s “office”. Also tucked away in a Karen’s closet was a forgotten-about PlayStation 2. Earlier this week, while still staying at her mother’s house, Karen asked her mother if she could take the unused TV and PS2 to have in her room at my house. Her mother said she would get back to her as she had to talk to Karen’s step-dad about it as well.

Karen called her mother today to ask if they had come to a decision. Her mother let Karen know that the “decision” was that the PS2 was her step-dad’s, and he decided to give it to their 5 year-old to have in his room, along with one of the unused TVs. Another unused TV is going to go in my son’s room there so that he can connect his XBOX and keep it in his room.

But it gets better…
After hanging up the phone with her mother we discussed the “decision” that was made; Karen, her brother and I. I was careful not to feed into the emotions that both kids were expressing toward their mother, and also careful to make sure that they still respected her — despite the fucked up choices she makes. Then Karen’s phone rang…

The egg donor called Karen back to let her know that they found ANOTHER extra TV in the house! I could hear the excitement in Karen’s voice anticipating what was coming. But instead of telling her daughter that she could take the TV, she told her “…and it has your name on it and you can have it once you stop living at your dad’s house.”

I was speechless when Karen told me this. Why would you tell your daughter that you have what she wants, but she can’t have it? Why would you go out of your way to make that call back only to tell her that!? Simple: as my son said, “She did it just to make you feel bad about choosing to live here.”

I will hurt you
I really don’t care who you are: if you make my children cry, I will protect them from you in any way that I can. I’m done saying to maintain respect for her because “she is your mother.” I’m done trying to help my children believe that their mother “must have her reasons.” Her inept attempts to make herself look like a caring parent, and to force her children to love her, have always backfired, because she isn’t a caring parent. The kids know, they see it for themselves: their mother simply does not respect them as people; how could she possibly love them?

I’m pissed at my ex. My kids are both hurt by her. I expect both my children living with me full-time in the near future.

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About Fresh Start Dad
Early forties, divorced dad of two teenagers, surviving back in the single world. Here to share stories and any survival skills I pick-up a

2 Responses to Kids Know When You Don’t Care

  1. I understand how you feel. My ex moved states away and I pray each day that he doesn’t return. I only hope that I can do as good a job as you have. I think he loves them, but he really doesn’t have it in him to put their needs first.

  2. Lisa says:

    You daughter sounds like an extraordinary young woman in spite of her manipulating mother – I have watched my brother dance around his X for the better part of 9 years, and I am always amazed by the complete tone deafness of our society when it comes to single dads!

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