Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Single Married Mother

Ok so it's time for a "serious" entry.  I've had this entry brewing for a while now.  Excuse me while I vent a little bit.

Sometimes I feel like a single mom.  I've been married for 9 years on monday, and still sometimes it sure doesn't seem like it.  The feeling mainly happens during school functions for my boys.

My husband does NOT attend school functions.  Ever.  I can tell you that he's attended a school function exactly 2 times.  TWICE!  My oldest son is 8 years old and going into 3rd grade.  So he's gone Twice in the almost 5 years of a kid going to school.

If you're on my facebook you already know about this, but I'm going to tell the story again for everyone else.

The other day my older boys' school had a "end of the year picnic".  It started at 5pm and afterwards they were having a "parent vs staff kickball game."  Now of course I wasn't planning on participating in that, but I wanted to go to the picnic with the boys so they could celebrate the end of the school year with their friends and teachers.  My husband didn't really give me a hard time about going which was surprising.  I packed our picnic lunch, got a blanket, got everyone ready and after talking to my husband we decided to walk up to the school to avoid trying to find a parking spot.  We walked up to the school and as soon as we got there my husband said "are you sure you want to do this? We can just go home you know and not deal with this."  I told him of course I wanted to do it and to suck it up.  We set up our blanket and the boys started saying hi to their friends and everything.  We ate our dinner and 10 minutes later I said to my husband "we should have driven, it would have made it easier to take everything home."  My husband then said to me "Do you want me to go get the car and come right back?"  I said "if you want to." So he said to me "Ok I'll go get the car, I'll be back in 15 min."  He got up and walked down the street to the house.  The older boys ran off to play with their friends and Avery and I started watching the staff vs parent kickball game.  An hour and 20 min later the game was over and everyone was starting to clean up their stuff and leave.  Needless to say my husband still hadn't come back.  I packed up everything and grabbed my cell (which I am SO glad I brought being hubby told me to leave it at home) and called my husband.  He answered the phone and before I could say anything he said "I'm on my way."  He pulled up a minute later and got out of the car with this big smile on his face.  I was SO mad.  I told him how ridiculous he was and how I couldn't believe he would leave his wife and kids at a picnic and say he'll be "right back" and then not come back till I called him to come get us!  He claimed he didn't want to be there and that the kids told him they wanted to stay so he just stayed home until we were ready to come home.

Most of the time he just refuses to go.

If it's not an evening activity then it's always the excuse "I'm at work I can't".  He's never gone to a "dad's and donuts" morning at school.  Never gone to a concert, awards assembly, teacher conference, etc etc.

Now I completely understand how he gets up for work at 4:30am.  I understand how most fathers don't start work till 9am so being "an hour late" isn't an option for my husband.  These other dads can just tell work they'll be a little late.  By the time they start work my husband is half way done with his day.  He doesn't think there's any point in going in at 5am and leaving work at 9am to go to a school function and then going back to work at 10 and being there for another 2 hours.

But don't you think it would mean THE WORLD to the boys?!  If their dad showed up for these dad and me functions or their concert or when they get an award?  Even if dad went on a field trip once a year instead of mom doing it.

I try my best to do everything I possibly can when it comes to school things with the kids. I can't get to everything for everyone being that I have 3 kids in 2 different schools having functions.  But I attend 90% of their things.  And I attend them alone.

What brought this up for me today is the fact that today is my kindergarteners end of the year/kindergarten graduation family picnic and party.  Of course I'm going to be there!  And when I think about how many fathers will probably be there.  Some in suits and ties, some only there for an hour of the 3 hour event, but still showing up.  Some who took the day off for this celebration.  And where is my son's father?  At work.  Didn't say a word to my son about his "big day" today.  Didn't tell me to make sure to take lots of pictures.  Didn't do any of that.

Tomorrow my almost 3rd grader has his end of the year party and family picnic.  He then has a concert right afterwards.  Does my husband plan on being there?  No.

I'm sure the school (and parents at the school) think I'm a single mom.

And it's times like this that I feel like a single married mother.


MommyLovesStilettos said...

Oh man. I don't know what to say. My first instinct is to cuss your husband out cause that is just NOT OK. It's not fair to the kids at all and I'm sure they will probably remember that when they are older. It's also not fair to you to be doing all of this by yourself. I wish I had the words to say to make it better, but I don't have advice. *HUGS*

JennyWLS said...

I am so sorry Heather. I really wish that he would take that time to spend with the kids. I know growing up my family never came to ANYTHING and it always broke my heart to see the families there (not just mom and dad, but huge extended family too!) smiling and taking pictures. I already had a strike against me because my mom was a single parent, and yes, she did work so she couldn't go to everything, but she could have come to a few things here and there, or even sent along a family friend of someone to at least give me someone to hug and wave to.

Matt and I try so hard to juggle it all so that we can go to as many things for Nathan (and Nick) as possible. I can't even tell you how many of my vacation days have been used on field day, field trips, and loved one days at school. Most of the time when I go, they are so busy running around with their friends and having fun that they don't even want to "hang out" with me, but its the security of knowing that we are there.

Roy is missing out on so much, I really hope that he wakes up and realizes just how important all of these little things really mean to the kids. You can never go back in time and change what you didn't do.

addicted2shius said...

I hear you on that. My husband is totally like that. I call him a hermit and a party pooper. And he always tells me "It's ok for you guys to go on without me". Well duh yeah I know that. BUT the point is we WANT you there. Try maybe asking the kids to ask him to come. Maybe coming from them and seeing how important it is to them will impact him more? Good luck and whatever you figure out PLEASE send it my way :)

Bits-n-Pieces said...

I've been dealing with this issue with my now-hubby for 5 years. My family is very family oriented. We all go to everything for our kids and each other. My ex comes to everything for our children. My now-hubby(we've been married 2 weeks but have been together over 5 yrs) is just not a family oriented person. He keeps saying he'd like to be, and needs to be...but the ONLY thing he's come to of my children's in 5 yrs is my daughter's baptism. He's made it to TWO family Christmasses, 2 Easters, and maybe 2 of our family birthday bashes (of which we have about 6 a year.) We use the "work" excuse, but he could take off it he really really wanted to. It's just an excuse. It use to really hurt my feelings, but I had to stop letting it. It's who he is. Doesn't mean he doesn't love us or isn't proud of the kids' accomplishments, just means he can't do public things. I've quit telling myself that we aren't important enough for him to be there for...b/c he makes up for it in other ways. It's just who he is.

He keeps saying he wants to start going to church with me, too....but I'm not holding my breath.

tsue said...

My sister has a similar situation. She is a mom of three, with a full time demanding career, but her husband ASSUMES that it is her job to handle all things home and child related and regularly makes plans with his friends for his own personal entertainment, often weekends up north with his friends. He's also a farmer, so he already has the excuse of an erratic schedule.

Between kids 2 and 3, it had gotten to the point that my sister was miserable, bitchy and understandably so...she never had any time for herself.

My advice to her was:
He leaves it all to you because you let him. When you want to get away with a friend, or need time for yourself, don't ASK him if he can watch the kids. TELL HIM that you have plans. You are not their or his babysitter. Don't let him always assume that he has a free pass to do as he likes. Parenting is a two person job when there are two parents. Don't put your own needs on the back burner waiting for the "right time" because he will ALWAYS have something he wants to do.

Have the conversations with him that you haven't been having: There are two events coming up at school. I know you don't like X so I'll handle that, if you'd prefer to handle Y.

I personally know all about being a doormat. My first husband, after a lengthy, NORMAL engagement, became abusive almost immediately after we wed. He killed the very essence of me. I'm still astounded that I ever recovered, although I will never be the same in many ways.

On a more positive note, from the strength I gained from surviving, it's a whole new ballgame with my 2nd husband. I take care of school conferences, he takes care of birthday parties. I handle all musical events, he totes our teen around town. We share sports. I handle the household budget and planning, he does the grocery shopping and vacuums. But, I asserted myself from the start of our relationship. Something I wasn't able to do in my first marriage.

Don't lecture your husband on why he needs to participate in your children's events. He'll just tune you out. Have conversations with him. Ask him open ended questions. Find out how his parents handled these responsibilities and it will shed a lot of light on your current situation. Find out what he doesn't like about attending and then use that knowledge to suggest the events that he will be more interested in & more comfortable with. Most importantly, ask him what he thinks his actions are saying to the children.

Father's Day is coming up. Have the kids create a collage of pictures they draw and write letters to Dad, letting him know how important he is to them, their favorite memory with him and what they would most like to do with him.

My sister's husband stepped up his involvement after #3. Most of it had to do with the way my sister started advocating for herself and changed the way she approached situations.

Hang in there! You are your own best advocate.

passionofthemom said...

Ah, so you married my hubby's twin!! SO sorry about that...the world is bad enough with just one of those douches running around. I've always been a married single mom, and it irritates the ever loving shit out of me. When my daughter was enrolled in a kind of Pre-PreK for kids with developmental delays, the entire staff actually thought that Madison had no father, or that he had passed away, or was in jail. The one time he showed up for a function, there were seriously triple takes. People don't recognize me without my kids...and they don't recognize him WITH them. The only thing he's bothered to attend this year was the graduation, and that was only because I threatened the safety of his stupid manhood. I'm really, truly sorry that you also have to put up with this kind of BS. That thing he pulled at the picnic would have gotten my hubby seriously injured...where do men get off thinking this kind of crap will fly??? UGH!! Makes me want to barf. Thank god we moms aren't such dickweeds!!

(Please pardon my French...this is a hot topic for me.) >=(