Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

theres gotta ba a better way...

When my sons father and I separated and subsiquently divorced, I made the painfull decision to leave my son with his dad as I was the one leaving the home. I was in a very deep depression and wasn't able to make sound decisions for myself, let alone my only son.

that was about 5 years ago and to this day i get treated like i'm simply the "baby sitter" when sam is with me. I do not get shown any support and I am constantly underminded by my  X and his wife. I try to tell my son that Just because i do things differently it doesn't make them wrong. Just different.

And now my son is telling me that i need to do things a certain way- how to bath him, what he should and shouldnt eat, etc.  And if i do things the way I think they should be done in my house, He panics because he thinks that he'll get into trouble- as if he is told to "report back".

I don't know what to do- It is taking all my strength not to blow up at his dad- I have asked both my X and his wife to show me more respect, and to not send the message to my son that the way i do things in my house is wrong.

Can anyone help? there seems to be plenty of support groups for dads who don't have their children all the time but there is nothing out there for the mums who may have had to leave their children with the father.

Last edit: by samsmum

Why would it be such a problem to not distress your son and perhaps do things another way?

There's gotta be a better way...

Hi Mike T,
Do you mean me doing things the way His dad wants things done?

I'm not sure i understand the comment 100%.

The reality is that because I left my husband, and chose to leave My son with his dad- as i thought this would be best for my son and me, due to my mental health issues at the time- I am constantly treated like a second rate Parent. I am constantly questioned and  critisized. My son is a gorgeous, happy, health little boy, who wants to spend time with me and i with him. I am afraid that my X will use the fact that i have suffered from mental health issues in the past to make it more and more difficult  for me.
I have a fulltime, well paying job. I have my own apartment. My own Car. My life has reached a point where things are going really well and i can provide so much more for my son than ever before.

Is it wrong or un realistic for me to want to have to opportunity to be a mum for my son and to do so freely? without  being consistantly questions and put down?

What are my rights?

Last edit: by samsmum

Hi Samsmum,

Can you provide a little bit more about the care arrangements you have  and how old your son is?

Eg I have my son every second weekend etc ?

I know with my son I have him every 2nd weekend Friday to Monday and an an alternative weeknight and we are flexible at other times.Because my son is only 3 1/2 I find that consistency is important - so I generally do things the same way as his mum , with bathing and what he eats and doesnt eat . In a discussion with his mum we found that the cheeky little rascal was playing his mum and telling her that I did things differently - like giving him icypoles for breakfast. She asked me about this and I laughed and said " he is playing you".

So by doing things the same way and both having the same boundaries we are both on the same page and it creates a lot less hassles and has helped create mutual respect between the parents . ( it took us a while to get there and we are still working on it )he still often tries to play us by saying mum doesnt do it like that or mum said I can have lollies for lunch :)

So perhaps you need to get proactive and ask your ex for them to set out what sams routine and what he eats and doesnt eat etc…this might help with you getting the respect you are looking for or recognition that you are sams mum and this is as important as his dad.

all the best !

Hi Phoenix,

My son is 7 and i have him every  2nd weekend- friday night till saturday evening and every other weekend friday night till sunday morning.

I agree consistancy is important. I do try to be consistant but when i am told something like how to keep him clean,it is just insulting. Im the one to pick him up and drop him back- the only time his dad has ever picked him up is because he was "driving past". so theres no give there. I normally give him Porriage for breakfast as its healthy and low in sugur…. but now i'm being to to give him weet bix. I feel like "my time" with my son is controlled by my X and his wife.

I know that i see my son much more than most "other parents", but It is all about my son. I don't want to fight over him as if he's a posession or something. And i want him to look at me and see someone who he can trust and who has his best at heart, and with his dad and step mum making the comments and constantly asking the questions of him that they do, Im afraid that Sam will ultimately be the one to lose. He's gone through enough in his short little life.
I just want to be his mum, and have him feel safe and assured in that. Know what i mean?
                no I didn't mean the way the Dad wants things done, but the way, for whatever reason, that your son expects things to be done. My comment was mainly toward the point you made that your son expects things done a certain way. Even though it may be wrong if the other parent is driving this it could introduce confusion/conflict, for want of better words, to not do as your son expects at such an impressionable age (obviously only where it is reasonably practical though). In time I have little doubt that he will come to understand and accept and even expect differences. I think Phoenix has better explained.

I empathise with you. Our situations are similar in some ways. My son is also with his father for majority of the time. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to ask my ex to care for our son full time due to accomodation issues I was having at the time. There are mental health issues on my side involved too. Since then, I have also come a long way in terms of obtaining full time employment and generally getting my life back on track after separation.

However, now that things have improved, I'm still trying to get more time with my son but unfortunately the "mental health" issue is being used by my ex to stop that from happening. He constantly tries to tell me how to care for our son eg. what to feed him, how to bathe him, that I should read to him before bed, how to get stains out of his clothes using "napisan"….and it goes on and on. It was only when my ex had full time care of our son did he even learn how to use a washing machine! Up until our son was 3, he played no part in the day to day parenting of our son so in a way, it is as if I've put the onus on him to become a better parent and I must say he has indeed stepped up to the task.

phoenix is absolutely right in saying consistency is important. No matter how much it hurts me, my son is getting cared for pretty good so for his sake, I try and keep his routine and schedule as close to how his father keeps it. That's not to say that I don't know "how" to care for our son or that my "way" of doing things is wrong, it's just that the less of an impact our separation has on our son, the better and easier it is on him.

The unfortunate thing with mental illness is that once you say "mental health" or "mental illness" it is with you forever. It's as if it sticks to you like mud. Like flies to sh*t! The stigma surrounding it is extremely hard to shake off. My only advice to you would be to keep on doing what you're doing in terms of keeping your life and you on track. If you're seeing anyone for your mental health issues DO NOT stop seeing them on your own accord. This is a mistake I've made in the past and am paying for it today!

There's so much more I want to say but am short on time. Feel free to send me a whisper if you like. I hope I've made some sort of sense.
Thank you Iamnotanna, Phoenix and miket.

I spoke with Sams dad and arranged for us to sit down together and discuss a "parenting agreement". He can bring to the table his thoughts and concerns and i can bring mine, and together we can ( try) to come to some sort of an arrangment or agreement as to how to raise our son.

In all honesty- I do expect that it will involve a huge amount of give on my part and very little take but i will remain optimistic and try to make Sam the focus of the meeting and not the divorce.

Hi Samsmum

That is a really difficult situation.  My suggestions would be to firstly try and talk with your X (and his wife - if that is possible and comfortable).  As I don't know what the relationship is between you all, if it is at all civil then that is the first step.  Like Phoenix said, if you can, develop a civil coparenting relationship with your son's father, that would be by far the best and easiest way to deal with this.

But, I also know that for a lot of us, that isn't possible.  The other parent will not (or cannot by reason of their own mental illness for example) coparent with you and instead tries to control and make your relationship and time with your son difficult.  If that is the case then there is a completely different approach to take.  Happy to share my strategies with a controlling X with you if you think that might help.

***** just cross posted ******

that is great you are gonna talk.  Just a further suggestion, is there some third party that can go that would be able to act as a 'mediator' or go between?  I know it isn't easy to find someone objective and maybe even someone in his family might be suitable for him, but often having that third person will help both sides see what is in the best interest of the child a lot easier.  Of course there are always professional mediators and the free community ones, but you have to wait ages for them. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Hi Larissap,

I think that it is a good idea to have a mediator- I think i'll see how sucessfull it is next Saturday (17th?). we are meeting at Macca's so  it a nice public place to avoid the dicussion getting to heated…well thats the plan anyway.  His wife won't be there. Even though she does do alot for sam in terms of the day to day care, she never says hello to me when i am picking sam up or dropping him off, and seems to have no problem doing this infront of Sam or others- and it is very obvious and i find her lack of basic " friendlyness" very rude and unhelpful and so i don't wnat to have her there telling me what he thinks when she cannot be curtious enough to say " hi, how are you", even if it is a surface gesture.

I am going to draw up a list of my concerns that i have for both sam and the way my time with him is viewed and treated. I will try to keep things as "sam focused" as possible, and if it seems appropriate, bring up concerns for how I am being treated. But i'll see how the first bit goes. I've come to realize that if you expect very little anything more is a lovely surprise.  :thumbs:
Hi samsmum,
Just wondering how you went at mediation with your ex?
Hope all is well.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets