As a single parent, it’s galling when after years of coping, an absentee parent turns up when the kids (by your hard work) are raised and accomplished.
Sharing the responsibility of raising children after a divorce is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the situation. Regardless of what sort of terms you negotiate with your ex, there is always one parent that ends up taking the lion’s share of responsibility. Although we had a “traditional” arrangement (alternate weekends) my ex and I shared equal responsibility for our sons’ upbringing post-divorce. He attended parents evenings, took an interest, spent time with them, was there for them. Unfortunately, when it’s not like that, it can be a ‘bitter pill to swallow’ as our Post40 Unsigned blogger has discovered this week. Lara, Post-40 Bloggers Unsigned Editor
Last week I had the most fantastic news. My gorgeous talented girl has passed an interview to get into university in September and study medicine, so she’s going to be a doctor. While all the back slapping, congratulations and general well-wishing was going on, I had a conversation with an old friend that left me really emotional as she reminded me of a few things.
I’m actually a single parent (and have been for years) and my ex-husband hasn’t really had any input in anything concerning the kids as his usual response would be “You wanted to be a single parent, get on with it.” Instead of spending time with them, his way of being a dad would be to throw money at them and generally be unavailable, but kids grow up.
As his daughter grew into a young attractive woman he decided when she was 16 that he’d take an interest and he wanted to be seen out and about where we lived with his gorgeous daughter on his arm. This was as much a shock to her as it was with me, but she went along with it and we all knew the reasons behind it. So you can imagine how proud he is to have his daughter deciding to study medicine.
Looking back I can tell you that he never went to any parent’s evenings. He can’t tell you the name of any of her teachers, not one. He can’t tell you the name of any of her friends, or where she used to hang out because he didn’t care. He knew his children were being well looked after (by me) and that’s all he needed to know. We learned not to contact him when there was an emergency trip to the hospital, or bullying at school, or boyfriend trouble, as he didn’t want to know. But as a mum who’s never stopped their dad from seeing his children it was only a matter of time before he took some credit.
So, as he’s planning a bit of a family party to celebrate his daughter’s achievement (with of course all his siblings and friends congratulating him), I am actually struggling to keep quiet. I can’t say too much to my daughter as she’s enjoying her moment but my son, bless him, is having to listen to my wrath. But he has given me some words of wisdom – “Let dad and his family have their moment, they have nothing. Let them have some crumbs from your table.”
But I’m struggling.
Not only is it an achievement by my daughter but I also feel it’s an achievement by me as a single parent. So to see someone take the credit for all my hard work is unbearable, but we all know the truth.
Hopefully it will all die down soon but unfortunately for me, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.