Question: Dear Luise: I have been on my own with my children for the past ten years. Their father and I divorced when they were four and eight. I am a nurse. For the first 2 1/2 years (in their presence) he refused to help when they were sick, when I was sick and when there was a snow/weather or other type of emergency that I had to go to work in. Even the night the twin towers crashed and I had to stay at work, did he refuse to assist. In order to keep things as they would have been and not have my children be”victims” I worked three jobs, continued with school and finally life is slowing down, I married a wonderful person, who I love and gives all of us a nice life and things are great. Here’s the problem, my two daughters, now 13 and 18 do thier own thing, don’t call, don’t consider my feelings, don’t ask me how I am, when I’m coming home. I am dissapointed and hurt. I truly feel like I have wasted the last ten years of my life. My husband gave the 18 year old a car and she (and her sister) see me for money, gas, take the credit care to buy art supplies or whatever they need, and just live separate lives from me. They live in the house, but do their own things. It is heartbreaking. I have read about these mothers that stay home rather than work. I’m feeling like I made a big mistake holding on to the house, keeping thier life the same and working my ass off to meet thier needs. I am kicking myself for trying; I should have given up and downgraded the lifestyle and expectations. Signed, Disregarded, as life passes me by!
Answer: Dear D.: I feel for you and yes, I have been there with my eldest son. We can’t can go back and do it differently after our expectations aren’t met. All we can do is pick up the pieces and regroup. You deserve so much better. We both know that. Many if not most teenagers are self-absorbed and a sense of entitlement seems to go with that. Moms are there to serve, right? Not really but that can be the mindset.
I’d like to suggest that you read “When Parents Hurt” by Joshua Coleman. He is spot-on as far as I’m concerned. You are hurt, disappointed and angry and it looks to me like that’s pretty appropriate at this time.
And please look to see where you can re-create joy in your life beyond your parenting roll. Where can you rekindle self-love and a sense of balance and peace within? You were a whole person before you started a family…complete. I think you can be again. Blessings, Luise