July 31, 2016

Deciding to make the children unhappy, how we have made a difficult decision

This is a really difficult post for me to write, and has been deleted, started again, edited, scrapped and reworded more times that I can be bothered to count.

I’ve hit a bump in the road called life. Well less of a bump, more of a spurting angry volcano, spewing its molten guts up all over my existence. Over dramatic? Maybe. Or maybe not. It’s definitely easy to say I am currently going through the worst time of my life.

My marriage has come to a devastating end, I’m homeless and financially screwed. The details are long and tedious but since my husband and I have been together we have moved home seven times. Oh and we’ve been together 6 years by the way. From one rental property to another we’ve had to pack up and restart our lives and our current landlord has decided to put his house up for sale. However on this occasion his timing is catastrophic. My husband and I have not been getting along for well over a year now, and for months and months we have argued, cried, made empty promises, papered over the cracks, tried to start afresh and then argued. Round and round and round.

Finger art of couple. Couple holding broken heart.

So now we’ve all had enough. Lately I have noticed my once bubbly, confident, happy four year old boy has become withdrawn, insecure and emotional, testing and pushing boundaries and driving me insane. He’s not stupid. He can see how damaging his parent’s relationship is. He can sense the lost love and its breaking him. And that fact is breaking me. How can I call myself a good mother by remaining in a broken marriage “for the sake of the children”? I can see this is destroying my poor little boy, and yet I’ve carried on dragging this nightmare out for over a year, waiting for things to change.

I have been making the decision each day to surround my son with hatred, resentment, bitterness and I haven’t taken him away from it because I don’t want to hurt him? He’s already hurt.

And so fate has done all the hard work for us. He has made us homeless. He has forced us to leave this house that is brimming with negativity at a time when we have absolutely no money. We have no money to rent and no money to buy and there is no other choice but to move me and the children in with my mum, into her two bed little flat. It means I need to share one room and one bed with the kids, but I will be away from the very thing that is making me desperately unhappy – my marriage. My husband has found himself somewhere to rent on his own.

It’s not ideal. I don’t want to live in one room with my two children.

IMG_0251

As a child I dreamt of one day being married to the man of my dreams, my best friend. A supportive, funny, confident man eager to make me happy, to make me a priority, to make me feel special. Someone I could spoil and who would appreciate my gestures, someone I could laugh with. I dreamt of having children, lots of them, and we would all live in a beautiful period cottage with loads of garden for our dogs in a picturesque village. (To be honest, who doesn’t have this same dream?!)

Timber Framed Thatched Normandy House and Cottage Garden

Instead I’m unhappy, moving out of a tiny town centre property that is covered in mould, into one room with my two sad children in tow, leaving behind a disastrous marriage and facing financial ruin.

How has this happened? Why has this happened? I can’t raise my beautiful children to be strong, happy and independent kids when we’re living out of boxes, sharing a bed and our future is one of uncertainty.

I was a police officer for 8 years. In a career. I was confident, happy and excited about life. I had my dreams for a secure happy family, firmly situated in my mind and I was focused on being successful and working my way towards my goals. I’m now working for the NHS, having very recently left the police, taking a £13,000 pay cut, so that I could be more present for my children. A safer job, a more positive environment and the ability to be around for my children which came with the end of working shifts. Money is not important to me. My children are important to me. But now, we have nothing, no home, no money and I’m in a job that is now costing me more to do than I get paid! (Childcare, travel etc etc)

I have left the house we bought our daughter home to when she was first born, the house I lived in and got ready in on my wedding day in order to live in one room, taking up my poor mum’s space

It honestly feels as though things cannot possibly get worse, but lessons have been learnt.

I now understand how hugely important quality time with your partner is, and a quote to sum this up nicely? This…

Work to live, do not live to work.

Work is something we all must do to earn money, but what good is that money if family do not spend time together? It becomes pointless, a huge amount of stress and effort and precious time wasted. My husband works incredibly hard, something I really admire and a quality some people would wish for in their own husbands, but it became a burden as I felt like a single parent and raised our children alone. He will be the first to agree. I myself felt lonely and resentful as I found I never had time to myself, or with my husband. Of course the time with my children is beautiful, but there are times when we all need to have conversations with adults and let off steam.

I suppose that was the second thing that ruined us, the fact the husband had a social life and I didn’t. Always at home, always alone and with very little other support my social life disintegrated into nothing. As I write this I can recall my last night out, my best friend’s hen do in July 2014, over two years ago. And my last evening spent with the hubby, just us two without children, 2013.

I think you’ll agree, it is not possible to sustain a relationship with such little quality time. We are not lucky enough to have baby sitters on tap, ready to jump in at the click of a finger like some couples, and guilt was a large part of our reluctance to ask family to have the children whilst we escape reality, feeling that our choice to have children means we must sacrifice a life.

Others are not so concerned and happily call upon the cavalry to jump to their assistance so they can carry on the life they enjoyed before children. We did not think like this, but maybe we should have. Maybe we wouldn’t be here if we had been given the chance to let our hair down together, or insisted on help without feeling guilt or being made to feel inconvenient.

The love was lost as we parented hard and worked harder and again I resented my husband for his continued social life. And even though he had a social life, he still felt he did not get enough time with his friends. Previous to us meeting he would be out 3 or 4 times a week, and since having children this has reduced dramatically and he was never happy about this. He always wanted that bit more freedom, and felt like a victim when he missed out on anything his friends got up to, all the while completely oblivious to my absent life. Along with this, any time he wasn’t working hard he was with friends, or laid out on the sofa exhausted and the children and I became an annoyance, interfering with his rest periods.

And of course I’m not perfect, I hated the fact he still had friends and a social life where I had lost all the things I had pre children, and each time he went out and had a good time I felt furious. Half the time I didn’t know where he was, he wouldn’t come home from his nights out and when he did he was so hungover that he might as well have not been present; can I be blamed for feeling angry?

Before children

I became bitter, jealous, angry, short tempered and made his life hell. I made him feel guilty for working, guilty for being with his friends and guilty for needing rest. He has spent the last year sleeping on the sofa as I bed share with our daughter (which makes breastfeeding so much easier) and I asked him time and time again to come into bed with us but he refused. I began to feel guilty about the way I had chosen to parent our daughter (which was very different from the way we parented our son)  and deep down I knew that the husband wasn’t in agreement with my mothering choices.

Some may accept this behavior and others feel ‘it’s just what men are like’, and this is not my opinion. My opinion is that responsibility as a parent is equal, shared and something to be cherished. “Boys will be boys” is a ridiculous concept and should never be used to excuse irresponsible behavior. I am not the sort of person who believes a woman’s place is in the home with the children and never will be. I expect to receive the same respect I offer.

So I felt down, alone and unhappy and began wondering what life would be like with a partner who was happy to stay home whilst I went out, a partner who would offer to drive so I could have a glass of wine, a partner who would go on a night out and remain in control, come home and be of some use the following day. I questioned what life would be like if I didn’t feel angry at my husband’s social life, how it would feel to happily wave my husband out the door and genuinely hope he enjoys himself rather than sit at home stewing over the fact I hadn’t been out in years. I heard of other men who embraced attachment parenting and encouraged it, rather than saying “you’ve changed since we met” whilst rolling his eyes at my eagerness to use cloth nappies.

breastfeeding

So enough is enough. Enough anger. Enough resentment. Enough questioning what an alternative life would be like. Enough of the lack of respect. Enough of the arguing and swearing. Enough with the screwed up priorities. Enough with the sadness. Enough with the back stabbing and gossip.

I hope that in separating we can show our children that it is better to make a difficult choice for the benefit of others and themselves, than to remain unhappy through fear of the unknown. I hope my children will see that the choices we made were for their benefit, and in seeing us meet new more compatible people that true happiness can be achieved, and they will know what that looks like so they themselves can make the right choices.

I do not place blame on anyone, and through reading a self-help book know that forgiving and forgetting is healthy and will help the healing process, rather than dwelling on a past that cannot be changed. I no longer need to surround myself with negativity and will live in the present, loving each day with my children and view this new chapter as an adventure. I hope to continue focusing on the future and all the fun it holds, I would certainly like more children one day, I have always wanted 3 or more and that hasn’t changed but I will ensure that I am in a loving healthy, fun and balanced relationship full of positive and happy experiences where neither of us need to question each other’s love. But there is time for this, until then I intend to enjoy every minute with my beautiful babies.

Of course the children will still see their dad, they love him and he loves them and preventing them from sharing their love is damaging. It’s not about me, or him, it’s about them. He is a loving father and I know that from now his time with the children will be quality and full of memories. I love him, I always will, feelings cannot be switched off at the drop of a hat.

And finally, for the first time in 5 years I can get my life back! I can make friends again, let my hair down, let off steam and enjoy life and have much needed me time, something that never happened during our marriage. And I won’t feel guilty because before I had children I was an adult and I still need adult time. Why should mothers feel guilty for wanting time away from the sprogs? I’ll never stop knowing what my responsibilities are and I’ll never switch off from being a parent but maybe some alone time to be me will make me a better mother? Who knows, I’ve never tried it before so let’s see!

On to the next chapter!

I’d love to hear from others who have been through such a difficult time, knowing that this will pass and one day I will again be happy will really help me heal, so please get in touch with your positivity and experiences.

And if you’re experiencing some difficulties and it’s not too late, spend some time with your partner alone. Get some help, ask for baby sitters like everyone else does and don’t feel guilty for it. You owe it to yourselves and your relationship.

Carlie xxx

divorce

16 Comments

  • Clare says:

    I am not normally someone who comments/ posts but was so moved by your article I felt I should. Thank you for being so brave and writing about such a painful time in your life so frankly. I am sure it will resonate with many mums, myself included. Whilst my husband and I are together the journey of becoming parents (THE single most wonderful blessing), preserving our identities and sanity, whilst also preserving our marriage has not been easy. And whilst These are challenges I suspect many face it is often not openly talked about, so thank you! I think when things are really tough it is easy to look at others and assume they have everything ‘sorted,’ when actually everyone is fighting there own quiet battles, whatever they may be.

    I hope that all those cliques people quote at you about fate, hitting the bottom before you go back up and journeys bring you the strength you need (rather than just wanting to tell them where to go)!

    Chin up,

  • Wanna says:

    Thank you. I needed to read this today.
    Hope everything works out well for you xx

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, I have just read a very well written version of my life that I could never find the words to put on paper! Thank you Carlie…. My story was/is very similar… Which hopefully helps you to know you are not alone. I have very little advise; as to be honest I am still finding my way but all I will say is that having small kiddies is not easy….. You totally lose who you are… But you will come back and find yourself again I promise you,.
    Being a mum is exhausting and sometimes feels like there is no reward especially when you are on your own wracked with anxiety that you have ruined their futures and faced with making all the decisions alone. When my boys argue all day (as they have today!) I feel like moving to Mars on your own!! But i am their mum… We have to get up and do it don’t we. My mum is my inspiration… My dad died when I was little leaving my mum alone to raise my sister and I, we lost our house and had no money…. My mum got up ever day and cared for us, loved us; doing all the things a mum should do and I never saw her break and fall apart… She cried yes and we all cuddled but she supported us through our grief and our teens into adulthood…no one was there to supporther.
    Carlie if she can do that then we can do this… All us mums in a similar position we can do it. We have to; to raise strong, independent and smart children they need to see us mums with our heads up getting on with whatever the day may bring
    I think you are very brave for writing this, thank you xxx

  • Belles says:

    This is exactly what happened to me. We didn’t spend enough quality time together and work became and overriding factor for him whilst I felt like I was juggling everything my own work, my child and the home. I felt like because I worked part time it was my job to do these things. But in reality I felt alone and on a hamster wheel and frustrated at him that he couldn’t see that or offer to help me out. He was happy for me to go out with friends so I was lucky and had that time. But he sat on the opposite sofa to me, said he was comfortable and too tired to move when I asked him to sit with me. We went to bed at different times because he said he wasn’t tired when I was shattered. We ended up not eating dinner together as I ate with our daughter and he came in from work late. And he had to go away a lot with work. I tried to talk to him, but as I felt more and more rejected and hurt that became harder and harder and I didn’t feel he really listened which exacerbated my feelings of hurt and rejection. I think eventually I just went into myself. We have been separated for over. A year and I still feel v hurt and a little bitter about some things. He has met a new partner which he did very quickly and I am stil single. This makes me wonder if he did really care those last few years. We were cross and angry with each other and I know this wasn’t healthy for any of us, let alone our daughter, but I can’t help but feel guilty that we should have tried harder and I should have made more effort to talk to him. My daughter still misses him living here and that makes me feel sad and guilty. She finds it hard he is effectively living with another family that isn’t really hers. The thought of Xmas and her birthday (which is incredibly close) fills me with dread as I want to be with her on those days so much. But will have to ‘share’ her, poor thing like and object. And truth be told I also find it hard to think he is living and spending time with another woman and her kids, because it makes me wonder how he can have the time off work he now does and do the things with this woman he didn’t do for us and the things he will now do with our daughter that he wouldn’t have done before when we were together. I realise he has to do these things now to spend quality time with her, and that this has probably been a wake up call for him, as It has me, but at the moment I can’t help but feel sad, resentful and a little bitter. And all this after I had actually started to feel good again! I’m not sure what has brought this on. Perhaps the guilt my daughter is an only child and I never wanted her to be and that I want more children, the fear that I will be alone for ever is also an issue at the minute, as i can’t face the thought of being with someone else and someone so unfamiliar to me (I was with my ex husband for over 10 years). And the financial and emotional insecurity I feel is a little overwhelming at the moment. Then the guilt that this might somehow be spilling over onto
    My daughter, though I try very hard to shield her from my feelings. It’s what I think about everyday from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. And though i know I have so much to be thankful for and that we have our health, at the moment I just cannot seem to shake the dark cloud that has come
    To reside over me, and be positive and ‘live in the moment’ as I should be, and look forward to the future. And that in itself frustrates and angers me as my daughter is only 4, will b starting school in September, and life and time is so precious. Why can’t I just shake myself up and be thankful for all that I have not what I don’t have. And stop flipping thinking the grass is always greener on the othe side, which is half of the reason we probably got into this mess in the first place!!! Sorry to be so doom
    And gloom. Would just love to know that what I am feeling is normal and that maybe a year separated isn’t all that long, and that others have come through the other side and it is worth it!! And thank you Carrie for sharing your struggles and thoughts and feelings, because it really helps to be Abel to read and know that you’re not alone in all this. There are others going through just as shit a time as you. And that is strangely comforting x

  • Debbie says:

    Hey good luck there is light at the end of the tunnel.Take each day as it comes.Been there and got on the other side more stronger and happier.God bless you all.

  • Vic says:

    Your post is so raw, heartfelt and inspiring. Despite what you have been through and are going through right now, how you have managed to look beyond it and to exude such positivity in your outlook on life is truly beyond me. You are amazing.

    Also, your sound advice is truly spot on. Just to share, before I got married, I attended a marriage preparation course and one valuable advice given to us is that spending alone time with your spouse once you have kids is crucial in making a marriage work. Also, putting your spouse first before the kids helps to ensure a right foundation before everything else can fall into place.

    I do hope that ultimately, you and your husband could perhaps work things out again. It’s always sad when marriages end especially when there is hope in reconciliation.

    Do check out :-http://www.themarriagecourses.org

    It’s worth a shot. For you. Your husband. And the kids. For all of you.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Carlie! First of all a huge respect to you for making this difficult decision. And a big hug, you brave mom! you have done what I am still struggling with, although I know the decision is just around the corner. We have been ignoring the truth for a long time. So good on you. What a fantastic chance and what a great role model for you kids. The three of you in your little nest (although small), full of love. In Germany we have a saying: Better an end in pain, than a pain without end. You are doing the right thing! I wish you all the best! Much love, Lisa

  • lisa says:

    hi. very brave of you to share this. I have been with my partner for ten years. married five and have a nearly three year old little girl. The last 6 months have been horrendous and as much as I don’t want a broken family like when I was small I’m at the point of telling my husband to leave. but after reading your blog I think we should try first. like you say go out together. go out separately. take up a hobby so I can get out. All I feel at the moment is exhausted. from work from being a mother from being a wife from arguing from being a house wife. so unhappy with myself the way I’ve let myself go being overweight and having no will power to do anything about it xx

  • Lauren says:

    Wow – you are one amazing mumma! Your children will definitely thank you for your bravery one day. I wish my parents had your courage and had split sooner to save my happiness and you have also made me realise some home truths about my own life, thank you. <3

  • My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have been together.I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to my husband back to me. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so he sat and asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was no problem. I never understood what he meant by it was no problem getting back my husband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him for another man, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearing something from my boss. He gave me an email address of the Prophet abuvia which helped him get his wife back, I never believed that this would work, but I had no choice coming into contact with the sayings that I get done, and he asked for my information and that my husband was able to propose to throw him the spell and I sent him the details, but after two days, my mother called me that my husband was pleading that he wants me back, I never believed, because it was just a dream and I had to rush off to my mother’s place and to my greatest surprise, was kneeling my husband beg me for forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, when I gave prophet abuvia a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he made clear to me that my husband will love me until the end of the world, that he will never leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together and started doing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind need, please contact Abuvia Prophet for help. His email is prophet.abuvia AT g m a i l. com his website is prophetabuviasolutiontemple. webs. com

  • Janna says:

    Wow, reading your post is like reading my own story. So many similarities! Keep strong and thank you for writing this 💗

  • Brave lady. My mother stayed for years in a relationship where I was physically abused and had to listen to him try to rape her from my bed at night.
    I’m happily married for 14 years, more by happy accident than any insightful analysis on my or my husbands part. We emigrated to Canada and don’t have the ‘cavalry’ to call on either when we want to go out. But we have managed to ask good friends we’ve made since moving here to watch our three kids so we can have a couple of nights out a year. We spend a lot of time together as a family, I suppose a certain amount of insularity is to be expected given our expat situation, and I think it’s this togetherness that helps pull you through the times when you could feel resentful – you can appreciate how your partner deserves a break and learn to recognize the things they do to reciprocate. It does sound like your husband’s behaviour really rubbed your nose in the vast differences in your realities – not something you need reminding of when you’re stuck at home with the kids.
    I wish you the best of luck for your future and, even though I don’t know you, it sounds silly but I’m proud of you. Always remember you’re stronger than you think. Women are like teabags – you don’t know how strong they are until they’re in hot water. xxx

  • Dee says:

    Hi, I’m sorry to hear your going through a tough time, I just wanted to say it will get better. The bottom fell out of my world a few years ago when my marriage broke up due to my husband “finding a younger model” then I had breast cancer, then I was made redundant from a job I loved. But going through all of this has made me the person I am today. Yes I’m on my own, the wrong time in my life (the wrong side of 50) so doubt I shall meet anyone new, but hey that’s fine. I’m happy, I’m a stronger person, I put my big girl pants on and took a holiday abroad on my own and had a great time.
    Your younger so if you want to meet someone you have the time, but take time and be kind to yourself, get to know yourself again. Your children will feel you relaxing and going from strength to strength. You will get you life back and be able to go out and let your hair down as everyone needs to or we just go a little batty lol. Your a great mum and will reap the benefits of your hard work just as I have. I have three grown children who I am very Close to, they are happy, healthy, well ajusted adults, a little batty like their mum (but that’s not a bad thing).I wish you all the very best for the future. As my eldest daughter always says ” things happen for a reason” and they do. Xxx

  • Sam Yong says:

    This is what i am going through, my girl turn 1 this month and we still enjoy breastfeed. I should start have some time with my partner. Thank you so much for your sharing.

    Love,
    Sam Yong

  • Anna says:

    Hi Carlie, you’ve been through an amazingly tough time and made some very hard choices. I don’t think anything can prepare us for how life changing it is being a parent, and I think many men – and of course many women- really struggle to adjust. Well done for taking back control, however hard that has been. Remember it will get easier, the kids are so little still, once they are a bit bigger there will be more choices and more time for you

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