It's Time For Dad to Be a Dad

Being a single mother to Eli means that I am essentially playing the role of two parents. It's really, really hard. My ex takes him at 7:00pm or 7:30pm every day and gives him back to me between 9:30pm and 10pm, depending on whether or not he's tired. In the time that he is taking care of him Eli usually comes back into the house once to nurse, so even on my "breaks" I don't really get a break.
In the sometimes 3 hours and sometimes less that I get per day I like to spend at least 1 hour of that unwinding and spending some "me" time which usually consists of eating dinner. The other 2 hours (or less) are devoted to working, but sometimes I need more me time since I get so little of it that work gets put off until my next 2 hours or less. Lately I have had a lot of work to do so I told the ex that he was going to have to watch him overnight one night during the week, and I don't think it's fair that he gets to go out until 5am while I am being a mom and comforting Eli back to sleep and trying to work but not being able to because my serger is SO LOUD that it will wake Eli up, that I told him he had to watch him all night tonight.

Well. Let's talk about the two whole times Eli has slept overnight in his dads apartment. The first time I got a bunch of texts saying Eli wouldn't sleep, wouldn't stop crying, it was too hot to swaddle him, he tried rocking him, etc, etc. I basically told him he needed to figure it out. I told him everything that I do while putting Eli to bed and it was up to him to figure out a solution.
The second night was this past Monday. It started out the same, with the texts, but they got worse this time. I got a text saying we shouldn't be changing Eli's sleeping arrangements, that he needs me. I told him it was fine, it's not too soon. Eli will be 1 in less than 2 weeks, if we wait any longer he might not ever get used to sleeping at dads sometimes. I was then told repeatedly how he was crying and wouldn't stop and that it wasn't him that needed to figure things out, it was Eli that needed to come back to me. I tried to explain, again, what he could try doing and was told, again, that he couldn't do these things for one reason or another I was then called selfish. Repeatedly. Selfish because I was making my child be uncomfortable, selfish because I need ONE NIGHT to do stuff that needs to get done. Then he more or less told me I was a bad mother and I told him I would talk to him in the MORNING when he brought Eli back to me. These texts that he was sending me pretty much ruined my night and I as getting them repeatedly for about 2.5 hours. Two and a half freaking hours.

So, am I a horrible mother? Am I selfish for wanting to WORK so I can make money for Eli and I to not even scrape by? I'm just tired of it. I'm constantly arguing with my ex to take Eli longer or overnight once or twice a week and that's exactly what it is, and argument, he never wants to do it and then when he does he whines about it the whole time and tries to guilt me for taking some time off.


Beccalynn said...

No, you're not being selfish. Sounds like he just doesn't want to face the responsibilities of a Dad.

NorCalMom said...

You are not a horrible mother, nor are you selfish. I know that their is a lot of guilt with knowing that you child is upset, but your ex needs to work this out. It is not easy, but you are right it will only get more difficult the longer you wait.

Good luck!

Sonia said...

I think its more like.. he's a bad Dad...he's too lazy to figure out how to be a Dad and wants you to do all the work for him. It has to be hard to be a single Mom and you have every right to have some time to yourself sometimes!

Anonymous said...

it sounds like, to me, that you are a wonderful mom who wants to do the right thing. personally, it sounds like the right thing to do at this point is to cut your ex off. if he doesnt want to be a dad and if he is not being a good dad, then forget about it. its already hard for you right? its not like your ex is making it easier, so you may as well figure something else out. i just feel like he is adding more stress to your life than he is helping. if he really wants to be with his child then he will have to fight for custody. in the meantime, you are the only person who is actually being responsible and loving towards your child.

Misfit Momma aka Missy said...

Since you said you are still nursing then making him take him overnight is probably not the best idea unless there is some reason that you absolutely can't have him that night.

I feel bad enough getting my mom to watch my baby for 3 hours a week.Sorry but I don't think it's fair for baby or Dad to have to take a breastfed baby over night, when obviously he has no breasts to calm him down.

I suppose my expectations in men is lower, because the fact he is willing to come everyday for 3 hours is huge to me. You should feel lucky.

Why can't you work during the day when he is awake?

Jessica Lyn. said...

I am nursing, yes, but I pump and freeze specifically for the overnight. It's no different than f someone was to go to work for 8 hours.
There are other ways he can be calmed down. Breasts are ideal, but unfortunately I really time to work.

Have you ever tried sewing with an 11 month old? Not only do I sew but I have to cut fabric and pin it together. If I do it in the same room as my son he will try to get into what I am doing an none of that stuff is safe for a baby to be around. I'm not going to leave Eli alone in a room so I can work, and I'm also not going to put him in his exersaucer (which he refuses to be in for more than 5 minutes anyway). If I try to work during nap time then it will wake him up because my serger is loud and in the room next to the bedroom.

I feel as though you are telling me I should feel bad for asking to work one or possibly two nights a week, or judging me for doing so.

Lauren said...

I totally disagree with Missy. Opinions like that are what make it so hard on the REALISTIC majority of other moms out there. Of course you need a break! Having one means you'll be an even better mom when Eli returns. And the "dad" needs to suck it up! He signed up for this also...did he think it would be easy???

Anonymous said...

Stop bitching about raising your child and "working". So many people have it way harder than you. Also if your ex is as abusive as you say he is then why would you even WANT your child around him???? Are you stupid or something?

Jessica Lyn. said...

Wow, really?

I understand some people have it harder than me, I never said people didn't. This is my blog and my rant. If you don't want to read my "bitching" then don't. Some people also have it easier than I do. Being a single parent ho has to deal with cancer and trying to get by on my on is actually pretty damn hard. I think I deserve the right to rant once in a while.

I would like to know why you put working in parentheses. Do you not consider what I do work?

As for my child being around my ex, unfortunately that's not my decision, it's the courts. Because Eli is also his child he has the right to visitation unless it can be proved he is an unfit parent. Unfortunately Texas is ass backwards so the two times that I have called the police have resulted in nothing more than a theoretical slap on the wrist. Not that I need to explain this to you.

And as for your last question, no, I am not stupid. Why the anonymous posting? You don't ant to put a name or email address to your blatantly rude comment?

Jessica Lyn. said...

Pardon my lack on W's. My keyboard is broken.

Jessica Lyn. said...

And one last note, I don't see me bitching about raising my child anywhere. It's my most favorite job in the world.

Misfit Momma aka Missy said...

If he is already used to having a bottle part time and it can calm him then I suppose that is different. I don't have much of my own experience there since I rarely gave bottles to my babies while nursing.

No, I have never tried sewing. I hope to learn someday! I still have days where my baby won't let me put her down and she is 18 months. I still nurse her but my mom comes to watch her when I work, and more often than not she screams the entire time.

Not trying to judge you, I'm sorry it came across that way. I think the anonymous that posted before me hit a soft spot with their opinion of cutting him off...

I will admit that I tend to defend the Dad in situations like this because I have seen too many Dad's crushed just because they didn't live up to the Mr. Mom expectations that their ex's had. Including my own Dad, so I have seen it my entire life. People need to stick up for them, too. Even when they aren't perfect.

If you push him to do what he admits he can't, you are only setting him up to fail. I understand that the majority of women are against me on this subject, so I usually just keep it to myself and probably should have here too!

In case you were wondering, the other anon. poster was not me...

Riggslacey said...

Jessica, I can't imagine how hard it is for you. I am not a single mom (sometimes it feels like it tho) and its hard for me. Being a SAHM is as hard as working full time. I have done both, so I know. I wish I could stay home with my daughter, so I envy you for that. Screw these people who say that you should not let Eli go with his father. While it may not be best right now or easy on either you or Eli, Eli does need him in his life.

I am so angry at these people. If they don't like you or what you write, they need to go read something else. I think that most of us who follow you are impressed by you and interested in your life. I know I am. Be strong. You are a great mother. You are doing the absolute best you can for your son and thats all you can do. We are here for you!

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