Begging ex-spouse for help with child care?

Saw a good post over at “Work It, Mom!” about a single mom having to “ask permission” to get the father to take responsibility so she can have some time to herself. Whereas the dad just calls up and says “I can’t make it this weekend, I’m going away” – even though it’s his scheduled time and the mom has plans she’s expected to drop.

Classic stuff. I can totally relate to this scenario of frustration. The worst part is it can feel like you’re still married to the person–which you went through the hell of divorce to get out of!–but without any of the partnership benefits (even if they were pathetically small at best).

The comments are interesting. Some claim it’s a man vs. woman thing rather than a single vs. married mom (‘cuz lots of married moms report the same thing). Others–including the lone single dad who responded–claim it’s a case of not handling the situation assertively and aggressively enough–that you’re a doormat if you let someone (male or female) get away with treating you like that.

They all have valid points. If I’m being a doormat because I don’t know how to assert myself, maybe a little training is all I need. If I’m a doormat because I don’t believe I’m worth it, a little therapy might be in order (or at least a bunch of positive affirmations).

But if your ex- (or spouse) is a pathological type who couldn’t care less about the kids and is more concerned with controlling/manipulating you–and unhappily, people like this are not uncommon–you can certainly try the assertive stuff, but you’d better take care how your kids are treated while they’re in that other’s company. And, of course, those of you who are in, or suspect you’re in, such a situation, probably already realize that issues around your children need to be handled with special care to protect them as much as possible.


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