Apparently…I’m not the “Fun” parent

It’s not easy being a single parent. It’s especially hard with two teenagers…although it would probably be tough in a two parent household as well. I don’t make a lot of money so our opportunity for adventures are limited. They live with me, so I’m responsible for keeping them on track with school and chores and all the ‘fun’ parenting stuff.

They are good kids though. Both nerdy…and I mean that in a loving way. Recently I surprised them with tickets to Comic Con Chicago. I’ve been trying for two years to get us to the big one in San Diego…I got close this year but still missed missed my window. So when the opportunity to do the one here came up, I snatched it. Last time I tried to take the kids out to do something they complained for a week, so I decided to keep this one a surprise. When we got there, they were excited. I only know this cause I had to ask…teenagers are not as open with their excitement as say a 6 year old would be.

As we were standing in line I told them that I wanted to take pictures and that I didn’t want any of those stupid “I don’t want my picture taken” faces…you know what one’s I mean. I told them to just enjoy it. That’s when the boy told me I wasn’t the “fun” parent. OUCH! That hurt…a lot. It’s not that I don’t try. I mean, really, they don’t give me much help when it comes to doing things they would like. I’ve asked several times what they would like to do…where would they like to go, but they never offer up any suggestions. This adventure was something I thought would be right up their ally, but I can never really be sure.

I stood there in line feeling like shit. There was a moment I thought I might actually cry. This shit isn’t easy. I went from being a stay at home mom to being a full time working parent with a house to take care of on my own, bills to pay, children to feed and take care of all by myself. For the most part I think I’m doing pretty good. There was a moment I thought…I wonder if I would be the fun parent if they were only with me one night a week and every other weekend. What if HE was the one responsible for them 99% of the time. Chores, homework, shopping…as well as trying to get the boy to get a job and taking him for his drivers license. What if the only thing I had to worry about was dinner once a week, and what to do with them for two days every other week.

During dinner I brought it up. I asked them what they would think if they lived with their dad instead. How fun do they think he would be if they were with him all the time. They agreed, that he was probably more fun because he was just making the most of the little time they had together. Living with him wasn’t something they were interested in doing, I think they like the way it is. All I wanted them to understand was that they needed to give me some help in the “Fun” area and understand that I have more responsibility when it comes to them than he does.

Like I said, they’re good kids. They get it. I’m sure it would break their hearts if I said I wanted them to live with their dad for awhile…I’m pretty sure it would scare the hell out him. I don’t want them to. I’d miss them too much. However the house would be much cleaner if they did…my grocery bill would be 1/2 the amount and I’d probably be able to cut all the other utilities down substantially. Sigh…it’s always greener on the other side I suppose.

I think I’m going to have to work on this “fun” thing though. Teenagers can suck sometimes…but I truly believe I’m just the kind of mom to break through that tough exterior and find a little balance with them. Challenge accepted.


8 thoughts on “Apparently…I’m not the “Fun” parent

  1. Ok… so why doesn’t their dad have them 50/50 of the time? You would be doing him, you and your kids a world of good if you allowed for co-parenting. Yes, it’s hard to wonder if he is doing the right thing, keeping up with their needs… but your kids are old enough to learn how to catch the things that fall and some things can fall flat on the floor. Besides you will still be managing a majority of their school, wellness, driver’s license, etc… trust me. But this way, you get space, they get dad in the same way and it levels things for everyone. Give everyone and yourself the chance to see things in their true light. We as women have to let go and allow everyone to do their part. Dad’s come through if given the chance.

    1. Thank you. The relationship we have now with the kids is pretty much the same as it was when we were married. I had hoped he would pitch in more the the ‘parenting’ part…but he is who he is and I have learned to accept that. As for taking them 50% of the time, well, you know, he’s just to busy for that. LOL. He still won’t take time from work to come with me to parent/teacher conferences or things of that nature. Don’t get me wrong, he helps with things that he CAN do…like buying them school clothes, shoes when they out grow theirs and winter stuff. I’m grateful for that.
      I learned a long time ago I can’t make him the father I think he should be. He’s the class clown, the self absorbed narcissist, the ‘provider’….that’s all he knows. He gives the kids what he has…as do I. We just do it differently is all.

  2. My kids were older and all on their own when I got divorced. Their dad lives in Florida and so far they have had 2 trips there and I am sure they had fun. My role as mom is complicated by one of the aunts on his side. It truly makes my blood boil when my kids and grandkids spend any time with her! If it weren’t for her money, I can honestly say all the ‘fun’ would not have happened! My grandkids are learning that money buys happiness and I hate that! My kids were not brought up that way. They have told me they know what is going on and if it’s offered why not take it! This particular aunt tried very hard at taking my place when my divorce took place. She even went so far as to clean out my house and throw alot of my stuff away with the reply “I didn’t think you were coming back”! Still, My kids are good parents and they know she uses money to buy them off. Ok. I’m done. Thank you for listening. Trust me, you have good kids and they are beginning to see the truth.

    1. Kim…there’s always someone in the family who thinks money is the only way to buy happiness. Their father still believes that “stuff” is what will make him happy…his loss. They do understand how different he and I are, and what our values in life and family are. I guess it’s a balance. I do wish I could give them more experiences though. I think in the end they will know that I’m the kind of parent who IS fun…not at others expense. I look forward to the day they truly appreciate the gifts I give them…that are not monetary.
      As for his family…after the divorce it was like I didn’t even exist. I bought them all small gifts for Christmas and I didn’t even get so much as a card…or a thank you. I just came to realize they don’t get that I’m not a bad person…and that what I did was the most loving thing I could do for him.

  3. Urrggh… I’m so sorry! Our state encourages joint custody and that means the dad has to check-in and do what it takes. But they won’t if the mom’s will take it all on. My son’s father didn’t help financially, and he didn’t take on a majority of the important stuff that molds our kids, that requires they have an advocate. So, I did all the P/T conf, dental/dr. appt, extra curricular reg and participation (he helped a bit here), fostering friendships, immunizations, hair cuts, sleep overs, bday parties, school reg…. you name it! But, his dad had to parent for 7 days straight, cook, clean, laundry, school…. etc… It has made him a better man. (He too is a narcissist, musician…) I needed my time and my son and his dad needed to figure that shit out without me! No one died and they both have benefited greatly.

    1. As much as I could appreciate him having to take the kids as much as a week at a time…I know it won’t happen. That I’m ok with. Besides the kids like the routine we have here, and the girl still won’t do homework with Dad.
      I’d be happy with the occasional “what can I do?” But I know that’s just wishful thinking. I was married to this man for almost 20 years, he is as involved as he is ever going to be.

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