Help me get my thoughts in order please!

lovehadleyFebruary 16, 2009

I am sitting here dreading Wed-Sun of this week.

I am feeling very resentful of my DH right now and I'm feeling very burdened with my SS.

When he is with us, I am the one caring for him 90% of the time, and it's getting old. I can't help but feel like I am being dumped on here. And I do not see an end in sight.

SS will come over after school on Wed--- DH will pick him up from school and he'll get to our house around 4:45 or 5 pm. DH will head back to work until 8:30--which means he won't be home until 9 pm.

So I will do dinner, baths, and homework for the two kids. DH won't even be home until after SS is in bed. Last Wed. SS SOBBED when he went to bed because he missed his dad. :(

Thursday I will pick my DD up at school at 3 pm, drive 20 miles to SS's school, and wait around for 30 mins until he gets out at 4:10. Then we will make the trek back to our house, probably arriving at 5 pm. DH will get home around 6:30 or 7 pm. At that point, the kids will have eaten and homework will be done.

Friday DH will pick SS up at school, drive him home and go back to work until 7 pm. So he won't be home until 7:30.

Saturday DH will work from 9-6 pm so I will have SS and my DD all day.

Sunday DH will be "off" but most likely, he will end up going in to the dealership to do some paperwork for a couple hours, leaving me with the kids.


I don't mind the occasional night, but it seems like DH is NEVER home anymore, and SS is always with me when he's here, and I feel like I am doing ALL the work.

I'm feeling REALLY overwhelmed right now and I HATE the fact that it's Monday and I am dreading SS coming back to our house for his long 5 day stretch. He's been at his mom's since last Friday, and it's been a NICE break. I have not missed him being here one iota! I enjoy spending time with my DD, she was off school Friday and today, and we've done some fun things; she spent the night with my mom on Saturday, we went to a movie yesterday, made some jewelry, etc. I do not have that quality time with her when SS is here and honestly, I miss it. When DH is home, and it's more balanced, it is easier, but I honestly DISLIKE being the primary caregiver for SS.

EVERYTHING is irritating me about the way things are. Last week, SS did not go to school on Wednesday b/c he had a cold--so he was home with BM that day. DH picked him up around 4 pm from her house and brought him home with 32 Valentines that needed to be addressed, folded, and have a piece of candy attached. UGH. I had my own DD's 15 that she needed to do, as well. Plus, SS had 2 pages of homework from Tues night. WHY BM could not have done these things with him during the day while he was home is beyond me?

I know that seems like such a little thing in the grand scheme of things, but it just irritated the crap out of me!

HELP ME. I don't like feeling this way. I've tried talking to my DH and he just says "well, you have DD all the time, and you like being with her, so what is the problem if SS is there, too?"

Truthfully, I don't really know what the problem is.

With DH--I kind of feel like saying "What would you do if I weren't in the picture?"

I'm not saying he doesn't need to work--I know he does, and I understand that as his wife, I have to pick up some of the slack at home when he's busier, but at the same time--if I weren't around, he'd need to figure it out.

I feel like a babysitter. :( I don't like it.

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Would it be possible for him to take his son to work with him on at least one of the days? If he owns the dealership, he should be able to bring his son with him, maybe let him work on his homework in an office?

A few months ago, I started running part of a family business that I am buying and I can't be home when SD gets off the bus. My son & daughter watch her for a couple of hours until I get home but occasionally, I go pick her up and bring her to the office. When DH has her on his weekends, he comes in to help me and brings her. Of course our business is small and very slow right now. She brings her homework and a hand held video game to play with so it's not a disruption and she gets to spend some time with her dad. It's just a thought.

He needs to arrange his parenting time around his schedule and if he can't spend any time with his son, it's unfair to you (and his son) if he expects you to do it all. On the other hand, if I remember correctly, you came to this board with concerns of whether you should even marry your husband, so this has been an ongoing problem. The simple answer is to let BM have primary custody and arrange visitation around DH's schedule.

"Truthfully, I don't really know what the problem is."

You just got done fighting for primary custody & now your SS is going to change schools in a year, you are trying to become pregnant, needing fertility treatments and he's having to work long hours due to the struggling economy. (and probably just trying to keep the doors open, like most of the business that are still out here) Each of those individually are HUGE stressors and all together, I can see why you are totally overwhelmed!

I wish I had some great advice for you. The only thing that I can think of is for him to give primary custody back to BM. I can totally understand why he (and you?) would not think that's an option. I've been overwhelmed with my SD and while I know it would be easier (for me) to give her back to her mom but I also know it would not be best for SD. I guess maybe the answer is lies in how you approach this with your husband and he has to want to find a solution that is doable for you and him. You should not be feeling like a babysitter. When you say this: "I've tried talking to my DH and he just says "well, you have DD all the time, and you like being with her, so what is the problem if SS is there, too?", it just makes me wonder if he is taking you seriously and/or if he realizes that his son is HIS responsibility, not yours.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 5:42PM
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Thanks Imamommy. I appreciate all your thoughts.

Honestly, as far as the fertility treatments go, we sent in our application to the IVF clinic, but I don't think we will hear anything until late April/early May. I'm really not even wanting to start it right now. I want to get everything approved and a start date---but I honestly wouldn't mind pushing the start date for IVF off until the fall, when the kids start 2nd grade. I/we just have too much going on right now. I want our baby to be a joyous occasion and I think now is too stressful of a time.

" it just makes me wonder if he is taking you seriously and/or if he realizes that his son is HIS responsibility, not yours."

I really don't think he does. He b*tches to me that he has to work such long hours and "how would I like to be in his shoes, yada yada..." Well, I wouldn't like it, either. I don't know. We come from very different backgrounds. One of the reasons I have been able to stop teaching and tutor only part time is because I have some money left over in an educational trust. I take a monthly amount out of that to cover basic expenses around the house, mostly pertaining to my DD and to general living expenses. I bring in money from my tutoring work, as well. So I do contribute a good share to the household, and I NEVER ask him to financially care for my DD. So I guess I do feel resentful when I am taking care of his son.

The kicker for me, what really got me irritated was a few weeks ago, he was talking about the possibility of putting SS back in a private school. SIGH. We (he) fought SO HARD to get him to be able to go to school in our district, in the school that is less than 1.5 miles from our house! And he got it--he WON. And now he wants to toss that aside and put SS in a school that is more in between the two homes. The problem is, with the economy the way it is, AND the fact that my DH is now paying back child support, I don't know that I want to take that chance. Plus, if we put him a private school, the WHOLE COURT ORDER goes out the window! The court order does NOT say that my DH has the decision making authority---what it says is simply that SS is to start 2nd grade in OUR district. So if DH were to enroll him in a private school (again, remember he went to K in a private school!) that would give BM the grounds she needs to take him back to court.

It just seems like a stupid financial decision to be making right now, IMO. It was a stretch for us last time with SS in private kinder, and that was before the economy tanked, and car sales plummeted. DH really ticked me off because he said "well, you could always pick up more tutoring hours to supplement the tuition." GEEZ. I thought to myself, "GOSH, if you and his MOM want him to go to a private school, maybe MOM could get a JOB and contribute something to her son's education!" Why in the HECK would I pick up more tutoring hours to pay for SS's private school?????

That really chapped my @$$! In addtion to tutoring part-time, I take out a regular monthly amount from my educ. trust, so I MORE than cover MY share of expenses around here.

Then the prob is, DH is all pissy because my DD does go to a private school. It's a fantastic place, and I do feel so grateful she gets to go there. The thing is--my dad pays for that. If it weren't for his doing that, DD would not be going there, plain and simple.

I don't know, though, I can see why my DH probably has resentment towards ME about that. :( That makes me feel sad for him.

I don't see DH EVER giving up custody. BM had mentioned that a few weeks ago, but the thing is--that would jeopardize SS getting to go to school in our district. If he starts spending more time with mom, then there is a REALLY good chance the judge would reverse his decision and keep SS in the district he's currently in----20 miles from our house.

It is just a big old mess and some days, I wish I had never gotten involved. :( How horrible does that sound?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:04PM
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Can you and the kids join him for dinner at the dealership?

Have a picnic dinner?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:17PM
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"Can you and the kids join him for dinner at the dealership?
Have a picnic dinner?"

Nah. His dealership is in a really sketchy, shady part of town. There was a fatal stabbing about 3 blocks from his work a few weeks ago! I don't feel comfortable having the kids down there, and I worry about DH a lot, too.

I just try to plan stuff to do with the kids when DH is working. This Friday, we are going swimming at an indoor pool with my girlfriend and her two kids. So that should be fun.

It's hard to really plan anything for a school night, though, since the kids both have to be in bed around 8 or 8:15.

Good idea, though!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:25PM
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I realize it is stressful with the economy, your DH's business and long hours. I think you need a night out with DH or something special for yourself. Question, do you want your DH to treat your DD as loving as he treats his DS? When you do have another do you want his, hers and ours to be treated equally with love & nuturing?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:49PM
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I understand where you are coming from. My DH has been working daily overtime and a full day on Saturday for a while now. I know that it will pass but never know when it will start up again. It is hard on him and on me. Plus he is required to take a class once a week for about 2 hours and then there is the study time.....He worked Valentine's Day and I was irritated so I turned off the phone and shut off the answering machine. When he came home from work tonight he told me that his boss had tried to call him on his work phone (he is on call 24/7) but my DH was napping and slept through his phone ringing. His boss said that he even called the house phone but did not get an answer. His boss wanted him back at the job to take care of something they forgot. His boss lives out of town so my DH is the one on call. Glad I turned everything off. Think that maybe come a habit on Saturdays.

I was a single mom of 2 for 12 years before I remarried. I'm tired of being the main parent and although SD10 is a great child I don't like feeling like a single parent to her. My kids are 16 and 20. The s 20 year old is getting ready to move out next month. Soon I will be driving SD10 to and from school everyday as DS will be attending a different school. It is 14 miles round trip. It will be 6 years until SD can drive. Driving is one of the most painful things for me with my sciatica so when it is active I am miserable.

SD was talking about signing up for basketball. I had to tell my DH that unless he was going to be there for her transportation that she couldn't sign up for it. I made it clear that I was not signing up for basketball....after school practice, early Saturday morning practice, evening in town games and out of town games. He would be working and I would stuck. I just can't do it. I don't want to do it. I am tired of it.

SD10 is going to have to be a more self sufficient child. I don't want to do everything for her and her dad. I have put my life on hold for everyone in the past but I don't want to any longer. I think I can still be a good mother and wife while doing things that make me happy. When I was a kid I worked in the house and helped take care of my family. Being a single mom wore me out and I have changed.

Adding another child to the dynamics of a home does change things. I feel sorry for the kids to a certain degree but you are right to question why SS's mom can't do things with him that need to be done. I never had another woman make my load as a mother lighter. My children's SM NEVER did anything for them and neither did their dad. My other SD30's biomon didn't help take care of her daughter either.

I think other people have made good suggestions here. Having DH take son to work at times sounds great.

We want the kids to have good childhood memories and not grow up feeling like they were a burden to us. Some woman have no problem putting themselves first to the detriment of their kids. There has to be a balance that is right for you and situation. I do understand.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 6:57PM
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I understand that your feeling overwhelmed. I was there last year! And I get the feeling from your post that your resenting your husbands long hours. I do not really see any solution. If your dh does not work long hours his business could go under. If you do not help him and keep his son at your home bm could probably get full custody and he will be in school near bm next year instead.

I guess that you and dh need to sit down and discuss this all. I understand that you contribute your fair share financially to the marriage, but I think I would be upset if my dh's kids were in a nice private school and he said no way to putting my son in a private school. That his/hers thing can really ruin a stepfamily.

And on the other hand I do understand that the court approved the public school, not the private school.

What made your dh start thinking about private school?

I guess that when you marry someone with children you do end up with more responsibility than you had before. But only you can decide what is too much. And you need to think about if the roles were reversed and you needed him to watch your dd more. How would you feel if he refused?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 7:23PM
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"I understand that you contribute your fair share financially to the marriage, but I think I would be upset if my dh's kids were in a nice private school and he said no way to putting my son in a private school. That his/hers thing can really ruin a stepfamily"

I know. I don't know how to change how I feel about it, though. At the end of the day, I am not SS's mother or father. I would NEVER ask my DH to pay for a private school for my DD. I know it's easy for me to say that now, when she is already in one and my dad pays for it, but I just know that I personally would never feel comfortable asking DH to do that.

But like I said, I do understand that it must be incredibly hard for my DH to see my DD in a private school, and not his own son.

"What made your dh start thinking about private school?"

BM is complaining that when SS switches to our district, the drive is going to be too far for her. (Too bad, too sad is my response to that---the courts have already spoken.) But for some reason, my DH seems to put stock in what she says or thinks. I think it's because he knows she will cause a lot of drama for us---but that's also because he LETS her do it. Anyway, BM has been begging him to find a private or parochial school in the middle. SIGH. He went to a private school for kindergarten and it didn't work. First of all, BM HATED it and pretty much sabotaged it right from the start. SS had a lot of behavioral issues that year, and was asked not to come back. The poor kid is only in 1st grade and he's already been in two different schools. This coming year, in our district, will be his THIRD school in three years. He needs some stability. And I do think the private school in the middle is a good idea, but I don't feel we can take that financial responsibility on at the moment. And IF DH chooses to do that, then IMO he needs to go to BM, SS's MOTHER, and the two of THEM need to work out a financial arrangement. If BM wants him somewhere in the middle, closer and more convenient for her, then she should have some ownership in the whole thing. JMO.

Honestly, the school thing is not even about me taking care of SS. The school in our district, where the court said he would go, is 1.5 miles from our house. The bus-stop is pretty much in front of our house! IF/when SS goes there, it will be A LOT easier for me to take care of him after school. No more driving 20+ miles to go pick him up. DH won't have to leave work to go get him, as he can take the bus. Since he will be so close, I am SURE that I will be the one getting him on and off the bus most of the time....but that's fine. I knew that would happen and I don't mind it. It honestly will make things easier for me in the long run, much less driving!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:12PM
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Well if the reason he wants to switch to a private school is to accommodate bm then I would be upset if I were you. Not only is he going to inconvenience you to keep bm happy, but then he wants you to pay for the inconvenience?? Now I really see why you were angry!!

I would point out to him that it will make things so much easier for you if he went to school by you and could just get on the bus in front of your home. I would also point out to him that if you do have a child together you do not want to be dragging a baby all over on the days you have ss to pick him up and drop him off at school.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:30PM
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One other thought. If ss does have issues in school with behavior or even academics then a public school is usually much better equipped to deal with those things. And they usually can't just tell you that they won't take ss back the next year.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:32PM
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"Well if the reason he wants to switch to a private school is to accommodate bm then I would be upset if I were you. Not only is he going to inconvenience you to keep bm happy, but then he wants you to pay for the inconvenience?? Now I really see why you were angry!!"

I don't think that is the only reason. I do think that DH wants SS to have the same benefits of a private school that my DD does. I can understand that. I just think it's his issue with BM to work out.What really frustrates me, though, is that when he won the court case in December, he was so excited to have been awarded residential custody. We live in a GREAT district and DH was stoked that SS was going to get to go to our district! It's only been in the last month or two that BM has really been upping the ante, bugging DH about finding some "middle ground" etc. that he's started to re-consider private school. So While I don't think that BM's influence is the ONLY reason, I do think it's been the instigator in him looking into other schools.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Love, I can't be certain but my guess would be that you resent being taken for granted. I think I feel the same. For instance, my DH worked today to tie up loose ends before out trip, I took the day off. Do you suppose it ever crossed his mind to make arrangements for his son for today? Nope, I'd scheduled hair appt's for DD and myself---had to pick up a rental car, drop off our car at the shop, DD had an ortho appt, and it was just left in my lap to figure out what to do with him or drag him along with me. I hear ya :)

I thought I'd explained to DH that since he hasn't ever made his son listen to or be respectful to me, I would no longer be responsible for SS in DH's absense. I'd prefer not to be, but for today it worked out okay. I only ever had to say something to him once and all went pretty darn well.

My only advice for you is simply hang on, sounds like your DH isn't normally so tied up with work. Things could return to normal given time?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:51PM
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are there things at the dealership that he could train you to do instead so he can be home more? (I'm thinking some book-keeping/light maintainence type things.) This way it re-balances the load more without it having to be a sacrifice of money and without having to get a babysitter involved.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:08AM
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"are there things at the dealership that he could train you to do instead so he can be home more?"

I already list a lot of his cars on ebay for him. I enter the pics into a computer program, type of the description that he's recorded on a tape recorder for me and voila! I can and do do some of the book-keeping from home, but that's about it. Mostly, the reason he is working so late is sales---he's had to cut back on his salesmen's hours, and even let go of a few, so he is picking up the slack, hence, the late nights.

I had a talk with him last night--he got home at 10 pm! I just said that I felt that he needed to look into changing some days on the schedule around. I said that I don't mind having SS with me, but that it becomes sort of pointless when day in, day out, DH is getting home at 7, 8, or 9 pm.
I suggested that for now, he let BM keep SS at least on Wednesdays. Wed. is DH's night but that is also his super late night. He works until 8:30 or even 9 pm. Last night, Monday, was a late night, but he had a customer walk in at 8:15, so he didn't get home until 10 pm. Anyway, I just said on his late night, SS should be with BM. Thursdays and Fridays are better because at least DH is getting home before the kids are in bed. And Saturdays are annoying when he's gone from 9-6, but oh well---at least it's Saturday, and I can be out and about doing fun things with the kids.

I don't know if asking him to do that was the right thing to do or not but I did.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:53AM
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Can any of the salespeople change their schedules from day to evening hours, even if it's just a couple nights a week? Not to sound insensitive to them or anything, but in an economy like this, people are smart to stay flexible and be open to changing schedules if they want to be considered "keepers" at their job. Maybe one or two of them are bachelors/bachelorettes or night owls or just that eager to prove their loyalty?

Just another possibility to think about...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Yeah, Serenity, that is a good idea.

I honestly think some (not all, but some) of the reason DH is doing this is a control thing. I don't mean that in a bad way but when times are already tough and business is slacking, I think he wants to be there himself to get the job done. He is a FANTASTIC salesman, been in the business for 12 or 13 years. I think he feels like he can do a better job than anybody else, you know?

BUT that is not to say that he couldn't have two guys close up on Wed and Fri nights or whatever----yes, he totally could! WOULD he is another question?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Frankly if I would be you, I would just go back to work. Your DD is in school during the day anyways. So is SS. No need to be at home during the day. Then maybe you can afford a babysitter, so you don't have to watch his son 24/7. If you feel resentful watching the kids and being a housewife, time to change it. If you are a teacher, you still have summers off, other holidays off and you'll be at home in the evenings. That's what I would do.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 8:21PM
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"Then maybe you can afford a babysitter, so you don't have to watch his son 24/7"

I never said we couldn't afford a babysitter.

My DH would not WANT to hire a sitter for his son. There is no way I could get away with hiring one for his son and not my daughter.

As far as teaching goes, yeah, I could go back in the fall, but then my DD would be back in after-care after school like she was before, and I didn't really like doing that. I know that people do it all the time and it works fine---but for me, I just personally do not like having my child have to stay at school after the day is over. As a teacher, I was still at work until 4 pm most days, so then I didn't pick her up until 4:30, getting home closer to 5.

If I did anything, I could teach part-time, but honestly--I make WAY better money tutoring than I would teaching part-time.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Okay Love, this is going to sound kind of harsh, but I have to play devil's advocate. Your last post was all about what you don't want to do and what you do want to do, and that is that no ifs, ands or buts.
BUT - you want DH to change what he wants (be be in control of his dealership, understandable as he likely fears losing it right now) to fit more in line with what you want.

Do you see where I'm going here?

I'm not saying either of you are wrong or right, but when you have a difficult situation like this I think you each have to give a little. I can't tell you what's gotta give, but maybe I can give you a different perspective. . .

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 2:07AM
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"I'm not saying either of you are wrong or right, but when you have a difficult situation like this I think you each have to give a little."

no, no, you are right and I appreciate hearing that. I know marriage is a partnership and these times ARE tough and I do understand DH needs to do what he needs to do to keep business running smoothly.

I do think I need to give on the issue of watching his son...I think the only way I really can do that is to just suck it up and not complain about watching SS so much.

I guess it irks me because we had a long talk with our pre-marriage counselor before we married about how DH really needed to take responsibility for his son, and I couldn't be expected to, and he needed to leave me out of the equation, not force me to deal with BM, etc. And DH agreed with all of it. And all of that just flew right out the window.

BUT--you can't predict the future, and we had no way of knowing that the economy would tank, and DH would lose some of his flexibility at work.

I do think I don't have much choice but to suck it up and help him keep his 50-50 custody arrangement, and just pray it doesn't stay like this forever.

I do *sometimes* consider going back to teaching full-time but honestly-what scares me---is that i'm going to wind up teaching from 7:30 AM until 4 pm, then go get my DD, then STILL have to be responsible for SS until 8 or 9 pm at night and every other weekend.

I could draw a line and say---look----I'm working full-time so I can't do this and you need to hire a babysitter, or work something out with BM; but DH would balk at that, and I'd end up doing it and be in the same position.

Honestly, at the risk of sounding whiny, I just sometimes envision my life if I had NOT married someone with a crazy ex and a child. :( There--I said it. I feel better. :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:15AM
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If you can afford a babysitter, could you afford an after-school activity or two? Have you looked into classes at the Y, Boy Scouts, etc.? If there are things he's doing outside of the house that make him feel engaged and good about himself, it might be easier for you.

Or maybe there are some things you can do for yourself that will help you feel less resentful towards the boy?

I always feel so bad for the kid in these situations. Yes, it's not fair that things are being dumped on you, but it's probably just as hard if not harder for your stepson. Kids pick up on those emotions when they're directed towards them. It's pretty lousy to feel that you're not wanted somewhere when you have no control over going there or not.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Afterschool activities outside the house is a fantastic idea. And it's funny that didn't occur to me to suggest, b/c I did a lot of that as a kid since my mom was a working single mom. Especially being an only child, it's something that really helped socialize me and expand my interests. There was a "youth center" I went to, very similar to a "Y", and there was a plethora of activities available to choose from and a ton of kids to make friends with. Of course I don't know how much it cost, but it was a very good investment.

I will say, too, that once I was about 10 or 11, I had this thing where I really wanted to prove my "independence" and ability to take care of myself so I told my mom I didn't really "need" to keep going. Then I was a latchkey kid and handled things fine (got the mail, made myself a snack, locked the door behind me, called my mom at work to let her know I was allright) and just played with neighbor kids afterschool til our parents got home from work. Sometimes at their houses, sometimes at mine, sometimes outside (this was back when more kids voluntarily played outside!) riding bikes or climbing trees or whatever. Sometimes we stayed in and played "Barbies", or we watched cartoons or videos on the vcr. My point is we figured out how to entertain ourselves and be responsible for those 2-3 hours, with just a little bit of guidance and prodding from our parents (i.e. they had to lecture us about cleaning up our dishes and remembering to call them at work, etc.). So what I'm saying also is, it's not that much longer that you'd necessarily HAVE TO stay home and supervise or have any kind of formal afterschool care arrangement. After a point kids are old enough and responsible enough to handle things til you get home and by then they also start to want to do more with friends anyway. So at least it won't be forever that you have to worry about it as much.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 12:32PM
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