I have empty nest/She has child

greencodysmomJuly 9, 2010

I am in a same-sex relationship of 3 years. I love her (Lily) very much. The problem is that I am dealing with a HUGE transition period in my life that Lily doesn't seem to get. My son graduated in May and will be leaving for college 6 hours away in August. I was a single mother from the time he was 4 until I started dating Lily 3 years ago. So having my only child grow up and leave is very hard for me. I am suddenly trying to figure out who I am, besides a mother, for the first time since he was born when I was only 20!

Lily has a 12 year old son. I do love him; lets call him Bobby. Bobby is a very active only child and loves to have other children over. Way before I entered the picture, Lily was allowing Bobby to have 3 and 4 children over whenever he wanted. This wasn't a problem until Lily started working nights 2 months ago and now I'm suddenly the one at home with all these children.

To make things worse, I enrolled for online college classes through the summer. I thought being distracted with school would help me deal with the empty nest syndrome. But now I'm having to study with all these children running around the house! I have not had time to transition to my son being gone, and suddenly I am raising every child in the neighborhood! And none of these children are like my child. He was quite, extremely intelligent, independent, and liked to read. These are rambunctious, 100% boy children!

I have tried talking to Lily about this but she just doesn't seem to understand the problem. I just don't have anything maternal left to give right now. Its all I can do to keep myself okay (I forgot to mention I am bipolar and was hospitalized 6 years ago for severe depression) without being responsible for all these young lives.

It is so bad, that people will just pull up to the driveway, drop their children off, and drive away without asking if its okay if I watch them. To me this is very, very disrespectful. Lily says no one means to be disrespectful. They are just used to being able to just drop the kids off.

My son was only allowed company on weekend nights and I had to ok it before they came over and we always had prior notice. This house turns into a train station in the summertime. Which didn't really bother me until this summer. Lily's response is that she has always let Bobby have whatever company he wants and that she wants Bobby to have friends over so he won't be bored.

There is one boy here that moved in when school let out on May 22 and has not left yet! And remember, from 2 pm on, I'm the only adult here. The kids usually don't get up until after 2 because they stay up all night.

And on the weekends, Lily is playing golf or working outside, etc. She is very active and on the go too so she isn't usually the one dealing with the children. Also, to be truthful about my resentment, Lily took the night shift without talking to me about it. She basically turned night care of her son over to me at the same time my son was graduating with no discussion about it. So I feel like now that I have raised my child, I'm suddenly responsible for raising Bobby. So I find myself ignoring him as much as possible.

Other than this issue, we really have no problems. But I am stressed out to the point of fantasizing about packing up and moving to the end of the state where my son is going. I know I can't follow him to school, but I think about living a town or two over so it can just be me and my dog and my son can visit. I am extremely resentful of these children. I have been confined to the bedroom all summer because they have taken over the big screen tv in the living room for their video games. I am about to lose it. And I can't seem to make her understand because it hasn't been a problem until this summer. But she was never gone at night until this summer. I think about running away a lot but then I think about life without Lily and running away doesn't feel like the solution. What do I do?? Help!!

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What makes Lily a great girlfriend? How does Lily make you feel? Granted there is no way that one post can summarize the whole picture, however, it doesn't sound like Lily is thinking of you or your feelings. It sounds like she is taking advantage of you (i.e., not discussing working nights, expecting you to watch her own child PLUS the neighborhood kids without discussing it with you, neglecting your current feelings about your child leaving for college). Do her good qualities compensate for the current "bad" qualities?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 8:49PM
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I can sympathize; I am in a similar situation. My DH had to take a job where he works every weekday, afternoon and night, so I am now home with SS all the time (I work from home during the day on top of it.) My DH didn't have a great deal of choice in the matter (the only other option was to just not pay bills!), he did consult with me prior to accepting it, and he is desperately trying to find another job... but it is still very hard at times. SS8 is a very good kid but even he can be a bit trying when he follows me around talking talking talking; when it's the whole neighborhood gang sometimes I want to pull my hair out.

I don't think my DH understands just how difficult it is for me; he had been a single father for several years and a married father for so long before that. I had been living alone in a nice quiet peaceful apartment. DH just loves kids and so 10 screaming kids from the neighborhood running through the house playing pirate and swinging swords is just lovely background music to him; he can sit and read a book and pretty much tune it out.

Anyway, one of our agreements is that, since I am watching SS8 every night, I am in complete control during those nights. I can (and do) tell the neighborhood kids when to go home, tell them that that's enough of playing video games and to go outside and play, decide who/if/when friends are coming along if we go somewhere, etc. It is, in my opinion, completely unreasonable to allow a 12 year old to decide whether or not he will have sleepovers and how late they will stay up - if you are the adult at home, you should make that determination if it wasn't decided beforehand. Same with being evicted from your own living room; you are the adult, you decide when enough is enough.

Has Lily said that you can't make these decisions? Is she just assuming that you will/are? You have said that you've "tried talking with her". I've learned with DH that if I said something like "Don't you think the kids are being a bit rambunctious?" his response would just be along the lines of "Oh, they're just having fun". I have to use declarative sentences and be quite clear - "I have a big project due and so I will need the kids to be quieter or play elsewhere". To which he was always surprised that I hadn't just told them that.

I have also told DH that I will require some time alone on the weekends, time during which I know that no kids will run in and disturb me at all. While I realize that many single parents do not get that luxury, I am not a single parent; I am a married step-parent, and it helps me incredibly with my stress level.

So, I think you need to sit down with Lily and have a serious talk. Don't hint or beat around the bush; be quite clear and calm. Explain that this situation is very difficult for you and clarify as to whether or not you are in charge and whether Lily has your back on any decisions that you make. Also explain that you need some time off on the weekends.

If her expectations are that she makes the rules and that you are an unpaid babysitter to multiple kids, well, honestly, I'd be looking for an apartment. I agree with lonepiper; it's a bit concerning that she just dumped this on you without your permission.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Ditto everything mattie said, especially this part:

"So, I think you need to sit down with Lily and have a serious talk. Don't hint or beat around the bush; be quite clear and calm. Explain that this situation is very difficult for you and clarify as to whether or not you are in charge and whether Lily has your back on any decisions that you make. Also explain that you need some time off on the weekends."

Good luck and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:50AM
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I agree that Lili conveniently dumped her son's responsibility onto you. I think you can be here to watch but you are not the child's main care giver. This sounds like a long ordeal as her job's situation won't likely to change soon.

The options are:
1. Limits friends to days when Lily is home.
2. Be clear that you are not willing to parent another child as you don't have it to give. It is ok to say so.
3. if 1 and 2 are not OK, then time go split until after her son is gone.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 8:31AM
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if you are the one always watching the kids, you have rights to say "no". these aren't neither hers nor your kids, just say "no". and talk to Lilly, she sounds inconsiderate or maybe just doesn't understand how it makes you feel...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:20PM
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I have a slightly different perspective. I agree with Mattie et al, that you really should set some boundaries with "lily" about entertaining the kids from the neighborhood.

However, I basically have an only child, 7 1/2 soon to be 8. Like Lily I encourage constant playdates, have kids over often to hang with my son, swim, play Wii and so on. I keep hot dogs, chips, mac and cheese, pizza and juice at the ready. I have more of Lily's point of view on things, to keep my son from being lonely, I work pretty hard to keep him popular!

Talk to her about the frequency of these playdates especially the drop ins. I don't have that particular problem and it does sound rude. But, understand, some people want their kids part of "the gang" and when you have an only, making your house the fun house is part of that. It certainly is work for me and I understand, it's a lot of work. Last weekend, 4, count them 4, parents for 4 separate kids wanted them to hang with my son at our house. I had to pick for my own sanity although I was very pleased that DS7 has friends and mothers who like him and trust me. Look at it as a compliment if you can.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 7:19PM
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