I haven't had time to hang out here like I used to - thank goodness for Facebook because I still keep up with a lot of PTers!
But I have an issue that I can't discuss on FB because one of the people involved has friended to us on FB. so, please BEAR WITH ME, this will be long.
Long story short: My husband has never been able to tell the kids no. Whatever they wanted, he either did for them or bought for them regardless the sacrifice he made to do so. After years of feeling used and abused by the kids, and many years of therapy, he started telling them "no". A little here, a little there. As he grew more confident in standing up for himself, he started step 2 of the process: telling them that he had needs too and asking them to help fill his needs.
Ashley no longer talks to us. At all. She's furious we told her that we wouldn't babysit the second baby for free. She thought we were kidding, that once the baby came, we'd relent and raise that child too. She even had me in the delivery room to ensure that happening. Nope. We said we'd babysit once in a while, but not 10 hours a day. Every. Day. We've seen that child about 8 times in the year and half she's been on this earth. I tried and tried to extend an olive branch. I texted her and suggested dinner out with the kids, her new boyfriend, and us. No, no, we can't afford it. Ok, our treat! no, no, we can't ask you to spend your money. How about Applebee's? Tuesday is kids-eat-free night and you can order off the 2 for $20 menu. No, too much money. Ran into her at Chick-Fil-A with $50 worth of food on their tray (BUSTED! by my math, that's much more than $20) and we haven't seen Cameron since school ended. She won't let us see him --- he has Bible Camp, he has Cub Scouts, he's with daddy. Sigh. So what about the baby? Don't tell me she has social events too? Apparently.
Tony lived with us for 9 months with his fiancÚ. Oh. My. God. A bigger pair of free-loaders with more excuses never existed. I bit my tongue because I wanted to be the new and improved Kim. I wanted to help them get on their feet (neither had well paying jobs) and we agreed no rent money, but we did want to have money for the utilities they used. They never had money, but we always saw them with Dunkin Donuts coffee cups and sandwich wrappers. They'd bring bags and bags of take out food from their room each day. I set up several well paying jobs for him through work --- one was his dream job, but since I recommended it he passed on it. Finally, one day after the dream job lady called to see why he never returned her call, he said he already had a job (part time coach making $10,000 a year) and was NOT going to call her back. Hubby finally said "Either call the lady or find an apartment!" He moved out a few days later, and 3 months later has not spoken one word, but comes to the house when he knows we're not home (We know this because his mail disappears on a regular basis)... the thing that annoyed me was the night after it happened, I pulled the fiancÚ aside and said to her that I didn't want to throw them out and we wanted to help them. That sometimes hubby and Tony were stubborn and I don't want to see them get into a financial mess they can't get out of. She shrugged her shoulders. I asked if she had any input and she said no. The next day, Heather called to say "Can Tony move out after the weekend, since he is babysitting for me?" A grown man can't tell us himself.... let alone his 37 year old fiancÚ giving me heads up 10 hours earlier when I tried to talk to her. Oh, and Tony owes us $7,000 for loans he has never paid that hubby cosigned (a perfect example of hubby doing what the kids wanted regardless the impact on our life).
Heather... the level headed one. She's hurt us both the most. Every time she called for the past year, and hubby asked her of something her answer was "At least I talk to you!" or "I'm not tony, I work!" or "I'm not Ashley, I care for my kids!" you get the idea. Hubby has panic and anxiety along with PTSD. A few months ago, at the 7 year old's birthday party, he had a severe panic attack. I explained we had to leave, and she said "typical! he's being a drama queen!" Umm, no, he was unable to breathe and anxiety was suffocating him. But, whatever. She didn't talk to him for 3 weeks. When she finally did, she told him that his problem is that he doesn't walk. Walking equals no anxiety? ohhhhkaaayyy. Then she called 2 weeks later, and asked to babysit. He agreed. It turned out there was a miscommunication because he thought it was that weekend, she wanted NEXT weekend, where we actually have plans. I said, "Ut-oh, I have plans Sunday." she said, "that's ok, I'm off and he can bring the kids up in the morning." I stuttered and sought a polite way to say that we didn't have time and if she was off, that she could pick up her kids. Especially since we're babysitting for free, and its an hour and half ride each way. I didn't need to say anything else because she said, "Never mind, I'll find someone else who doesn't give me so much grief!" and hung up. Huh? I know its a silly interaction, but its symptomatic of the problem. She's pregnant right now, and a hysterical, hormonal mess. But does that give her a free pass to being selfish and inconsiderate?
So, all in all, we have three kids - none of whom will speak with us. They have no idea what to make of a dad who has changed. I'm so proud of the changes he has made. He is much happier person and his anxiety is much better. Its funny our rolls have almost reversed. He's the one being stern and I'm the one saying "lets think about it." Now he's telling them for himself and I no long have to be the meanie. But I'm sure that somewhere in their selfish minds, they are convinced its all my doing. "Dad wouldn't tell me no unless Kim told him to say no!"
He just feels stuck. We wants to see the kids and grandkids but at this point, they refuse to see him and are holding the kids as leverage. They think if they are silent long enough that he'll relent and go back to his old way of giving them everything they want. He's not. He knows he can't.
If you stayed this long: THANK YOU! I really need some opinions. How to mend this break? He can't go back - its too unhealthy for him mentally, but how can we all move forward?
Also: Am I way off base thinking that if we babysit, the least they could do it drop off and pick up? Its a LOT of driving - our car is brand spanking new, and I'd like to keep it low miles. (speaking of cars, Heather went from "I can't afford anything!" to "Whoopie, we're buying a Lexus!" - Can't she use her big shiny expensive, luxury car that she bought because its apparently the only safe car in town - as well as her dream car --- she's only 24 and getting her dream car? Hubby's 50 and still dreamin' ) I know they work, but I do too! and if you saw how fried he is after three days of watching a toddler and 7 year old? It takes him 3 days to wind-down, and usually my head is bitten off Saturday night, all through Sunday. I hate hate hate Sunday night - he's just completely zapped of all energy and kindness. The babysitting is twice monthly, Friday afternoon til late Sunday evening. three whole days where we spend a lot of time and money on the kids. The money's something we decide to spend, so I'm not expecting anyone to reimburse us. At least appreciate it? And to know a third child is on the way? He'll NEVER be able to make it!