I blogged about being one of the 25%, only about a week ago. I am living this reality. I truly believe that what is happening with my eldest child is alienation, of a sort. I have been sat here in tears this evening, once again. The reason for my tears? My eldest child, once again.
She speaks to me and treats me like crap. She’s rude and she has attitude. Yet when she speaks to her father on the phone? Sweetness and light. The child she used to be to me. She was always such a lovely, sweet thing. I still see glimpses of that, and not just when she’s on the phone to her father! I know there are hormones at play here, given that she is very nearly 11, but still. There’s hormones and there’s nastiness. And this nastiness is all directed at me (and my partner). Never at her father or stepmother. They can do no wrong. Ever.
She finishes junior school this week. It’s quite an emotional time for her. Her last day is Thursday. That’s one of the days that my children are with me. They finish at 1.30, or something. A friend of mine offered to pick them up and have them at hers until they all go for their swimming lesson. I asked the children, they were cool with this. Sound, saves me taking half a day off work.
Along with finishing junior school, they also have a Leavers’ Service. This didn’t get mentioned to me until Saturday. Oh, but her dad and stepmother organised babysitters ages ago. There was some woolly excuse from my eldest child as to why she’d not mentioned it. Let’s face it. She was hoping I wouldn’t bother. I know I don’t like that many school things, but this is important. I want to be there. What hurts more though is the feeling that I’m not wanted. It’s that exclusion thing all over again. I’ve had to phone school to find out the details, and I’m bloody well going, wanted or not. I’m her MUM, I should be there! Nor should I be excluded!
At their Leaver’s Disco on Friday, everyone was in tears. Because their father and stepmother had gone to the caravan for the weekend with their youngest two children, I was having our children for an extra night, so I got disco duty. I picked up a very upset child, who couldn’t even think of the disco without crying. Poor lamb. They’ve been in school together since they were 4 years old, these children, and they’re going to be going off to all different schools. Understandable that they were all in tears.
So, on to this evening. Eldest child phones her father, who phones back when he gets off the phone, or something. Eldest child is her usual sweet self, and says something about talking to me about something or other. I hate this – I hate it when discussions about things like arrangements, etc, are done through the children. It is manipulative, and designed to make me look unreasonable. I am stuck in a situation where if I say no, then I’m the bitch from hell, but if I say yes, I feel like a doormat – complete no win situation!
What she wanted to talk to me about was Thursday. The last day of school. The day they’d said they’d happily go to a friends. Only now my eldest child has realised that she’s probably going to be crying, so says it will be better if a family member is there. So I said it was fine, I’d come and pick them up. But no, stepmother is going to be picking up one of her children from the playgroup, so eldest child is suggesting being picked up at the same time. All done carefully so that it is saving me from coming out of work. And she’ll probably be in tears, so…..I have said it is not a problem, I will come out of work. But yes, it is better if a family member there – except my eldest child does not mean me, her mother, as the family member. She means her stepmother.
This makes me feel awful. Basically, she would rather her stepmother picked her up on a highly emotional day. She would rather exclude me from an emotional final service at Junior School. It wouldn’t really be so bad if I was nasty-bitch-mother from hell, but I’m not. I do my best. Sure, I get some things wrong, who doesn’t? But I do my best. I’m not nasty. I’m not mean. I’m trying to teach my children to be non judgemental, to be tolerant of others, to be kind, polite and considerate. It’s not easy. If I was a nasty-bitch ex wife from hell, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m not that either. I’ve never used my “powers” as a mother to exclude contact, and never would. My childrens’ father is as much their parent as I am – we should be pretty equal. Except we’re not. I know I’m bad mouthed. I know I’m made out to be terrible. That hurts a lot, because I’m an honest, decent, hard working person. I don’t believe I deserve to be treated in this way.
The question in my head is this – does a 10/11 year old develop into this way all on her own? My eldest child is very bright. Both my children are very bright. But I do feel that she is developing into quite a manipulative, nasty-at-times child. I truly don’t believe that this entirely nature. Nurture surely plays a part? So this is where I’m convinced the alienation comes in. She has been carefully manipulated for years, and she is showing the end result. She draws further and further away from me. She has a scapegoat – my partner – except this behaviour had started before he was in our lives. She uses his presence as an excuse.
So, this time, I’m not giving in. I will take the leave, and I will go and pick both my children up from school on Thursday. I am their mum. I should be there. I will be there. And their stepmother can pick up her child and not overstep the mark. Again.