Another self-pity kind of day here, and I am trying really, really hard to pull myself out of it. Taken as a whole, I have a pretty good life, and I know that. All of the kids are healthy and happy, school started without incident yesterday (nobody missed the bus or forgot their backpacks or anything of that ilk), we got the dog we wanted and Eli also got another pup, we have great friends, I love my job...the list goes on. So I hate it when even though I can acknowledge how many really great things I DO have in my life, I still sometimes feel like I am just too tired and beaten down to keep moving forward. Today is one of those days.
Steve and I got into a huge fight last night. Huge. One of the biggest ones we have had. See, he was complaining about how 15% of his check is now being garnished because of some student loans that he has never paid. And I laughed; inadvertently, without meaning to cause a fight, I laughed. Because I make half of what he does, there are five of us and I don't get any financial help from anyone but him, and 25% of each of my checks is currently being garnished because of a bill of my ex-husband's. In addition, I do not have a mother who packs my lunch every day, buys groceries for me, helps me out when I am short because I spend too much money on crap, etc...So yeah, I laughed, because he was trying to play this sympathy card that just doesn't work for me. He also complained about the fact that he has to pay the car payment-which we agreed to in lieu of child support, as it benefited us both more to do it that way than to have him ordered to pay child support. I made a comment to the effect of him really getting off easy, at which point he blew. Totally and completely blew.
And while my rational mind kind of understands why he might feel like he is being shafted, I guess I really don't. Using the Child Support Calculator for my state, his actual ordered support would be $415, plus he would also be ordered to provide his medical insurance, approximately 85% of medical costs not covered by insurance, as well ad 85% of the daycare for Owen. Adding it all up, it comes to $705 a month. So yeah, just looking at the the numbers on paper, I would have to say that he is getting off easy, financially. Add to this the fact that he has purchased a case of diapers three times in over two years, bought clothes one time (and actually, his sister bought the clothes, he just picked them out), and paid part of one doctor bill when Owen had to go get allergy tested at 8 months old. The bill which was still almost $500 AFTER insurance, the bill I am still making payments on because he paid less than $100. So, yeah, I would say that financially, he IS getting the better end of the deal.
He also brought up the fact that he has to ask permission every time he want to take Owen, that I won't let him have Owen overnight unless he is staying somewhere with a family member, he "never" gets to see Owen, and maybe he should take me to court to get custody. And that just broke my heart and made me angry both. He hasn't stopped to think that the REASON I put the no-overnight-limits on his visits is because last time he had the kids-my other three included-overnight while my dad was in the ICU in another town, he got totally fucking drunk and some really, really awful things happened. I don't let him take him overnight because I don't trust him to not drink, or have his PO stop by the house and do a search and maybe arrest him, or pass out and leave Owen running around with no supervision or care. In addition, Steve can see Owen pretty much whenever he wants to on his days off; 90% of the time he chooses to ignore the opportunity to spend time with Owen and instead goes and visits his family or goes four wheeling or whatever it is that he does. And God knows I understand the need/desire to have time to do what you want to do, but don't then tell me that I am not letting you see your son. Just-don't.
I don't have the energy for this kind of hassle. I just don't. And I am so angry and hurt that he is only thinking in terms of money, as if he should be considered some fucking hero for shelling out $465 a month. In the meantime, in addition to the things I provide for Owen on a financial level like, oh, diapers and food and daycare and clothes and such, I provide everything for that baby. Everything. I am the one who gets up with him, who takes him TO the doctor, who nurses him when he is ill, who is in the process of disciplining him and potty training him. What I get are comments like this: "Why doesn't he know his colors yet?" instead of, "How nice that you have taught him to say thank you every time you give him something, or say please every time he asks for something." I get the, "He is two, shouldn't he be potty trained by now?" instead of "Wow, he is sleeping in a big boy bed and drinking out of a real cup!" And yet he isn't there to help, or to be part of the process, through choices of his own.
I think one of the things that made Steve the angriest last night was that after a point, I said, "I am not going to fight with you about Owen anymore. I am just NOT, because it only hurts Owen in the the long run. If you don't agree with the way things are, then you can take me to court and I can explain to the judge why you can't be trusted. And I can have child Support Services order child Support from you and I can make the car payment myself. But I am not going to let you try to make me feel guilty or responsible for your poor choices." For him, part of the fun is getting a reaction out of me, and when that stopped happening (to my credit, I think I only called him a a fucking dick once before I calmed down!), what was the use?
I still went to bed in tears last night, though, and today don't really feel much better. It shouldn't have to always be a battle. I shouldn't have to explain to a nearly 40 year old man that these are natural consequences to his choices, nor should I have to explain that his child support-be it in the form of making the car payment or a cash payment-is not about him giving something to me, but about him helping to support this child. I should not have to question my decisions or my parenting or the choices I have made, because he clearly doesn't have what it takes. And on a far deeper level, I should NOT have to be doing this alone, but due to the fact that he woke up one day-quite literally-and decided he no longer wanted to be in a relationship with me, I AM. I told you all I am whiny today, but it isn't fair, and it fucking sucks. I just feel myself being sucked back into a depression again, and I am trying desperately to pull myself out of it-because I hate self-pity, and I know that there is nothing I can do or say to make Steve have a different attitude. Nothing.
So. Always something, right?