Back to answer more questions.
I know I didn’t say much in my original post about what he does do for them now since he has been back. He is a full-time, devoted father. I know you all think he just “dumped” the kids on his mom. They made an agreement that she would take them full-time because she worked at the school they would be going to (private school that is pre-k through high school) so she was always with them and it made sense. She made $10/hr as an attendance clerk. Her husband died when he was 13.
So yes, I’m sorry that they come from a humble background and didn’t have many advantages in life. Her having them full-time allowed him to take a job at his friend’s demolition company. The advantage of this company was that he didn’t have to work minimum wage (although he still made a pittance not having a college degree) and he was able to provide medical insurance for the children which most other jobs he would have qualified for just didn’t offer. And his demolition job required a lot of travel around the state where he would have to be in different cities for days or weeks. So having the kids live in an apartment with him where he would be gone all the time would have been actual abandonment. He wouldn’t have been there and I don’t think that I have to explain to you that 24-hour care for two children would have cost more than he was even able to make.
Yes, 4 years ago he came back because he had a near-miss at work that nearly took his head off (cable broke and sliced his neck). He realized he couldn’t go on any more at that job. He wanted to move home to be with his kids and we met literally while he was in the process of getting a new job here in town and moving back with his mother. We met by accident and didn’t even realize how close I lived to him until we had already been dating a month or so. So no, he didn’t move back to be with me.
And just so you know, on a daily basis he gets up at 5am for work, works a very hard job loading and unloading trucks all day. He works overtime 4 hours every weekday and half a day on Saturdays. He has them both in sports and has done this since he’s been back. They are both in basketball. He pays for them to go to basketball camp in the summer. He takes them back and forth to practice every day. Saturday afternoon he plays basketball just the 3 of them the rest of the day when he gets home from work. The girl is good at basketball and enjoys it. The boy is seated out of every game. His coach won’t play him because during practice he isn’t paying attention, won’t stop talking, distracting the other players, etc.
Sunday their dad spends all day with us, checks his emails from the kids teachers to see if they have homework or any missing assignments and watches them do their homework and helps them when needed. I also help them. Homework is a struggle. They lie that they don’t have homework, tell us the teachers are lying to us, etc. It takes HOURS to do an easy 5-question worksheet with them because they sit there arguing, pouting, wanting us to just give them the answers. The rest of the day we are meal planning and buying groceries, doing errands.
His mother is NOT ignorant about nutrition or rules. She did not raise her son the way she raises the kids. She made healthy meals for her husband and son. The husband even had to be on a special diet because of a condition he had and she wouldn’t let my boyfriend even eat anything with artificial colors in it. So she is not ignorant. She has just been overindulgent with her grandchildren and doesn’t want to change anything because she doesn’t want to deal with the ensuing meltdowns.
I know you all think I’m just making excuses for him but he is and has been committed to being a good father for as long as I’ve known him. I can’t believe people are scolding me saying he just shouldn’t have had them. They are 15 and 16 years old. It’s too late for that now. They are here and they exist.
We have to work with the situation that we have even though it’s not ideal or what any one of you would have chosen. I didn’t choose it either. I’m 36 and have never had a child. And I really can’t believe that some people are suggesting that I am not allowed to have a child because the children exist. I’m college educated, have a good career, work hard. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old. I deserve to be able to become a mom and fulfill my own life. And the fact that he made a mistake in having them as early as he did a decade and a half ago does not mean that we have to just never move on from that. He is here raising them and will be there for them for the rest of his life and so will I.
I’m actually shocked by A LOT of the responses I’ve gotten here. They have been mostly unhelpful and pretty damn assumptive of his character as well as mine.
And to the person who lectured me on calling them mistakes–I was being facetious when people were responding that he shouldn’t have had them at all and I replied SARCASTICALLY that I was sorry that we had these mistakes. He tells them both that they were surprises and we both tell them all the time how much we love them and that we would never choose to not have them.
I DO love these kids and want what’s best for them. Stop telling me that I don’t. I put up with shit from them every day that would send anyone else running and screaming. I’ve stuck around and will continue to stick around so unless anyone has anything actually helpful to add, please just keep your assumptions to yourself or actually ASK ME to clarify what has gone on.
Now can I please get some advice on what is best to do regarding their living situation instead of being told how awful I am and how awful he is and how we can never move on or make things better?