I am so sick of hearing my husband accuse me of being controlling. I realise it’s nothing new – controlling people, or just people with negative traits in general, love to reflect their own flaws onto other people.
I woke up this morning feeling so angry and upset. It was six o’clock in the morning and my children remained fast asleep for once. We returned from a short holiday yesterday and they ended up sleeping til 9am, but I was wide awake and stressed hours before that.
I cried some bitter tears. I was feeling so anxious about the house move later this week – not the move itself you understand, although it is a finely tuned operation which involves picking up a hire van, liaising with my parents, dropping the kids at the in-laws for the husband to collect later after sleeping off his night shift, doing a huge furniture shop at the nearest IKEA (a 45 minute drive away), liaising with a friend at the old house at 3pm with the van to go into the Lion’s Den and pick up my big bits of furniture and then putting together as much flat pack and unpacking as much stuff as possible.
That’s all happening, it’s all arranged and sorted. What hasn’t been arranged and sorted up to this point is me getting any kind of resolution – even getting to the point where I have been ready to re-engage my solicitor – actually file for divorce.
What hasn’t been arranged is any kind of child maintenance payments from the husband. I’ve let him get away with it because I’ve been living inside the protective bubble of my parents’ home and generosity. Now, six and a half months down the line, I’m going back into the real world and it’s an expensive place.
I work 18.5 hours a week which allows me to be there for the children before school every day and after school three days a week, I get working tax credits from the government to top this up a bit and it’s definitely a generous amount, particularly based on my circumstances of having two children of primary school age both under my care. However it is not enough to pay for rent (that payment alone is about £90 short of my entire monthly salary), food, groceries, gas/electricity, water, council tax, phone costs and broadband, clothes and activities for the children, contents insurance, petrol, 2 days a week after school childcare, car maintenance and insurance, and all the other sundries that life entails.
The £450 a month I have asked from the husband for child maintenance is a tiny portion of my outgoings but I have come to realise that I simply cannot be the sole financial (never mind physical, mental and emotional) support for our children without it. However he has only talked to me about it up to now in the vaguest of ways with no mention of a start date, so after my blip this morning I texted him and told him that if he didn’t give me a workable date for mediation today then I would be contacting the Child Maintenance Service and my solicitor tomorrow and forget about mediation.
He then, of course, told me that I was being controlling and imposing ‘arbitrary’ deadlines and ‘threatening’ him which he wouldn’t stand for. He also told me that I ‘need to learn how to talk to people respectfully’. I stood my ground but then realised that even if he gave me a date for mediation it may be weeks away and he has previous for cancelling these dates at the last moment. It is also no guarantee of him agreeing to begin paying me any money.
I then told him that I need him to begin paying me child maintenance this Thursday (1st September – my official moving date – the date when I owe my landlady £2250 for rent and deposit) – and that this would be the date I contacted CMS and got them to pursue him if he refused to co-operate.
He told me ‘not until we’ve spoken to [the mediator]’. I re-iterated my Thursday deadline and he never responded. But here’s the thing – I will contact the CMS on Thursday – I’m no longer afraid to rock the boat because I’ve come to realise that direct action is the only language some people understand and make one too many idle bluffs and you might as well lie down and get the word ‘WELCOME’ tattooed on your back.
This is me taking back control.