Dear Grandma Maggie,
I am a mother of a 22 month old daughter and a 3 month old son. I am currently in quite a difficult & stressful relationship with their father. I fear my children can sense my distress. I try not to show it when I am around them but my daughter is having temper tantrums over the slightest thing. Could it be the side effects of the tension she is sensing from me? I have spoken to a friend about this and they told me that I should leave my partner while my children are too young to really understand but I fear this will affect them in the long run, as my daughter adores her father. I just want my children to be happy.
Elizabeth from North East England
I think we all want our children to be happy, but it is rare that a child is happy when its mother is unhappy. A divorce WILL affect your children, as will staying in an unhappy marriage. If you truly think your marriage will not work, how will staying in that marriage for say 5 more years benefit you and your children? Sometimes we make tradeoffs, but you have to think very carefully if you are willing to do that. If not, and you see the marriage is ended, then you and the children better get used to living that life.
If your daughter is acting up now, she could be reacting to the birth of her brother or to your unhappiness. I suggest you give her some alone time just with you, or with her father so that she remains special in her eyes. Still she does need to share both of you. The best idea might be for you and your husband to get some counseling during these difficult times. It will help you both to help her.
Separations are never easy. We are not only saying goodbye to a mate but to the dream of what our marriage would be.If you are going to do it, it’s better to do it with some professional help.
Peggy Moss (she/her), AKA "Grandma Maggie," was was a partner in BabyNames.com after she retired as an early childhood educator. Her Q&A column "Ask Grandma Maggie" is now republished with the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice. She has written many eBooks about parenting issues, available at Amazon.com.
Peggy, who passed in 2014, was mother to Sue, Kate, Jennifer, and Mallory Moss, and grandmother to Ike, Peter, Miranda, and Veronica.