Son sleeps over; I’m left out!

I used to appreciate help with my son, but now I feel that my family just cares about him — not me. Am I overreacting?

I bet they’re still interested in you too, says our elder. Why not invite them over?

Dear EWC

So I have been having this concern for about three years now. I became a single mom at 21 with my baby boy. I lived with my mother. I also had other family and family friends who lived nearby, such as my stepdad (my mom’s ex husband) and my mom’s long time friend (also my son’s godmother). They were always happy and helpful with my son, and since I was a new mom I always looked forward to their help.

But fast forward to now. He’s six years old and since he was about three I realized that they don’t care about me as much. They don’t ask to come by and visit me and my son, but instead only want to ask to have him sleep over, or take him to dinners, or take him anywhere. Both my stepdad and my son’s godmother always ask to take him and spend one to three days with him and then that’s it. I’m starting to feel weird. Am I just crazy or is it unusual and maybe a sign that they are only interested in seeing him and couldn’t care less about me? I have had many friends or cousins who have kids and I wouldn’t dare ask to borrow their kids or have them sleep over for two or three nights. If I want to see someone’s kids then I’ll go to their house or meet up with them somewhere we can all hang out, and I can see the kids and the parents. I mean once in a blue moon if they want to take him to a special place for a special day that’s OK, but please someone tell me your opinion. Am I overreacting?

Folk replies

It’s wonderful that your family enjoys spending time with your son. But I don’t think for a minute that this means that your friends and relatives are not interested in you. In fact, I think the main reason they invite your son for dinner and overnights is that they want to be nice to you. Most young moms appreciate a little “me time,” a chance to go out with friends or to just put their feet up. I know I sure did when my eight were young. Now that my kids all have kids of their own, my husband and I often invite one or two of our 15 grandchildren to spend the weekend with us just to give their parents a break or a chance for a night out. We do not do this because we don’t like our kids; we do it because we love them.

I don’t think your family’s affection for you has changed. They helped you out with your son when he was a baby, and they are still helping you out with him now. What has changed though is your son’s age? He is growing up and becoming his own person. Spending alone time with him allows your family to get to know firsthand all the special little things about him that you, as his mom, already know. It also allows your son to form his own relationships with people independent of you. It’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, and you are lucky enough to have your own family village living nearby. I’m also willing to bet that your son enjoys getting out and doing things with family members more than he enjoys their coming over to the house and talking about boring grown-up stuff with you.

Everything doesn’t always have to be about your son, though. You are a person with needs too. So, if you are missing the companionship of your family and friends, I suggest that you take the initiative and invite them over for some adult conversation — either when your son is asleep or away on one of his overnights. Or invite one of them to see a movie or try a new restaurant with you.

I hope I have answered your question. Feel free though to write back if you’d like to talk more about this. We are always here for you.

Letter #: 440339
Category: Children

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