The 4am post.

Sleepless Nights It’s almost 4am, but I can’t sleep.

My heart is pounding, I can’t seem to breathe in, and I feel like I'm on the verge of passing out. Somewhere in my brain, I think: panic attack.

I get panic attacks if I think about how I’m never going to be rid of The Father. As a rule, I don’t let myself think about how I’m going to have to deal with him for the rest of my life. It works 95% of the time, and I can usually have a sense of humour about it. He is pretty ludicrous. But then sometimes? It's like this.

I think about how angry I am at him. Why did he have to be one of the 10% of men who choose their wife’s pregnancy as the perfect time to have an affair (or three)? When did he become that guy? Was it always there? Was he always like this, so angry, so hateful?

And then: how didn’t I see it coming? How did I choose so badly? How could I be so stupid? I’m so furious with myself because I didn’t know, I didn’t choose better, I didn’t listen to my instincts, I didn’t get out sooner. And it’s not me who really pays the price – it’s my daughter, who will always have a little bit less than she deserves. She deserves more than this, than him. 

I remember my friend Pippa’s advice: breathe in for a count of eight, breathe out for a count of 10. It helps the O2/CO2 balance in your bloodstream, or something, and stops the dizziness and hyperventilation.

I try to punch my anger into a pillow but it’s still there, like a hard ball, and I don’t know where to put it. So I turn to the keyboard. And after a few minutes, I can take a deep breath, and I think: just another day. And this too shall pass.

It's nothing new, after all, this latest incident. As ever, he's putting himself first and assuming I’ll take care of the bothersome business of providing for our child. And I will – because that’s what I do, and I love her enough that tomorrow, I won’t mind. I’ll be glad of it, and the bond we have as a result. I really do know that, in the scheme of things, I'm ridiculously lucky and blessed in many ways. But just for today, I’m struggling to find my sense of humour about it. 


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 27th October 2009 / 7:23 am

    Ah Sally this is no good! Although you are, of course, allowed to have times when you struggle, he sounds like a complete douche bag and a huge pain in the ass.
    It is obviously the universe’s sense of balance that has given Flea such a fab mum to compensate…
    Just hang on to what you have – each other. That’s more important and stronger than anything he can ever throw at you xxxx

  2. 27th October 2009 / 10:05 am

    Thanks. Fear not, today is going to be a better day, and I’m not giving him any headspace.

  3. 27th October 2009 / 10:09 am

    I too get caught up in the dilemma of why my daughters’ dad is such a dickhead and how did I choose such a man to marry. You’re a good mum, and I hope in the light of day you are feeling better about things.

  4. 27th October 2009 / 10:16 am

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling down. You shouldn’t blame yourself for his behaviour, you’re not at fault at all. You just did what you felt was right at the time. Isn’t that what we all do? No one can foresee what happens in our relationships. I may be married but it went very wrong a few years ago and I blamed myself for a lot of things which happened, I know now there was no need to. S*** happens sometimes and it’s sad when there are children are involved. You’re a great mum to Flea and I’m sure when she’s old enough she’ll be very grateful for that.

  5. 27th October 2009 / 11:28 am


  6. 27th October 2009 / 11:51 am

    Big hugs, hope you feel better today. Please don’t feel guilty, those were his choices, not yours. It’s hard to lack control of a situation, and acceptance is never easy, and sometimes all the focus on the positives is just not working. But hopefully, a new day will bring a bit more sunshine to you.

  7. 27th October 2009 / 2:46 pm

    Flea is lucky to have you.If the father was(is) such a dickhead it is surely not your fault.
    You know what Miss O’Hara said ‘Tomorrow it’s another day’.

  8. 27th October 2009 / 2:56 pm

    Life sucks sometimes and it’s not fair but like you said it’ll pass. Flea is fab and sooo worth all the bullshit. He’s still pissed off and will either grow up or get bored- either way things will get better.

  9. Insomniac Mummy
    27th October 2009 / 2:57 pm

    This too SHALL pass.

  10. 27th October 2009 / 3:33 pm

    We all do things that we think are right at the time, only later do we realise how wrong we were. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s done now, only the present we can change.

  11. 27th October 2009 / 5:07 pm

    You mustn’t beat yourself up for getting together with The Father, although I know exactly how you feel. I’ve moved to the other side of the world and still I’m not rid of my children’s Father. I’ve married and recreated a new life since we separated four years ago and yet he cannot move on and continues to cause pain by not providing child support, by not even trying to be in their lives, by being hateful. I’ve learnt that I need to forgive/forget him and forgive myself for being with him in the first place and also for leaving him. One person simply cannot love enough for two. If you’d had a premonition The Father was going to cheat on you would it have changed anything? Or would you have tried valiantly to be loyal and make it work? Knowing our fate doesn’t mean we can – or will want to – change it. We need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and quietly acknowledge that we’re doing the best we can. Your daughter will not miss out on anything given your role model for her and the determination you have to provide a great life for her, despite The Father!

  12. 27th October 2009 / 9:42 pm

    When my school history teacher annoyed me I used to imagine her full size naked picture was projected onto the class wall for all to see and mock…
    That’s so not going to help you… sorry.
    However, I am liking ‘assclown’ as a new and exciting form of verbal abuse. Hurrah for Natalie I say!

  13. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    27th October 2009 / 9:44 pm

    Oh Sally. I know another mum who is going through a pretty identical situation at the moment (although her husband left her with a six week old baby and a nine-year-old). When you’re single and you don’t have kids it’s easier (!) to forget the crap blokes, but you’re tied to him forever and that does make it doubly hard. Some men are just little boys who find it impossible to grow up and take responsibility. It’s really hard but the most important thing is that Flea always feels loved by the two of you, even if he is a shit. And you’ll meet the right man for you (if you haven’t already). x

  14. 28th October 2009 / 12:23 am

    I really feel for you. I have the same questions at times – on reflection getting married to ex seems such a foolish decision. On reflection it is so easy to see the things that were never there, that I just imagined from thin air. That really, he hasn’t changed at all from the man I married, it is just that I am seeing him and his actions in a completely different light. And the thing is – ex is a good bloke. A great dad. I don’t think he ever cheated on me (although at times I wish that had been the explanation for him falling out of love with me…like there was a reason other than ME that turned him away).
    But it still panics me about how I got it all so spectacularly wrong. How my ‘instincts’ were so off. And how can I be sure I won’t make the same mistake again.
    I hope you are feeling better. At least Flea has one utterly fabulous parent – she is a very lucky girl. x

  15. Mummy Mania
    28th October 2009 / 8:51 pm

    I really feel for you… and the pain for Flea is worse I;m sure than the pain for you… making it doubly painful! reading about your lives together though, Flea has the best parenting she can have. you. keep strong.

  16. Sally
    1st November 2009 / 9:10 pm

    Thanks everyone for your comments, they’re made such a difference, it’s really appreciated.
    I think many of you share that feeling of, “How did I get it so wrong?” and just knowing that helps.
    And Vegemitevix, your point that I wouldn’t necessarily have done things differently had I known more is spot on – The Father first cheated before Flea was born, and I did stick around, because at the time it was important to me to know that I’d done my level best to provide Flea with two parents – of course he cheated twice more before I ended things.
    So to an extent I can console myself with the knowledge that I gave it a really good shot. Thanks for reminding me of that x

  17. 3rd November 2009 / 7:40 pm

    He had an afair while you were pregnant?! Looser! I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. And no way is this your fault. Hope you’re sleeping beter.