"I Feel Like a Single Mom"

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His Turn

"She's Controlling"

"I don't think Kate ever loved me for who I am," said Jack, 46, a primary-care doctor. "I feel like she just wanted me to play the role of the father who brings home the bacon.

"Also, she expects me to be touchy-feely every free minute of the day. Kate never asks me how my day was, and she has no interest in the volunteer projects that mean so much to me. All she does is nag me about my 'obligations' as a family man.

"I admit that I spend a lot of time at the gym and on church projects (I particularly enjoy those that help the disadvantaged in the community). But that's what keeps me sane. It makes me sad not to be around my children, but I can't stand the way Kate tries to control them. Matt is a great kid, he's outgoing and has plenty of friends. But he's an average student. He tells me he'd like to be a construction worker when he grows up. He loves to build things, and he's good at it. But Kate flogs him about his homework until he's in tears. Also, while Matt does seem to enjoy soccer, he's not a star by any means. I can't handle listening to Kate dissect his performance during his games, so I stopped going.

"As for Lizzie, she's a tomboy. She hates dresses and loves to climb trees, and, in fact, she's the one who is dying to play soccer. But Kate forces Lizzie to take piano lessons, which she loathes. The one recital I did go to was a painful experience. Kate dressed Lizzie in a frilly pink dress with patent leather shoes and bows in her hair. And even though Lizzie played an easy piece, she hit all the wrong notes. I felt terrible for her. There was a time when I would have bucked Kate about pushing Lizzie to play the piano, but nothing I said seemed to do any good. I've just given up; I know that sounds awful. But Kate has such a rigid program, I can't get any time alone with the kids. If I do plan an outing, she has to come along -- to supervise.

Continued on page 4:  His Turn, continued


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