In the Daily Mail this week Deri Robins wrote about the price of putting love before her daughter in this honest article where she talks about leaving the family home and her child for another man.  I think it’s fair to say that most of us Mothers cannot comprehend leaving our children for anything, so what drove her to it and did she do the right thing?  I didn’t want to hang her out to dry just yet, as something struck a cord about why she would do the unthinkable.


Deri talks about having 3 children, 2 of which had already left home.  She had no other immediate family of her own and acknowledges her drive to have her own family.  Her then husband was older than her, and didn’t take the best care of himself.  Reading her article it struck me that it was loneliness or just the fear of it that paved the way for the set of events that transpired.  Meeting a charming Irish man at sea, having a whirlwind romance and then deciding to leave the family home and the daughter behind for a new life before her last child flew the nest.


To all intents and purposes the marriage was dead, financial worries were taking their toll and it was clearly a unhappy household yet Deri was unable to make the break from the marital home without the arms of another to fall into.  Would the right thing have been to sort out the affairs of the failed marriage before thinking about the next partner.  It would have been but we all know life isn’t like that, people aren’t like that, but why?  What drives these questionable decisions, laced with complications.


It’s struck me over the years there are some emotions or states that are so powerful, that they can break the Mother – Child bond, lead us to the most irrational of decisions and cause havoc with our lives and those around us.  Often we think love is the driving force, that would seem romantic and perhaps more forgiveable or palatable to the outside world.  It’s not love that opened the door in the first place, it’s something else.  Often it’s loneliness.  It’s power comes from making us feel vulnerable, fearful of a life of misery and unhappiness, without a soul’s companion.  It grips us in the moments of low self esteem, when we lack confidence and can’t imagine being happy any other way regardless of the riches we have in our lives.


My own Mother was plagued with a fear of loneliness, and was very much a troubled soul on far more levels than Deri.  She made some awful choices about relationships and unfortunately I had to go along for the ride, my childhood needs playing second fiddle to men that really shouldn’t have been around children at all.  I was abandoned in my own home, my mother distant from me in the same small 2 bed terrace.  How I’d wished she’d have left me if these were the choices she was going to make for us.  In the end, I left her for my own self preservation.


So did Deri do the right thing?  Maybe she did.  She talks about her new childless partner not being subjected to the trials and tribulations of her pre-teen daughter.  Staying with her father ensured her needs would be met through the close bond they already had.  My situation was different in that it was complex, fraught with chaos and in the hands of a Mother with mental health problems, but what drove her was the same.  A fear of being on her own, and I was not enough for her.


If my Mother had of left me I may have felt abandoned and deeply hurt, but I may also have had love, stability and security to soften the blow.  Having a parent that put love before Motherhood while I was at home was far more traumatic and has resulted in a complete breakdown in our relationship.  We haven’t spoken for 14 years or more and I have no regrets what so ever as I strive to provide my family with the love, stability and security they need.


Deri could without doubt have handled things a lot better and preserved the relationship with her daughter.  Fortunately things are improving for them and their relationship which is great news.  I wonder though if her leaving has ultimately saved them.  What do you think?




  1. I just read the DM article and what struck me was that she almost sounded jealous – or sidelined – by the relationship her daughter had with her father. Then only stepped back in when this relationship changed as he had a new partner. Despite her honesty, her decisions seemed to have all been made by looking at her own perspective rather than her child’s.
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  2. Its a tough one. I couldn’t leave my kids for anyone, and I do believe you have to put your kids before anything when they’re younger. However, I also believe that people make the decisions that they believe are right for them and their family at that time, so I try not to be too judgemental.

  3. This is an interesting one Zena, and has stirred up a few emotions for me. My own mother had three kids by the age of 25 and a very rocky on again off again relationship with my step-dad. She made so many bad decisions during my childhood resulting in a number of awful experiences for myself and my half siblings. Deep down though I believe she did what she thought was best at the time. She was young, naive and foolish though, and rarely ever helped herself.

    I left home at 15, and can’t tell you how often I had to bail her out of trouble between then and cutting ties with her altogether ten years later. As you’ve said, I got to the point where self preservation had to prevail. In the end no amount of love she claimed to have for me was enough to counter the destructiveness of having her in my life.

    Very thought provoking post xxx

    Very though

  4. i read that and tp be honest thought all her decisions were very selfish. My kids come above everything, and I can’t imagine that there would be anything {or anyone} I’d ever leave them for
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  5. We can only say what we would do based on our own situation. It is hard to say what anyone would do in her situation. The decision could not have been an easy one.

  6. I would always put my child first, no matter what. I have always had a extremely close bond to my mother and I could never imagine life without her. She is my best friend, she gives me guidance, teaches me things and she will always be at the end of the phone to talk to.
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  7. Interesting read with so many questions in my mind. I had a very happy normal upbringing so can never imagine what it must be like to be without a mum or a dad. As a mother – I would never be able to leave my boys – in any circumstances.

  8. This is a very interesting post Zena. My mum gave me up when I was 11. I had just lost my dad at 10 years old and within a year of him dying she was marrying again. He didn’t want a ready made family so I was sent to live with my Grandparents. I have over the years tried to build the bridges but she doesn’t want to know. I had a better life without her.

  9. My parents split when I was 16 years old under similar circumstances. I was lucky enough that my parents stayed in touch and were civil to each other and still are when they need to be.
    However, I think that some people do think that the grass is greener (my mother is a prime example) on the other side of the fence, but sometimes the problems are a little closer than they think…

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