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Oh brother, here they come again…
“THE Holidays”

As we entered the final quarter of each year, I began to feel the trepidation, as they sort of loom in the not so far off distance…
Every year I try to battle my trepidations with same old method of trying to look at them from new and inventive perspectives.
The general theory behind that is; each year being different, each year yielding different lessons and experiences, leaves me slightly different from the year before. Therefore it shouldn’t be hard to find a new perspective. It’s almost expected…

This is my second year as a single mother.
This year has been chock-a-block full of life altering, personality molding, wisdom earning experience
Has it changed that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of the holiday season…?
Not exactly.
Lets face it, some changes don’t always yield the tangible positive end results we expect from them…
Yup, I still get knots around the holidays…
Now,  Don’t get me wrong, I have more than ever to be grateful for… and I am… Deeply indescribably grateful…
It seems the more I go through, the more I can appreciate having gotten through it. Thankful that I’m not down and out. But instead, Moving forward in an upward angle. I have become a living testament to that old phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” This is invariably true in my life.
And I certainly shouldn’t downplay how incredibly lucky I’ve been thus far. For every pitfall I’ve run across,  There has always been a way out. Many of you might consider me blessed. I wouldn’t discount that assessment, as I’ve got no reasonable explanation that would better suffice.
However, there are still holiday drawbacks that weigh on my mind…  for example, Its no fun to be to be so far away from family at Christmas.  I was hoping to be in CO with my sister and nephew this year for the holidays, or at least for my nephews first birthday {which just passed}… and it’s hard to think on how much they miss us, and want to be with us at the holidays, and we just can’t make it.
Obviously, the holidays are never easy on any single parent… the shopping, hiding gifts, decorating the house, picking a tree, carefully choreographing the finances to accommodate everything, the wrapping and cooking, and then there’s the aftermath! Phew! it’s a lot for 2 people… its positively daunting for ONE.
And then there’s the actuality of being alone as it pertains to me personally… No one to kiss under the mistletoe, or as the new year’s ball drops… you know, that  stuff… Blah! 
I’ve learned the most in that  area of my life over the past year…
I learned not to take these things so seriously.  There’s just no need to.  Its just so much easier to let the pieces fall where they may… and just live MY life.
The ability to get along, without expectations, has made me a MUCH happier and healthier person.  And because I can just relax about it, being alone simply doesn’t suck as much… It’s still does a little at Christmas, but not as much, and it WILL pass…
Now that aside, I wonder –  what am I really looking at this holiday season…?
Another WONDERFUL Christmas with my amazing boys.
A Custom, Made-to-order, Marvelously Crazy, full of laughter, full of love, full of a deep rooted appreciation for all we have, family holiday that will go down in the kids memories as another year that we pulled it off, and made something fantastic happen, against the odds.
And that right there makes all the fretting, the extra stress, the financial tango, and the clean-up so very worth it…

There is a quote from Winston Churchill that someone decided to engrave onto fancy gold tone book marks, stylishly accented with navy blue satin ribbon.  They are sold at my favorite massive bookstore in plastic sleeves on a black velvet background.

Never Never Never Give Up…

I bought this book mark for my son 3 years ago or so. During a period of time when he had inexplicably stopped talking. His grades were slipping, his behavior took a strange turn, and I was so very worried.  I tried to reach him. I talked to him all the time, and one day while out running my weekly errands I picked up a copy of a book that I knew he was looking forward to, and gave him the bookmark with a small personal note of encouragement.
I have always tried to instill a sense of hopefulness in my children… I’ve always wanted to see them make the best of any situation, to always try, to learn and grow from mistakes, and mostly I just want them to be happy people.
Since then our lives have been turned upside down and continues to be somewhat topsy turvy, but we’ve gotten this far…
And we’re doing alright… {he’s doing quite well, actually}

Recently I came across that book mark while cleaning the boys bedrooms. 
For reasons I cannot explain, I just stopped what I was doing and stared at it for a moment… sort of zoned out.
It’s true that I was tired, and would likely have stopped for a coffee break around that time anyhow, but still, I found myself overthinking the meaning *I* should be taking from this quote.

Never give up. – simple concept.  and I thought to myself that I had given up. I had given up on hope, I had given up on growth and traded in for fear and disappointment and general overall stress.  I wish I could say that I felt some level of shame, but it wasn’t so. I felt angry and resentful and justified.  I’m ALWAYS overwhelmed and I never seem to get anywhere. WHY??

Oh-right, probably because I gave up – huh?
“Circumstances outside of my control” are trying to take over my whole life. I’m afraid that I will become embittered… and so I just keep my head down in anticipation of more issues, problems and disappointment.
What I’m NOT doing is changing my situation by worrying so much.  Just trying to get through it, to survive it, get by…
I gave up hope. I began to waste my time expecting the worst, and making my self sick over “oh-no, what will I do *IF*…

And this is where it all turns around…
The next evening, I came home from work looking pretty worn out… everything still weighing heavily on my mind, and it must have showed… Because my son could read it on me like a billboard.
However, it seems that Hope hasn’t given up on me just yet…
Once he found a quiet moment to approach me, my son said to me – “just remember mom, no matter how bad things seem right now, they are still so much better than they were Before
{ I can’t help but tear up when I think about this}
In that moment I was done with just being down and feeling bad.  Our situation is NOT that bad!!!  
I have my two amazing boys, we still have a roof over our heads {regardless of the struggle it may be to keep that going} and thus far, I’ve been able to provide them with all that they require… {And worrying about being able to continue that, isn’t helping anyone but the company that makes my anti-acids….} and hell, even if we lose everything we have… WE HAVE EACH OTHER!  
Funny, how simple things really are, when I’m not over-complicating it all in my own mind.
I’m just going to keep doing what I have been doing with some smallish changes,  instead of wasting my energy with unnecessary worry, I will make a bigger effort to enjoy the simple things again, Like I used to… Let go of those things that made me feel so bad all the time. Keep trying, keep living, and Never, Never, Never Give Up!

❤ Much Love to All. ❤

Firstly, Let me start off by saying a very heartfelt Thank You to everyone that has been so supportive regarding my current custody/visitation situation lately…  All the kind words, the thoughts, the prayers, and vibes have been more appreciated than I could ever put into words.  I am sincerely grateful.

Things didn’t go badly for me in court, thankfully.  The situation isn’t quite over yet though, and I have a ways to go yet…

On the date in question, I went to court nervous-sick because I was afraid the judge would order that I sign an agreement which would allow my youngest son sleep over visitation with his father.  I was afraid I would have to refuse to cooperate, {which I have never even considered before} for the sake of my childs safety.  There are usually hefty consequences when you refuse to cooperate with a judge.  Especially harsh are the consequences for women in my county.  Gladly I can report that this is not the case for me at this time.  The judge decided to compromise in such a manner that would be more appropriate for my child. switching the weekly Sunday visitation to bi-weekly Saturday and Sunday WITHOUT sleepovers at this time.  WHEW! what a relief!  the idea of having to sleep over there had my sons stomach in knots {and mine as well}.  I was hoping for the judge to show some mercy and not find me in “contempt”  for refusing to allow my youngest son to sleep over with a man who has no regard for our child whatsoever. I am so very grateful that the Judge chose this different route instead.

Sadly, the county courts are generally unconcerned with what is actually BEST for my son… and only concerned with following politically preset standards.  There are only 2 exceptions to this pre-packaged outcome… 1. – If he’s a convicted child molester, or if there is irrefutable evidence of child molestation.{he is not, for the record.} or
2. – if he is on hardcore drugs, and I could procure a blood test to prove that.  {He’s a  heavy drinker, that much is for certain, but the court doesn’t care.}
He’s a man with a very violent temper, narcissistic, selfish, and no concern {absolutely zero} for the safety and well-being of his children. people are possessions, and he’s obsessive about his possessions.   He’s incapable of love, or loving kindness.  He’s taught himself to fake a certain amount of it, but he can’t ever keep up the ruse for long, and when the facade finally cracks, he explodes in a blind violent rage.

This is what precipitated our split, and eventually divorce. He struck me for the last time. and I refused to take it any longer.

The fact that this man had no relationship with either of our kids prior to our separation, and the fact that he’s also been violent to both children {a fact that was hidden from me- but I suffer tremendous guilt over, and will for the rest of my life} means little to nothing as far as the courts are concerned, in my county.  It simply makes no sense. but its a plain fact.

This is something I have no choice but to deal with and accept.  As a mom, it’s painful. Every time my little guy is picked up for visitation, I worry… I fear that he may not come home in one piece. This isn’t irrational fear…  it’s set in place by a factual, documented history of him endangering the lives of our children.  For this reason, My oldest son no longer has any contact with him.  He is a high-school age, exceptionally bright young man…  His father made him plead for his life,  {Something no child should ever have to suffer, ever!  let alone from his own father!} and he turned his father in, and the two of them have had no further communication since…  that was over a year ago.

I am genuinely scared to let him alone with our youngest child.  Frequently I hear my son tell me how his father drank too much, forgot to feed him, drove erratically with him in the car, passed out for hours on end – leaving our child to fend for himself… and when he’s not being dangerous or neglectful,  he’s just being a downright jerk by telling my son that he shouldn’t listen to his mother, and that he should kick me… he calls me terrible names, and tells my son that I don’t love him, I just use him to steal his fathers money.
WHAT THE HELL KIND OF MONSTER IS CAPABLE OF DOING THIS TO A 10 YEAR OLD?!?!?!
This can’t possibly be the same man I married 16 years ago…  – Ah, but he is.
I don’t understand what happened to him after all these years…  he progressively got worse over time, and now he’s out of control. And despite all of this, Suffolk County courts feel its more important to protect his “rights as a father” than our childrens rights to feeling safe.
And so I go to court, month after month, to stand up for my kids. And I won’t give up, no matter what.

So,  it’s been a couple of months since I last posted. and I honestly intended to update before now.  But I’m very glad that I am posting good news. and not bad.  it was a lateral change, which is better than anticipated.

I will try to write more, as I find it cathartic, and comforting.
Little bits of this and that, and I’m sure a great deal more about my family.
I once again would like to thank everyone that has been so supportive, {and patient} throughout this ordeal.  Much love to all.

A mothers greatest fear is that of harm coming to her children.
I will stop at nothing to protect my kids… Even facing the possibility of arrest isn’t enough for me to lay down and let them come to harm.

Here’s the story:

Anyone that knows me, knows I am going through a really rough divorce from an abusive man that I was married to for 15 years. We have 2 children together. I have sole and exclusive custody and he has 1 day visitation weekly, with our youngest son only.  The oldest, {having taken a stand against his father for risking his life and safety by driving 110 mph, in an effort to intimidate and terrorize him}, was shunned by his father and they no longer have anything to do with each other. {This is sad, on so many levels, for so many reasons} The youngest, however, was not involved in the incident and in his guileless innocence still deeply desires his fathers acceptance. Visitation continues to be an issue though, the X shows up when he feels like it, and is inconsistent. Doesn’t tend to our sons basic needs such as proper meals, or proper supervision, tending to boo-boos, Etc…  He generally overall has no interest in being a “dad” and that is abundantly clear more and more as time goes by.  These issues come up regularly, yet the court system here still feels that a bad father is better than no father. -Okay, I can understand why they would take that standpoint… and in a lot of circumstances I can even respect that… but you see, the courts are now trying to adjust the visitation schedule for every other weekend sleepovers… This is a very bad idea.  Compounding the innumerable reasons as to why this is detrimental for my son and his well being… History repeated itself yesterday… With my child in the front seat of the vehicle, he drove at speeds up to 105 mph, and nearly couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting a truck. Thankfully, with the nose of his car just underneath the back of the truck, he got the car to screech to a halt before killing my son, and himself. {Too damn close! I wish someone would have called in a report on that} According to my son, he was then sworn to secrecy, and warned not to ever tell his mother {me.}. Out of pure fear, my son did not tell me… But he did tell his big brother… who told me, while on the phone with his law guardian… Ugh!!  The nightmare begins again…
My living hell, of putting my precious child in the car with a man I know to be a monster… and not knowing if I will ever see him in one piece again… makes my life a never ending cycle of fear, broken down week by week by excruciating week.  I hoped with what little hope I had left, that this wouldn’t happen again. That somehow some part of his brain started functioning enough to learn from his mistakes, if not for the kids, well, maybe at least to keep from getting himself into trouble.  No such luck.

Terror stricken, I find myself in a unique position of having to protect my children from their father… and from the court system that would throw them to the proverbial wolves…
I have to make a terrible choice – between standing up for my kids safety and well being, and possibly being found in contempt of court, and all that comes with that. {arrest, arraignment, subsequent consequences}
Or – lay down and simply accept that I must allow the court system to make the decision to amend the visitation schedule which would potentially be of terminal consequences… and live every other week knowing that there is a good chance that one day my sweet beloved precious boy will not be coming home alive.

You see, there really is no choice here – is there…?

I have never in my life broken the law.  I have never in my life been a “bad girl”. I always live by the motto “do the right thing” and “treat others as you would have them treat you” .
-I truly believe the right thing to do is to fight for my children’s safety no matter what. 
I’m very nervous.  Downright scared. Sequestered to “mother’s hell”.
I suppose I will be blogging next week about what has become of this matter.

“They” say: “Home is where the heart is.”
{I’m not sure who “they” are but they are always saying something interesting.}

When most people think of this phrase, it conjurs up warm thoughts of their own home, family and more than likely their mother.
As  a mother, this phrase takes on new meaning. As a single mother, this new meaning has an even broader impact.
I find myself writing about being a single mother a lot lately. Most likely because this has become what my life is about, and as time goes by and I more settled into this role, I also feel more comfortable writing about it. I’m still learning as I go, details still need ironing out, and sometimes tensions run high… So here I am again, writing about things at home, and I suspect this will come off a bit like a rant. It pretty much is.

I have found myself thinking long and hard about what my kids minds will conjure up when they are adults and they hear that “home is where the heart is”? 
Will it be that they will remember all the fun silly things we do together?  Will they remember how very loved they are?

Or will they remember that mom was always busy, and stressed out, and the house was in disarray more often than not?
The former is far more appealing and comforting than the latter but both are the reality. This made me pretty sad because it’s *my job* to make sure that our home – no matter where it may be – is where the heart is.
Where is the heart in all the frustration, and stress, and mess?  It’s there, but it gets cluttered up, and then it can be like a scavenger hunt.  When it gets to this point, I feel like the only way to rectify the situation is to simplify my life.
I shut down in a lot of ways, and refocus on home, happiness and at the heart of it all – my children.

The first thing to go… Social networks {Facebook}  it’s a frivolous distraction, a guilty pleasure – yes, but very unnecessary and a time killer.  Social events – They constantly come up, and I feel a lot of pressure to participate, but I really cannot. It’s nice to break free from my life, to some degree, once in a blue, but this too can become excessive and draining.  Dating – uhm… riiiight. So, that’s out of the question right now… regardless.  I had been going to a writing class, it was a free class and it certainly has helped me out a lot, but unfortunately its on a weeknight and is a considerable distance from my home and work. It too became too much and I had to stop going. One more night each week at home, to cook a real dinner so my kids and I can sit down and talk, catch up on laundry {my nemesis}, and maybe {just maybe} once I’ve got things in order {it’ll happen, I swear!} I can possibly just *relax*…{?} I’ll have time to go back to my  time eating, guilty pleasures and distractions later on. 
I still have numerous divorce related court appearances to make, which also means meetings with my lawyer, bringing the kids to their law guardians, not to mention doctors visits, family counselling and school related meetings.  So, the schedule is certainly full enough – thank you very much…

Any little bit of peace and quiet, or moment to bond with my kids that I can possibly stitch together can only help in the process of weaving together a tapestry of warm and loving memories for my kids to look back on when they are older.  ❤

   

 

There came a day when she realized that superman wasn’t coming to save her.  There would be no knight in shining armor, galloping in on a white horse that would sweep her off of her feet.  There would be no romantic, picturesque ride into the sunset horizon of some happily ever after.

Everything she had ever done, or suffered… all that she fought for, lived for, and hoped for, up to that point was moot.  All for naught… a full half of her life, spent in a miserable wasteland of a failed marriage.  And things were out of control… again.

The truth was, she was scared… Frightened of the unknown… frightened of the possibility that she would fail on her own and she didn’t have the first foggiest clue about how to survive – alone.
But she wasn’t alone… There were the kids. They needed her…
With them in mind, she stepped over the threshold into a Terrifying new life… She couldn’t wait to be saved. She couldn’t hope it would get better. She couldn’t keep making excuses.  She knew they weren’t going to survive any more… 
She had to become her own heroine. Save herself, Not for herself… but for *them*

It was a dramatic birth into this new role… and since then her war has taken on a quieter more subtle appearance. She’s picked up some allies along the way.   But still every day, she refuses to surrender.  Though most of her battles may be small and simple, easily looked over… Still, she fights for them. Most days she is the victor, and some days she falls hard…  Only she can know the full extent of her trials and triumphs.  At night, after a hard day, when she’s weary from the battle, and it would be so easy to give up, give in… She reminds herself that one day this war will be over and when that day comes, she will look back at all she has been through and know all that she fought for… it was always for them and they were always worth it. With that thought, and renewing a silent strength within herself to carry on, She closes her eyes, and promises herself to quietly fight another day. For Them.

Stability… What on Earth is that…?  From this single mothers standpoint it’s like a fairytale… alongside other such myths like unicorns, pixiedust, and monogamous men…

Joking aside, it seems to me that all good parents want to be GREAT parents… but somehow or other always seem to struggle with feelings of inadequacy due to a number of variables, Financial strain, too much time spent working – not enough time with the kids, internal family frictions/sibling rivalry issues… etc.. this list could go on, and on, but you get the point… Well, what I’m trying to say is that, I am no different… I want to live up to this “Super-mom” standard but I just can’t seem to get there… Plus, I amplify all my shortcomings by focusing on them obsessively, especially when I’m in no position to change things right at the moment.
My apartment has been a disaster since the kids and I moved here in July. It is now April… =(   I’ve considered inviting FEMA in to assess the place… I figure, I’m pretty sure I could fool them into believing a smallish concentrated tornado (that would be my youngest son) whipped through here… and then maybe my FEMA check could help out with the finances around here, since my “X” hasn’t paid a cent in child support since mid January.
I feel bad, I work on average 57 hours a week, and still can’t manage to bring in enough to take care of everything, or even come close. My savings {which was supposed to buy a decent used  family vehicle – since we currently don’t have one} is hemorrhaging itself into nothingness, as I am forced to use it for everything from paying rent/bills to buying the kids new clothes/shoes/glasses…etc…

Teenage boys never cease to outgrow or wear out EVERYTHING every 3 months, like clockwork.  I did the math, it works out to an average of 8 pairs of sneakers, 40 pairs of jeans, 50-60 shirts and 96 pairs of socks per year. Sheesh!  Raising my boys is no joke, though there is always plenty of laughter.  My kids are naturally ingrained with highly irrational giggle triggers… The oldest has a quick wit, very cerebral, stuff that makes you use your head before you realize what he means and end up laughing till you snort. The little guy is, well, for lack of a better term, he’s a goofball, and sometimes he tries so hard to get your attention that it’s either irritating or so funny you end up with snot bubbles.  {he asked me to write something about snot bubbles… that was the best I could do} The point is, they crack me up… and that’s a good thing because sometimes its the fine line between grounding them {which means they sit in their dungeons – oops I mean bedrooms – with nothing to do but think about what an evil cackling witch their mom is}  or laughing off the matter and showing some forgiveness. They know this too, and they use it against me, like evil little clowns…

Sometimes I feel the importance of being stern, I try and get them to take me seriously, and I get pretty upset when they don’t sometimes, and then I yell…  I always feel terrible after yelling at my kids. I can only imagine they like it even less than I do.  Often nights after being “mean mommy” I over evaluate and suffer serious guilt pangs all night.  Further tarnishing my sparkly pink “S”  for “super-mom”  that I always strive for, and dream of, but seemingly always fall short of earning…

When I became a single parent, I figured it was going to be a challenge, but I guess I never realized on how many levels… I get overwhelmed, and wonder how it is that I’m not handling this better than I was *before*…  After some consideration, It occurred to me that while my “X” was a part of our lives, {albeit not a great part, not even a good part} he was the main source of income, and though he wasn’t wise with money and bills, there was so much more income that mine didn’t matter as much, over all. And that afforded me the freedom to work less, and focus more on my home, my children, and those things that I seem to be grappling with now on my own.

As hard as things are now, I still wouldn’t trade back.  Things weren’t exactly easy before either…  The kids and I spent most of our time at home, acutely aware that we were living with a ticking time bomb, and none of us knew when or why it might explode.. when it did, no matter who got the brunt of the blast, the shrapnel hit us all. We 3 lived completely devoid of any sense of security or self worth. That’s no way to live… No way to raise children. My boys are better off in a home where they feel safe, and are surrounded by love and laughter, and mess, and with only One slightly off kilter, constantly working, loving, good, yet not quite “super” parent, than two miserable parents, {one with a very short fuse} less mess, and more money… There’s just no comparison.

So as I dangle over the edge of the world, holding on with one pinkynail, while scorpions run down my spine, {and apparently blowing snot bubbles – the scorpion of course… *I’m a lady* – } and i ponder all of my shortcomings…  I ask myself from time to time… “Am I good enough?”
-Damn straight, I am!