Margaret J. Wheatley: "All change, even large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Confusing Laws

     In the news, there is a story about a mom who has been banned from having more children for 13 years.  After abandoning 4 children in a hotel she was faced with a jail sentence or give up her right to have more children for 13 years.

     I don't think anyone who has seen this has any sympathy for her.  Most will agree you cannot leave children in a hotel room to go partying.  It is definitely seen as "negligent" behavior.  It is a pretty clear example of neglect.  Completely understandable that she should face consequences for her actions.

     There is also a story about a case in Kansas asking a sperm donor to pay child support because, based on a technicality, a doctor wasn't involved.  I don't agree with this one at all.  There was a an agreement and he donated so a lesbian couple could have a child.  He didn't get one of them pregnant and hit the highway.  This isn't what I consider abandonment or an obligation.  Maybe I am wrong in thinking that, but someone had to help them have a child and now that they have fell on hard times they repay him by asking him to be financially responsible.

     Our laws are confusing and there are always so many sides to many different situations.  However, it just seems simple to me in cases that when two people have a child together whether planned or not there is an obligation from both of them. The child didn't ask to be here and it is a responsibility for both parents to take care of that child.  It doesn't matter what is going on in their adult situation, the child has no fault there either and deserves to be taken care in every way.

     I know there are always stories in the news that complicate parental obligation and who should do what, but it is clear, to me, that purposely erasing yourself from a child you are half responsible for should never be an option.

What do you think?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Break the Cycle

     I enjoy reading single parent blogs because, beside the fact that I feel like I have something in common with them, I particularly enjoy the upbeat, I've moved on and doing great posts.

     I am a Christian and have completely leaned on my faith through all of this and with everything else.  I am proud of my kids for a lot of reasons, but their each and personal relationship with God is what makes me most proud.  I don't walk around in a cloud of anger and frustration.  I know that isn't good for me or my kids.  If we are honest, though, it IS a very frustrating situation.  It is for me mainly because I was raised and taught that you do the right thing.  No matter what.  Right is right and you have a responsibility to do the right thing.  I know not everyone in the world gets that concept, but it still means something to me.

     What makes me angry about this situation is not just the fact that my ex is a jerk to his kids.  I knew that years ago and that is why I divorced him.  What makes me angry is that women (and men too) end up being solo parents and we rely on the justice system and it is anything but.  I saw so many segments on my local news shows around the holidays with representatives from local missions and shelters.  They all said the same thing.  "We have many different people here, but most are women and children."  Why do you think that is?  I first applaud the hard work volunteers do at shelters, they are doing all they can, but then I get frustrated wondering how many women and children are there and shouldn't be? 

     We, as taxpayers, pay our "system" to keep criminals in jail and off our streets and to keep order.  There is no order but total chaos when that same system fails and women and children end up on government assistance.  Guess who pays double?  Guess who is STILL not paying?

     I know they say, "If we put them in jail they can't pay their child support."  That is true, but if you haven't been paying regularly and have missed months, then you should be put in jail.  There have to be consequences.  I never like punishing my kids, but if it is to keep them safe I will do it.  The same priniciple applies.  Put 'em in a cell for a long weekend with the want ads and see if they don't come out looking and working a little harder that next week.  I have been in abandonment court a few times and as long as they bring ANYTHING they let them go.  I was sitting with another mom who told me she hadn't gotten support for two years and couldn't afford to go through the court (just basic filing to get a case open is almost $300 here and that is the beginning without a lawyer).  When they called her case up, her ex stood up with $200 dollars and by that judge's reaction you would have thought he handed over to her a winning lottery ticket.  One word.  Ridiculous.

     It is an impossible situation for some solo parents.  Especially the moms who have been (I raise my hand) a stay at home mom for years.  There is no way you can work enough hours to pay for everything, have enough time for your kids, attend extra curricular events, and be there when they go to sleep.  This is so important the younger the children are.  Well, I say that, but you need to be as present as you can the teen years and of course there are more expenses at that age.

     My point is, I choose my venting time.  I enjoy my time with my kids, it goes too fast.  I don't want to walk around being sour at the world, but it is time we did  something.  I am blessed to have my family, but I have sat over the last 3 years with SO MANY women (and men) who have nobody.  You can see the fear, frustration, and desperation in their eyes.  Why can't we do something before women and children end up in shelters.  Once they are there it is so much harder to get out of that hole.  Then, the children have become angry at the situation and feel desperate.

     I was waiting on one of my hearings and happened to sit in on "Friday Court".  I watched these young people handcuffed speak to a judge pleading him to let them go home.  Many wanted to go home because they already were parents.  The biggest thing they had in common, it was hard not to pick up on, was that they had been abandoned by a parent.  They, in their words, were repeating the only examples they knew.  One was just stealing trying to eat. 

     In my opinion, when these young people come back through the same system that let them down, the court only has two words they should be able to say to them.  "I'm sorry."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Me, Bitter? Nah......

     This blog is intended to inform, educate, and find solutions to the problems we solo parents face.  There are countless articles like the one in the previous post, but who are we kidding? Do we really need magazines, mental health professionals, and everyone else who wants to analyze the consequences of being abandoned by a parent?  It's a big, fat NO!  We deal with it everyday.  Our heart breaks while watching our children deal with an adult issue and it is not right.  Plain and simple.

     What do we do?  The only thing we can do, go through the system.  Well, while the system is busy protecting the rights of non-law abiding citizens, our children go day after day without and in emotional pain.  Why should I have to sit at the county jail waiting to speak to a judge, explain I am owed, hope and pray the judge agrees and signs the warrant for a hearing........two to three weeks later, then I have to hope the letter they send doesn't get returned or pay $50 to try to get him served by a sheriff only to have him show up in court with the tiniest percentage owed and gets a pat on the back for paying anything..?????  Am I crazy or is ths insane?  Of course, you can go through the state and fill out tons of paperwork, practically sign your name in blood, and then let them try to collect, while taking a portion of what belongs to your children.?????  Again, am I just crazy or is this totally backwards?

     I try not to let it get me bitter, but it is like beating my head up against the wall.  Let's face it, our kids have no rights and neither do we.  What little bit we have gets stripped as we go through "the process".

     I'll tell you another thing, there's a difference between bitter and fed up.  Between the two I am just pissed off.  Unless that right has been taken away too.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Effects of Abandonment

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      It is so unfair to ask children to bear the effects of being abandoned by a parent.  They are innocent in every way when it comes to the relationship between parent and child and it is beyond cruel to make them feel any responsibility for the demise of the situation.

     When a parent abandons a child, there are lasting consequences for the child.  Even babies have a fear of being left alone or not tended to.  It only makes sense that as they grow those fears grow.  This article explains many of the effects of abandonment.  If you are the responsible parent reading this, the article isn't really telling you anything you don't already know.  We are not only left with the physical and financial responsibilities, but the emotional as well.  Sometimes the physical and financial feel like a piece of cake compared to the emotional issues.

     I work very hard at facing head on any effects and anxieties that come with abandonment.  My dad, grandfather, brother, and brother in law go above and beyond making sure my kids have a father figure.  Sometimes, a mom just can't do what a dad can and for that I am so grateful for the men in my family.  It isn't always men who are the ones abandoning their children.  Sometimes dads get left with trying to fill a mom's role and their are times kids need a mother figure.  I didn't truly understand the quote, "It takes a village to raise a child" but I sure get it now.  I am so thankful to the teachers, coaches, and parents of my kids' friends for being there for them.

     This blog is truly about the children.  However, it is very exhausting physically and emotionally sometimes for the present parent.  We work not over time, not even double time, but sometimes triple and quadruple over time to make sure our kids have what they need in every aspect.  The love and respect we get back is priceless, but it doesn't excuse the other parent's irresponsibility. 

     What is your story?  How do you cope with being an only parent? 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Welcome to The Backwards Merry Go Round

"Margaret J. Wheatley: "All change, even large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about."

     I love this quote because I truly believe in it.  If there is a need for a situation to be changed and enough people who passionately care about that change work together it will happen.  I am a single mom of three sweet teenagers and being a mom is not only my greatest accomplishment but the most important thing to me.  I love them so much and although I work very hard, along with my family, my heart breaks that I am their only parent.  Through no fault of their own and by choice, their dad is not in their life.  Now, many people might tell me to be careful making that statement.  It can be seen as defamation of character and I might get in trouble.  You know what?  I am not going to worry about that anymore.  I am tired of the rights of deadbeat parents being protected while innocent children are left dealing with the consequences.  It isn't their fault and I am tired of them being punished while we tiptoe around the rights of those who have chosen to be absent and at times cruel.


     I am very blunt and to the point about this matter.  There are too many single, custodial parents being put in the position of completely holding the responsibility that should be shared.  I have been in court for the last three years trying to get child support.  It is as though the system teaches them how to evade paying.  All this time it is the innocent children who suffer and they don't have rights or a voice.  I think it is time that the parents who are being responsible speak out for them and see if we can do something for their present benefit as well as their future.