Noncustodial Mother’s Day

2007 was the last year that I was able to wake up with my kids. Little did I know, how tough the following years were going to be.

My ex’s parents did not have a care when it came to money or how much they spent. They were going to spend every penny it took to get my children away from me.

As most custodial parents, something was used against me. In my case it was my mental illness. Without adequate representation, I thought that if I could just show the court that I had taken care of my kids at home for 6 years that it would make a difference.

Except, I did not get a say. Within minutes. I was granted 60 +/- overnights a year. Even then, I did not expect the agreement to not be followed.

Over the years, I have repeatedly been taken back to court. If I need to go into the hospital for my mental health, I need to jump through all of the hoops to see my kids again.

This Mother’s Day is especially difficult. My oldest son believes everything that his father says, even if there is evidence to refute it. My youngest has taken the path of least resistance. That means not seeing me. My middle child who will turn 28’this year still sees me. He has always analyzed things around him and is neutral.

In 2007, I never believed that one day they would all be 18. That seemed so far away. I hope that my other two children will come to question their father, yet it may not happen in my lifetime. I love them and I always will. I have learned to appreciate every hug goodbye and every I Love you at the end of a text.

For those struggling today, we are out here and you are not alone. We feel the pain that comes with what you and those alike are going through. You are as much a mom as anyone else.

My Experience with Parental Alienation *May Trigger*

When the dust cleared and the agreement was signed, neither parent was supposed to negatively discuss anything about the other parent. The problem is that when one side has a top attorney and the other side does not have the money to afford an attorney, the terms of the agreement tend to get overlooked.

That is what happened to my children. It began with my ex and his mother. They would say that I was faking my mental illness, that I was not giving their father enough money. And even that I did not love them. When my ex married, the comments became worse. My kids were told that they were not from my culture, my daughter’s body was criticized, I was accused of lying and of not being genuine.

Every time that I went into the hospital for treatment of my mental illness there would be a long breaks between visits.‘I had to get letters from all of my doctors stating that I was not a danger to my children. Then I had to be evaluated by an independent doctor. This process could take as long as 10’months.

Now, my kids are teenagers. One does not speak to me and repeats that I am a selfish individual and a liar. That I do not look out for him. My second child visits and ask questions about my illness to tries to gauge the truth. He has also done some research. My third child has begun to move away from me. She is frustrated that I do not always know how I will feel in advance and believes that I am keeping the truth from her.

The state that my divorce was finalized in does not even have a statute for parental alienation. What I have learned over the past 10 years is that parental alienation begins with the adults surrounding the children. The messages become like a broken record. As the child ages, those messages are internalized and become the child’s beliefs. Once that happens it is hard to adjust their thinking.

I believe that every state should have laws regarding parental alienation and try to prevent it from happening in as many cases as possible. It can ruin a relationship between a parent and a child for life. Keeping each from experiencing the love and affection from each other. Life events go by without acknowledgement and soon kids turn into parents and grandparent is kept from their grandchild. More needs to be done!! Parents should not be shut out of a child’s life because of the other parents negative feelings.

A Noncustodial Mom’s Struggle

Thirteen years ago, I lost my children. My ex had one of the top lawyers in the state and I could barely afford the phone bill. I tried to speak to my kids almost everyday. They were so little, that they did not say much and were often distracted. I hoped that the magical age of 18 would come quickly. The age that they could choose when and how often to stay. The age when it would be their choice instead of a legal document.

My oldest stopped speaking to me 4 years ago. To this day there is no reason given to myself or anyone else. A lot happened over the past few years. He has a girlfriend and went through his senior year. He graduated a few weeks ago. He wants nothing to do with me. As far as he is concerned I do not exist.

This is a disadvantage of being the noncustodial parent. There is not enough time with the children to form a strong bond. Alienating the other parent or turning them into a villain is easy. I wonder if I will ever see or speak to him again.

Turning 18

Every parent that I know wants to keep their kids little and young. Not in my case! I am a non-custodial parent with visitation. Hopefully, I get my visits because things can always change. Ever since my divorce was final I have not been able to have dinner with my kids on Easter, Mother’s Day, or Christmas.

My oldest just turned 18 and it will not be that long before my other two follow that. I am so excited!!! They will be able to decide when they want to stay over and for how long. They will decide what holidays they want to see me. If I have to go into the hospital because I am struggling with PTSD, I do not have to jump through hoops to see them.

I have been waiting for this. It means that I actually be able to see my kids more than I even do at the moment. 18 is my magical number when it comes to the kids🙂

Another Holiday Without Kids

Being a person with a mental illness has its unique challenges. For some reason there are some people who seem to think that all people with a mental illness are unstable. I wish that people knew how many people with a mental illness are doctors, lawyers, therapists, and others that they come into contact with everyday.

Personally, my mental illness is causing pain at this point. I was in the hospital for the first time in 2 years. The consequences are that I do not get to see my kids on Christmas which is my holiday. My kids are missing the family holiday party. They want to see me, yet their father will not allow me to see them for four days over the next two months. It is all part of agreements and amendments. All of the kids are teenagers. I think that they deserve a say in where they go.

It is hard not having my kids for the holiday, yet I need to make the best out of it for now. I am having the kids for a different Christmas Day. I am going to make the holiday season as good as I can for them.

One of the Worst Days of the Year

Most children are going back to school today. Parents will post first day photos on Facebook in front of banners, in t-shirts, in front of school friends, etc. They will write about preparations for the day.

As a non-custodial parent, today feels like a failure. There are no opportunities for photos because I live to far away. I do not know my kids friends because I rarely see them with any of them.’no conversations about who is in their classes and what their day was like will take place.

My ex does not even send me a photo of the ones that may be taken, Now that they are older, I have come to peace with this day. Yet, it is still difficult to see photos. Today, I do not know what my kids are wearing to school or even if they made it to the bus on time.

For me and I am sure for others in my situation this has become our norm. Being excluded from some of the most important events and days in a child’s life.

When Life Gets in the Way

My divorce was 10 years ago. Since then, I have tried to go to nursing school which ended when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and placed on a narcotic until the doctor could figure out the correct combination of meds. The narcotic made me ineligible to continue my clinical.

During those years, I was also in and out of the psychiatric hospital and my ex successfully took my kids away for 10 months while I was evaluated by the court. Eventually, I had them back. A little over a year later, my oldest stopped coming over and talking to me. I have missed so much with him that I cannot get back and miss him everyday.

Having PTSD and having problems leaving the house began working with my therapist on ways to get me out of the house. Since I knew that I could not go back to nursing and I still wanted to help people, I went to school for social work. The first year was good and I was comfortable with the other students and campus. Then I was accepted to graduate school.

I did not even last three weeks. In the classroom, I received A’s on my papers and was successful with projects. Field placement was another story. I had to interact with others. I knew that it would be a challenge and attempted to keep my head down. I was at my placement for a total of three days when I was told that I was no longer welcome. My mental health diagnoses were a problem and the supervisor did not think that I was stable enough to work with the clients. There went another dream and another potential career.

At this point, I stay in the house and only leave to go to therapy or to pick up medications. I do not even like to answer the door or open the door for delivery people. In some ways I have isolated myself, yet every time I have tried to put myself out there it has not worked out. It is like people know that I am different and stay away.

Mother’s Day 2019

As a non-custodial parent I find Mother’s Day to be a difficult holiday. I am lucky that I am able to see my teenagers and spend part of the day with them. I realize that there are women who do not even get this.

My problem is that my ex thinks that all holidays are his. Especially, the more significant holidays. Yes I get my teens from 10 am Saturday to 5 pm the next day. Mind you, they have to be back by 5 and it is an hour and a half drive. I have not have them for dinner for this or other holidays since 2008. I am at the point where I am lucky enough to only have a couple more years before they are 18 and the agreement will not mean much.

So, with gallbladder surgery this year, my body has decided that it does not like half of the foods that most places sell. I have planned a take out lunch and maybe renting a movie. Spending time with the kids is the most important point of the day or any visitation weekend. So, I will enjoy them while I have them and look forward to things changing in the not so distant future.

Time for Summer Weeks

One of the disadvantages of being a non-custodial parent for me is that I have to have my summer visits approved by my ex. That also means working around his vacation. I feel like I always just get whatever is left over.

This will be our first summer in the new house. It is cooler where we live now and from what I could tell last year, less humid. Because of the house we are not able to go in any overnight trips this year. At least we will be able to do a couple of day trips. There are a lot of places to see around here.

I emailed my weeks this morning. Hopefully, I will hear back by tomorrow. I just keep thinking of how old the kids are getting and that there is only a few years until the agreement will not matter.

The Trials of Being a Noncustodial Parent

I have been a noncustodial parent for over 10 years. In those years I have not had my children for one holiday dinner since they have to be back in the afternoon. There were not the first day of school pictures or even school visitation. When I would try to visit the kids at school I had to being my legal paperwork and a written note from their father.

Now that they are getting older I do not see them for dances or when they get home from school, I am not there to help them with homework. Most of our conversations are over text. I am at the mercy of whatever extra curricular activities that they are signed up for which often eat up a portion of my weekend.

The good news is that I still get to see my kids. I realize there are those parents out there who cannot and that has to be agony. I know that when I had my children this is not how I pictured watching them grow up. In bits and pieces when I have a chance too.

In my case it was my mental illness. I have had to fight to see them since then. It seems as if court is never ending. One day they will be old enough to choose. I am hoping to have that dinner or one more night. The future is promising, yet one child has been convinced that I am a horrible mother and no longer speaks to me.

Hang in there is you are in the same situation and keep fighting for as long as possible. It is an uphill battle, yet there is an end to the hill and the grass is greener on the other side.