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.

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.

The Struggles of a Non-Custodial Parent

Once again the holiday season is here. For non-custodial parents this is a hard time of year. For some, they may not have been able to see their children for years. For others it may mean an unequal distribution of holiday time with the kids. The custodial parent gets part of each holiday, which equates to lost time with the children.

Some parents are amicable and do what is best for the kids. Other parents are selfish and think that every holiday is theirs and that the non-custodial parent does not “deserve” the time with the children.

Even when the children are grown, they are often guilted into spending the holiday with only one parent. This leaves the other parent out of the holiday experience.

Personally, I have not had an Easter, Mother’s Day, or Christmas dinner with my children for 12 years. For 6 of those years I did not see them on Easter or Christmas at all. Maybe this has made me and other non-custodial parents stronger. The time with the children becomes even more special and holidays are not necessarily the dates on the calendar.

For the non-custodial parents out there: I hope that you get to spend some time around the holidays with your children. Make each visit special.

Another Battle for My Kids

I had to be inpatient for a few weeks to work out a few internal conflicts and emotions. While in the hospital, I achieved and surpassed my goal. In fact, this is the first time that the techniques I have learned inside the hospital work outside of the hospital.

The downside of going inpatient is that I need to complete tasks in order to get my kids back. Sometimes it is hard knowing that I am still trying to get my bearings, yet I need to get the necessary paperwork in order to see my kids.

I had not gone in the hospital for a few years. In that time, my kids have become teenagers. Sometimes, I just want them to get to 18 so I can see them without all of these restrictions.

Having a mental illness does not mean that one will automatically lose physical custody of their children. It does mean that there will be a long and expensive battle full of experts and questioning of the kids. Luckily, my kids said that they still wanted to see me. I realize that I am lucky to still be able to have a relationship with them and watch them grow.

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.

Is the Legal System Really Doing What “Is in the best interest of the child”?? *May Trigger*

A non-custodial parent. That is what I became with a signature from the court. I had a mental illness and a free attorney. They other side had one of the best attorney’s around and financial backing.

When it all began, I did not think that I would lose the kids that I had stayed home with and had raised. I trusted the judicial system to be fair and to listen to all sides. Boy, was I mistaken.

It started from the beginning. No one wanted to believe that someone who saved others for a living would abuse their wife and kids. On top of that, he came from money and had a lot of support. Even though there were pictures of bruising, the court seemed to look over them.

This is all coming from a place of reflection. At the time, I was lead to believe that he was the better parent. That he could provide for them and was more stable.

I on the other hand was left to pick up the fractured pieces. I was trying to keep the symptoms of my mental illnesses at bay while going through one of the most stressful times in my life.

My children were all under the age of 8 at the time. The court had appointed someone to look out for their best interest. Except, the home visits never happened and I am not sure that she ever even met with the kids. He took them to a therapist that he paid for and the court believed that she was impartial. The final decision was made based on much of her opinions.

The kids are grown at this point. They are leading lives and dreams of the future. What is scary is what I recently learned from them. Out of the blue they began to describe that time period. I heard of threats, beatings where they could not sit down, and many other things that if the court had known may of made joint custody or more possible. They were little kids who were scared to tell the truth for the fear of what could happen to them.

How many other little kids are out there and are scared to tell the truth? How many courts will not accept the photos of bruises and fail to follow up when a parent says that there is clearly something wrong? Why is having an illness looked at as a weakness?

I realize that I need to be a voice for all of the kids who are scared. All of the kids who will not come forward because they are being threatened. It is happening across the country. Maybe, I cannot change my past, but change someone else’s future. The courts need to listen to the kids. They need to not think that money is everything and look at the relationships the child has with each parent. Threats need to be prevented as much as possible. Maybe if that would have happened, my children would have had it differently.

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.