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🙂

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.

First Visit to the House in Weeks

During October, I was in the hospital. I was not able to see the kids. This weekend will be the first time that they will be able to come to the house for a visit.

Christmas decorations will greet them when they walk through the door. I am glad to have the day to catch up with them and either watch a movie or play a game with them.

I am lucky that they still want to see me. I am sure that it has been difficult for them to have me in the hospital and not able to do as much as I would like to with them. They also understand that money is tight and we make sure that we all agree before we do anything. I am lucky to have them in my life.

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.

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.

Trapped *May Trigger*

I feel like I am trapped. I am somewhere on the scale in more than one aspect of my life. I do not want to be alive, yet killing myself would hurt those around me. I want therapy, yet it does not seem to be going well with my therapist at this time.

Even my kids are a conundrum. I worry about their lives, yet I am not there with them during the week. There is only so much that I can do over the phone. I just received an email today from a teacher of my son who has chosen to not communicate with me. He is not doing well. I really want to be able to get makeup work for him and have him do it at my house, yet he will not even come out to the car to say hello to me.

At least I have my diamond paintings and can lose myself in that world for a few hours each night. I also have two sweet cats. One who is laying on my lap and another who gives kisses at night before she goes to sleep.

My husband allowed us to move this past year and I am no longer trapped in a neighborhood full of crime. If I look at the whole picture it is pretty divided. I am not even sure what image it conjures up. Maybe some type of storm where it is raining on one side of the painting with dark gray clouds and a rainbow on the other side. The problem is that I feel like I am right on the thin line down the middle.

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.

A Custody Dilemma Due to My Mental Illness

I have stated on here that I have three kids. Right now I am feeling like the story of the three bears. One child does not speak to me at all. The second child is ok with the visitation arrangement and does not want to cause any issues. The last child is having some issues with home and school and wants to move in with me.

Enter the fact the the other parent has full physical custody. That parent believes they are the best because they do not have a mental illness which causes symptoms that have prohibited them from working. That parent would remove the kids from me in a minute. That parent grudgingly brings the kids that do want to come to visit.

Yes, I have PTSD and depression. I lose time and I have trouble leaving the house. I have nightmares that keep me up and cause me to be tired during the day. Apparently, that means that I cannot be a parent.

The last child wants to live here. That child is having some issues and would like to try going to school and living here. At least the child is not into high school yet and the grades will not count toward college. I am worried. Financially, I do not have the funds for the court case. It would be complicated and ugly. I have a feeling both sides would be calling experts. What to do? Emotionally, I want the third child to have a chance. Intellectually, I know that I cannot afford the fight. I am not sure that I could handle it emotionally either.

So here I am. I feel guilty that I cannot do what someone with more income would be able to do. I feel guilty for not working, yet my therapist and I are just trying to get me to leave the house. I feel guilty that there is a situation that will negatively affect this child in the future. I feel like I am watching a train wreck. I know what emotional abuse looks and sounds like. Not only from my own experience, but also from the child maltreatment classes that I took. Emotional abuse is one of the hardest types of abuse to prove. There are no exams and even therapists tends to minimize situations.

Right now I am scared. If this child is anything like me I am scared how far they will go to prove how bad they are feeling. I am scared that the custodial parent will stop the child from seeing me because they feel that I somehow caused this to happen. My genes are defective. Right now all I can do is hope that I get the kids at my next visitation.

No Cooperation

Being a non-custodial parent is hard and sucks at times. I personally have had to take all of my legal paperwork to get school records or even sports team schedules.

In my case the custodial parent takes their level of power to a level that sometimes is more than a little frustrating. He refuses to drop the kids off on a Friday due to a my change in location even though I have agreed to meet him at a location that is the same number of miles that I would normally drive.

In addition to losing Friday’s, I have also lost time on Saturday mornings with the kids activities. This weekend for example, I will only have them for about 24 hours outside of the car.

He blames me for relocating, yet the neighborhood is safer for the kids. I would think that would be a plus.

Holidays suck. I do not have my kids on any holiday evening except for Thanksgiving. All other holidays including Mothers Day, they have to be back in the afternoon.

I am counting the years until they turn 18 and can decide for themselves when they would like to visit. Until then, I sometimes feel like a puppet on a string.

Kids Should Not Have to Choose

When parents get divorced, in most cases, joint custody is awarded. There are exceptions. Mental illness, addiction, distance, who has more money, etc. Then the other parent becomes non-custodial.

In some ways I have been lucky. I still get to see my kids on holidays and am able to go on school trips. The kids are old enough to ask now and I have had the fortune of being asked twice this year.

Sometimes it is horrible. I have to account for almost every minute that they are with me. All the other parent has to go is plan the trip and go. Because the kids have passports, they can go out of the country and I do not have a say.

The other thing that I hate about my custody arrangement is that the other parent and their new spouse speak negatively about me. I am a bad parent, I do not pay enough money, I do not care about them. That can really have an affect on a teenager. Sometimes the child feels like they need to choose a parent.

I am looking forward to when they are 18 and can make their own choices. Maybe, I will be able to see them more often. Also when they can drive. Maybe they will come to visit. All I do know is that I feel like a bad parent all the time, yet I do see them. I need to work on that. All non-custodial parents want to see their kids.