December 2, 2009

growing up

There are so many warnings, writings, support groups, etc about the "terrible two's" - I remember dreading the second birthday of my son, and looking with hope to the third one convincing myself the age of "rebellion" would be over - yeah right!
Now that my son is approaching three, here comes the age of independence. As he grows I see how he is no longer the baby that would explore the world, but not too far from mommy's sight.
He goes to school (doesn't cry anymore and looks forward to it), seeks to have his own time and has his own opinion about foods, clothes, naps, bed time - you name it!
As I see him "fight" any and every "request" from mommy, I am also glad he is coming to have his own thoughts and express his own wants and dislikes.
It is tough when his dislikes is something he needs to do, or something we have no control over.
Recently, my son's dad and I came to a decision to modify the schedule for our son's sake. It was hard to finally come to that decision, but it is working out better for our kid and his anxiety is slowly disappearing.
I thank God that a kid that age can be clear about his/her fears. I thank God we were able to listen and take a positive action.
So, the title is growing up. I meant the parents are growing up. I think we slowly moved from crashing the horns to move our ears to our kid.
I know there are though moments ahead, but I do pray we keep on growing up.

I encourage you to listen. To stop and ask how things are going - even from a 2 year old - to provide a safe environment for our kids to talk - to forget a little bit about ourselves and let them feel comfortable to tell us what is going on in their hearts - to be a parent first and a friend second - to be what they need.

Now that the Holidays are here, and maybe you find yourself in an unexpected place, or a place that doesn't make your heart rejoice - let's set other expectations, in which our kids come first. Let's set new traditions that make them feel at home and that truly is not the end of the world, but their world and ours continue - and move forward :)

Blessings to you in this season - make the most of them! and look at your kids, a long loving look, go past their eyes so they know that you care for their heart.

Love your kids today and Merry Christmas!

November 15, 2009

The sight of a broken heart

A week ago my son and I went to an amusement park, while waiting in line for a ride, we - sadly - overheard a loud conversation from a family behind us.
What I witness still tearing me apart inside and makes me cling to my kid and fill him with hugs and kisses every chance I get.
A mother was scolding her son for something he may have done that upset her. But what it was said was in  no ways to correct that child, but to tear him apart. She was lashing on that tiny 8-year-old her years of frustration and her own daemons.
The child was being accused of ruining her life, of being a pest, condemned to a future with no love and support because of what he did that afternoon.
As I turned to see the child, I saw a small, handsome face with tears running down his face, eyes filled with hopelessness for he has no one to turn to (since the mother had told him that nobody wanted him), he was hugging himself for he was his only comfort, and he knew he was alone.
As I looked around, I saw parents witnessing the same sad spectacle, EVERYONE turned to their kids and  embraced them tightly, kissed them and told them loving words.

That scene is a haunting scene, but it is a scene that we can run if we are not careful.
That mother can give all the excuses in the world. "I was stressed out at the moment", "if you only knew what he puts me through", "I was being harsh to make him tough", "I was tired". None of that matters when we chatter a life, specially a young one, specially our kids'.

You see, no matter what is going on in our lives, our kids are looking at our every move. They are looking for someone or something to follow. Whether they are 2, 8 or 16, they are looking for ground to step on.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE see your kids, listen to them; a divorce, custody battle, visitation, changing schedules are very, very, very hard for them, no matter the age. They all have something to say about the subject, even if you don't like what you are hearing, they are all looking to hear the words "it is going to be OK". 

Custody battles are wearing and overwhelming, but no kid deserves to bare the weight. We are the adults, we are to share the burden with other supportive adults. We should not put a shield on our kids and pretend we live in la-la-la land, but we cannot pressure them to grow at light-speed and be OK with a confusing and difficult situation.

Our kids' hearts are fragile and strong at the same time. They LOVE you and they will listen if you tell them they are worthy or worthless, a gift or a pest, loved or unloved, and they will keep those words with them. Let's choose our words correctly and give words that build up and edify. And if for any reason we are in the worst of moods and cannot edify to save our lives, then tell them to wait a little before they talk to us because we need to calm down for a little bit; and above all, they need to hear that we LOVE them.

Listen to your kids, look for clues, pay attention to their hearts.
Recently my two year old told me something that broke my heart in trillion pieces, he gave me a glimpse of his heart about the visitation situation and it wasn't pretty. The dad and I communicated and took steps to fix the situation, and my little boy seems much better with the new situation.
God taught me humility (no humiliation - very different) to get over myself and compromise.
Our kids heart is worth everything.

Talk to your kids, love them, and let's make sure they know it and hear it. If hearts have been broken, it is never too late to mend them. 
Your family deserves it.

Thank you for reading, Blessings and LOVE your kids today.

October 26, 2009

15 minutes of pride

Pride is a nasty thing, specially when gambling your child's well being...

My boy is almost 3 years old, and from the moment he was born he started on a share custody. Going to his dad's house everyday even until now, and even until now he cries every time he goes refusing to leave with his dad. A few nights ago he, my son, came to me to tell me his daddy doesn't love him, nor his stepmom, he is scared of both of them because they scream. I don't know what to make out from this, but I know that fear is in my son's heart.
But only pride is in his father's heart. dad's 1st response, denial of course, denial that there was such words from a kid and now denial he has anything to do with this and denial he can be part of the solution.

The court parameters is that my son sees his dad every from 5pm to 7:30pm, pertaining that is good for the child - it isn't - the child cries EVERY time he goes, he even has digestive problems due to the stress. My suggestion was to reduce the days of visit, but to increment the hours, since the reduction would be of only one day, he, in essence would spend more time with the child, from 3:45pm to 7:30pm.
He is fighting for 15 minutes extra, because it is inconvenient for his schedule to do it as suggested - he doesn't know what to do for 15 minutes, so he wants a earlier pick up, even if the child is in the middle of his nap.

15 minutes that would take him to go to the bathroom, 15 minutes to get a coffee, 15 minutes to text treats and insults as he did before, he doesn't want to give 15 minutes to help his son with his separation anxiety, because 15 minutes puts a dent on his schedule.
As a dad who claims undying love to his kid, who moans and whines for more time with his kid, would you rather have your kid 8 or 12 hours per week - I know, it takes no science...

But when pride is your motivator, the best deal for someone else (even if it is your son) is your biggest lost.

Document as I said, because court is not over until the kids get a fair share of the situation.

Love your kids, even through somebody else's pride.
They will thank YOU one day.

October 6, 2009

The Golden Rule - revisited

OK, I gave in...
I decided to continue do what I was doing because I was not doing for the dreaded dude anyway. I was doing it for my son, for myself and for God. It feels more liberating to admit this than to try to force myself into doing something that doesn't feel right.
I don't want to scoop down to the dude's level and live with a heart of pride and revenge. I wanted to be free from him for a long time and this is the best way, to not give into his "mood-ness".

So, I will continue to give reports about school, share the school projects, doctor reports, go above and beyond what is required of me based on the court orders because it is nice to do so, and his excuse of "I didn't know" would not apply (only in his mind).
My conscience would be clear and I will be free - love it!

I say I will do it for God, because He drives me to be a better person, a better mother and to Him I want to answer.
Someone told me that the Golden Rule also applies to us, if we do something wrong, how would we like to be treated - well, from the dude I don't expect anything, but from God I do expect forgiveness and understanding, and He is quick to give it. He will give it to me regardless if I give it or not, but I do want to do all things (especially when it comes to court and custody dealings) as I am doing it in God's watch.

I will do it for my son because he deserves the effort, he deserves I try to keep the dude informed of his health and accomplishments because after all, the dude is his dad.

When faced with this ambivalence - let's take the eyes off the dude's actions for a second and look at the motivation for our actions. I do agree with we should not let poor behavior stand, but let's consider what is worth the heavy fight (meaning going back to court) - who do we do these things for and in which place are we going to end up in the end, meaning emotionally.

Our behavior and morality should not be dictated by somebody else compass, but by our own rationalization.
It's funny, when I was going to court there were to stages to my personality, according to dude and company - one day I was miss wonderful, the best single mother in the world, because (my mistake) I was allowing the dad to see the child everyday. But when I started saying no to overnight weekends when my son was an infant and not to a 50/50 schedule, I was accused of unfair, an evil human being, a pathetic individual just because the dude was hearing the word "no" (the desire of a "yes" world, is a sign of sociopath behavior).

As you travel this road, you will receive many, many accusations - examine yourself and don't give in. What are you doing things for, who are you doing things for? - not for the dude's and friends' approval, not to win a popularity contest for sure, but for your kids and yourself.
You will need to stand firm and examine yourself continuously -
and no, you are not a bad mother for not giving in into someone else wants. If he cannot negotiate in favor of the kid alone then there should not be further discussion, your child is the priority, not the dude's wants.

Be strong, evaluate, document, persevere and hope.

Go to bed in peace knowing you are doing everything in your power for the well-being of your child and if that is not working for your child's favor, don't loose hope and compensate in the mean time - your children won't be an statistic number, there are exceptions to the rule all the time and someone else selfishness will not dictate how your child turns up.
Be strong and be at peace.

Love your kids today and always and blessings!!!

October 3, 2009

The Golden Rule

After an incident with the dude (my son's infamous father) today, I started thinking about the golden rule - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" -
That's a rule I have always like to live by - I am not an expert, I fail many many times in practicing it - but I'd like to live by it, my philosophy is that you never know when you would be on the other side of the rope. Some people refer to it as karma, law of reciprocity, or just being a good citizen - and it is a good way to live I think.

But what if something wrong is done unto you and you are in the position to pay back with the same 'kindness"? would you take that step? knowing that it may make things worse?

This is the situation - Dude thinks he can violate court orders (which vary from simple to grievous) put his dumb spin on it, the "i didn't know" response, place it on "the past is the past" file and be done with it - an obvious sign of a sociopath (we'll be talking about sociopath behavior in future blogs - beware!! a common disease among divorced men)
Then when they think that a court order is violated towards them, hell is broken loose.

I have been patiently trying to make things better in "our situation". I have been doing things I don't have to as to keep the dude informed of school meetings, doctor appointments, reminders and facilitating change in the schedule in hopes my little boy has the advantage to have both parents involved in his development. So, when I hear "It's not my job" to enforce a court order from the other party - it really makes me think if all the effort is worth it.

Maybe the judge, whole family court system, my lawyer and even the dude is right - I am supposed to treat this interaction as a business deal and only do "my job" - maybe it is time I live by the court orders I tried to enforce and stop being nice.
With going the extra mile expectations are set, that we receive the same treatment - specially with someone you are just dealing in a business-like-way.
Maybe I should save myself the trouble and stop riding the dude's roller coaster (trust me, worse than a woman in PMS).
What got me into trouble with him in the first place is that I didn't listen to my instincts nor to people's advice in regards to the dude.

But I know what it would cost to enforce the golden rule in reverse. I have been talking about not letting the dudes' pettiness affect us, to be above it, but what if there is some stuff we need to allow to get to us, not for a power struggle, but to put us in our place and enforce what we have been fighting for - aside than for our kids' well being - our peace of mind and emotional ties finally being broken from the dudes.

I am a Christian, and I love that the golden rule is mentioned in the bible, but it also mentions to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek and to pay wrong doing with goodness, and no matter how I try to justify it I know I would be violating that would not be doing that.
But I know that my behavior is not dictated by the dude and no matter what he does or doesn't do would not and should not change my behavior.
I went to court for a reason, and was to stop the petty fights, and the best way for court to determine that was to let the parents know that we are grown ups and we can find out things about our kids (when it comes to medical records and school and other stuff) on our own if we really want to know - to not go the extra mile if we didn't want to or see fit. And aside from court, the more distance I place at the moment, the less anger would arise.
And I think that the less things I "facilitate" for the dude the less trouble... I like that - it is liberating.

So, my dear readers, this is a new time for me - a business minded mom, who would only do my job appointed by court, no extra mile ridden, to give as I receive from the dude's "oh-so-warm heart" -
And still do the best I can for my kid. And really and honestly think about my kid and I.
I will let you know how it goes and keep you posted.

Thank you for reading. Love and cherish your kids every minute of the day.

Many, many blessings.

September 15, 2009

run and smell the roses...

Don't you agree? life is sometimes runs so fast, there is barely time to stop and smell the roses...
kids, work, errands, keep in contact - so much demands our attention.

I was in the midst of finishing a rush project when my kid calls me to see the drawing he was making with his Tata (grandfather). I was in such a rush that I kept telling my boy "later, later...". I saw his head hanging low and my heart just pressed upon me. I went to see his drawing, it was a bunch lines going everywhere, but his title was "I love mama very much" - I melted and that drawing is now framed, hanged and cherished.

Sometimes I get so much in a rush to realize that my kid is living his life, right now - he is making memories, he is expressing and satisfying his curiosity and his life is unfolding before our very eyes. I don't want to be too busy for that.
I was 30 minutes late to drop off the project, but that was not the end of the world, it was just 30 minutes.

We do find ourselves busy with life and dealing with court, we juggle trying to secure a better life for our kids - in the midst of our "fighting" let's do our best to stop and smell the roses with our kids, because court and custody deals are not the end of the world, they are not life, they are added to life.
Let's make a list of priorities that goes vertical, not horizontal.

As the holidays approach, lets enjoy them dearly with our little ones, because they will be memories that no matter if they had both or only one parent on it - they will be their memories - let's make them the BEST!

Blessings today and always and stay strong!!!

Love your kids today :)

August 25, 2009

The steps to recovery

Now, this posting is not particularly related to our kids, but it does deal with something that is very much part of our lives - the dreaded. oh-so-menacing-dude, a.k.a. the kids’ father.

If you are like me, that subject we rather not talk about (except when we need to vent), think about, nor have in our lives... but for worse or for worse, he is part of our lives because of the sharing of a common blessing, our children.

I know there are situations when ex-couples don’t have any problems at all! For example, my neighbors ex-husband comes to her house, greets the whole family, picks the little kid, stays for dinner - I thought that only happened in movies!, but honestly, good for them, and if that is you - good for you! But if you find yourself in the midsts of a custody battle, that may not be the case. I know that is gets very rocky while papers are served, judge visits, etc, etc, afterwards it may decrease, hopefully, if our hearts are in the right place, I think - into seeking the well being of the children only.

But, how to ride that exhausting roller coaster in the mean time?

While in court battle (2 years) I had to see the dude practically everyday - arg! I don’t know how it goes for you, but I got nauseated as his visitation time approached, disgusted any time we had to talk and in anger with every approach. I often wondered how I went from a good stable relationship to such ugly feelings and utter disgust - every part of me screamed, “you are right for feeling this way, after all he had done and said” maybe so (we’ll get to that later) but fakeness was only taking me so far...

To the now, has been very hard, but it has gotten manageable. I still feel the anger, but now I “reason” through it, and surrender it.

Hello, I am a single mother and I dread my kid’s father...

STEP 1: BASE. I have a base. A custody settlement has been drawned. Hopefully this means court is over - people in my same situation tell me to keep wishing... But at least we have a base we draw from. He has a set time, I have a set time. No matter how much you fight it an dislike it, it is there and by order of the judge we got to respect the agreement, because that is why we went to court, to seek outside settlement due to the lack of communication. You could modify it yourselves, but remember, everything in writing.

STEP 2: LOOK. I look at my kid’s face and I have peace and strength of mind. I want to do what is best for him, and he needs time with his father - “but my kid doesn’t know him as I do, he’s a jerk!” I say to myself from time to time :) and yes, it is a good thing out kids don’t know the type of man we were involved with. They see the daddy side of the dude, and that should be all they see. Most dads work hard for their kids to only see the better side to them, specially if they find themselves in this situation, and that is good. out kids are very lucky to have a set of parents that love them and “fight” for more time with them (hopefully that is your case, if the opposite is the case, then you will supply and overflow, trust me, mother’s can :) )

When I pick up my child, or he gets picked up by his dad, I only focus on my kid’s face. Rarely I look up at his dad’s face when he is informs me about something (we got to be polite right?) and I am amazed at the changes that has happened with that person since last time - time certainly flies.

STEP 3: PREDICT. You know the type of person you are dealing with. You know his reactions and his most predictable actions, his yes’s and no’s, so, apply your knowledge to take advantage of the situation, not to manipulate, but to be prepared. Although, at the same time acknowledge that parenthood changes people, but let’s not be naive ;)

Also predict your reactions, there are little things that will annoy you and be magnified, and your reactions will be magnified. I am not saying let bad things slide, but put them in perspective and be solution minded, not increasing the problem. For example:

He is late to pick up the child and you are in a hurry for a meeting. If the meeting can’t wait, tell him to pick him up half way of at your meeting place. Give a 30-minute grace, don’t schedule anything for those 30 minutes, therefore you are in the safe. Most agreements allow 1 hour (with notification) tardiness before the visitation is forfeited. If the situation continues suggest a new pick-up time.

He is not as careful as you are in rearing the kids. Hmmm - yes, I have over-reacted to this one also. First, breathe... deeply... then remember that there are two styles of parenting here, the right one and the wrong one - kidding! - he is a guy after all, pizza for breakfast and candy for dinner won’t kill our kids, they need that sometimes :) they will survive, and we can have a bag full of veggies for when they come back :) But when the kid a certain medical condition, in which doctor’s orders need to be follow, I do suggest to be on the top of that, a failure for a parent to follow medical orders is considered neglect and is investigated by Child Protection Services.

The dad talks badly about you in front of the child. This is usually a biggie on any custody agreement, we cannot really regulate it, but we can talk to our kids about how to react and what to really listen to. Encourage your kids to leave a situation they are not comfortable with, meaning if dad and company are talking badly about you, they can leave the room or ask dad not to talk talk way about their mother. Explain your kids that that type of “adult talk” is unacceptable and we all make mistakes in that area sometimes. That also should work for us, not matter how upset we are, never to talk bad about the kid’s father in front of them - it chatters the image they have of both parents.

Dad tends to “forget” previous agreements. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING!! if you guys are agreeing to major changes in the schedule, then have it notarized, and with the judge’s signature if possible. “Forgetfulness” is very common if the agreement doesn’t longer benefit the opposing party. If the dad’s lack of memory makes you miss an important engagement with your kids, no matter how mad we get, it is done - he may even have done it to bother you - don’t let it. A holiday is a holiday, what you make it to be with your family is what matters. Days and events will come and go - plan for when you have the kids with you, therefore you don’t surrender control, that is the father of pride :)

STEP 4: VENT. Talk to a friend, write a journal or blog :), exercise, let it out! Don’t let frustrations eat you up or take the best of you. Don’t give the dude any power over you, he may be doing things on purpose or be truly clueless - give the benefit of the doubt. Important NOTE: NEVER EVER VENT ON YOUR CHILDREN.

STEP 5: ENJOY your time with your kids and your time off your kids, the second part may be difficult to do. My kid and I suffer from separation anxiety when he goes for the weekend, it is natural, but it is healthy and necessary to re-charge and be ready for the next few days ahead. Interact with adults, get things done, invest in you :)

STEP 6: FORGIVE - what?! that is a hard one, I know. A tip, when you are at the point of forgiveness, all things come to mind, the list of reasons why dude is so dreading, rage for past actions, the hurt and anger that makes us so comfortable and gives us reasons to be bitter and cry for justice. That’s when we should give it, even more.

Forgiveness is necessary, it is not a magic wand, it doesn’t happen in a card nor e-mail, it doesn’t happen in a day, it doesn’t give you a happy face all the sudden, and it doesn’t mean you have to be friends afterwards. it takes time, effort (maybe only yours), thought, reason and surrender. Forgiveness is good for you, the kids and the situation.

But, what is forgiveness anyway? Whatever bad stuff that happened, it sucks. It change us in a way, it gave us the anger we are convinced is our right to have, it makes us want to seek our own justice - it doesn’t let us think, move, interpret, perceive things in no other terms than in ours. That is an ugly thing to live with.

We may also have had something to do with the situation, have we thought about that? As we want to let go of the guilt, it is important to release all the ones involved and see the situations as a situations that happened, that sucked, but it happenED. I am not owned by the situation, by the dude nor by my anger. It is time to live a new life without any holds to the past one. Forgive means to release. Allows us to see our kids in a new light, a little person who comes of two parents who love him/her - not just a product of you and that guy. Giving the best to out kids is hard, and we may have to start with this one :)

STEP 7: FORGET - double what?! Forget doesn’t mean we put the situation under the rug to never re-visit it again - IT will re-visit you, trust me. I love the saying: “you cannot not stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest on your head”. The situation we will not forget, but we can stop it from hurting us as it did before, you have the power to do that.

Why do we want to forget? because it will take the focus off out hurt and place it on the kids and their needs. I also cry for justice for what the jerk did, but I will trade “my justice” for my child’s well being any day :)

STEP 8: SURRENDER - I don’t know if you believe in God, but He is real and He wants to comfort you, He wants to help you deal with all this stuff, He wants to make you whole again and He wants to parent with you.

I come from a broken house also, and I did see God covering us kids and my parents as we went through the brokeness. Surrender means: bad stuff will happen and God has a plan for it, for everything. God doesn’t take sides, not even our kids, but He knows what He is doing and will carry us through. I don’t believe He intended divorce, but He intended forgiveness. He did not intend for pre-marital sex, but He intended repentance, He didn’t intend for the heaviness of sin, But He intended restoration. We don’t know were we are going, God does. He is in absolute control and He loves our children more than we would ever do, He made them, and He made us their parents, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

God has a plan, trust and bring all those bad situations to His feet and say “Well, this sucks, but I give this to you. You are in control, do whatever your plan is Lord, but prepare my kids’ and my heart for what you have planned”

STEP 9: THE NEW YOU - Yes, there is room to be you. Not as to show something to someone, but for you. Enjoy your kids, be strong with them. Let them see you smile from the inside out. be honest with your feelings and acknowledge having them. We are women and we are emotional, yay! we are mothers and we protect, yay! we are single and we have excitement coming our way, yay! we are gorgeous and we know it! your kids tell you that all the time, and children are the ones who are honest.

Live the fabulous live you are meant to live and receive the freedom of heart God has for you!

Our kids matter, we matter - end of quote.

Love your kids today! and Blessings!

August 19, 2009

mamma's boy

On my quest to become an American mom :) I came across the notation "mamma's boy".

Now, where I come from (Peru) that is a compliment. Little by little I came to find out that in America is very close to an insult.
It makes sense now, and it is kind of funny, the looks I got when some people asked me "is your boy a mamma's boy?" and I answer "I hope so...".

Peru, being a matriarchal society, puts a lot of emphasis on respecting your mother, not by an educational institute or the government, but by your family. You ought to not to talk back to your parents, respect the adults, aid the family in whatever way possible and other ways of that kind, and because the raising of the children is mostly done by the mothers (dad's work a lot or not often in town) - so, your pillar is your mother. And I haven't seen anything wrong with that to tell you the truth. Boys don't turn out to be weaker, or less independent, or self-conscious. Even in adulthood they just want to be in contact with their families, mothers, fathers - there is just no other road to follow - even as I am writing this any contraction sounds...weird...

When I asked a friend about the term "mamma's boy" here in America, he said (he was raised by a single mother as well) he even got in a fight in order to prove he wasn't - then what should I expect and do with my little boy!
I want him to grow respectful of his mother as that teaches him how to respect other women (I have seen the lack of that teaching, not pretty at all!). I want him to value his family and not use the situation he is in as an excuse for poor behaviour.

My boy and I are very attached. We do enjoy playing, reading, outing, movies (he is such a performer), relaxing, learning, etc. The mere concept of trying to cut on that so he will become independent is so foreign to me and don't know how to accept that.

I even look at my aunts and uncles - 12 from my mother's side. My grandmother was a single mother, raising all those kids. Up until the day she died, she had at least 1 of her kids by her side. My uncles would call her weekly, the ones in the US would visit her in Peru at twice a year - and she was in no way controlling.
My mom, a single mom most of the time - we cannot go 2 days without calling her, even when we are out of the country - she is not controlling, we just love to talk to her - a mother is suppose to be a place of comfort. The most familiar person in a world we are yet discovering (even as adults) - I think "mamma's boy" should be defined as: a boy who thinks about his mother and respects her.

In many countries around the world, mainly the ones that are not very affluent - the emphasis in family is great, these are matriarchal societies for the most part: Latin America, Thailand, Philippines, Africa, etc. Countries where progress is the main issue - family closeness is a bit difficult to achieve - many times comes as a have to rather than a want to - Japan comes to my mind, most of Europe...

You and I are single mothers, we juggle kids, work, personal life (whenever possible), chores, etc. our kids are a driving force and their well being is a priority to us. Whatever the situation was to bring you to this place of single parenting, has not been pretty - and you made every thing possible for your children not to "see" it as ugly as it was.
Your child is watching you be strong, your child is drawing comfort and stability from you - if custody has been drawn, you probably have a higher percentage of time with the children - so, it is you, regardless if you have a boy or a girl - who will give most of the influence to your kids.
it is not the time to play detachment, I think - it is the time to be there - even when you are exhausted, you will draw strength - you are a mom - trust me, you can.
Your kids will be forever thankful for your efforts (maybe not when they are teenagers - but after college, guaranteed ;) )

Mamma's boys are not less independent than the rest, they not less developed, they are not a statistic number that screams single parent home - they are boys that draw their strength from the closest person to them - you.

A male figure, if the father is not involved, is essential, don't get me wrong - boys and girls needs a GOOD male influence for many, many reasons I will not get into today - but you or your kids are NOT a statistic number if a dad is not present. Don't give up before battling - our kids will adapt, without any excuses I hope - but they need to be taught to overcome their circumstances.
They need to be taught to respect their caregivers, to give to their families, to love back, to be present even when independent.
Teach your kids to see you and to see how hard you press to make things work, that will teach them to value what is important - that is better to just let them fend for themselves.

Love your kids!!!!


August 4, 2009

logic vs. facts 2

On the previous posting, I talked about fathers' rights and the issues for what they stand.
I was reading and re-reading what I posted trying to give a fair information, as fair as I can be from the side I am standing on - a single mother who is involved in a custody battle.

I re-visited the sites where lawyers advertise about fathers' rights to look for some changes in their policies, and no. talks about how to get to pay less child support, win a custody case and slip through allegations.

One thing should be clear though, when approaching a custody battle, honesty is key. When we went to mediation, I requested the mediator my son's dad and I visited a family counselor, because out communication problems were major, and if they were not addressed, they would come back to haunt us. The mediator said they cannot force us to go, but she recommended it - I agree, we needed to go for the sake of our child. Recognize your short comings and the areas you as individual need some help.
The desire to work things out needs to be mutual, not for the parents sake, but for the child's sake.
- a child needs time with both parents
- a child needs a place he/she calls home, which means that child spends more time at one particular parent's residence)

can there be a compromise? YES if both parents work together and pride if off the table. The most natural thing is for home to be with the mother (because of how nature is arranged, kids first connection with the mother, etc.); court considers many factors, how feasible the mother makes it for the child to communicate with the other parent, if the mother has the time to give to the child, family connections, etc.
- ALLOW communication with the other parent, remember the deal between you and the other parent is not the issue, but the child's relationship with his/her other parent is.
if you can negotiate for the child to spend more time with the other parent in certain occasions, then go for it - it can be on the record, off the record, as you wish, but respect the other parent's time and relationship with your child.
I cannot emphasize this enough - if you suspect abuse, act accordingly and present the facts to court. Protect your child at all times.

- both parents want to be present on the kids lives.

- many are the words few are the actions.

if the other parent requests to be part of the other kids lives, such as school meetings, doctor's visits, etc, allow it. There you will see how much was bluff and how much was from the heart.
Time will proof how much the other parent wanted this. But don't be the one who forces retreat, encourage the involvement; unfortunately you also have to be there when there is a lack of it to pick up the pieces. In this case, write everything down, explain the other parent the importance of his commitment, and if he is still leaving your children hanging, maybe it is time for another arrangement that will be beneficial for the child. Keep a log.

- a child's life should continue UN-interrupted.

- a split schedule will not allow for that.

This is what bedazzles me about the 50/50 situation fathers' rights endorses. How would the life of a child develop functionally having to jump from house to house half the time of their lives.
Picture school, one week on one school, another week on another, even 5 months at one school, 5 at another. Picture yourself at work on that situation, an adult cannot handle that situation, how can a kid be expected to handle this?
Some "friends" suggested this so my kid can enjoy his father half the time. My suggestion would be, subject your kids through that, and see how it goes. The following response "well, you got yourself on that situation, now deal with it". My response "I did yes, and I am paying for it, my kid shouldn't and doesn't have to."
Please put your child first, not other's people's comments.

A child's life cannot develop as you have desired with a split home situation, we were not designed for that, but that doesn't mean you cannot seek stability (for your child) with the schedule you have.

Schedule activities for your child around his/her schedule, if something special is going on during the other parent's time, ask, negotiate, the worst could happen is hearing a "no". Yes, we get mad, curse the unfair situation, arg! then the event is gone and back to business as usual.
But ask, it is ok, maybe the other parent also wants to exchange a date or a time slot. Be fair, offer the same time you are asking for - talk the situation and hope for the best, be ready for the "no".
There is always next time and next year.

I remember the time my grandmother was dying and wanted to see me (she was all the way in Peru) I could not leave my 6 month baby with his dad (I was breast feeding, my son's dad was working and UN-able to take care of the child, I knew) I pleaded, the dude said no, his reasons were unfounded. My grandmother died when I was on court fighting the issue for the first time.
Do I hate the moment? Absolutely. Would I do the same if the situation happens on his side? I pray that pride and bitterness don't take a hold of my heart, and I pray that I have my son's best interests at heart only.
But the situation came and went, I was angry and hurt and furious! but that gave me a drive to fight that situation in court, so I can take my baby out of the country to visit Peru if needed - it happened! regardless of the opposition, it happened - my son is going to Peru for the second time this year!
I wish my grandmother had met my baby, but it didn't work out that way. It happened, dismiss it, because it we act on what the other parent did to us, the only losers will be the children.

Logic: divorce was for the "best"
Fact: then let's make that best possible for the kids - you may have to work harder, but they deserve it, don't they?

Kids will gravitate to their fathers at one point and to the mother at others, talk to them, allow the time if possible (don't sacrifice school!) - beat the statistics ;)
No, children from broken homes don't end up messed up, don't give into that. Fight for your kids, even against your own pride.

Love your kids!


July 25, 2009

facts vs. logic - Father's rights

OK, here we go.

If you are undergoing a custody battle, most than likely you have heard the term, be thrown a quote or been contacted by one of their "fans".

Father's right is, I would say an association, that hold a series of laws protecting the father when it comes to a custody battle. It seeks for fathers to have the same rights as a mother would have when going into custody talks.
It calls for the sharing of the child on a more 50/50 term. For the mother to also pay child support when the child is with the father and more involvement when it comes to sharing the kids.

There are huge flaws to it, I think.

I do come from a divorce home as well. As I mentioned before, I LOVE my dad (he passed away several years ago), he really made a point to be in our lives and his love was very evident to my siblings and I. So, I get the point from a child living in a split home. I respect my dad and I don't hate men.
I know there are wonderful fathers out there that would give anything for their kids and take action on their words and promises, I know there are others that not.

I did my research on the father's law when I was in the middle of the custody battle, because I wanted to make a fair attempt to custody for my then 6 month old son. I wanted the dad involved and wanted to know what their views as fathers seeking custody were.
When I contacted them, it was a wave of raging comments and statements. If I asked a base for it, the only response was "what makes you think you get to have all the rights, we want rights too, what makes you think you have to win", there was no inquiry about what the situation was, how was my child responding to the interchange between houses, nothing about the child, but if I had a personal meeting with them, they would probably have chopped my head and place it on their flagpole.

OK, I will give them the benefit of the doubt, I thought. When I met with a pastor who wanted to "advice" about the custody issues. Similar response, didn't matter the condition of the child, but it was all about the rights the father had. Same with the dad himself.

I see their point, of course fathers have the same rights as mothers, they are equally important in the upbringing of a child, that is true, whether we are at odds with the father, they play a very important role in the life of our kids.
But, there are stages to it, the child's stability needs to be hugely considered, and the child's present and future MUST be the only concern.

When my son was 6 months old, he was breastfeeding. The answers I got quoting the father's rights is that mothers can pump and give the milk to the father.
I know you will have the same response I have - infancy and toddler hood is the time for mother/child connection. There is a sense of safety when the child is in on the breast of the mother.
A 50/50 situation would not work well for an infant, toddler, child even a teenager. A child needs to have a sense of belonging. A place they call home where they spend most of the time, that is a necessity, no matter what the stage of the marriage.

When talking to the father's rights there was a huge sense of "winning a battle", pride issues and lots of anger.
We male and females have a different temperaments and views of situations, but then is when should assume the view of the child and seek their well being, not winning a battle.

While going to court, I met a dad who was distraught for his child, he was showing signs of depression because of the separation from the dad. He had drawings and letters from the child that would show that. He was asking the court for help, for a way to fix the situation, or make it better. At that point the child didn't have much time with his father (other than once a month), the mother was abusive (according to the father a the child letters) and the child was 7 years old.
I was not endorsing any mother or father's laws, but in that case something needed to be done, and that child clearly needed more time with his father - and the abusive mother to be looked into - if all the statements were true.

On the other side of the coin - a father had gotten every weekend for his child, in addition to every day visitation, and the first thing he did after being awarded that was to call a baby sitter to take care of the child, even when the child was sick. Second thing was to request every other weekend instead of every weekend. He also asked the mediator to have more hours (visitation hours) on paper so he can see the child whenever times during that window. The child was 1 year old. These are the types of cases in which father laws are damaging.

Any law serves for a general purpose, it doesn't focus on the details, situations, curves and variables. A law should be there for a guideline, then we mold around it, it should never be there to win, specially at your child's expense.

Do your research, if the father has a lawyer, most than likely they will come with the father's law statement - equality.
Seek the child's well being.
If they come to you with abusive comments, give them a brush of, of tell them to buy a hallmark card and sent it to their mothers, maybe that will ease their anger.
But be wise, don't seek to win, but you're child's well being.

Love your kids! and blessings!

July 20, 2009


This is a follow up on my previous posting...

There is not a right age to let go of your kids. I met a woman whose kid is 18 and moving out, and it is very hard for her to let go of her "baby". Even when our kids would be married, we do become the insufferable in-laws and "inquire" if they are being treated right, are they eating well, etc., etc.
While some fathers refer to it as "being a control freak over your kids", I think it is just a natural drive that mothers have, that is to watch over their kids, that is a bond that is hard to break.
It seems unnatural for a parent to have to let go of their kids, specially at a young age. That does affect the children and parents at one point.

As I said before, I feel impotent when my child leaves my house (every weekday for 2 hours and every other weekend overnight) - I know there are some things I do with him, it is not assimilated on the other household (and why should they be, right?)
I hate the tears he brings home, the separation anxiety that has developed from it, just not knowing what is going on with him during that time.

This interchange begun when my son was born, my mistake was to allow the daily visitation because the dad and I lived very close to each other, so the commuting was quick, and felt sorry because the dad wanted to spend time with his son.
When the battle for custody started (dad wanted more time - 50/50) I was bounded with the schedule, because it would be very hard for a judge to give less time than what there was established already (my advice to you, don't ever jeopardize the well being of your child because you feel sorry for someone, IT IS NOT WORTH IT, YOUR CHILD IS). So, I had to learn to live with it. I had to, was my toddler learning to live with it?
It has been 2 1/2 years, and the separation anxiety continues (court pays no attention to it, unless it is extreme) from my son's part, the crying still happening, and that brings the sense of impotence in me.

What to do?

Trust and draw base from what you know. I know my son's dad loves him - we have VERY different styles of parenting - but the love is there.
Your child is developing fine despise the interchange. I am a firm believer in God and His plans for our lives. I know He has plans for my son. I know that storms are necessary to appreciate the clear sky. I know my son will have to go through hard times, because that is just life, and I know God will be and is there for Him - even in his parents shortcomings.
So trust.
Don't go insane.
If you suspect abuse though, act immediately.
Keep your eyes open, never assume, always ask when in doubt and be there, ready to talk and comfort when your child needs it.

Cut yourself some slack also. We are human, we error, people error - learn to let go of the unimportant and focus on your precious family you have with your kids. Don't live in anger - the past doesn't matter.
PLEASE, don't give into "seeing the other parent" on the child - if you are angry at the other parent, then block them from your life, focus on your child. Your child is a unique individual, that needs to be form, corrected, taught. He or she has his/her traits, good habits, bad habits, his/her personality - don't look for the other parent on them, don't compare them - they are them - an individual - that comes from two sets of genes to have his/her own - that is precious and worth celebrating.

When you feel impotent, for whatever reason, past, present or future, just look at your child, you will draw encouragement and strength - trust me - we are mothers, God has made us one of the most powerful human beings in earth :)

Blessings to you and your kids - kiss and hug them forever!

July 13, 2009


There is nothing more frustrating and sad than not being able to attend to your child's needs.
My 2-year-old came back from a weekend with dad yesterday.
He came back home and didn't want me to depart his side at all. He has been clingy before, but yesterday it was excessive. Also he did have a couple of nigthmares during the night.
Many thoughts rushed my head. Had he been scared about something? Was he left with a third person (he reacted that way when left with a babysitter while one a weekend away)? Had he been hurt in any way? What is going through his head?

Having a small child away is very hard - specially when they come home and they don't act "normal". Thoughts will flood your head - but those are the same thoughts that will put you against the other parent, many times unnecessarily.

What we need to understand is that kids go through stuff, some make sense, some don't.
I don't know what went on on dad's house, I will make myself crazy trying to make sense of my son's episode if I decide to link it only to his overnight visit with that - there are many other possibilities.
What I am trying to say is, when we don't know - COMFORT IS THE ONLY THING WE MAY HAVE TO DO - and that will be enough.
Let;s now dwell and the what ifs (only if we have proof that they are in danger from anything we must act).
When they are in a split home situation, they will get affected, no matter how long they have been in that situation or how old they are. We as parents are here to offer understanding, move on their pace and offer love and comfort.
Let's not dwell in the negative, but move toward the positive.
My son is two, and talks up his elbows! but even then we cannot trust a two-year old "confessions" we must attempt to communicate with the other parent. My son tells me when he gets disciplined, but still I need to hear it from the other parent to know what is going on. Ask, the other parent, attempt communication, there is nothing wrong with that. Your relationship with the other parent is not the priority, I think, but your child's well being is - there is no time to be shy!

I have my say about the other parent, but one thing I know, he does love his son, and I need to draw base from that, and know my son will not get hurt on purpose.

Draw your base and seek understanding, if nothing of that can be reached, then write and take notes. but most of all COMFORT YOUR CHILD and assure him/her you are there.

Blessings! and love your children, listen to them!

July 7, 2009

interracial kids

I really don't like the term "interracial". Now in America, that is so common, that kids born of parents of different races are just kids - labeling many times does more harm than good.
In any case, my little boy, I am always talking about, has parents that hold more differences than similarities (racial and others). Thank can be good and not so good. But how can we use this as an advantage to raise a balanced individual?

I am from Peru (South America) and his dad is from the United States.
Since the moment I got pregnant I noticed the differences in approaching the birth of a child to the raising of him. We both have been molded by two set of parents who have raised us in their tradition, the way we perceive values, culture, etc.
I have carried those teachings with me as I moved into the States, and in my head, the way I was raised is the way you raise kids. It "doesn't" help that I helped raise my brothers and sister, so, "my way" is ingrained in me.
I am also an adult, and I have come to see that there is some attitudes from "the American way" that I would like to adopt as opposed to the Peruvian way, but finding that balance is really hard.

I also grew up in a divorced home, where a single mother worked to death to provide, and a single father made real the word "sacrifice" in order to be in our lives - so, my expectations are high.

In Peru, when you have kids, they become a high priority - even if they come from single parents. You many times work around the kid's schedule, there is no such thing as nursery, or day care or babysitters. Your leisure time is spent as family, or the parent with the kid.

I have noticed a big difference there. I think in America, there is a huge emphasis in the parental / adult life, how to continue having that "freedom" in spite of kids. How to continue to achieve "your dreams" in spite of kids, and child care is one of the most profitable business!
I think that was and continues to be a reason of disagreement with my son's father and I.
Why isn't your kid a high priority? is strange to me.
I am not saying a person ceases to exist when kids come, but your needs shift, as it is time to mold this little guy or girl.

There are many other issues when "two worlds" collide I think. Feeding, discipline, how you communicate with your child, what you expect of your child, education, goals, etc.

I know in America the saying is: parents are here to raise responsible adults.
In Peru, that saying is kind of foreign. I think the saying would be: parents are here to raise the kids, as you pour into them.

I love the sense of Independence this country tries to install in kids, from early on. But I also love how, in the Peruvian way, we don't push our kids to move out as soon as they turn 18. I have mixed feelings!!

Peru is a matriarchal society, there are LOTS of single mothers and the respect for a mom is essential. The sad part is that since it is also a poor country, many times the dad is not much present in the life of a kid because they live their town to go work in the city. But when a dad wants to be there for his kid, he moves mountains and rivers to be present, at least for a moment, in that kids' life.
Many kids do just fine with this type of interaction - so, I don't buy into the numbers and statistics that are thrown into single parenthood, that has also been a conflict.

What I have loved to learned from this country is the emphasis in the need of a father. I am contradicting myself, I know. But it is here where I knew how much I needed my dad, and how irreplaceable he was.
I love that there are organizations that will help you guard for your child's well
I love that there is an emphasis in the developing of a child, educational I mean.
I love places like Disneyland that allow a kid to be a kid (in Peru you grow up too fast).

But then, how do I balance, how do you balance? without having to pull the kid back and forth to go my or the dad's ways.
When two parents communicate and respect each other, that works beautifully, when they don't - not a good experience, specially for the kid.
As i develop this blog, I think I will move from experience with court issues (although that will never be over I think - there is much to talk about - "father's rights", "court orders", etc) to experiencing raising a child in a push / pull situation - I hope is doesn't get to that. But you know as well as I do it is bound to happen.

As for now, my son dominates both English and Spanish.
Peruvian way: He doesn't go to child care (as I am blessed to have a job that keeps me at home), He drinks his cup of warm milk upon waking up and going to bed. He sleeps in mom's room.
US way: he likes stories before bed (love it!). He eats lunch before 1pm and dinner before 7pm. He will be attending pre-school at age 2 1/2 - yikes! He can work the computer!

I hope and pray he will adopt the best values of both and grows up to become his own individual, and most of all - which is a Peruvian and US way - that he will love God.

Loves your kids and be amazed as their individuality.


June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day Mom!!

happy father's day to the single mothers who are taking the role of a father in their kids lives.
You should be honored for striving to give your kid the complete set - even though it is hard as heck on you.
Be encouraged, you are not alone. Even if the dad is around, we still have to be the father when our kids are with us.
If the father is around, let him be the father figure also, allow him to take his role, and encourage your kids to see him as such - remember they don't have to know what you know about that person, and whether we like it or not, that dude is or will be their "hero" at some point, let's not tamper with that.
Be strong for your kids, be strong for you.
I am praying for you, and give your burden to God.
Blessings! love your kids today.

June 18, 2009

Split Home Situation

I don't know what your situation is, if your kid or kids are already on a visitation schedule, or you are waiting for one to established.

Whatever the case it is never easy to see the kids go, isn't it?

It is true, it is very important for a child to see and spend time with both parents, whatever the agreement is, but it is very hard to let them go even for a few hours - it is for me at least.
My son is 2-years old, and even though he has been on a split home situation since he was born, he still has separation anxiety issues when he leaves my house (every weekday!) - it is hard to see him cry, or cling to me before going into dad's car. It is hard to get him ready for the leave - meaning having to talk him into going, one hour in advance. He has gotten better, and I know it will pass, but still it is hard - we feel like he is going to be traumatized forever! a friend of mine who has gone through the same situation assures me they won't remember, and will adapt. I know it is true.
One thing is certain though, they will remember the attitude we have when we do the exchange (between the parents).
I encourage you to put your "best face" out there, even if we don't mean it :) until it is just a "ritual" to fake-smile. To truly encourage them to spend time with the other parent, because we know it is good for them - regardless of what we think about the other parent's character, they are in his/her life.
As I said before, unless you suspect abuse - that's when you act in behalf of your child - we ought to encourage that contact and bond - then we can vent with our friends ;)

I know there are plans that are fitted for every stage on a child's life. Infant, Toddler, Early School and High School.
Hopefully there is a smooth transition between all of them, but as the kids get older, it gets easier, because the kids' opinion start to matter to the court.

You should see what your kid can handle and if the other parent cooperates, then establish a plan, or if you are going through the court process, then you have to wait for their decision. Unfortunately, they base their recommendation on the age-guidelines, not on a particular case, so, work it out if you can.

It is OK to sacrifice some holidays I think. I feel like it is better for the kids to spend a whole day holiday with one parent instead spending them rushing off to change houses in the middle of it - yes, you may not get to see them that day, but there is always next year.
You give the meaning to the day, you can make the following day special for them as well, and your kids will have an extended holiday celebration, or something like that - you make it work.

Separation anxiety will pass, more quickly for the child I guess, but in the meantime, fixate your thoughts on the fact:it is good for the kids. Put up a "good" face and keep on going. You be the rational one, your kid will thank you one day.

Blessings and thank God for your kids!!!

June 9, 2009

what is really winning?

I was reading a post about one of the parties bragging about "winning" in court.
If you really think about the tedious process, about the time spent, and about being emotionally drained - who wins?
I hope that when you go into the court system to have the custody issues resolved, you think about your kids only, not about pride, not about you winning and not letting the other party win, etc, because then you will be the one loosing. 
You should be investing in making sure your kids are well emotionally, physically, spiritually, not on winning a case.

On this past court ruling, the situation could not have been better. My child is under my care 80%, I can oversee his education, medical care, take him to my country to see my family and compensate where there is "shortness" (hopefully not as much as before) - Your child's well being, that's winning.

If the other party is responsible, loving and looking up for your child's best, then your child is winning for having your and the other's love. But if another is the case, even after the ruling from the judge, keep on documenting, stay on the lookout, remember - nothing is final, lookout for your child's welfare, don't settle for yourself, don't settle on your kids safety just to keep the other party quiet - honestly, as awful as it sounds, they don't matter. The only way they matter is in their relationship with your kid. I am not saying hate the person (hate blinds you and get YOU ready for battle, and that is not what we are talking about), but THEIR NEEDS ARE NOT A PRIORITY, YOUR CHILD"S IS.
Keep your kid safe from the brawling with the other party, they don't deserve to be witnesses of the shortcomings. If they insist in making the child part of the dispute or use the child to "punish" the other parent, there is what is called Child Protection Services. Talk to them to get informed. I had the mediator recommend I talk to them, and I did - mostly for negligence in care, but they do respond and they are there.

Remember, a bully will use anything and everything to have the sense of control. Once you have served, the other party may have in their mind that you are inviting them into battle - a crushed ego is terrible, specially for a male.
Besides, you know the type of character you are dealing with, indulge them if necessary, as long as they leave you alone. If they want to "win" only. Let them believe they have "won", after all that is what they are interested on, right?
Smile to yourself and hold your child close - he/she is safe, and hopefully moving towards a stable family situation, even with a single parent.
Remember, when pride is the source, it will not stop at nothing until pride is satisfied.

After 3 months of court, the other party still talks about "what is fair to him" "this situation isn't fair to him because the child's schedule affects his commute" when you hear me, me, me, me, me - you know something is wrong ;)

Hopefully a final ruling will give you the freedom to move forward without the harassment. Remember, words are just words until you give them value. Enjoy the precious time with your child and laugh at the tantrums the "other kid" throws at you.
If the harassment continues, you can open a harassment case - hopefully is doesn't get to the point with you!!! and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! and move forward!!
and honey - when the other party finally leaves you alone - you and your child have won ;) 


June 8, 2009

child support

Most than likely if you are in the midst of a custody battle, you also have to deal with child support.
Family court has nothing to do with child support, unless you and the other party have a particular agreement and want the judge to seal on it.
I realized that is better to have CSS (Child Support Services) deal with it. If you have an agreement with the other party, great! but understand that in dealings with money, fights are unavoidable, especially if the parents are in odds.
Child Support issues is hard for fathers. it means having the government looking into your finances, and taking money out of your paycheck, and keep you in record (if you owe more than a certain amount, you cannot apply for a passport, etc) - has a huge impact on the ego.
Well, you're face some fire if you involve CSS in your case (from the other party I mean) but it will save you from a lot of problems later, I truly believe.
Each parent is responsible for the upbringing of the child - and the responsibility belongs to both.
CSS does not charge you anything, and doesn't take fees. It collects past child support owed and are good at follow up, the only downside is that they are very slow if a problem arises.
In my case I had to call them every two weeks for three months when the dad stopped paying for child support, and had to subpoena the dad's employment records myself ($100 well spent), but that did the trick.
Your child is important, but don't mix your child's relationship with money though. Keep those separate. Your child needs a relationship with both parents regardless of monetary support - that sucks, I know - BOTH PARTIES SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE, but it's not the child's fault and interaction with the other parent should not be denied based on Child Support or lack of it.
You and the other parent should deal with it as adults, if agreements don't work, seek legal help.
There are organizations that offer help in collecting child support, but that don't work as well and charge you a large fee.
Lawyers cannot do much about it - CSS does an estimate and deal with the case until they're done - it takes about 3 to 6 months - as long as they are able to locate the other parent.
There is no meeting of the parties, no agreement to sign, no compromises. The other party makes this much, this much time is spent with the child, the child is this age - that's all they need.
CSS also makes sure the child has medical coverage, and child care if needed.

Blessings!!! and don't forget to thank God for your kids!

June 1, 2009


I am not an expert in the issue, but here are the steps I took when opening a custody case.
Make sure you have the funds.
Before getting up a lawyer, I would imagine you have a "non-official" agreement with the other parent. make it official, try to get a signature, notarize it if possible. That way there is no confusion and he said/she said stuff.

Do your research for a good and affordable lawyer. Custody issues are not that complicated, but they do know the lingo, what and when to serve, and the other parent has to deal directly with them (if they don't have a lawyer) so the harassment is cut in half...
I had to change lawyers in the middle of the process, because my firmer lawyer was more concern with her friendship with the opposing lawyer than with the case, and she moved too slow for comfort - so, look for clues; if you feel uncomfortable with a particular lawyer, state your needs, they do want to keep you around.
My new lawyer was much more aggressive and he did make a point to spot the threats from the opposing party.

Document EVERYTHING. Try to have a type of communication that would leave a record, voice messages, text messages, letters, e-mails, etc. 
Write whatever the other party did. They didn't want to return the child, they were more than 15 minutes late to pick up or drop off, insults, anything and everything.
Keep a calendar and mark the days the child is retrieved, times, etc. Put a date on the documentation, write facts, include times, dates, what happened - period.

If you are the serving party, be ready - you have bruised some body's ego, and they are coming for vengeance. Insults will come, promises will come, friends with "good intentions" will overflow. Listen to people you trust and that know what you are going through as a parent, as a mother, as a single mother.

After filing comes mediation, make sure you attend. Be calm, out emotions aside and present facts. Give the court any documentation you have at least 20 days before mediation day, that way the mediator has a chance to review it. Speak ONLY about what is pertinent to the child, you are not there to confront the other parent, but for the well being of your kid. the other parent will try to get a rise out of you, and what better place than in front of the person who has the most say in this process.
The Mediator is the "battle to win" because the judge generally approves the mediator's recommendations - 95% of the time.
Write whatever the mediator says, there has been times in which the mediators tells the parents one thing and end up recommending another - and you can appeal that.

Court doesn't come right away, the court wants to give LOTS of chances for the parents to communicate (it took me two years from the first filing to come and see the judge) if they don't see them communicate, then they take the ruling and final order.

Needless to say, if you can come to an agreement that would be fantastic, aim for that. Put it in writing, both of you sign it and submit it to court.

My son's dad an I want a slightly different plan form the one approved by the court, because my son will be starting pre-school soon, we live further apart and it is best for the child. We will try it a month (written agreement) and if it is beneficial for the child, we will adopt it - written and with the judge's signature - a must! you never know when someone turns "forgetful" or something...

One more thing, I know many, many are against taking matters to court. I am a Christian, and thought long and hard before coming to this decision. I tried taking these matters before the church - that particular church didn't help, and the situation was getting worse by the minute.
Court helped it getting solved. 
AGAIN, if you can solve it before court - then go for it please!! - if you find yourself trapped and fearful - protect your child, protect yourself - a hurt ego can be very dangerous. 
Seek counsel, do your research - and don't commit to a plan you don't think is best for your kid or kids.
The dad and I are able to move forward now, we have a base - we are not in love with it, but it serves its purpose, and we take it from there.


May 30, 2009

I have a 2 year old boy - as cute as he can be!
Never married to the dad (thank God!). 
I initiated the custody filing because of the dad's constant bullying. He wanted a 50/50 share time, while the baby was still an infant.
He would be emotionally and verbally abusive, resorting to threats made by him and his friends.
So, I hired a lawyer (I don't even know I could afford it at the time) and initiated the process.
I was VERY FEARFUL, and there wasn't a single day when I questioned my decision - even now I question that decision. But what kept me going was to give a stable future for my child. I am convinced that a 50/50 situation is not good for an infant, toddler, to no kid at all. So it began.
There were numerous fights, friends were lost, rumors were started, even condemnation from our church pastor - but the well being of my child was worth it.
I have physical custody, dad sees the child every day for dinner (my son goes to his place) and every other weekend.
I don't like not seeing my child, but I know it is best for him and I am learning to accept it.
If you are planing to file and the dad's motive is only his pride, you will face a hard battle, but look at your child, have his/her best interest at heart, gather support and good advice - and why not - pray!
I am here if you need to talk :)

unpleasant but necessary

This blog is created to share advice, vent, support, encourage and what nots - single mothers or newly found single mothers, going through the pain of a custody battles for their kids.
It is a long process we know, and a fearful step, but sometimes needed.
if you have something to share, this is a safe place.
I have myself gone through the court system in order to protect my baby, I finally got a ruling, but I know it will continue to be a hard road to walk.
REMEMBER - have your child's best interests at heart. And it is OK to fight through teeth and nails if needed, and it is OK to back off if needed.

let me know your thoughts.