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.