I want to address this officially because this is a very taboo topic to discuss. I am a Mom of two young boys, both pre teens and both of my sons live with their Dad instead of me.
It happened about 6 years ago when I was going through a tough time financially. My children exchanged hands and have been with him ever since. I never thought my situation would end up this way and I have always hoped that I would have the chance to be a full time Mom again with them in my home but it hasn’t happened yet.
The first 6 years of their life I cared for them by myself, with little help from him financially. During that time he was able to set up a career for himself as an attorney and by the time the boys went to live with him, he was thriving and I was floundering as a writer and a journalist. After my sons went to live with him, I began to focus more on my career and it began to flourish. Six years later, I am just now becoming the woman I have dreamt of but now my sons say they want to stay with their Dad.
Does this reflect my self worth? No. It reflects how happy they are living with their Dad. Does this mean that I am not a good Mom? No, it means my boys are stable in their living situation and are progressing.
Their father and I definitely have our issues but I have gotten used to them over the years. He is not the most pleasant person to be around yet, when I take my focus off of how he interacts with me and focus on how well he cares for our sons, I only have good things to say about him.
My sons, now 11 and 13, are living amazingly rich lives. They are not sad children. They are not bitter. They are smart, witty and resourceful. They don’t have abandonment issues because I am not there; in fact they think it is cool that I get to travel and have adventures. They only ask that they get to experience adventures with me as well.
Many women shake their heads at me and look down on me because my sons live with their father as though that is an indication of my self worth and parenting abilities. I find these women are the same ones who either don’t have children of their own and are angry because they feel that I have walked away from their dream or they are women who have children and define their lives by their role as a Mom and feel that my life is meaningless without my children.
That is not the case. My life is not meaningless. I am a Mom, but I am so many other things as well. I do miss them. I do care for them. I am involved as much as I can be from 3,000 miles away. I do listen to them. I do applaud them. I do spend as much time as I can asking questions and encouraging them in their journeys.
I am on child support and I experience all the dramas of being unemployed and having the courts come after me, to making payments consistently and feeling good about that. I sometimes am annoyed by it all but there is a certain price you pay for all relationships and I am not above paying the price for mine.
I have written about being a non custodial Mom on various websites and I always take the time to applaud the way my children’s father is taking such good care of our sons. It’s not like he’s perfect but when I step back and think about the experiences that he offers them that we BOTH didn’t have growing up, I am so proud that he was the one I fell for when we were young.
I still have my issues with him, of course, but I step back and look at the bigger picture. Are my sons happy? YES.
Do people shake their heads and judge me? Of course. But really, what do their opinions mean? Anyone who has a negative opinion about my family situation is only reflecting their own values onto me. That has nothing to do with me at all. Once again, I step back and look at the bigger picture. Are my sons happy? YES.
I could try to fight and cry and throw shade at my children’s father so that I could look like a SUCCESS in the eyes of a bunch of people who I have no desire to impress but really, what would it help?
My sons are doing wonderfully and I AM a part of that. I’m not there every day but I’m there in their hearts and in their eyes and in their smiles. I know that I am a Mom, their Mom, no one can replace me in their lives no matter who he dates. I am never insecure about their well being or my role in their life.
The truth is, I KNOW my sons are doing awesome and if it takes them living with their father instead of me to have that experience I am all for it. By letting go of my own pride when I couldn’t care for them properly, I gave them an awesome life.
And always remember…Nothing is permanent.