Long Distance Part Time “Dad”

Standard

<3

<3

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a lose-lose situation with my ex-husband. ¬†It’s so incredibly frustrating it literally enrages me, no matter which choice I make, I lose, I look like the bad guy in the end. ¬†It all comes down to protecting my daughter, and either way she ends up getting hurt.

I can’t say “I wish I never met him” because then I wouldn’t have that spunky mini-me in my life. ¬†I’ll never regret her, but christ, couldn’t this shit be a little easier? ¬†Parenting in and of itself is rewarding, even when the little one decided that she likes Asparagus as her favorite food and¬†still¬†will not¬†try a freaking cheeseburger off the grill. ¬†There are tons of little battles in parenting, and it’s become easier as she has gotten older to realize that “this too shall pass” and we’ll be back to normal.

I can however wish that he would get some sense in his head and stop. ¬†Or drive his truck off a bridge, whatever is easiest. ¬†His bullheaded, “parent-when-I-want” is hurting my daughter, and it doesn’t seem like there is a good option for me to prevent it. ¬†That is by far the worst part, is that I don’t have too much control over it.

So it’s been 2 months since we got a phone call from the bio-dad. ¬†The calls before that usually had a couple of weeks between them. ¬†Noodle has pretty much stop caring, to be completely honest. ¬†She rarely gets upset now, and usually it’s only when he calls. ¬†Usually after he calls she asks a couple of questions, now that shes a little bit older (and has some friends who have scum-bags in the place of Dads) she’s understanding a bit more so I can stop lying to her.

“Why did he move?” – Because he wanted to, he thought he had work and wanted to move in with his girlfriend.

“Why did he lie?” – Because he thought it was the best thing to do at the time. ¬†Not everyone tells the truth honey, especially if the truth makes them look bad. (Regarding coming back and calling all the time.)

“Is he coming back to visit?” – I don’t know honey, I don’t think so, Daddy has to get his life straightened out. (This was regarding both him “only going to Colorado for a couple of weeks”, and then again coming to visit.)

“I don’t want to talk on the phone” – Are you sure? If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.

Then around mothers day, Noodle and I were looking at cards to get for my step-ma. ¬†She was telling me about the cards and presents she made for me at school (because the child doesn’t know the meaning of surprise apparently, haha). ¬†Then she pops out with this?

“When’s Father’s Day? ¬†I want to buy Ryan a present. ¬†Can we pick out a card?”

I was sitting on my heels reading cards and I about fell over.

-Sure baby, if you want to we can get him a card, and one for grandpa.

“Okay, I wanna pick out a good present! [Insert rambling of stupid shit she wants to buy Ryan lol]”

-Anyone else you want to buy a Father’s Day card for?

“Nope! Just Ryan!”

It was cute. ¬†I almost cried, and I didn’t push it. ¬†That was just the beginning of that. ¬†Since then we’ve had a couple of conversations about Dads.

When Ryan and I first started dating, it was right after Tim moved. ¬†Noodle had called Ryan Dad right away, and we sat down with her and talked about it. ¬†Ry had told her that while he wasn’t her Dad, that he could definitely do Dad stuff with her, and that he’ll be there for her anyway. ¬†She accepted that and they’ve been buddies ever since.

The “Dad Talks” have happened a few times lately, and usually they’re out of nowhere. ¬†The one that stuck in my mind (and completely blew me away coming from a child) was “What’s a Dad?” Conversation.

It started by talking about the stuff her and Ryan had done over the course of the weekend. ¬†They have several activities that I have dubbed “Ryan Noodle Time”, mostly stuff that he enjoys doing with her, whereas I prefer to do by myself. ¬†So they had cooked, gardened, and played all day, and she had apparently decided that that was “Daddy stuff” and asked me why Ry did Daddy stuff with her when he wasn’t her real Dad.

I started really slow. ¬†I explained to her that Ryan loves her just like Mommy does, that Ryan likes doing stuff with her, just like how Dads do. ¬†I asked her if she knew how long Ryan had been in our lives, I got “2 summers” as the answer. ¬†I explained that two years is more than enough time to love someone. ¬†I asked her if she liked him, if she said good night and I love you every night before bedtime, and I asked her if she liked when he fixes her owwies. ¬†She nodded, and I asked her if she was happy doing so called “Daddy Stuff” with Ryan and she laughed and “Duuuuuuuh”.

So I asked her what she thought a Dad was, what she thought mattered most. ¬†I got a bunch of answers ranging from spending time together to buying ice cream (too funnny) and I told her that it doesn’t matter sometimes who you’re related to. ¬†I told her that it matters who is there for you and who loves you. ¬†I talked about her Grandma, and how even though Grandma isn’t my real mom, I still love her all the same. ¬†I talked about my (step) Grandpa, and told her how I still did Grandpa stuff with him even though we weren’t blood-related, how he raised my mom and did Daddy Stuff with her even though he wasn’t her real Dad. ¬†I reminded her of her aunts and uncles, who are reality not blood-related, and how they all love her and spend time with her even though they aren’t my real sisters and brothers.

“So even though Ryan’s not my real daddy, he can be like my Daddy?” ¬†-Yes babe, sometimes you get to make your¬†own¬†family out of the people you love, and that’s what matters.

She went to bed smiling that night.

So we haven’t heard from her Bio-Dad in about 2 months. ¬†He just fell off the face of the planet, which is cool with me. ¬†Noodle hasn’t asked about him and has been fine, and I was glad to not have to deal with it as mean as that is. ¬†Her birthday came around and she got a gift from my ex-mother-in-law (wonderful lady) and the day before we got a package from him too. ¬†My temper flared sooo bad I considered “Return-To-Sender” and I about threw it away after reading the card.

He had wrote in it some sob story about not having a phone for 2 months, and *that’s* why he didn’t call. ¬†His phone has been off. ¬†He promised to tell me as soon as he had one again.

Deep Breath. 

That is the biggest bullshit excuse I have ever heard. ¬†I’m sorry, if I didn’t have the phone, I think it would take all of 3 days to find one. ¬†Ask a neighbor, give them a few bucks for the bill, use any of the free apps for phone calls via internet. ¬†Payphones. ¬†Work phones. ¬†SOMETHING. ¬†Send an email, letter, tell your mother to call or write. ¬†Having your phone shut off of 2 months is NOT an excuse for not talking to your kids.

Deep Breath

When he decided to resurface after a year and a half of no contact, I told him it was his last chance. ¬†He had destroyed my daughter’s heart and its taken her a long time to get back to normal. ¬†He wasn’t the one who had to listen to her cry at night because she missed him for the first couple of months. ¬†I told him it was his last chance, that I’d give him one more chance to do things right and that was it. ¬†The only reason I was giving him that chance is so that when Nood grows up and looks back, she’ll know that I didn’t keep him away, even though he did horrible things during our marriage and then abandoned her when she was little, I still gave him the opportunity to fix it.

I gave him a break with child support. ¬†When he dropped off the face of the planet, I didn’t file. ¬†I figured, good, if he wants to stay gone, I don’t need his money. ¬†I’m completely content with Noodle growing up and finding out that her dad couldn’t even contribute financially. ¬†When he popped back up, I asked him if since he was going to be around if he was going to pay his support, he said he needed time, I gave it to him. ¬†Since our divorce, I have paid for *every-single-fucking-thing*, weekly tuition for daycare and school, clothes, food, toys, doctors, and now school supplies and registration. ¬†So 6 months after him popping back up… still nothing.

I gave him a break when he started calling every 3-4 weeks. ¬†I told him he needed to call more, and left it at that. ¬†When he stopped calling, I didn’t harass him, I let him be. ¬†I let him make his own choices, and focused on making my family stronger. ¬†I figured if he wanted to be gone, fine, as long as he stayed gone and stopped hurting my daughter, that was fine. ¬†It’s way better than having a long-distance dad who calls when he feels like it. ¬†I figured, I didn’t need child support anyway, if he’s not there, no big deal.

Deep Breath

I’m tired of playing games. ¬†We have a stable loving family, with everything Noodle could want and or need (besides *another* ice cream from the ice cream truck). ¬†I’m tired of Tim deciding that he wants to be a Dad every couple of months and calling and turning Noodle’s happiness upside down. ¬†She’s a well-adjusted, happy child until her Dad calls… and I’m tired of it. ¬†If you’re not going to call for 2 months, 6 months or a year and a half, just stay gone and stop hurting her. ¬†She has a Dad as far as we’re concerned, one who has raised her since her bio-dad ran away. ¬†We don’t need a part-time-long-distance “dad” too.

So I’m not giving an inch anymore. ¬†I am following my court documents, and sticking to my guns. ¬†If he wants to run away then fine, go away and stop coming back. ¬†If he wants to play this pop-up game, then fine, he’s going to follow the rules. ¬†The next time I hear from him, I’m turning all of his info into child support enforcement (thank god I saved his ssn, DL#, addy and birthdate. ¬†Hell, I even have a recent picture of him.) ¬†I’m tired. ¬†If we have to deal with him disrupting Noodle’s happiness, he’s going to pay his fair share and he’s going to follow the rules.

 

As sad as it is, I just want him to stop screwing with Noodle’s head and stay gone this time.

 

 

Advertisements

Stand Up and Step Up

Standard

Being a single parent is hard work.  I would know.  Divorced and all of that hoopla, it happens, and unfortunately is pretty common.  I was not the best mom at first, I had to fight with my new found freedom and learn how to do everything on my own again while dealing with active Crohns Disease.

It took me a bit, a year of fucking up to be exact, but I did it. ¬†I stay out of the bars (except for ¬†a rare and precious night out… which I usually stay sober for. ¬†Whodathunk?), I save my money, and I work on spending time with my family and providing a wonderful life for my daughter. ¬†It’s hard work, it really is. ¬†But to know that I am completely 100% self-sustained and my daughter doesn’t want for anything (beyond “ICE CREAM MAN MOOOOM”) makes me proud. ¬†I’ve done it all on my own, and now my home is even more stable and loving with Ryan in it. ¬†You all know how messed up my thinking had got there for a while. ¬†I’ll admit it, purely to prove that you can get through it. ¬†Especially if you have kids. ¬†Because of that though, I’m pretty tough on other single moms.

I’m sure you know the stereotype. ¬†Mom with a scraggly looking kid, standing in line at the welfare office, nails done, hair dyed, brand spanking new iPhone5 in her hand. ¬†I *hate* that stereotype. ¬†Actually, hate is a pretty mild way of putting it. ¬†I do everything I can to not be that mom. ¬†I busted my ass to get on my own two feet and give my daughter a better life. ¬†I just want to scream when I see it, or even more so when people are¬†surprised¬†that a young mom like me isn’t on welfare.

I have nothing against welfare, I truly don’t. ¬†I used SNAP benefits for 6 months after I threw my ex-husband out. ¬†Later on I lost a job and used SNAP benefits for a little over a month. ¬†Welfare is there as a step up, to give you that hand that you need when you’re super down on your luck. ¬†Without those benefits, food was too expensive to pay for and my utilities fell behind. ¬†It’s useful, it’s there for you to use.

However, it’s not there for you to live on.

When I met Ry, him and his ex-wife had officially parted ways (after being separated for months) a couple months before. ¬†It seems really amicable, everyone got along. ¬†I was on “Team-Single-Mom”, I felt for her, even though her ex still was very active in her child’s life… I could understand. ¬†As time passed, real attitudes and personalities started coming out and I distanced myself. ¬†I didn’t want to be that woman who picked fights with an ex-wife. ¬†It’s annoying, and I’m an ex-wife too, I could still understand… couldn’t I?

I tried really hard to keep my mouth shut but after¬†awhile¬†I started piping up. ¬†During her days, her son stayed at his grandmothers house. ¬†She had claimed she was working long hours at the bar, but after a little investigating (the whole knowing everyone thing comes in handy) we found out she spent equal time drinking. ¬†I still tried to remind myself, freedom is delicious after a failed marriage. ¬†I still liked going to the bar… I tried to forget the fact that I came home every night and never left before the kiddo was fast asleep and tucked in.

One day, her son told me, “I miss my mom, I haven’t seen her in more than a week.” The judgement was made. ¬†It was final. ¬†I was not a fan. ¬†Yes, I went out, a lot even. ¬†I got that, I¬†understood¬†that more than anyone else could… but I still spent every moment I possibly could with my daughter. ¬†Hell, I *STILL* get upset when Nood goes to school/summer camp. ¬†Anyone who could leave their kid “because it was easier” at their parents for days on end was not cool in my book.

I gave up on beating that horse. ¬†It’s been two years and he still sees his grandmother more than his mom. ¬†I finally just resigned myself to this thought… when her son grows up, he’ll find out the truth eventually. ¬†Then the only person she’ll have to face is the shame from her own kid. ¬†She just has to grow up.

So then the “gimme-gimmes” started. ¬†I’ve always offered to buy clothes or his baseball shit, but we started getting calls for random stuff. ¬†The latest was six-flags passes. ¬†I finally had to put my foot down. ¬†Absolutely-fucking-not.

We don’t splurge like that in my household, I am not splurging like that outside of it. ¬†Maybe when the kids get older, but right now it’s not a necessity, and it’s not in my budget. ¬†She then started harping on how we should pay for school registration… after we paid for the school supplies (she was supposed to pay registration). ¬†She says $180 is too much for her. ¬†Considering I pay $180 a week for daycare/summer camp (It was $190 for Kindergarten), I don’t have too much sympathy, I still have to pay Noodle’s school registration for next year next week.

So I snapped. ¬†I told her that since she is on food stamps (3 plus years now), gets medical, free childcare and free utilities she will be fine. ¬†I am more than willing to help her if she ever gets her own utilities and falls behind not to mention anything the kiddo needs. ¬†Needs, not wants. ¬†I have no problem splurging for wants, but money isn’t growing on a tree here. ¬†I can’t pay for things like passes, when I have bills to pay.

I told her that if she can present me with a literal bill or invoice (for things like baseball, school, supplies, etc) I will pay them, but I will not be giving her cold-hard-cash when she hasn’t gotten a job that can support her son yet. ¬†As long as she’s on welfare, I will be paying anything the kid needs direct. ¬†I am not a walking wallet, and I am *not* going to support a welfare mom.

I am sick and tired of it to be blunt. ¬†I managed to pull myself up and fix my life, so can she. ¬†Her son depends on it. ¬†So unfortunately I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of calls or texts whining for money, but the difference is, I’m good at saying no. ¬†I’m good at budgeting and I am well aware of what living within your means is.

I signed up for this to step up for the kids. ¬†I signed up to love my family, not to give my hard earned paycheck for a night at the bar. ¬†I hope this is a wake up call for her. ¬†She needs to be a better mom, I know she can, she just has to step up and do it. ¬†It’s going to be a long few months, but hopefully refusing to enable welfare-life gives her the reality-check she desperately needs.

An Open Letter To The Ex-Wives

Standard

[Explanation: ¬†This is not a hack on all single mothers or all ex-wives. ¬†This is for those women who divorce a man for whatever reason but then refuse to let go. ¬†This is for the women who get mad when things start going right for the man that *they* walked out on. This is for those mothers who spend too much money on¬†frivolous¬†shit and then complain when they don’t have money for their half of their child’s¬†necessities. ¬†Take offense if you must but if you do, think about why you’re offended. ] [ This is also not a dig on mothers who want their ex-husbands to pay child support or their half of the child’s expenses. ¬†I am also a mother, who unfortunately has an ex-husband who doesn’t pay a dime. ]

 

Hey you,

Yeah you. ¬†I’m sure this will get around to you some how. ¬†Someone you know will see it and link it to you, and that’s okay. ¬†I’m cool with that. ¬†I am also writing this so other ex-wives understand what they have signed up for.

I just wanted to explain something to you.  I am an ex-wife too, I, like you decided to end my marriage and continue on, on my own.  More power to you!  However, there are consequences to your actions, especially when your ex-husband decides to enter a long-term relationship with a girl like me.

I am a single mother. ¬†I do it all with out any child-support or assistance from the state (not that that is wrong, unless you abuse it… ahem). ¬†I have worked my ass off to get to where I am today, which includes a mortgage, car, as well as day to day expenses. ¬†I am proud of the fact that I’ve managed to make it this far, and if my accomplishments bother you, too bad.

So lets get down to what is bothering you then shall we?

From what I guess, you’re kind of salty that the man you divorced is living a stable and happy life. ¬†My mistake, but what you could do is maybe get a “real” job, you know one with benefits and hours that let you actually spend time with your kid. ¬†You know, the kind where you don’t drink *and* pay your taxes? ¬†It’s not his fault that you’re broke and it’s not my fault that you’re in the same place as you were when you left him.

Speaking of money. ¬†I’ve told you numerous times that I’ll give you half of the money that is needed for something. ¬†I offered to pay for half of the school supply package, I have no problem paying half of baseball, I have no problem buying the kid clothes. ¬†Hell, I called you a little over a week ago and asked what clothes he needed, “Just maybe some basketball shorts, he’s fine other than that.” ¬†Apparently you forgot that information since “Well he needs a whole new wardrobe” popped up today. ¬†I am not a fool. ¬†I will not be bailing you out of whatever financial hole you have gotten yourself into. ¬†One of the consequences of getting a divorce is becoming financially independent. ¬†It’s called budgeting.

Also, as you may now know, money does not grow on trees. ¬†I understand that you want to send your child to some camp that magically costs $400 (which by the way, I have internet, you shouldn’t lie). ¬†We unfortunately do not see that as reasonable, so we cannot come up with that large of a sum of money. ¬†We do have bills to pay, remember, we’re *not* on welfare? ¬†As a mother myself, I cannot favor one child over another, and since I cannot afford to send my daughter to camp, I cannot afford to send your kid either. ¬†I’m a huge fan of avoiding favoritism.

Also, I need you to remember that you’re the EX. ¬†You are no longer apart of my boyfriends life. ¬†You left him, so there should be no bitching. ¬†I can’t believe that he has repeatedly had to explain to you that he doesn’t want to hear about your day. ¬†There is no need for daily phone calls unless it is from his child or about his child. ¬†I need you to realize that beyond the fact that you’re still alive and at least attempting to provide your child with a good life, neither of us care. ¬†I’m sorry this seems to bother you so much, but you’d think after 2 years you would’ve gotten used to this. ¬†I’ve tried to stay out of it, but apparently you need to hear it from me as well. ¬†I will call you if I have to, and as you already have learned, I will tell you what’s on my mind, how things work with me, and you will listen… again.

You know, we’ve already had this conversation once. ¬†I figured you’d get it, but apparently not. ¬†I realize that there is an adjustment period to getting over the fact that your ex-husband is happy with out you, but honey it’s been 2 years. ¬†Time to get moving. ¬†You can call me the wicked-step-mother or whatever you may, because frankly it doesn’t bother me. ¬†You just need to realize that I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to stay, and I am most definitely not a fool. ¬†The man you left has changed as well, he’s made himself stronger and refuses to be a doormat again.

So I guess what it comes down to is – Suck it up buttercup, because this is the way it is.

 

Sincerely,

A very aggravated girlfriend.

Child Support, Court and Single Mom Rants.

Standard

So today was the day. ¬†I filed a motion to get child support registered through the state, and at 9am I went in for the court appearance. ¬†Lets just say, I knew I shouldn’t waste my time, and I left in tears.

Being a single mother is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. ¬†Dealing with Crohns, Domestic Abuse, Unemployment, and pretty much everything else that has come my way in the last few years… well… it was a breeze compared to this. ¬†I am solely in charge of another human being. ¬†I am raising a daughter on my own, giving her my all, working my ass off for her. ¬†I love this little girl with all of my heart, and I do everything I can to make her life perfect. ¬†It’s hard enough trying to decide punishments on my own. ¬†It’s heart-breaking to know she spends more time with her teachers than myself. ¬†It’s fucking hard as hell to be the only one here to comfort her, for all of life’s difficulties, including her own father walking out on her. ¬†I do my best by her, every single thing I do somehow relates back to her. ¬†She is my world. ¬†Raising a child is also expensive.

The way I had figured it, is when my ex-husband was still around, still part of her life, still here, I didn’t mind that he never paid child support. ¬†He was being a daddy, and that was good enough for me. ¬†The moment he stepped out of her life, the moment she first cried because she missed her Daddy I got bitter. ¬†You know, I could stand for being the sole financial support for my little family, but I can’t stand doing it all on my own. ¬†My daughter needed her Dad, and he walked out. ¬†So if he can’t muster up enough balls to be a Dad, he damn well should pay his (court-ordered) child support, and his (court-ordered) daycare expenses. ¬†If that fucker thinks that he can just walk out of her life, out of his other child’s life, then he damn well better pay what he owes. ¬†Being a single mom is hard, but it stretches my finances thin. ¬†Thank the lord I got child care assistance (for now… I’m right on the cusp) because daycare is $190/week. ¬†I don’t even want to tell you what Kindergarten is, I have to register for that this week. ¬†The least he could do is provide his share of her education, her healthcare, her clothing. ¬†Nope, it’s just me here. ¬†I’ll make it, just as I have been for 2 years now. ¬†It’s just frustrating.

So he left us. ¬†You know. ¬†He ran off to a new girlfriend, for another fresh start, for another family with out any kids he has to take care of. ¬†He’s living in Boulder Colorado. ¬†We emailed his new girlfriend, trying to get in contact with him, she blocked us. ¬†I do speak to his mother, whom loves my daughter with all of her heart, but besides admitting he’s a douche, knows nothing about him. ¬†He stopped calling her once she voiced her opinion on the matter. ¬†So finally. ¬†Almost a year after he left, I filed for child support.

My court date was¬†disappointing¬†to say the least. ¬†The judge told me that because I don’t know his place of employment (yeah right, like that fucker would work on the books) and his current address (hello, he blocked me and disconnected his phone) they can’t do anything. ¬†Nothing. ¬†At all. ¬†So I asked her. ¬†“So if I don’t know the information he’s hiding from me, I’m screwed.” ¬†The judge tells me that I need to talk to the State’s Attorney and Child Support Enforcement. ¬†I almost fell over. ¬†I’ve filled out the application (for both offices) 3 times.. I’ve called numerous times. ¬†The most I’ve gotten is a promise of a call back… once… from one office. ¬†I’ve been trying for MONTHS. ¬†She dismissed my motion, and I left in tears. ¬†Short of Ryan calming me down, and a lunch date with Kenzie, the bad mood would’ve continued.

I left and went to the Child Support Enforcement Office in person, filled out another application, they promised they get in touch (again) and I left.

I never expected to see any money. ¬†I just wanted it on the books that he doesn’t take care of not one, but two children. ¬†But because he took off and left Noodle in the dust, he gets away with it. ¬†He gets to abandon his child again, break her heart, and leave it up to one parent to take care of her. ¬†The courts wont help. ¬†I don’t expect to hear a call from the office. ¬†I am ready to give up.

I hope, I fucking hope, when he’s laying in bed at night, snuggled in to a house his new girlfriend pays for, he thinks of the two children he’s left behind. ¬†Noodle’s emotional wounds will eventually heal, and I say good riddance, but I hope he feels pain for the rest of his life.