Co-Parenting: Violence

I’ve heard so many sad stories on this journey to co-parenting with my ex. People who’ve suffered abuse and have to deal with mental health issues. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that my transition is not like everyone else’s.

I saw this video last week on Facebook and my heart broke. This woman is smashing up her ex’s car. The children were in the back seat:

Now, what is scary as heck about this situation and what has garnered a discussion on co-parenting is whether or not this woman’s behavior was acceptable. I said “Hell, no. She’s dead wrong. The children were in the car. She could have hurt them babies.” But, another woman said “You don’t know what she’s been through.” Umm, whatever.

Then another woman talked about violence in her relationship and how she literally flipped on her abuser who was her child’s father and did the same thing. Was she right? Nope. But, we don’t know the full story. I paused.

I’m not advocating violence on any level. With anyone. Especially with your children around. But, no man or woman is worth me losing my job over because I am mad at them or the situation I find myself in. I get it.

I grew up in a violent home. My dad was abusive. There was blood and the sounds of fists hitting flesh. I don’t wish this on anyone. Those images have stayed with me for years. I can’t ever forget and neither will these children.

It is important that we understand the cycle of abuse. If you are in an abusive situation, please get out. Immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Get help!

If you have children with your abuser, please get them out of that situation. Report all acts of violence immediately to your local law enforcement. You have to be an advocate for yourself.

Don’t lose your children because you are in jail. Don’t allow your partner or ex-partner put you in a situation where you can’t defend your children. If you won’t protect them, then who will?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Motivational Monday Moment– 7.24.17

Today’s Motivational Monday Moment is about finding your joy in the midst of your storm. I know it’s hard. I know that life can be overwhelming sometimes. I get it. You may be in a transition, a storm or a dang hurricane, but hold on love.

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I need you to hold on and anchor yourself. You need to remember that you can’t control the storm, but don’t let it take your joy. You have to hold on.

I remember going through a rough period four years ago when I ended my marriage. We were in a bad space. I was hurting. He was hurting. I was literally being engulfed in a sea of pain and anger. I was drowning. I had let go of my joy.

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Have you ever literally fallen because of the emotional pain you were experiencing? There was nothing physically wrong with you, but the emotional pain was overwhelming? I have. It is unbelievable.

I would be walking and fall out and start crying. My son was holding my head begging me not to cry. He said “Mommy, don’t cry. I’ll protect you. Mommy, please don’t cry.” I’ll never forget that.

It took everything in me to get beyond the grief that I was experiencing. I was dealing with so much pain and grief at the dissolution of my family structure and how we were treating each other that I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I couldn’t hold on to my joy. It was slipping through my fingers. Until one day…

I literally heard God speak to me and say “Get up! It is done.” 

And just like that I had regained the strength to keep on fighting. To keep on moving forward despite the pain that I found myself in. I was not alone. God reminded me of that. That remembrance of his love and mercy helped me to regain my joy.

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You see God had given me back my joy. But, I’ve strayed. I’ve let life and situations that I find myself in overwhelm me. I allow the hopelessness and pain of my situations choke the joy out of me. Until now.

I am reading everything lately. Nothing is one sided. Where there is darkness there is light. Where there is pain there is joy. The good and bad exist on the same plane. I can take the good, but not the bad, but is that fair?

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Nope. I need to remember re-frame a situation, re-establish boundaries and restructure my outlook on life. My joy doesn’t disappear when there is pain. When there is despair, joy is still there. I have to remember that.

And I want you to remember it too. There is nothing that you are going through that you can’t find and hold on to your joy. You are a vessel of positive light and you are loved. No matter what the situation you find yourself in, please know that you are of value and joy is within you. Don’t despair my friend.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

The Art of Being A Wife Tour

Sorry for the post that wasn’t. I’ve had a busy week and haven’t been able to catch up on a lot of your posts. Please know that I will be doing that over the next few days including this weekend. However, I wanted to tell you about this awesome session that I attended last Saturday. It was called The Art of Being a Wife Tour.

The tour was designed to get women to think of the following questions:

Do I have what it takes to be a great wife?

How do I bring sexy back to my bedroom?

How can I get “me” back after losing her in my marriage?

Am I the only one going through in my marriage?

Can I stay even when the thrill is obviously gone?

As someone who plans to be a wife to Mr. C one day, I wanted to go and check it out. Plus, I knew Tanya Barnett. She wrote the book Being A Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Said “I Do” that I reviewed. I had read the book, but I wanted to know more.

The Women

I had never met Dominique Clarke, but I am glad I did. They were incredible leaders in helping us to really dig dip into things that affect us. Dominique is a matchmaker who has been married for 8 years and she’s only 30. What? How awesome is that?

I couldn’t imagine being married at 22, but she’s making it work. She shares her tips for dating, relationships and marriage with you. She has a book entitled She’s Valuable (But Does She Know It?) that I purchased and started to read. I’ll do a book review on this later.

Tanya Barnett is an entrepreneur, author, mom, wife, radio host and many other titles. She shares her testimony about her relationship struggles in her marriage and what she had to do to fix herself. She tells you how God told her that her marriage was her ministry.

How many of us think of marriage as our ministry? But, it really is. That was an amazing nugget to take away. Her book is amazing and a must read.

What It Wasn’t

It wasn’t a male bashing session. It was a session to help us women figure out what we can work on within ourselves. That in itself was different because we always want to turn it into a male bashing session or point the other finger to our partners when we get around other women.

We aren’t accountable for our own actions. There was none of that. It was all love and respect. It was really getting to what you desire for yourself and your partner so you can strengthen your relationships. I had a ball.

What I Wish

What did I wish they had? A workbook with some excerpts and tips from their own book that they could share. It was a lot of women and we couldn’t get through everything, but have us do the work and talk about what we expect to get out of this. Have us work on ourselves at home.

What I Want You To Know

I learned some things. I learned from the women around me at my table and I was able to share some wisdom as a divorced woman. This was an excellent opportunity for sister bonding and empowerment. Self-improvement always is and will be one of my top priorities in my life.

Highlight

The next stop is in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you are in the area, please go check out this awesome tour. There are only a few tickets remaining. I was also fortunate to give a testimonial. Check it out:

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

#ThursdayThoughts

My blog is my blog. It is a reflection of how I feel. If you read the tag line it is my high horse journalistic point of view.

Thank you for reading and commenting. I value each and every one of you. As my readership grows, I want to thank you for being a part of this journey with me.

It’s an amazing journey where you will witness me sharing my soul and opening up my heart and mind to the things that I’ve endured. It’s not a pretty story, but is life pretty? It is my truth. I make no apologies for sharing it.

Some things you’ll be able to relate to and other things you won’t. I get it. Life is about finding people you can learn and grow from. I spoke about it on Monday. Find your tribe.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so, check out my page and learn a little about me: I Am Me

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Blackout

I was in a perpetual hell. Pain. The pain was indescribable. No one knew how bad I was suffering. The excuses.

I made so many excuses for not being present. I became engrossed in work. Always working late or focusing on other things. Hiding the mask of pain for those who knew me best. Those who knew my struggle.

I had other things to focus on. My cousin was dying. He was 9 months older than me. He was my best friend. My life’s purpose became about making sure he was okay.

We talked often. I told him of my fear that I was broken. I told him how I feared that I couldn’t give my husband a baby. That I was scared. That maybe God was punishing me.

He listened. He loved. He encouraged. He never judged.

Even after his radiation treatments or chemo treatments he encouraged me to talk to my husband. To let him know what I was feeling. I couldn’t. I changed the subject.

I made my cousin promise that he wouldn’t leave me. That he wouldn’t die and leave me alone because I had no one. My heart was breaking and I told him that I couldn’t have another organ breaking since my womb was broken. He laughed.

He was tired. He was exhausted. A planned trip to spend some time with him in April was just what I needed. I needed to get home to see my family. To hear the sounds and laughter of those that loved me.

I felt so alone in my house that it was hard to come home. I would smile.  I would make polite conversation. I would go into the room and watch television. I tuned out. I turned my back on my marriage and grew smaller in my shell.

We became roommates.

I told my husband that I needed to go home to Tennessee. I needed to be with my cousin. He thought it would be a good idea. He encouraged me to go. Maybe he was hoping it would help me. A change of scenery. A breath of fresh air in this toxic environment that we were creating.

I went home to spend the weekend with my cousin and his new wife. She seemed nice enough. Surface. I couldn’t see beyond the surface of her personality so I just accepted his choices. He was who I needed to encourage me. He was who I was there to see.

My cousin had baked two pies for me. My favorite custard pie called a chess pie. It was so good. Perfect. Even after his cancer treatments he wanted to do something for me. He told his wife “My cousin is coming. I want to do it for her.” I felt special.

A bond that had formed when I was born this man was the big brother I never had. The father figure. The protector. I ate and slept that weekend. Good conversation, food and family. It was as though my life was reset. I saw value in the things that mattered.

I took my cousin and his wife out to dinner. I bought them groceries. He was on a fixed income. He had to maintain his COBRA payments until Medicare kicked in. She didn’t work. She took care of him. Food stamps helped some. But, she longed for coffee.

Coffee.

That was the least I could do. I called my husband and asked him was it okay that I bought them food. They had little and had given me so much. He encouraged my generosity.

I was at peace.

My cousin decided that he wanted to bake me a couple of pies and a caramel cake to take home. I asked “How am I expected to get this home?” “Ship it.” I laughed.

We shipped 4 desserts back to Maryland packed with ice packs. It was expensive, but I needed it. I needed a piece of family. I needed the love that was in that box. The love that a man who was dying gave me every day.

The next day I headed home. Back to my life. Back to the toxic feeling of failure that was engulfing my spirit. I wasn’t getting better.

I was getting better at hiding my pain.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

The Thought Catalog

A couple of week’s ago I was ecstatic after receiving a message from one of the coordinators at The Thought Catalog. She said one of their staff writers had ran across one of my posts and thought it would be a good fit for their site. She asked me would I be interested in sharing it. “Uh yeah” I said.

Well, it was posted a couple of days ago and I wanted to share it with you. This is another avenue that will allow me to expand my readership and really get my name out there. I love the idea of sharing my work to big sites that have millions of readers. I am honored.

That being said, please check out my profile here: My Profile and share my post here:  6 Dating Mistakes You Make When You’re A Girl That’s Too Nice

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

Co-Parenting: I Never Thought

I never thought that it mattered to Munch that his dad and I weren’t together. He had turned 5 and we waited until he graduated from day care and had his birthday party. We didn’t want his 5th birthday to be scarred in any way. However, looking back on it…he probably was scarred in spite of our best intentions.

Munch’s life has always been a life where he’s experienced being an only child with two parents that love him tremendously. When we explained that we were divorcing and that he would live in two homes with two rooms, he said “But, you two are my parents.” We explained that we would always be his parents and that we love him more than life itself.

We probably should have put him in therapy. We probably should have gone to family counseling. We probably shouldn’t have done a lot of things. But, we did. None of which Munch had a choice in.

Life has a way of getting you to reflect on your choices when you’re divorced and try to co-parent. That moment came for me a few weeks ago. Munch was crying after a conversation with his dad. I asked him to come here and sit down and talk. He did. We talked. My heart broke.

My son felt like he was in the middle of his parent’s mess. Truthfully, he was. He sat with me and talked to me openly and honestly about what he was feeling. My little man child was expressing how he felt about everything. I just listened. I cried.

I asked him “Munch, what is it that you want?” We spend so much time telling Munch what he has to do that we probably don’t ask him how he feels about things. Forgetting that he’s the one that has to adapt to it. Do you know what my little boy said? He looked at me with tears falling down his face and said “I want you and Daddy to get back together.” 

This hit me like a ton of bricks. What? Why? I had so many questions. I couldn’t bombard this little boy. I asked him “Why?” He said “Because I’m the only kid in after care with divorced parents.” I explained that he’s probably not and some kids may have parents that never married. But, I had to go deeper.

I explained to him that I knew that he felt caught in the middle and I apologized for my part in it. I told him that his dad and I hadn’t been together in over four years and that we love him immensely. I explained that I know that he didn’t ask for any of this and he’s having to adjust to our choices.

We prayed. I kissed his tears. I held my son until he wanted to get up and go play.

His words stuck with me. In my mind and in my spirit. So much of what you do when you divorce and try to rebuild your life after the divorce affects your kids but do you ever stop to think how they’re coping? Probably not. There are a lot of things that Munch had no control over: his parents divorcing, his shared custody arrangement, his dad’s significant other, his dad getting engaged, his dad sharing spaces with someone else outside of him, me moving, his schools changing, me sharing my space with my mom, my dating Mr. C. and probably a whole heck of a lot more things. He’s had significant change.

We adults made the decision to move forward with our lives and he had no choice. We didn’t stop to think how our choices are affecting him not just in a once in a while conversation, but on a consistent basis. We didn’t stop to ask him what things he needs from us to make sure the transitions are working well for him. We just lived our lives believing that our choices were best for Munch.

Are they? I’m going to say in many ways yes. We are good at mapping out our lives and adulting, but we’re not good at co-parenting. We are good at telling him this is going to happen, but not at giving him a vote on our choices. We may not have a choice in what we do, but be cognizant of the fact that he’ll be the one to suffer the consequences.

Our married life is over. Whatever messes we created we have to remember that the most beautiful thing in all of this was Munch. He is our lifeline no matter how much fire I have to walk through I have to keep telling myself this. No greater joy than motherhood. Than what God has granted.

Next stop is to get Munch paired up with a therapist. Let him talk about what is affecting him. Let him sort through the mess we adults created with a professional. Get the tools and techniques on helping him adjust and be the best kid ever. We don’t have all the answers, but we can start by making the right choices to help Munch.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.