The Truth About Custody

Today’s post was inspired by news of Pillar Sander’s middle son finally getting to live with her. Not sure if you remember their divorce or not, but in a nutshell Deion Sanders got primary custody of his two boys and she got shared custody of their daughter who was the youngest at the time. Here’s what his middle son just shared:

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The children are caught in the middle of a divorce. I want to share a story with you. I want you to think about something before you go to war in custody…

I have a lot of friends who have gone through a divorce and custody battle with their children. All but two have had to battle it out in the courts for custody. As sad as it is, it didn’t have to be that way.

Marriages start off great. You fall in love. You create a life. You have children. Your career changes. Life changes. You have children. You raise your children. Life goes on. Then there is a shift in your marriage. It could be mental health, infidelity, loss of love and/or communication. But, something is wrong.

You try to fix it. You try counseling. You try to make your marriage work. You didn’t get married to get divorced. Sex becomes non-existent. You don’t understand what is happening. Why can’t you get back on track?

But, you can’t.

Months pass. Sometimes years. You grow distant. You become roommates. You live separate lives. You even fake it for family in friends. You begin to lose yourself in the hell that is your marriage.

Until one day.

One of you decides that you can’t go on like this. You can’t live this fake life for everyone including your children. You want them to see two happy people than grow up with a false sense of family. You decide it would be best to split and divorce.

What happens to the children?

You believe that your children need both parents. You’ve read the stories of children that do better with both parents in their lives. You will make it work. They will have two homes with two beds, but they will have two active parents. 

Then one person changes their mind. They want to take their chances in court. Battle it out. It could be for a number of reasons, but money or vengeance are probably the top. They don’t want to share. They want the children in their homes and in their lives full-time. You can see them occasionally.

You struggle to breathe. You’ve lived with your children 365 days. You’ve woken up with them. You’ve fed them breakfast, bathed them and taken them to school. You’re a full-time parent. They are the most important people in your life.

You look up at the person that claimed to love you and see that this person doesn’t care. They don’t care about what you did or who you are to the children. They are grieving. You fight it out and go to court.

Your children may be old enough to talk to the judge, but no one is listening. Lawyers, courts and money spent becomes your life. You didn’t plan this. You can’t understand how one person is being given your children and you are being regulated to seeing your child 48 days a year with two weeks vacation in the summer.

It’s not fair. 

But, you accept it. You accept the terms you were given determined to make the best of it. You show up at every recital, baseball game and school program. You are going to be an active parent no matter the circumstances dealt.

Your ex who got the kids can’t let it go. They play games. Wreak havoc in your life. Destroy you with their lies. But, you make it a point to keep your head in the game. Live your life above water. This divorce has already cost you too much. You move on.

Then something happens. Your ex is blocking your visitation. Back and forth to court you go. The system doesn’t budge. They tell her/him to stop and they continue. They tell her/him they can’t deny your visitation and they do it anyway. The courts do nothing.

The light in your children’s eyes diminish. They miss you. You miss them. You get another lawyer. Back to court you’ll go. You request a modification to the child custody. You want a 50% shared custody schedule with a 50% schedule. 

Your lawyers try to advise you both in mediation to split up the children. You can get the boys and she can get the girls. You are both shocked. You both are adamant that the children not be split up. They are siblings. They need each other. You need them.

Your lawyer advises you separately saying that you could win custody of your sons based off your ex’s antics. You get to have them the majority of the time. No more blocked visitations. But, what about your daughter?

You agree to move forward believing something is better than nothing. You can’t be without your children anymore. They need you. Your daughter will be fine you think.

You win.

You smile. You thank God. You thank your lawyers. You’ve finally won.

But, your daughter loss.

Your children are now split between two homes. She has no brothers there to defend her. She is now alone. 

Note: This is the reality in many broken families. Going through a divorce and custody can be both brutal and painful for the children. If you’re battling it out with your former partner, think about the children. Don’t split them up. They need both of you. Let them decide who they want to live with. Listen to them. Respect their decision or let them go. Don’t separate them. Remember the story from the Bible of King Solomon who wanted to split the child in half because both women were fighting over him? The real mother said “Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.” She was willing to lose her son than see him die. Which woman are you?

 

 

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/.

Munch Moments – 7.14

Munch has been with me this week and it has been so wonderful. I miss the scent and sound of my son when he’s away from me. Lots of hugs and lots of kisses and discipline too because my man child has gotten a little grown. He is talking back.

I will tell him something and then he’ll respond with a comment on what I’ve said. I had to tell him politely “Munch, not everything requires a response.” He still didn’t get it. He did it again. I responded “Baby, when mommy tells you to do something, your only response needs to be yes ma’m. No other comment is needed.”

Whew! It’s hard work being a parent. We try to lead by example and correct negative behaviors, but that sassy mouth has me wanting to apologize to my mother about my behavior when I was a child. I get it now God!

This week we had a ball at the church picnic, swimming and eating with some friends, attending the circus and of course doctor’s appointments were in the mix. First, the picnic at my church is an annual thing and we always have a good time chatting with the members, eating the good food and the kids have a ball dancing. Munch didn’t leave the moon bounce. AT ALL. I had to go and get him because he didn’t eat and it was time to go.

Sunday was a relaxing day by the pool. My girlfriend has a pool in her development and Munch got to swim and eat pool side. He loves that part. We order pizza and we can eat and relax and get back in the pool. Never missing a beat. He wanted to go on the slides, but he needed to pass the swim test first. I asked him did he want to do it. He agreed and of course passed. My baby can swim.

He’s been climbing in the bed with me more often. About 3 or 4 am he will awake and ask to get in the bed with me. I agree. I don’t ever want my son to not feel welcome in my bed. You may be asking “What happens when you marry Mr. C?” Munch will still be welcome or I’ll climb in the bed with him to soothe away any fears he’s having. LOL. Mr. C knows.

Munch had a dentist and doctor’s appointment earlier this week. We were in and out of the dentist office in no time and off to the doctor’s for his annual check-up. He’s in great health and doing just fine. But, it was weird this year at his annual check-up. The pediatrician had to check his genitals and Munch was laying down crying hard. I asked held his hands and asked him “What’s wrong?” He was crying and said “Mommy, I feel so embarrassed.” My heart hurt. My son is now embarrassed by being naked. The doctor was done in less than one minute and I told him that he doesn’t have to be embarrassed. I explained to him that the doctor is only allowed to view his penis with mommy or daddy present. Your body is a gift from God so you should never be embarrassed. But, it hurt me that my baby was embarrassed.

Finally, my week ended with us going to the circus last night. This is the Universoul Circus. Munch loves it. They play hip-hop, have cool clowns and great acts. It is becoming our annual date night to the circus. I have to pay for tickets, face painting, food and a toy. However, the look on his face as he tells me “This is the best day ever” is so priceless.

That’s my Munch update. He is going back to his dad today and I will miss the little one. Tomorrow I’m attending an event in the morning that I’ll blog about next week and my girlfriend’s birthday dinner. Have an amazing Friday and know that you are loved and appreciated!

 

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/.

5 Tips on How to Handle a Break-up Like an Adult

Look, we’ve all been there. We’ve all had our heart broken at one point or another. It hurts. You cry. You try to rationalize. You go through the steps of grieving. Hell, if you go through a divorce it’s a lot more painful.

But, I digress.

The thing is that your break-up doesn’t have to define you. You may not have the person that you thought you would spend the rest of your life with, but you are still you. You are still breathing and you still matter. It’s time to reset and refocus on you.

How can you do that when you’re in so much pain? By moving forward and not looking back. By not lashing out. By not airing your dirty laundry. By staying in the positive in the midst of the pain.

Here are 5 Tips on How to Handle a Break-up Like an Adult:

  1. Unplug from social media – Mr. C and I always say how social media or rather the inappropriate use of it can cause so much havoc in relationships. Social media can be your best or worst friend so take some time away from it and unplug. If you’ve posted hundreds of photos of you and your significant other all over Instagram or Facebook, don’t start deleting them. You’re now letting everyone know that you’ve broken up. Just unplug. Take some time for you. Don’t start posting inspirational and depressing mess all over Instagram letting us know that you’re broken up. Keep it to your closest circle and stay away from social media.
  2. Don’t post revenge porn – In light of all the Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna mess I will tell you that as a grown adult (over the age of 25) you shouldn’t start posting revenge porn. The nude shots you shared with your significant other should be destroyed and not used to “get back” at your significant other. I don’t care if they cheated on you and stole your money. Keep your business to yourself and stop letting everyone see that you got played. It happens. To all of us. The last thing I want to see is your man’s penis or your woman’s vagina when I click on my Instagram feed. Save it for your safe. Refer back to #1 and just unplug from social media.
  3. Seek professional help – This is for everyone. You know that I believe in therapy right? Get some. Now is the time to use your EAP or get a referral from your health provider to discuss your issues. We all have issues. Let me repeat that for a second…WE ALL HAVE ISSUES. Deal with yours. Deal with it in a healthy way. Try the 3 C’s – cuss, cry and color. Let the professionals help you through this healing process. This is extremely important if you have children with the ex. They will forever be in your life and it’s best that you find a way to deal with them that doesn’t cost you losing your mind.
  4. Don’t lash out – Look if you are out here disregarding all this great advice I’m giving you and pulling a Rob Kardashian, don’t be surprised if people start offering their opinions on how you should handle a situation. If you had followed my #1 rule you wouldn’t be receiving a public admonishment about your childish behavior. But, you didn’t. So, if you do, why are you mad? Don’t put your business out there or people will feel the need to comment. Hell, even if you don’t put your business out there people may offer opinions about your life. But, you’re hurting and you don’t want to hear it. I get it. Don’t lash out by posting things about your ex. I don’t care if it’s true. If you didn’t go to court and make it public record why are you lashing out accusations? Breathe and get off social media now.
  5. Find a healthy outlet – Whether this be the gym, meditation, writing and/or taking a vacation. Just do it. Surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you. Allow them to love and nurture the space around you so that you’re not wallowing in the pit of despair on your own. Take a vacation with your friends and focus on putting the past behind. You now have to focus on your future, but the stress of this break-up is still fresh and real. It’s okay. It may be that way for a minute, but if you find a healthy outlet for your pain you will get through it quicker. Trust me.

This whole mess that both Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian are in is horrific. They are two grown adults who have a child together and got petty. The stuff on the internet never goes away. Even if it is a lie, you have your children seeing things that you’ve said about your ex. Stop it.

I know that you’re in a load of pain and you want to get back at your ex for some of the slimy stuff they did, but revenge is not yours. Just focus on you and keep it moving. Follow the steps and you will not be in this break-up turmoil forever. Joy comes in the morning.

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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/.

#Thursday Thoughts – 7.6.17

Sending cool thoughts on a humid Thursday.

How are you? How was your weekend? Can you believe that it is almost Friday? Ugh! Summer months seem to fly by.

I hope you’ve noticed and enjoyed over the last three weeks that I’ve been sharing snippets of my fertility journey. My life. My past. My process to getting to baby. My hope is that my story will help you understand that the road to giving birth to Munch wasn’t easy, but neither was I. Life has a way of letting you choose how to live it. In fear or in faith. You’ll be able to see how I swayed back and forth in both.

Munch returns to me tomorrow and I’m super excited. I have missed my son something crazy. We have a busy weekend with a picnic on Saturday and a pool play date on Sunday afternoon. We are also going to the circus next Thursday.

I enjoyed a couple of days of rest and relaxation on Monday only to return to work yesterday and hear all about the drama of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. If you hadn’t heard…chile Google search the drama. He spilled all the dang tea on her and their relationship. I decided to write a post with some lessons learned. Check for it tomorrow.

There seems to be a lot of work to do and so little time to do it. I’m muddling along. Life is good. I am good. Munch is good. I pray that you are good as well.

I leave you with these #ThursdayThoughts

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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/.

 

 

Burning the Past

I’ve known people that when a relationship ends burn or toss pictures away of their ex. Regardless of whether they had children or not. One of the decisions that I made when I ended my marriage was to not be spiteful and destroy all photos of my ex-husband. Not because I was hoping for a reconciliation, but because it was my life. He was a part of my life. Both good and bad.

We shared Munch and he was young when we separated. He was almost 5. I often thought about life and death and my mortality. I wondered if I died tomorrow would Munch remember me. So, I kept photos of his dad and I together. That was a life that we had and if either one of us died Munch would remember that his parents had loved, laughed and lived prior to him being born. That he was created in love.

The thing is that I know so many people who discarded those photos. They have no memories of their exes to show their children. So, it got me to wonder do you burn or discard pictures of your ex? Whether they were your boyfriend or husband?

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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: The 5th Year

We had been married for almost five years. They were both beautiful and brutal years. Our marriage was being tested. He was being tested. We were being tested.

I didn’t know how I felt about having children. We had a lot of problems and I didn’t know if bringing a baby into the situation would be a blessing or a curse. I knew that he wanted kids. He wanted them now. He wanted them the minute we got married. I pushed back. I needed time. I quoted statistics “Most marriages end in divorce and many more end before the five year mark.” I wanted to wait.

He agreed. Reluctantly probably, but he agreed.

July 13, 2007

We were in a bad place. It had been five months since our first failed attempt at IVF. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t have a baby. I was in a perpetual state of just existing. I felt alone in my marriage. No one could understand the pain I felt knowing that it didn’t work.  I carried the burden of feeling like I was somehow incomplete.

It was my anniversary. I woke up wondering how long before we would be pulling the plug on this farce of a marriage. We were like roommates. Sleeping in the same house in the same bed and not touching. No hugging. No hand holding. No intimacy. I felt more alone than I ever had being single. I was living with a complete stranger.

Pleasantries were exchanged. We were both off today. It was our custom to take off work every time our anniversary fell on a work day. I got up and headed to the shower. I had to go. I got dressed and said good-bye.

There was no mention of anything special occurring on this day. I had made no plans. I just wondered when we were going to end it. Was today the day? I drove to take my mom to the dentist. She was getting her four wisdom teeth pulled and couldn’t drive home. No problem. I’m the oldest. I was already off.

After the dental procedure, I got my mom home and left for home. Not quite sure why I was headed home. It was my anniversary and I felt unloved. This void between us was like a mountain that couldn’t be crossed. I decided to call him from the car. “Hello” he answered. “Hi, are we doing anything special tonight? It’s our anniversary. Trying to figure out my day” I said. “I didn’t think you wanted to do anything. You just got up and left” he said. “I took my mom to the dentist. She got her four wisdom teeth extracted” I responded. “Oh, okay. Yeah, we can go to dinner. I’ll make reservations” he said.

Dinner sucked. The restaurant was in a beautiful location, but the meal was uneventful and not very tasty. We laughed and said that it was the worst meal we’d ever had, but tried to make the best of it. There were glimpses of hope in our strained conversations, hearty laughs, but mainly there was the distinct presence of pain. Too much 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/.