Surviving the BS – Part 1

The goal of my blog has always been to tell you what’s going on in my life. In all honesty, I started writing to blog about my life and family when I was happily pregnant with Munch. I had many starts and stops and I wasn’t consistent. Life got in the way.

I came back to it at the end of my marriage. It was a way for me to maintain my sanity through all the drama and the noise. It was my free therapy. However, I held back a lot. I was doing it under the guise of protecting my son. But, I was hurting. I was dying.

No more.

I’m tired ya’ll. I’m exhausted. I can no longer remain silent while I continue experiencing this drama. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to Munch.

For the last year, I’ve gone back and forth to court with my ex-husband. I told you how it stressed me out. The last court date was on September 11th. They accepted our parenting agreement. An agreement that we supposedly entered in a good faith effort to co-parent.

But, we don’t co-parent. We can’t. I hate him. He hates me and we’re left trying not to mess up Munch. Every therapy appointment I tell my therapist that is my fear. That my son will be damaged by the choices his parents have made. She reminds me that children are resilient and that I can love and do the best that I can and it will make a difference.

I’m not as optimistic.

How did I get to the point of hating my ex? From all the senseless back and forth. The name calling, the BS passive aggressive behavior, the court drama, the insertion of his wife, the mediation, etc. My life was in suspended animation and I had no choice but to participate in this custody drama. I thought there would be peace. At least for a little while.

However, I was wrong. I underestimated the man that I was dealing with. I believed that somehow we would call a “cease fire” and leave each other alone. No contact or communication unless it pertained to our son. All email communications would only be about our son.

But, I was naive.

It was a rough first week in October. We went back and forth on our son’s flute and swim lessons. Unnecessarily long emails that really don’t matter. I was tired. I was tired of receiving the emails and asked him to please stop contacting me unless it had something to do with our son because these back and forth emails were harassing and emotionally draining to me.

This was what I received:

BSabuse

 

I highlighted the piece of text that caused me anger, angst and feelings of violation. I realized that I was being battered and suffering emotional abuse by my ex-husband. He copied his wife on the email. I blacked out the email addresses and names. Why? Did they care when they sent me this BS? Probably not.

You see I told you about being a survivor of sexual assault, molestation and rape in my post: I Know Not. I shared my story because my ex-husband wanted to use it as an excuse to verbally abuse me. He wanted to harass and embarrass me in front of his wife as a form of intimidation.

So, if she wanted to know what really happened as a woman and a mother, she could read about it in my own damn words or she could support the man that continues to abuse me. But, it’s not about her. It’s about him. It’s about me. It’s about me saying that I will no longer allow this man to continue to insult and humiliate me. I am a survivor.

721372a92799cff52f63089f3ed35694--trauma-quotes-abuse-quotes

I will no longer be silent.

-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/.

Advertisements

The Truth About Co-Parenting

I’m in a lot of groups on co-parenting, taking co-parenting classes and reading everything under the sun to learn how to co-parent. Is it working? Umm, not yet. But, that is not to say that I’ve given up. I’m prayerful that God is working it out.

I understand that most co-parenting situations take 5 to 7 years to work out and that will put Munch between 13 to 15. Okay, whatever! It takes a village and I’m okay with that. However, one of the things that I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately is the concern that step moms have that the birth mom’s hate them.

Let me pause and offer my two cents on this belief. This is not true in all cases. If you broke up a home through infidelity, then the birth mother may hate you. But, you should know that. If you didn’t and you both just moved on with your lives and met and married new people then I’m sure that the birth mother doesn’t hate you.

Neither do the kids. They just need to get to know you. The thing is that you fall in love with the man not knowing the history of what he did to that woman or vice versa.  As much as everyone would like to place the foolishness on the birth mom’s shoulder I invite you to take a step back and look at it from another point of view.

As a birth mom to only one child, I only want the best for my child. I believe that his dad wants the best for him. If I don’t know you then how can I know what you want with our son? Does that make you a bad person? Nope, not at all. But, that doesn’t meant that I like you or hate you. I don’t know you.

Does that mean that I’m jealous of you? Not at all. Again, I don’t know you. I don’t trust people I don’t know. Do you trust people that you don’t know? Probably not. It means that we are starting at a point of figuring each other out. We are not sitting here creating voodoo dolls of you and wishing bad things on you. We have a life. We have a child or children. We may have careers.

Every relationship whether friend or intimate has boundaries. When you are getting to know someone intimately they are learning your boundaries and you are learning theirs. When do you learn the birth mother’s boundaries? Do you believe there are boundaries? Do you care?

If not, then think about the relationship that you are creating with those boundaries. When we don’t respect boundaries from the birth parents and do what they heck we want in the name of love, then you will be met with resistance and anger. Probably both. Issues from the marriage or relationship carry over into co-parenting when boundaries aren’t respected. Both men and women are guilty of this.  This doesn’t mean that the woman is bitter or jealous of you. You just crossed her boundary.

Let me give you an example, maybe the ex gave her a sexually transmitted disease (STD), was violent to her, stole from her, etc. Maybe the man didn’t want the child to begin with and now wants to be father of the year with you on his arms. Who knows? You only know his side of the story.  The one that your new partner told you. Maybe the issues are deeper than you want to admit. There are many reasons relationships fail.

And when they do fail, what remains is that there are two parents that have a child to care for. Two. Mom and dad. The parents who created the child, carried the child and the mother who birthed the child left to figure out how to raise this little human being without emotionally stunting him/her. Their children will be raised in two homes, with two different parenting styles and two people who love them immensely. Does that mean that you can’t be a partner in the child’s life with your new man or woman? Not at all.

It just means that you have to recognize that their are other participants in this co-parenting relationship. The parents. Both parents. They need to work together for their child. It may be a lot of residual issues, but your job is not get involved in the BS. To respect the boundaries and love and be a supporting partner to your significant other and a supporter of the child.

Children need the love and support of their parents. If more parents are added to the mix, that’s more love to go around. Their village will expand. Birth mothers don’t go around hating their exe’s new partner. If you’re feeling hated, ask yourself whether or not you did anything to overstep your boundaries. Talk it out.

This is not a birth mother vs. step mother reality. Women have to stop being pitted against each other. We are our sister keeper’s. We are all part of the village.

 

 

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/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

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/.

Child Support: My Story

The issue of child support is a touchy one. This will be a three part issue. The first part will be my story, the second will be a man’s story and the third will be a woman’s story. I’m going to explore multiple sides about the importance of child support and give you truth here. This may be a trigger post for some of you. So, if it is, please stay off my page with your drama. I am all about trying to equalize the argument for the benefits for financially supporting your children.

Many people see child support as a bad thing. It’s deemed the devil because many states require a man to pay 1/3 or more of his salary supporting a “lazy momma” while being denied visitation or being forced to work multiple jobs to even live.  Others see it as the only way to make a man financially responsible for his child while checking out emotionally. It is a vicious cycle and in reality there are some truths to both sides. Let’s discuss the reality.

In reality, children require more than just love to grow into healthy adults. It takes money. Can your child live without clothes, medical, dental, food or shelter? Nope.

Okay, good. Now, before you start saying that I’m pro the destruction of the man, stop it. I’m not. Women who don’t raise their children should also pay child support. I believe that everyone has a financial responsibility for their children.

For the record, I don’t get nor have I ever filed child support against my ex-husband. He doesn’t get it either. In fact, we agreed that we would equally split expenses for our son. So, I have no “skin” in the game to protect any financial support you think I may be getting.

Now, the difference between me and some other women is that I can afford to take care of my son without his father’s help. It’s not a bad thing. It’s reality. I’ve been blessed to have a great career that allows me both the financial and emotional means to be present for my son. However, I recognize that not everyone can say that they are as fortunate. Some women and men actually need the financial support of the other parent.

 

When I was growing up, my dad was ordered to pay $200 a month in child support for three kids. Yes, I said that right – three kids. Ask me how many checks we received?

Zero.

Not one.

My dad lived his life getting paid under the table. He avoided paying child support like it was a contagious disease. He refused to catch it.

Did he feel bad? In my opinion no. Anyone that avoids the financial support of their child doesn’t have a conscious. Therefore, they can’t feel bad for not doing for their child. Combine that with the fact that he lived in another state and didn’t see us and you have the trifecta of a poor example as a father.

He was not present. Financially, emotionally, spiritually or any form or fashion. We were a non-factor in his life. The life he lived in avoidance.

So, I watched my mother struggle. Struggle to put clothes on our back and food on our table. Struggle to work multiple jobs and go to school so she could provide a better life for us.

I imagined that the better life she was working on would provide better clothes, better shoes and more of an opportunity to have her present. See, when a person doesn’t take care of their children, it leaves the other parent to take care of the slack. But, it took two people to create that child. How come one person gets to slack on their responsibility?

 

Because of that hard life of learning to survive in spite of my circumstances, I worked hard. I didn’t want children. I wouldn’t bring a child into this world without being able to support them on my own. I would never give anyone that power to determine the fate of my child/children.

I would be better than that.

And I did. I worked hard to get my career off the ground. Even when my marriage ended and I had to re-shift my focus, it became about the most important asset in my life. My Munch. He was more important than any job or my career. I needed him to know that.

So, I spoke up. I told my employers during the interview stage that I am a mom first. That it is just me and that I will always be there for my son. I won’t miss school plays, programs or games. I will be present on the first day of school and every day thereafter. I only have him for a short time before he is released into the world, hopefully making it a better place.

My responsibilities were to my son first.  My employers understood. They respected my decision. So, I continued to rise in my career without sacrificing because I was a mother. I have been very fortunate to have that.

Even this summer when I had to adjust my schedule to get my son to and from camp. I called on my village and they helped out. My supervisor understood that I had camp that started at 9 am and there was no before care. I didn’t get to work until 9:45 am. My mother went in early and took off to pick up Munch from camp at 3pm.

I take off to take him to doctor’s appointments, to volunteer in his school, attend his programs (like the art camp) or if he’s sick. My supervisor allows flexibility because it’s just me. I need it. My mother didn’t have that. She had me.

I missed school if my siblings were sick. She had to work. We had to take care of each other.

I’m not ignorant to the fact that Munch has the best of both worlds…a mother that can afford to provide and a mother that is present. This is in direct contrast with what I experienced, but experience taught me. I chose to be a mother and I chose to have a career and thankfully I am able to have them both.

The lack of child support or financial means pushed me to work harder and become more determined to not be another statistic. We needed the financial support from my dad, but we lived and thrived in spite of. No one should ever have to be in that position.

-Part 2: His View On Child Support is Next-

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 Things I Need Babe

So, my friend Victor at Victor’s Corner wrote a post encouraging you to write an Open Letter and describing the different types of open letters you could write and I decided to do one. I thought about what kind of letter I would write and I knew that I wanted to write an open letter to my future husband. For all intents and purposes it will most likely be Mr. C, but I wanted to let you (and him) know the 5 things I need for our marriage.

Dear Mr. C:

It’s almost that time. Our time of reckoning that this life we’re building must go further. We can’t continue in an indefinite state of boyfriend/girlfriend. I know it was my wish to be this way for many years and you have indulged my spirit. I want you to know these 5 things before you ask me to be your wife.

  1. I need to know what you think. I’ve had so many relationships where the man that I’m with doesn’t offer me an opinion on anything I suggest. I hate that. I need you to be my partner and I will be your help mate. You need to be able to offer an opinion on things that I suggest, even if it’s “Babe, I don’t know what to say. It’s complicated, but I trust that you will make the right decision.” That explanation alone speaks volumes. I don’t expect you to have all the answers. I expect you to be able to talk to me and respond when I feel uncertain. Ask yourself whether or not you could do this?
  2. I need you to understand that it’s more than me and Munch. You know my relationship with my son’s father is contentious on its best days. I struggle to find the time, energy or power to respond. We don’t speak and even though the constant emails and text messages are wearing on me, you continue to keep me motivated and inspired. I need that for the next 9 years. It may never get better (although we pray that it will) but you need to be bigger than me when I am feeling defeated. You need to remind me that we have less than 9 years. I need you to understand that you will now be faced to deal with some of the frustrations, back and forth or drama. Are you okay with that? This is my reality. Ask yourself whether or not you believe that Munch and I are worth it?
  3. Respect my neurotic need to delay marriage. My girlfriend told me years ago that every delay is not a denial. I love you and I can’t imagine a life without you in it, but I’m just not ready to get married again. Yet. I love how you respect my wish to set a wedding date for the fall of 2020. It shows that you know that we’re not going anywhere. We’re willing to take the time to invest and cultivate our relationship in our own time. You totally respect the fact that I love being in the G-spot (girlfriend spot). But, ask yourself would you be okay with that should I want to move a wedding date closer or later?
  4. Know that I need you to lead. I am so tired of being superwoman and I need you to lead us. As a couple and a family. I told you before that I would follow a man to the end’s of the earth if I knew that God was leading him and God told me to follow. I can’t do everything. I feel like I have to do everything and sometimes it gets so overwhelming. I can’t do it all – without consequences and sacrifices. As a partner, I shouldn’t have too. I need you to know what I’m asking of you. Ask yourself whether or not you are ready to be superman?
  5. I am not her and you are not him. I know that we’ve both had experiences and relationships that may not have been the best, but surely we’ve learned the lessons that we were supposed to learn. Everything in life is meant to teach a lesson. Sometimes we listen and learn and sometimes we’re not that smart. Whatever the case, I need you to know that I’m not her. I’m not the one that may have broken your trust or family or anything else. I’m me. I also want to assure you that I know that you are not him. I will never compare you to anyone else or tell you that you are just like such and such. You’re not. I know this. You will never pay for the mistakes of anyone before you. I vow to communicate openly and honestly about all things knowing that you love me and what we’re building. I need you to ask yourself are you truly over your past relationships with your exes?

Life isn’t perfect. I know this. I’m not expecting perfection. I’m just expecting that two people that love each other will work together as a unit to build a strong foundation that will support us and our family for years to come. I vow to speak life into you and our family and all our dreams just like it says in Proverbs…

Proverbs 18:21 (NRSV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Do you want to participate in Victor’s Open Letter challenge? Check out his blog: Victor’s Corner and participate. I would love to hear what you have to say.

 

 

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/.

You Will Not Believe This

I told you all about how my ex and I are going back to court for custody and that when we arrived to have our custody hearing we were told that we were still married. No? You can read about it in Failure of the Court and in Divorced Again. Long story short…we were both shocked as hell.

We went to a Pendente Lite (temporary custody) hearing on May 4th only to be told that nothing can be done because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off. Yep, another day off work. Another day of time wasted. Another day of stress. The magistrate then said that we have a custody hearing in August so it would wait. What the hell? More delays. More stress. More time off work.

I was beyond frustrated and barely holding on with all this back and forth. I felt like the courts had failed me. Could no one do their job? Would I have to continue in this state of unknown until August? Yep. Apparently.

I was a wreck a few days after the hearing as you can imagine because I was mentally and physically tired. I allowed myself a couple of days to focus on other things and to get my mind right. There were still things that I had to do and Munch still needed to be taken care of. After a few days of moping around, I got up and moved on with my life.

Well, last Monday when I went to get the mail I had three notices from the courts. Not thinking it was anything other than the second divorce paper and update on the August trial, I was shocked to read:

The Scheduling Order dated April 20, 2017 and the Magistrate recommendations of April 11, 2017 and May 4, 2017 are stricken. The Judgment of Absolute Divorce dated March 17, 2016 remains in full force and effect. The parties’ respective Motions for Modification shall be scheduled for three hours on the earliest available date. Notice to be sent to the parties.

What? Was I reading this correctly? That meant that a judge had reviewed our complicated file and decided that all that extra BS we were going through was not necessary and that the original divorce stood as is. Custody remained as is. We were legally divorced back to the original date granted.

I ripped open the other two envelopes and one said to schedule the Motions for Modification hearing on June 21st and to remove the merits hearing scheduled for August. The final was the hearing confirmation from the court house calendar management division. It was real. It was happening. Sooner rather than later and I didn’t have to wait until August.

What’s the big deal? Nothing really. Time. I am tired of all the back and forth and the courts are stressing me the hell out. First we’re divorced, then we’re not divorced, then we can’t have a hearing on custody because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off and then we’re really divorced (my bad) let’s go to court next month.  It is exhausting. Heck, I’m exhausted telling you about it.

But, thankfully a judge reviewed the file in it’s entirety and upheld the original divorce and decided that we didn’t have to start all over. Again. I appreciated that. I don’t know what will happen in court next month, but I’m convinced that God’s will will be done. So, I ask that you keep us all (Munch, my ex and I) in your prayers because truthfully we need it.

 

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 gf

I really enjoyed this read by a fellow blogger, Staci Beth over at From He Double Hockey Sticks and Back about co-parenting. She really discusses her struggles and I could relate on so many levels. Ideally we would like to think that everyone can have a great relationship with the other parent, but in many cases this doesn’t happen. What do you do when it happens? Check out her great post about her struggles:  Source: the gf

e7990cac5164554f046c5a6ab3904389

 

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/.