Just need encouragement

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2013
Just need encouragement
4
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 1:19pm

Hello, I'm not sure if this ist the right place to post this, but I couldn't find a category that really fit my subject. If you know of a better place for me to post it, please let  me know.

Anyway, I'm just really needing some encouragement. 

My story started in April of 2012, when my then husband came to me out of the blue and said he wanted a divorce.  He moved out and never came back. I was shattered. I tried for two months to convince him to come back, suggesting marriage counseling, and he refused.  So after two months of trying to convince him and praying hard, I finally gave up and moved on.  Our children (ages 7 and 9) and me moved out into a more affordable home, and we got temporary orders naming me as the primary parent and him with visitation rights.  Over the months we tried to work out a settlement and even tried mediation with no luck.  We couldn't agree because he wanted 50/50 custody in the beginning and I said no way because I have always been the primary caretaker of our children as a stay at home mom.

Four months after he left, I reconnected with a friend from high school and had no idea this would happen, but we fell in love and planned to get married after the divorce was finalized.  But he lives 5 hours away, which would mean I would have to take our kids away from their dad.  And of course he wasn't going to agree to that.  To make a long story short, in the end he actually agreed to move to the city where my fiance lives so that I could get married and he could be close to our kids.  Sounds like a great solution, but in order for him to agree to do this, he put in a term that says he has one year to get a job and relocate to the other city, and during that time, the kids stay with him and I get weekend visitation.  I agreed to this after much consideration and prayer, and feel like it's better than the alternative of going to court and dragging each other through the mud to try to fight to move my kids with me, especially when there's a chance the judge could order that they need to stay where they are.

So my question is, am I a bad mother to sacrifice time with my children to marry the man I love?  My thought has been that it will only be a year, I will have regular visitations with my children, and even aside from my visitation, I plan on coming up for extended visits as much as I can.  And I'm thinking my kids' dad may realize he can't handle being a full time parent and suggest that the kids go ahead and move in with me sooner.

I was feeling mostly ok about it, with some worry and stress over the situation obviously, but mostly ok, trusting that God would take care of my children and me, and that although the situation is not ideal, that we would get through it and eventually my kids would be living with me again.  But then I went to a friend of mine's house and told her the details and although she didn't come out and say it, she seemed very judgemental, and commented that she couldn't be away from her kids that long and asking me all these questions.  I could have just read her wrong, but nevertheless I felt like crap when I left.

Is it ok for me to just make the best of the situation and focus on the positives?  Will my kids be ok, or will they feel like I abandoned them? Am I just being judged by someone who has no idea what it's like to be in my shoes? Am I a bad mother?

 

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 1:38pm

Are the kids happy and well cared for with their dad?  Are the kids okay with this arrangement?  Would anyone question you if you were a guy in this situation and made this arrangement?  Those are all questions I would ask myself, and if at the end of the day, the kids are okay with the arrangement, they are being cared for by both parents and given as much emotional stability as possibly during the transition, then the details of you and your ex's arrangement are between you two and no one else.  I would make sure that the kids understand that its a temporary situation and that you will do what you can to make the transition to the new home after a year as smooth as possible, etc.  But in the end, only you and your ex can determine what is best for you and your kids and it sounds like that is what you are doing.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-05-2013
Wed, 06-05-2013 - 2:05pm

As far as I know, they are cared for by their father.  Of course he doesn't do things the way I do, like they have a later bedtime at his house, I don't think they take baths as often and seem to eat a lot of Ramen noodles.  He's not involved with them at school like I am, and doesn't even know how to properly prepare for a campout.  And half of his visitation time with them this month after school gets out, he's sending them to his mother's.  I  know these are minor things, but he's just over all not as involved of a parent as I am.  One thing that really bothers me is this fall, if he hasn't found a job and relocated, my kids, instead being picked up by me from school every day and coming home and relaxing and having family time like they're used to, they'll be in an after school program. 

And I'm worried most about my daughter.  She's 7 and we adopted her 3 years ago from China, so she already has abandonment issues and is still learning about concepts of time, and it's hard for me to explain how long it will be until the next time I see her.  I just don't want her to think that I've abandoned her. And I don't want either of them to suffer because of a decision I've made that maybe I should have made differently. 

I think you brought up a good point that most people wouldn't judge me if I were a guy with this custody arrangement.  Thank you for your encouragement.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 06-06-2013 - 9:51pm

Did you get legal advice before you agreed to this?  I bet not.  I'm a divorce lawyer and I can see some bad outcomes for you, such as your exH not really lookikng for a job in the new place, then saying he can't get a job and then when the year is past and you want the kids back, he'll say no, well they are with me now, they are fine, so why should you get them back cause you left?  I hope it doesn't work out that way but I just know a lot of people end up getting a bad outcome because they didn't get good legal advice and didn't want to go to court.

I don't think you're a bad mother and I think you were just trying to make the best of the situation.  It's true that it's risky--depending on your state laws, it could be difficult to move.  I live in MA so from one end of the state to another it's probably maximum of 3 hours.  Someone could move anywhere in the state w/o court permission but they would have to get court permission to move out of state.  It might be difficult to move if the only reason was to be with a new guy who you have been with for less than a year and who knows if it will even work out?  The courts will usually let someone move with the kids for reasons like they can't find a job where they are or they have a lot of family out of state.

I think whatever the outcome the really important thing is that the kids spend time with both parents--it doesn't matter if it's 50-50 but they need to have a relationship with both parents and they also need parents who get along well enough so they aren't always fighting over the kids and can at least be civil and do things in the best interests of the kids.  I think it will be a pretty big change to go from having a SAHM who is there a lot to a mom who is going to be there only on weekends--is it even realistic to think that you are going to drive 5 hours to see them EVERY weekend?  I don't think the fact that they eat Ramen or have to be in an after school program is going to scar them for life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2013
Wed, 07-03-2013 - 4:47am

Here's a link to a book that helped my kids understand and cope with our blended family....great book:  http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/monk-monk-me-the-childrens-guide-to-divorce/13953713