I am not a tiger.

Since I became a mother, I have felt strong/empowered/loved and a thousands of other things, but I don’t feel pretty. Continue reading


A letter to the father of my son

Dear Bd,

I wish that you could understand my place in all this. That no matter how mad you get or how often you take me to court, I will still by my son’s mother. There is no woman on this earth that can be his mother. I wasn’t put here to to put the importance of a good upbringing on the back burner because you say so–I was born to raise my son to be a successful man. He was given to me and I was given to him so that we both can bring out the best in each other.

I don’t have to explain to you why I am a good mother, I am, and you know that. Truthfully, this child can not be raised without me. He can not learn to love, or to use his heart before his hands without me. He can not learn to value the lives of other human beings from you. Sure, you have done your visits the way you are supposed to, but visiting and parenting are two different things. I can let you know the rules I have set for him, then watch you break them. It took two months for you to even put him in pull ups like I asked. You see, what you don’t understand is that doing things to hurt me (like allowing others to disrespect me, not paying child support because you don’t want to help me etc) affects my son. He hears you talking, and sees the contempt of your actions. If there comes a day that he decides he doesn’t want to see you anymore because of it, you’ll have yourself to blame and I will not force him to come. 

It’s fairly obvious you can not raise him without me, but honestly I can not raise him without you. You are here to show me my own strength, and to help me learn my worth among other things–for him? That lesson is still to be determined. It doesn’t matter how well you treat your wife, the way you treat me is the example he will see for how he treats women. You can either be there to teach him to be a man in a positive way or a negative way. For some reason I know my son will be the person to finally see you without your mask. Children know more than you think. If he hasn’t already, he will realize you use him as a trophy. As a cute little figurehead for your “World’s Best Dad” social media campaign, while in real life you complain that he exists and talk about how he has burdened you and your youth. 

There is one thing I will not allow from you; teaching him that love is fleeting and based upon what you can get from someone. I will not allow you to teach him that everything is a scheme and love should only be used to get what you want. I will not allow you to show my son that affection is for everyone. His love is sacred and it shouldn’t be passed around to any and every human. My son is amazing and special and if you can not see that, you don’t deserve his affection. The love of a child for his parent is inherent. That doesn’t mean you’re the world’s greatest. He’s still young and there’s still a chance to cut the shit-I’m not going to push you out because no matter what lesson you choose to teach I will be here. I will love and support my son until the day I die, through every up and down, through every fight and every happy moment. There is nothing you can do, no one you can marry and no word you can say that will stop me from being a mother to my son. Coming from experience, the best way to lose the respect of your child is to disrespect their mother. 

Being a parent doesn’t leave the option of selfishness. Learn it now, or learn it the hard way.

The Birthday Argument

All the “headway” we made the other day is moot. I have a serious question and I truly hope someone answers it. Do mothers in joint custody type situations not deserve to have special days or things they want the same way fathers do?

No matter what, when there is something I want it is me being selfish or petty or keeping his dad away and not that I may just want something for myself for once. Is it really my job to sacrifice for my son’s father’s wants even though we no longer have that type of relationship? I’m pretty sure the answer is no but I want to be sure. The fight has started over my son’s birthday and I feel like it’s selfish of my son’s dad to believe I would ever send him elsewhere on the day I brought him into this world holding my mother’s hand. That day is more special to me than it ever will be to anyone else–including my son. To me, my child’s birthday is the true mother’s day. It’s the day I became a mother. It shouldn’t matter if his dad likes me or not, it should matter that it’s special to me. Something. For once. It’s bad enough I have to share his holidays (even the ones that mean something to me and not his father), it’s bad enough I have to send him away but his father isn’t required to pay his child support. Or to do his time. It’s only required for me to leave his time open for him to take. Everything is an option for dads, apparently including being a dick and making a mom feel badly for wanting one thing to herself.

Isn’t it weird how a simple request of a mother that sees and knows everything going on still turns her into a three headed dragon that’s not allowing a “man” to be involved with his child? I want to share that day with my son. I want a tradition that his father can not disrupt out of spite. That’s our special day. Do I feel like his father should be allowed to see him on that day? Yes. But will there ever be a year I wake up on my son’s birthday and feel okay with him spending it with someone that really don’t want to be involved with him in the first place? Fuck no. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. (actually I don’t.)

The point of all of this is to ask–why is it so bad for a mother to choose to look out for herself in a situation like this? If I let him, he will take as many days as possible and only use some of them. Or only use them sometimes. I am supposed to be flexible for when he just decides to be busy and not come or for when he decides to be a “dad” and try to make me look like shit. It’s not fair and it honestly isn’t right, but my time with my son and our moments are just as important (if not more important) than his.

I should be able to have my moments, too. Ones that I can enjoy, and not just raise a child and do all the hard work for his dad to enjoy all the sweet moments. It’s not fair for anyone to assume any mother would be okay with that.

Isn’t it weird how the things that are important to bd are things he “has” to fight for, but things that are important to me are things I’m being selfish about?

What I Learned from a Custody Battle at 21

The day I turned 21, I received a packet of papers in the mail stating I neglect my son and interfere in his relationship with the boy. Now that I’m two months from turning 23, I’m not bitter like I thought–I’m empowered.

I used to think that having a custody order meant I had failed my family. That I didn’t work hard enough to make them happy or that I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I genuinely believe that if you put your family before yourself, there’s nothing that can come between you. Later I added for the right man to the end of that, but you get my point. I’m not a failure, and neither are you. no matter what age you are, having someone you think you love telling you that you’re not worthy of raising your child (or watching them think your child isn’t worthy, which also happened to me) is the most heartbreaking thing in the world.

it’s not your fault. there is genuinely no reason to blame yourself for the choices of another human being. There’s nothing you can do to change someone especially in a time of the greatest change of all. Having a child changes people. Sometimes it’s for the best and other times it’s for the worst, but people change with age at no fault of anyone but themselves. If you know you have made sure they know the door is open, know that it’s not on you.

your child will not blame you for what happened. as a product of divorce, I know first hand that your kid is never going to come to you and say “you kept my dad away” I mean. Unless you did. Anyway, don’t beat yourself up over something that will be normal to your child by the time they get old enough anyway. They’re going to know who’s there and who’s not, and they may have questions ( ex. why does everyone have a Dad and I don’t) but for the most part they will accept it as their normal. Having two houses is basically the American dream for kids these days, anyway.

there is no one on this planet that can take your place. if you are hesitant to leave a crap relationship because you don’t want another woman around your child, consider this–what would you like your child to see as the standard of love? Two (or one) people that “stayed together for the kids” but argue every day, are uncomfortable to be around, or seeing you standing strong and happy on your own? When I considered making things work with my sons father it was mainly for this reason. I could not fathom ever being okay with another woman coming in attempting to come for my spot, but here’s the catch–it’s almost always harder for them. Of course the kid is going to pull that “you’re not my mom” line (the petty part of me hopes so), then there’s the fact that the man you love has to always consider another woman and child before you. You can’t really just pack up and move (and if you’re dating my sons dad you better think twice about every calling my son your own) there are so many things you can’t do on top of the fact that whether you like the child’s mother or not (btw we don’t care) you still have to deal with her for the rest of you life. If you are truly a mother, no woman will ever be able to replace you. Trust me.

it will make you feel “old”. in June I’ll be 23, but I always say I feel 32. Almost like I’m damaged goods now. I don’t really relate with people my age because I’ve been through things they haven’t. I’ve had to mature for my son, and for his father too (that’s why I haven’t hit him yet). My standard of fun is different, and the way I live/view life is greatly different from other women my age.

Once you come out on the other side? it’ll show you that you can endure anything. as a woman, the most painful thing is to have to depend your place in your child’s life. But guess what? You can not give up, and then you take that into every other part of your life. I know how hard it is to want to quit, to want to go back and undo some things or make different choices so you don’t have to out up with someone being mean. I remember crying myself to sleep at night (sometimes I still do) wondering why it had to be me and not someone else. Here’s what I’ve learned; it had to me (and you) to teach you not to doubt yourself. To prove to you that no matter how many times you tell yourself you can’t take anymore or when you beg God to let up on you that you will make it. And you will.

The most important thing I’ve learned from all of this is my own strength. The only power others have over you is what you give them. And there are some that will take as much as they can and try to crush you with it. I’m not a pushover anymore, people work to earn my affection and my trust instead of trying to see the best or push someone to be their best I take them at face value. For those of you that tell me you wish you could be as strong as I have been through all of this look in the mirror, or reflect on your day when you go to school or work or both and hustle until you can afford a home on your own. Watch the way your child loves you or how much trust they out in you because you are perfect to them. You were given this life for a reason–because you are strong enough to live it. Have faith in yourself, and trust that one day this will all be a distant memory.

Much love, SSM