I just read a post Child Custody and Divorce in the blog About The Children LLC. A great blog with a plethora of information.
I never knew how hard single parenting was until I went through it myself. I looked and looked for a support group to help me cope and I could never find one. We did have a support group at our church; however, we both attended the same church and I felt uncomfortable sharing.
A divorce leads to unfamiliar territories with so many struggles. The division is not only with the children. The division is felt on so many levels. Now we have division of property, finances, choices, decisions, friends & emotions. It’s no longer two people making a life and living. It’s now one person making it all happen and trying to create a home. It’s tough to do on a single income. Feelings of inadequacy and depression can set in very quickly after a divorce.
There is a misconception that child support establishes visitation. There is no correlation between the two. This is something I heard first hand by my attorney. Of course this could have changed since 2001. I’ll go into my child support case in a different post. Child support while it’s granted by the courts is not a definite. Depending on the employment status of your ex you may or may not receive support. It’s best not to depend on it.
My snip it …
I counted on those support checks, it was the only way I was going to make a home for our family, at least that’s what I used to think. Those checks were going to be the only way we were going to have some resemblance of the life we used to have. My mistake was thinking that I was going to be able to live in the same life style I was accustomed to. The same life style my ex accustomed us to live in. Not the case, in fact, we took a nose dive, a spiraling downward turn in a face down auger motion that wouldn’t stop till we hit rock bottom or what I would call rock bottom.
After two support checks, they stopped coming. He bounced around different jobs and didn’t have a steady income, so we in turn didn’t have a steady child support check.
It took the help of another single parent to help me, to give me a hand up, to make me realize that the only way I was going to make it was to depend on myself. Family is great, but sometimes family is the first to cast stones. I love my family they are great. But for many reasons I chose not to share details. I chose not to paint an ugly picture of him. Trust me, it’s very hard not to fall into that, “he is the worst man”, syndrome.
We received two support checks, just two. He no longer had a steady job or income. Through the next four years, I believe we received an additional couple of checks. I didn’t pursue it further. I was done fighting, I was done with so much negativity. I was just ready to move on. The situation got worse when the family found out I was not receiving support. Seriously, what’s a parent to do, what choice do we have? Sure, I could have gone to court again and asked for him to pay; but, he didn’t have a job. He had no way of providing for the girls.
Just because he couldn’t pay support didn’t mean he didn’t get to see the girls. I made sure he was informed of school functions, activities, and grades. I made sure he was told of anything relating to the girls. Visitation is a whole other page in our saga. Needless to say he stopped coming and the girls stopped wanting to go. I forced them as long as possible just like I force those phone calls. In the end it was his fail. He stopped calling, showing up, and showing interest. Again, I was done fighting, I was done trying, I was just done. So I stopped being the inviting one.
I have a tender spot in my heart for single parents. Ay no, unless you’ve been a single parent you don’t understand those struggles. You wouldn’t understand the hard choices we are forced to make to ensure our children are safe, protected, and fed. There is hope and there is help. The trick is knowing who to ask and knowing where to look. But, help there is.
Do you know a single parent? Did you know you can help with simple gestures? I loved my neighbors and friends. Esther for her constant plate of cookies, Sam & Danielle for showing me how to start my mower and mow. Tony for teaching me how to check the air in my tires and how to use the air machine at the gas station, for teaching me to check the oil and fluids in my car. Mary for her gift of my first tool box with the basic tools in them. Sarah, for my first set of jumper cables and teaching me how to use them.
I have a tender heart for single parents.