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Voluntarily giving up custody? - Page 3

post #41 of 153
I haven't been keeping up with this forum much lately, so didn't know the back ground story going into this post. But even the OP...reading it hurt my feelings. A mom wants to "teach in the bush" and is considering going far away to do that, and trying to justify it: her new husband and her kid don't have a great relationship...her son loves his dad...You can put fancy names on it, but leaving is leaving.

Then reading down, it turns out your ex is an alcoholic and just recently endangered your child!!!!!!!! That is no small thing, my friend. And your ex has his girlfriend's 5 kids there...? So let's get straight what your little boy has endured in the past few months: His mother just got married to someone that "doesn't know how to deal with him". That alone is potentially traumatic for a young child; with this new man in the picture, it's probably hard for him to navigate this right now. Also, he's been exposed in a scary way to his father's alcoholism. It sounds like there's a chaotic situation at his father's house, also, with all those kids and I'm not sure what all is going on with the girlfriend. Now to top it off, his own mother may leave him (you may claim you'll keep in touch and that may be so, but to a kid, leaving is LEAVING!), probably putting into reality his worst fears: that his mother would choose this new man over him. How much does one little boy have to endure? It hurts me to think about! And then to shift it onto him..."well, he seems to like his father better..." Who cares! He's FIVE and going through a hell of a lot. He doesn't know what to do, who to cling to. He still needs more than anything to know that HE is YOUR priority, even if you don't feel appreciated by him.

You know, OP, regardless of promises to visit, etc, if you did this, your child would one day say that his mother got re-married and shortly thereafter left him behind, so she could go teach other children. There is just no way that that wouldn't hurt. Whatever reasons you come up with, leaving is leaving and there is just no way to make it sound noble or pretty. Sometimes having a child may inconvenience us and make us sacrifice things.
post #42 of 153
Oh man, I hope you can put his needs first mama.
post #43 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleSaylorBoat View Post
I am planning to move far away from where I live now, and that would mean that my daughter wouldn't be geographically close to her biological father. If she wanted to see him, she would have to visit him for a month of so over the summer. And I don't see why your dc couldn't visit you in Alaska for a month. Sometimes biological mothers and biological fathers live far apart and that doesn't mean that anyone has abandoned anybody.
In this circumstance, she is talking about leaving he child with a man who a mere two months ago she thought was unfit to have unsupervised visitation with the child. I most certainly would call that abandonment.

As for your situation, LittleSaylorBoat, I find it a bit disturbing that you are so cavalier about how a move like that could effect your child. I hope it goes as smoothly as you seem to be rationalizing it will.
post #44 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleSaylorBoat View Post
I think there is a huge difference between not geographically being close to your child and "abandoning" your child.

My father "abandoned" my brother and I, and he was less than 5 minutes away. He chose to allow us to basically starve while he drank and pretended that he was a 22 year old frat boy.

I am planning to move far away from where I live now, and that would mean that my daughter wouldn't be geographically close to her biological father. If she wanted to see him, she would have to visit him for a month of so over the summer. And I don't see why your dc couldn't visit you in Alaska for a month. Sometimes biological mothers and biological fathers live far apart and that doesn't mean that anyone has abandoned anybody.
Generally it's not so hot for the kids, regardless of what you call it. Almost always, they want and need both parents. A child's year is nothing like an adult's year; a month to a child is endless. The loss of parental relationships is a profound thing even if the child is moving to Nirvana.

Seriously, I'd love to go. But I see no way of justifying the likely damage. I have friends whose parents moved away temporarily for work but came back on weekends, and even such short-term separations colored their childhoods and relationships with the "gone" parent deeply. If the other parent is not involved or dangerous, that's one thing, but if there's a real relationship there -- if there's love and some stability -- I think it's a bad idea, just on the general rule that we should try to avoid the irreparable kinds of damage.
post #45 of 153
I hope people come down as hard on non custodial fathers who move for work etc. Instead of marrying them and making more children with them...
post #46 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I hope people come down as hard on non custodial fathers who move for work etc.
You betcha. Find a way to make it work or move everybody all together. You're not done till the kids are grown.
post #47 of 153
reina28, I think you already know your ex won't take care of him the way he needs to be taken care of. How will you know he's even ok if you are so far away.
post #48 of 153
Personally, I would not leave my child for any reason and any future partner I have will have to be supportive of that. I would do my best to ensure dd was close (both physically and emotionally) to both her parents.

That said, my ex has always been a long-distance parent and we make the best of it.... honestly my ex is not "parenting" and his not being here does affect both dd & I. It is a lot of work to be responsible for a child solo, and I honestly burn out at times.... I could not imagine this being good for your ex while he is healing and working on himself.... which in turn means it would not be good for your child.

I think you need to sit on this... no one can give you the best answer for you but I would urge you to think of your child before yourself and before your new husband.
post #49 of 153
I hope this little boys needs and safety are given the weight they deserve in your decision making. I cannot imagine leaving my child, and I have been put in the position of making that decision in the recent past. I am currently trying to make a life a thousand miles away from home, with no family or friends nearby so that my DS has access to his dad. As a mother, it is the very least I can do for my child.
post #50 of 153
I bet the whole thing is complicated by the little guy rejecting mom in favor of dad at pickups and whatnot. Sometimes the kids do things because they're kids that adults take awfully hard, and the adults might end up thinking about options they previously hadn't considered based on that rejection....

Regardless of whether the kid goes with to Alaska or stays back with dad, this kiddo will have a very lasting impression "mom's husband is more important than me" and nothing you do will be able to change that impression.
post #51 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stackmama View Post
I really feel the need to come at this from a different perspective. That of a child who was put in this situation.

My mother left me with my grandmother at the age of 5 and went to live with her boyfriend and live a "normal life." They asked ME what I wanted and of course, being 5 and seeing how much my grandma spoiled me, I said, "GRANDMA!" And to this day that 'choice' haunts me.

For many years, my mother regretted her choice because she wanted me to move back in with her and I told her no, I was happy with my grandma. She felt guilty, resented her mother, and I was made to feel guilty because I had "chosen your grandmother over your mother."

My mom is dead and gone and to this day her words and the guilt she put on me all those years has me in a deep depression. Please think long and hard about the long term consequences of any choices you make in this situation.
this is a really good point. at that age, a kid might not understand the serious implication of a question like, "who do you want to live with?"...i remember how time was a hard thing to fathom at that age...
post #52 of 153
Well i definitely take back the 'who do you want to live with' idea given that the dad is so obviously unstable.
post #53 of 153
don't do it mama.
post #54 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I hope people come down as hard on non custodial fathers who move for work etc. Instead of marrying them and making more children with them...
I certainly have w/my STBX. He's thinking of moving back to his hometown, 5 hours away so he can hang w/his high school buddies. I told him flat out he's putting his buddies ahead of his kids and that's wrong, and would incredibly sad for them.

I anticipate him abandoning the kids. It will be awful, will make me sad & angry, and will leave serious scars on the kids.

I hope someone he respects is as tough on him as people here are being w/OP b/c he's not going to listen to me.
post #55 of 153

I have a LOT to say about this.

OP, you are getting a lot of very undeserved heat for this not because what you are considering is bad, but because it is so unthinkable to so many here because of deeply ingrained societal norms about female behavior and 'mothering'. I am shaking with anger and sadness at the prejudice and bigotry, the hate and intolerance behind some of these comments. Shaking. You are being shamed and humiliated for no other reason than people's inability to think beyond the parameters of what they've been taught. Inability or refusal...I can't decide which is worse!

See, we can never do enough as woman period, let alone as mothers. Give enough. Be enough. Be good enough. I know you all know this. We all do. We all feel it. We all suffer it. Worse, we all perpetuate it, on ourselves and on each other. It's become a sort of cathartic thing we do to make ourselves feel better about our lot. You're encountering jealousy and resentment on the part of those who may have had similar thoughts, but were discouraged away from them by themselves/others. We are never good enough parents, friends, lovers, whatever. Because we are women. Women are less, and therefore never good enough. You can see it some of these responses...the giving up of all hopes and dreams, the relinquishing of all desires not related to giving endlessly, to sacrificing endlessly for children and everyone around us. The guilt and shame associated with doing for yourself as a female. There are reasons for this...and they do not serve women, trust me. The deep-seated hatred of self as female, and identifying with the larger culture that tells us that once we have children, our lives as autonomous people end (indeed, if they ever began...women are defined in relation to others from birth)...forever. No matter how old they get, no matter where they go...our children come first. Period. No matter what we have to give up, how important it is to us, how vital it is to our well-being and sanity...once we reproduce, tough. We don't matter. What we want doesn't matter. What we need doesn't matter. Only our children (lovers, husbands, friends, whoever) matter. This cannot and does not send a healthy or fair message to children or anyone. It is not a good example or precedent to set. It continues the cycle of sacrifice, dependency, and patriarchy, really. As long as we put others before ourselves, we will never be strong or united enough to do for ourselves. Simple and scary, and very effective thus far in history!

Thismama hit the nail on the head. Few people would come down on a man for moving away from a child for work (or for anything we crap on mothers for doing...just showing up gets men kudos most of the time). Because men are men and their desires and needs and personhood are give space and respect. Not so for women. Our relationships (especially to children) come first to the exclusion of all else, always. We have no right to put ourselves first, ever, but especially in regards to children. Constant, unrelenting, martyring sacrifice always. Self-fulfillment? Never, or fragmented or extremely rarely. Some may pay lip-service to holding men to the same (impossible, inhuman) standard as women, but in reality all the hate and hurt is heaped on our heads no matter what. Never gives enough. Never good enough. Bad woman. Bad mother. Bad person.

You're catching heat for even suggesting this because most women have bought the line wholeheartedly that they are nothing without their lovers and children and friends. We can't survive on our own, and we certainly shouldn't want to do anything on our own, or do something for just ourselves, especially as mothers. Motherhood is supposed to be the be all and end all of our existence, the only thing we value, the only thing that matters. Abandoning that is the ultimate transgression as a woman. We never put ourselves first, and if we do, we prepare to be torn apart by everyone around us for not toeing the line...we prepare to be called selfish, heartless, evil, horrible, mindless, careless, reckless. We prepare to lose all the respect and love of our friends and allies (or at least, those who we thought were friends and allies). We prepare for the most cruel of insults and actions. We prepare to be told we don't really love and care for our children. We prepare to be ostracized and turned into pariahs for acting like human beings instead of all-giving, all-sacrificing mental, emotional, and physical atm machines...always ready to give to and reward others, never allowed to do so for ourselves. No matter what. With a smile on our faces.

That said, I think you should take a closer look at your own particular situation and be sure your son's father can and is willing and would do well to be your son's sole caretaker for a long period of time. Talk to your son as well. Be sure he understands the situation and how it would be as much as he can. Excitement about new possibility is not wrong, but can sometimes cloud our judgment about what's right.

Believe me, I understand the need to explore. To try new things. To wander. You are not wrong for having these urges, or for considering an alternative custody arrangement due to them. You are not wrong at all. You are human. You have every right to dream, and have goals and aspirations that do *not* center around others. I will even go so far as to say you have every right to be selfish, as all humans do. Certain types of selfishness are healthy, and keep us focused on the things we want that are good for us that others, due to influence from a society that tells us we are not allowed to have the things we actually want, but only what others want for us/expect from us, would deny us out of habit, convention, and pure hatred.

Your son is a child. He is not stupid. He is not made of glass. Human beings are not fragile and eternally vulnerable to every twist of fate. We have survived as long as we have as a species due to our ability to adapt to adversity and change. He will not fall apart if you leave, your relationship will not disappear/be destroyed. There is no one right way to live, or to parent, or to be. You know your son, your ex, and yourself. You know what the right decision for all of you is. You do not need to ask permission of anyone, but only do what you know is right in your situation. Whatever that is, mami, whatever that is, it's up to you and your family. Talk it out, think it out, then do what you feel is best. Let no one deter you from that. Let no one shame you for that. Live your live as YOU see fit, not as others see it. They don't have to walk in your shoes or suffer the consequences or bask in the benefits of your decisions. You do. Therefore, it's all on you.

Love does not equal sacrifice. Sacrifice does not equal love. Love can be a component of sacrifice and vice versa. But they are not the same.

Parents do not have to live with their children to be good parents. A good parent is loving, attentive, understanding, gentle, supportive, and kind. A good parent shows their children how to be strong, how to adapt, how to make the most of life. A good parent does not stop being human, stop being an individual because they have children. They teach their children balance by being good parents and good people who have their own lives, interests, will, and desires.

I think it is important that, as women and parents of sons especially, we hold on to our agency and teach our sons that women are not functions of other's needs, that we have the right to put ourselves first and to love ourselves and do for ourselves. If we teach them that women can be, are, and should be independent thinkers with lives of their own, they will not expect women to be doormats who live for everyone else but themselves. We teach them to love themselves (and most importantly, women) as we have loved ourselves.

Support and love for you and yours in this corner, mami!
post #56 of 153
Didn't the OP ask if anyone else had ever done this or considered doing this? I didn't see her ask us to pass judgment on her--I think she wanted to know how other people have worked out this kind of situation.

I had a female housemate whose kids lived in Colorado with their dad. She talked to them on the phone weekly, and, as they got older, e-mailed even more frequently. It was a pretty rough transition whenever the kids were around in the summer, but I really think the mom maintained a good connection with them.
post #57 of 153
[disclaimer - my apostrophe key will not work]

reina, you have received a lot of 2x4s in this thread, but I hope they have helped you reevaluate your and your son^s desires and needs. :

Wow, cjuniverse. I cannot express how deeply I feel that you are off. Perhaps some part of you feels that women are less, and you are projecting that on to all the other commenters. I did not get that feeling from anyone except you.

If I may be so bold as to take your words out of context, you are right on with this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjuniverse View Post
No matter how old they get, no matter where they go...our children come first. Period. No matter what we have to give up, how important it is to us
So many women forget this! Children MUST come first!
post #58 of 153
I don't think we should adopt lower parenting standards for women just because men are often lousy at it, and we have come not to expect much out of them.
post #59 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by klg47 View Post
[disclaimer - my apostrophe key will not work]

reina, you have received a lot of 2x4s in this thread, but I hope they have helped you reevaluate your and your son^s desires and needs. :

Wow, cjuniverse. I cannot express how deeply I feel that you are off. Perhaps some part of you feels that women are less, and you are projecting that on to all the other commenters. I did not get that feeling from anyone except you.

If I may be so bold as to take your words out of context, you are right on with this part:



So many women forget this! Children MUST come first!

Uh, don't a lot of men forget this, too? And they don't get dumped on like women do. I think that's where CJ is coming from.
What if this were a dad posting that his new wife had a post in Alaska, and he wanted to teach up there, so he was considering surrendering custody of his kid to his ex? Would people come down on him half as hard?
post #60 of 153
No, people would not. Ive seen the exact discussion (not in this forum actually, and the single mamas were pretty unified in saying a dad moving away from his kid is not cool), but a LOT of people defended the idea of the dad moving away and acted like those of us who said it was not okay were bitter or something.

Definitely a double standard.
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