2 YEARS away from kids?!?!?!? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 08-29-2011, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a huge and convoluted story, 10 years worth, behind this. The short and short of it is, I am a single mom. I had maxed out my income potential in the career I had with the education I have. I was laid off last week. :(

 

I wasn't making ends meet as it was. I have no support in the community I live in.

 

My ex is moving in with his girlfriend and her 3 children. He has a stable job and a very supportive family network close by.

 

I have no choice but to go back to school. However, I can't work any other job and make the money I did, plus go back to school, plus be an effective parent.

 

My parents have offered to let me live with them several states away and help me with school. I could take the kids with me. A) The ex would object strongly so I'd be facing an expensive and lengthy court battle B) the kids are well-established in the schools and activities where we live now. There would be no change in some very important areas. I know it's not in the best interest of the kids to uproot them from their community and their dad to move them into my parents house with me.

 

I'm sick to death over all of this. If I don't make this change I will never be able to make a life for my family. If I do make this change, my children's life, my life and our relationship will be changed forever.

 

They will be safe and cared for with their dad and his family. Even if I stay here, I will need welfare benefits and will be working a lesser paying job. Our quality of life will never improve. I will forever be an overextended, impatient, frazzled mother.  At what point does a mother face the fact that she may not be the best full-time parent to her children?

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#2 of 24 Old 08-29-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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How old are your kids?  How many kids do you have? What degree are you wanting to attain? Your ex would be okay with full-time custody of them for at least 2 years (and then what, you remove them from that home when you graduate or...)?  

 

Me, I would find a way to make life work (including school if it made sense) in the current town so I could be with my kids and not take them away from their dad for 2 years, or, I would take them with me to the new state and work out a custody arrangement so they could see their dad as often as possible. 

 

Good luck figuring it all out.


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#3 of 24 Old 08-29-2011, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Kiddos are 9,8 and 6.

 

School is not an afterthought. It's a requirement.

 

I'd have to work 2 jobs just to make ends meet without the additional education.  What would that leave left for the kids? 12 more years of pounding my head into a wall, barely scraping by. While my ex and his new family are thriving? Our kids deserve a piece of that, ya know?

 

I wouldn't move them from their comfort zone. I plan to return back here when I'm done with school. I would transition to a 50/50 custody arrangement. Kids that age need a home "base". I wouldn't dream of uprooting them at any point in the future. My ex is already comfortable with the agreement to have full custody. Essentially I am facing the same custody arrangement that most divorced dads face. I don't believe that children need to be with their mother at all costs. I believe that a safe, stable environment is mandatory for healthy development, whichever parent or situation that may be.

 

I guess I'm grappling with the fact that my life as I had always hoped it would be, is not going to happen that way. Mom was all I ever wanted to be. It's hard to face that I can't do this all alone. To take them with me would be selfish in my mind. Easier for me of course, hard as heck for them though. Taking them away from everything they know. We already have a shared custody arrangement but...I don't know. Thanks for your thoughts.

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#4 of 24 Old 08-30-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Can't even begin to fathom considering the idea...

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#5 of 24 Old 08-30-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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Kids need both parents - you're more important than you know!   If your ex is truly "thriving", he needs to be more financially accountable to his children, and not putting their mother in a position where she would need to leave for years.  I think you and the kids would regret the decision deeply.  Wishing you and your family the best...

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#6 of 24 Old 08-30-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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It sounds to me like you've largely decided what you want to do- which seems to be to go to your parents and go back to school.  You are looking to then return and pick up where things were left off.  That simply isn't going to happen. 

 

In your shoes, I'd file for support, and settle into going to school in your local area.  If there isn't a school locally, then look into an online option. You CAN choose to stay involved and present, even if it means things are tough for a couple years. If your parents are willing to help if you go there, maybe they are willing to help you where you are as well. 

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#7 of 24 Old 08-30-2011, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post

It sounds to me like you've largely decided what you want to do- which seems to be to go to your parents and go back to school.  You are looking to then return and pick up where things were left off.  That simply isn't going to happen. 


Yeah, regardless of what your ex says, if you up and leave for 2 years - there will be no transition back to 50/50 custody/visitation.  It simply is not possible.

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#8 of 24 Old 08-31-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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what about financial aid? It can cover living expenses. I would look for a school in your current location.

 

Though I'm also having trouble imagining what kind of degree is going to be guaranteed better income. I worked for over 2+ years for minimum wage at bookstores and temping after getting my BA from a top ten college.


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#9 of 24 Old 08-31-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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I'd love to know what 2-yr degree you are planning to get, if you don't mind sharing.  I'm just curious b/c I am in school myself with plans to go on to get a graduate degree, but I'm having a hard time understanding the logistics as to why you have to move to follow this path?  Personally, I wouldn't even leave my kids for med school, which people certainly do (and I can somewhat comprehend). 

 

I hope you aren't feeling frustrated with the replies, it's just that you are asking about this scenario, instead of posting that it's already a done deal and how best to cope with it and prepare the kids.  Sure, many dads do up and leave or are gone for extended periods of time for work or other reasons; however, I wouldn't be okay with it if I were male and it was more acceptable, and I certainly wouldn't be okay with it if it were my DH - even if he was an ex. Taking off for 2 years of our kids' lives, regardless of the reasoning and their ages (unless they were adults) just doesn't sit well with me. 

 

You are counting the 2 years of lost wages, right?  I'm just curious how much more income you would be bringing in after that 2 years of schooling.  And is it guaranteed (you know, in this economy, nothing is guaranteed - nurses and teachers aren't finding job, along with tons of other professions)?  So, even if you didn't have kids, you'd be taking a risk here, by quitting work and heading back to school.

 

I totally understand feeling like you will be scraping along forever if you don't do something proactive and make changes - I really do - but I don't happen to understand your method of achieving those changes.  Maybe if we had more information it would make more sense?  Also, reading your other posts it sounded like you had 5 kids, not 3, so I'm confused there (obviously it's not really my business - just curious).

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#10 of 24 Old 08-31-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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I'm going to agree with the most others and say it is not a good idea to leave your children for 2 years. No matter how you slice it I can't help but think they will feel abandoned. Yes, some fathers do that, but what kind of relationship do they have with their kids?

 

There have got to be other options. A college close to where you live, and online college, a more fair spousal support/child support agreement. And I agree that you should seek out any type of financial aid/scholarships that you woudl qualify for. I work for a major state university and many students live on financial aid.

 

What area do you want to go into? I am sure if we had some more details people with more specific knowlege of the field or education required could chime in.

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#11 of 24 Old 08-31-2011, 07:59 PM
 
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I have a four year degree in a job that was fairly marketable as long as people were willing to move (and I was) and am working in the same industry I worked in before my degree with only a very slight pay increase because there are no jobs right now and it is very unlikely there will be for a long time.  I wouldn't leave my child to go for more schooling ever.  Children are far more important than a career that may or may not happen.  If you are planning on doing a 50/50 custody split then I suggest you do that now and try to find a way to work most of your hours when your kids are with their father.  Even if you stay and just have them every weekend it is still much better for them than you not being there at all. 

 

Once he is established as the one with custody that is how it is probably going to stay.  If you move away and want visitation you will probably have to pay to fly the kids out and that will be very pricey.  If you aren't paying to fly them out and taking full advantage of all the visitation you can get it is very likely to be used to show the judge that your children are too low on your priority list to make awarding you more visitation a good thing for the children. 

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#12 of 24 Old 09-01-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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First I want to say good for you for thinking this through. I hear so very often about divorced families where the parent uproots the children for selfish reasons. That said, we recently uprooted my SD. After much thought & discussion it was decided that her father &I would get residential custody (they still have joint custody, but residential is all us) and we were moving half the country away. It may seem like I'm saying take them with you. I am not. My SD came with us because it was better for her. It is certainly not easier for us to get a pre teen full time. It's probably not easier for her mom (who by the way is talking about taking the opportunity to finish her degree). It will make for some expensive vacations. But it is better for her (why is a different topic for a different forum).

I too ask why you need to go to school out of state. I would give your ex full residential & keep joint custody. Find a local or closer school & do everything possible to make that work. Loans, grants, live on campus, etc. If you do have to move states away (not recommended) figure out how you are going to work in as much visitation as possible. Your relationship sound good so I'll just throw the idea out there: my SDs mom is welcome to stay with us at any time.

Good luck!

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#13 of 24 Old 09-01-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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If your parents can pay for your school, it doesn't have to be one with them. If they are using it as a bribe to get you to move back with them, then its not a good idea.

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#14 of 24 Old 09-01-2011, 06:21 PM
 
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My mom left my sister and I to live with my grandparents when I was 14.  We had always lived with my grandparents so it wasn't like she was dumping us in a new place.   She said she was leaving us there so that we could stay in our schools and have a stable life in a good home in a good town. 

 

I will never understand that. She abandoned us. It was embarassing and confusing. I felt like I couldn't tell anyone that my mom moved out.  I still feel like it is a secret I can not share with many friends I make. I feel like my mom didn't love me as much as other people's moms loved them.  She moved several hours away for 2-3 years. She visited on holidays and perhaps once a month sometimes more sometimes less often. By the time we lived together again my sister and I were different people.  We did not feel like she was a mom anymore we were forced to mother ourselves in her absence. 

 

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#15 of 24 Old 09-01-2011, 06:47 PM
 
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I am with everyone else here, I can't even fathom doing this.

I would ask your parents to help with school while you remain where you are. And see if you can get more child support. And somehow make it work, even if it means you only end up seeing your kids for 10 minutes in the morning and every other weekend or something -- that 10 minutes (and just knowing you are there) would be better than nothing at all.

I know parents who go to school part-time for a BA or Masters and work full-time. It may take a few years longer than if you just concentrated on school, but it should be doable in most fields and I'd imagine you'd be eligible for financial aid. What field do you want to go into?

I just can't imagine leaving my kids for 2 years. That is a LONG time, and yeah it would be hard for you but it will be 10x harder for your kids... I would not be OK with an ex doing this either, male or female, culturally acceptable or not... TBH if my kid's dad chose to leave him for 2 years, I would fight hard to keep him all but minimally involved in my kid's life afterwards, because I don't think it's fair to leave your kids and then expect to just come back & act like everything is normal. I hope that doesn't sound harsh... it's just something I feel strongly about.

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#16 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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Unless you plan on joining the military or taking a job abroad in a danger zone I don't see it. I'm not trying to be cruel so please try not to take it that way. However I had a friend who left to pursue a career option and the kids stayed with their dad. Apparently no matter how hard she tried to explain this to them they didn't get it. She had a great time while away though, and I began to realize that that was exactly why she did it. She slowly stopped calling the kids daily and went down to once a week if that. She finally admitted she wanted him to take on the responsibilities she had to endure and have a little fun. It back fired big time. Within a year she got served with his petition for full custody granting her weekends and some holidays. And I got a call with all her tears included. I didn't feel bad for her.

Kids even told her they wanted to stay with their dad and if you think it's going to be all roses when you get back you're mistaken honey. There are plenty of other options out there and there is nothing wrong with foodstamps if it means you have your kids with you.
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#17 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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You might want to post on Single parenting for some other perspectives. There might be some moms there who don't have full physical custody who can help you think through this.

 

Things to think about:

You say your ex just moved in with his girlfriend and her 3 kids. How prepared are they to parent SIX children full time?

Once you give something up, it's hard to get it back. Will you really be able to get a job and move back? Will your kids be able and/or willing to move back in with you 50% of the time when they're 12, 10 and 8?

If you move away, will you be able to afford to visit them while you're in school? Will they be able to come to you in summers? how will you pay for that?

Why isn't your ex paying more in child support?

Have you maxed out your benefits for food stamps and other assistance?

What's the job market like for the 2 year degree that you're getting? (Or is it a 4  year degree added on to an existing 2 year one?)

Is there no way you can do this locally with financial aid and some help from your parents?

 

I can't tell you whether this is the right decision. I also won't tell you that this will harm your kids, because I have no way of knowing that. I know children who reside the school year with their father and the summer with their mother, and they seem to be happy, well adjusted kids.

 

What I will say is: Right now you seem to be in a terrible place of fear (hola.gif I recognize that place). You just lost your job. You have no idea how you're going to make ends meet. That's a scary spot. But, I would beg you to make your decision not based on fear, but on really thinking out all the issues. The questions I posed are just a start. Really think through your options. Work hard on them. Then make the decision that's the best for your children, and then for you. Sometimes that's an incredibly hard decision. Sometimes reflection shows us that our initial assumptions were wrong.

 

 


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#18 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 08:25 PM
 
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I see both perspectives. From what I gather you are in survival mode. I often think people who haven't experienced the stress of poverty and raising children fail to empathize with single parents who are painted into a bleak corner. Years of the conundrum to skip the power bill for food or diapers or what not can erode away at a parent's physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Congratulations for still seeing hope and a future and weighing your options to provide a better life for your children. It takes bravery to recognize how your overall situation is not pleasant or can impact your children. It is fortunate for others they have the liberty, freedom and resources to not need to be away from their children or to judge you for it. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, however, there is something to be said for an open dialog with your children about the reality and age appropriate levels. Remember it is the quality not quantity of time spent with children. I think you need to do what is best for you and yours. If that means being the weekend parent for 2 years, that is o.k. It takes courage to recognize your children are impacted by your frustration with life. Most parents think in terms of how important they are to their children with little regards to how other aspects of reality impact their children. If you are feeling hopeless, frustrated and merely surviving day-to-day it does effect the children. If you are feeling this way because you are comparing households, resources and feeling displaced and inadequate and want to disappear, please talk to someone. Otherwise, you have to do what is good for you and your children in the long run. A the long run includes being a parent for far longer than 18 years. 

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#19 of 24 Old 09-02-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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Just curious, are your parents offering to pay for school with the assumption that the grandkids are coming to live with them and be closer or are tehy offering regardless of your custody arrangement?  That is something you should be very clear on before making a final decision.  This sounds like something they would offer to help you and your kids get back on your feet so they may be willing to help you financially even if you aren't in their home.

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#20 of 24 Old 09-03-2011, 10:13 PM
 
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I haven't had time to read all of the comments but I'll mention that my mother left when I was prepubescent to live in another state because she couldn't afford to live in our area after she was laid off a couple of times within 2 years. They foreclosed on our house and she went to a job far, far away. I had to go live with my father and stepmother and their family. I said I was OK with it, but I was a child and unable to even comprehend the pain that I felt at not seeing her everyday, much less articulate it.

 

Don't leave them. Take a lesser paying job and adjust financially. Wait tables if you have to because it doesn't matter. I was never the same after my mother left. Neither was she. You will NEVER get that time back. Even though we talk regularly and have made great effort at repairing our relationship I still have abandonment issues that have even carried over into my other relationships.

 

Or take them with you. I doubt the new girlfriend with 3 kids can even house 3 more.


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#21 of 24 Old 09-04-2011, 03:47 AM
 
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I was struggling financially for a few months following our divorce and sent kids to live with ex h for 2 months. It took me two years and twenty thousand dollars to get them back.  THIS IS NOT COST EFFECTIVE!!!!!!!!

DO NOT DO THIS. You will regret it. There are more important things in this world than things.... and a mothers love is one of them.


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#22 of 24 Old 09-25-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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I haven't read everything here, however, I wanted to ask if you've looked into non-traditional student programs anywhere? It takes a little internet digging, but there are several schools I have been looking into that cater to students over 24 (most of whom have children) and often have family housing, cheap childcare, etc. I'm not sure where you are, but the majority of these programs are in the NE US. There are also a few schools with programs that cater SPECIFICALLY to mothers...one I'm looking into right now is Wilson College, in Pennsylvania. They have a program called 'Women With Children' that sounds like the most amazing situation for a mom ever! I think they only take mothers with two children but if you can fit all of you into a two bedroom suite, maybe they would make an exception. Many of these colleges are women's colleges, private colleges, and as a result will give you personalized help to figure everything out. There are tons of scholarships available....if you transfer in with a 3.75 gpa at Wilson, you get 50% off of tuition!!

 

Just wanted to say that I soooo understand that feeling of desperation, the feeling that if things continue this way for another minute your head is going to explode. I understand being a mean, impatient mommy because you are tired and stressed and afraid. I even understand feeling like, maybe my child would be better off with someone else. But I just want to say to you, mother to mother, that you CAN do this. You can make this work for you and your children, without leaving them, while still achieving your dreams and goals and making a better life for all of you. There is a third way that will be presented to you some way, somehow, I just know it.


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#23 of 24 Old 09-28-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lovepickles View Post

I haven't had time to read all of the comments but I'll mention that my mother left when I was prepubescent to live in another state because she couldn't afford to live in our area after she was laid off a couple of times within 2 years. They foreclosed on our house and she went to a job far, far away. I had to go live with my father and stepmother and their family. I said I was OK with it, but I was a child and unable to even comprehend the pain that I felt at not seeing her everyday, much less articulate it.

 

Don't leave them. Take a lesser paying job and adjust financially. Wait tables if you have to because it doesn't matter. I was never the same after my mother left. Neither was she. You will NEVER get that time back. Even though we talk regularly and have made great effort at repairing our relationship I still have abandonment issues that have even carried over into my other relationships.

 

Or take them with you. I doubt the new girlfriend with 3 kids can even house 3 more.




yeahthat.gif

 

This is the bottom line. Know what you are giving up. Be honest with yourself. You will never be able to get that time back.

 

By the way, if dad is doing so well, where is the child support???? Raising 3 children as a single mom is really, really hard work. If parents can help out with school in another state, then they can help out with supporting you for part-time school, can't they?


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#24 of 24 Old 09-28-2011, 08:36 AM
 
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I don't know what field you're in, but there are lots of online/low residency programs offered these days. It will probably take some digging and some creativity, but I imagine that you can find a program to work around your needs so that you don't have to uproot. Best of luck in your decision!


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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