Great thread! I'm totally loving getting to meet you mommas
I'm Mikaela living in the Phila. 'burbs with one 11-year-old son. He's a high-spirited, kinetic, compassionate, high-impact kid who can't get enough movement. He's involved with lots of sports (currently skateboarding, lacrosse, football, kayaking, basketball) and is obsessed with penguins. We're veg*ns, love the ocean, camping and cuddles.
My baby's daddy and I have a good relationship, though it's been hard work getting here -- I'm sure you can all feel me on that one
We'd been together seven years (since we were 15) when we broke up in 2000. The first several years were very rough. Typical selfish man crap; irresponsible behavior, not holding a job, not coming around enough, etc. He finally grew up and has been steadily employed and seeing our son regularly for about the past four years.
We have no formal custody or CS arrangements. He gets our son over the weekends (usually Saturday morning through Sunday night) and one day per week (usually Monday after school until bedtime), though he can and often does have him in between. I get a small payment ($200/month) from him in the form of a direct deposit -- something we set up on our own. I know it's not much, but I also know it's what he can afford.
My one objective in our relationship is to do what is best for our son. It's been extremely challenging at times, though I am proud to say that I've always managed to stay positive when talking about/with him in front of the kiddo. Or, at least neutral
Four years ago, my boyfriend and I bought a house and we moved in together. It's been a struggle at times. We actually separated in December '06 (my son and I stayed in the house, he moved in with his mom), but are now back together and better than ever. We never really broke up or dated other people or anything like that, it was more just a separation and regrouping. You can imagine the clashing of egos when we first moved in together: a single mom plus a bachelor equals much stubbornness. Add to that, two full-time work schedules, a house that gave "fixer-upper" a whole new meaning and his going back to school at nights and on the weekends and ay yay ay, mommas -- we were a mess! My son weathered all the changes amazingly. We were always sure to be very empathetic and kept communication wide open. Those tactics absolutely paid off
We've all been back together for a few months now, and are in the middle of brand new changes already. Life's fun like that, don't you think? On Monday, I pulled my son out of school and next week I will be starting a four-day-a-week telecommuting schedule so that I can homeschool him. I have no idea what to expect and have very deliberately let go of trying to schedule, plan or otherwise control this transition. Something that I know
all you single mommas understand has been VERY difficult
Of all the forums on Mothering, this is the one where I feel the most kinship and connection. It's on these threads that I most often hear myself saying, "I feel you, sister" and nodding at the computer screen. I know that you all understand, that while single parenting is such an incredible personal struggle (emotionally, financially, psychically, etc.), it is also the single most rewarding job I've ever, or will ever, have.
One love to you mommas!