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Single parent

As I have been writing I started thinking. Originally this was about being a single mom. What I realize is that there are dads out there that raise their children and also have full physical custody. Most of my comments have been from single dads. So in honor of you, me and all the others raising children on their own my site is now Reflections if a single parent! You are all hero’s!!!

Child Support

One of the worse parts of my divorce, and I am sure many others, has been the issue of child support.  Someone once told me, “you fought when you were married, what makes you think it would be any different after.”  I honestly thought, he is their father, he will do what is right by the kids.  BOY WAS I WRONG!

I look back on everything and I realize I made so many mistakes.  Maybe it was the shock of the affair.  Maybe it was the shock of getting divorced and becoming a statistic.  Maybe it was the fact I now had full custody of three children, ages, 5,6 and 8.  I would not file for adultry, because I wanted to keep it simple.  I did not hire a lawyer, I wanted to keep expenses down.  I didn’t want this to get super ugly.  WRONG!!!  All that just made it worse.

The intial aggreement had the kids going to him every other weekend and two weeks in the summer.  To which he said, “But I do not have to though.”  To which the court personel, said “No, sir, no one will make you spend time with your kids.”  That was probably sign 1 million.  That was 13 years ago.  The kids never go their two weeks, and some summers, not even one week.  Anyway, back to the agreement.  Since the children were so young, college was not put in the agreement.  MISTAKE!!!!

There were modifications to our order.  Mostly because he makes three times as much as me, even though he tried three times to hide his 30,000 bonus.  (Yes, I am angry.) I was told, college is not part of child support.  I just never thought he would not help.  Well, I have one child who went to college for a semester and decided it wasn’t for him.  He then went for a certification program, which his father actually split with me.  Unfortunately, since then, he has emancipated the three children.  So at ages 21, 19, and 18, he does not cover health insurance of any kind, he does not have a bed for any of the kids to spend a night at his house (and hasn’t for 5 years) (he lives 15 minutes from me), and he tells them he paid for his own college, car and expenses and they should too.  The part he neglected to tell them, which of course I did, was that he inherited $100,000 at the age of 17 to cover all of that.  The ironic thing is he told me to claim the kids on my taxes, since I am a teacher so the kids get more financial aid.  (All the other years he gladly claimed them even though he only paid child support.)  No sneakers, clothes, yearbooks, money for dates, clothes for dances, tickets to high school games,  no cell phones, etc.  JUST CHILDSUPPORT.  According to him, “I pay you a lot of money to take care of this stuff.”

My kids, work all year round, played sports, bought their own cars, and  their own clothes ( unless I could).  They get good grades and all received scholarships, but they, at their age, do not have a steady income or health insurance and as their parent that his my responsibility, but according to the courts at 18, I do not have to.  WHO DOES THAT?

I need to let go of the anger.  There are two lessons I learned.  One,  even though you are emotional, fight for everything in the beginning.  MAKE SURE YOU as the custodial parent,  you and your kids are covered, immediately and in the future.  Two, CHILD SUPPORT LAWS NEED TO CHANGE!!!  Child support needs to continue based on the circumstances.  Some kids, get a job at 18 with benefits, some kids go to college for four years, so are still living at home; some kids live at home and go to a two year college.  ALL KIDS NEED HEALTH COVERAGE!!!

The current law states: The payments automatically end when the child reaches majority, dies or becomes emancipated: The purpose of this language is to automatically end the support obligation when the child reaches majority (age 18 in Maryland except in certain circumstances) or the child dies. However, the issue of emancipation is often in dispute and may require the court to decide. A determination of emancipation is fact specific but usually requires that the child has married or become self-supporting. Note: Child support will continue to be charged against you until you file in court to terminate it, resulting in the accrual of arrears.

My ex-husband, did not break laws, and used them to his full advantage.  He hurt all of my kids, which in turn has made me very angry.  I do not want other single parents and children to have to go through this fight.  The courts need to changle the laws.  All parents need to do what is right for the kids.  Child support covers basic expenses.  Both parents need to cover the additional expenses as they arise or have an agreement in place.  Our kids need our love and support passed 18, within reason of course.

Life Lessons

This email comes around every once in awhile.  I wanted to share it.  All of us single mom’s need to apply this to our lives.  I know as a single mom, I went through a time, especially after my divorce and then again after my break up in a 12 year relationship, where I felt I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t worth it.  TRUTH BE TOLD I AM and SO ARE YOU!  So go out and enjoy life!  Take that first step, even if it is a small one.  More to come on these later!  For now enjoy!
This is something we should all read, at least once a  week!!!!!    Make sure you read to the end!!!!!! 
  Written by a 90 year old columnist of the Plain Dealer, A local Newspaper, of Cleveland, Ohio.
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written”.
  My odometer rolled over to 90, in August, so here is the popular column once more:
  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
  7.. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it!
  9. Save for retirement, starting with your first paycheck.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past, so it won’t screw up the present.
  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea  what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it!
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down, in many ways.
  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It’s never too late, to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it, for a special        occasion.  Today is special!
 
 
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  23.  Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness, but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster, with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive
  29. What other people think of you, is none of your business!
  30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
  32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you,  because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood.
  38. All that truly matters, in the end, is that you loved.
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere!
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need.
  42. The best is yet to  come…
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  44. Yield.
  45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Tardy

“There is never enough time in a day.” So many of us say it. So many of us wish for more time. As a single mom, I find this to be very true. I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom up until the time my youngest went to kindergarten. Ironically it was the same year their father left me. My first degree was in hotel/restaurant management. Before kids I worked as a manager in the food and beverage department at a casino in Atlantic City. The hours and the schedule were not suitable for a single mom. Their father was in a traveling position for his company, so I had primary custody. Without getting into all the details, yet, I needed a job and went to the school system. I worked as an inclusion helper and then decided to get my degree in special education. I was fortunate enough to be hired conditionally as a teacher while working on my degree. My schedule now included Mom, teacher, graduate student, and coach to my kids sports teams. (Yes I would not give that up, which is another story). I was either working, going to school, driving the kids, helping the kids with projects, coaching the kids…you get the gist. There are two points to this. One, I was tardy for certain events. I know people get aggravated by that and I agree. However at the time I was always trying to do one more thing. Switch laundry, cook dinner, clean the bathroom, you know the list. I was so focused on trying to keep life as normal as possible that my thought process was, people would understand. Most did not, which would make me angry and sad. I was doing the best I could, couldn’t people see that. A few friends got it and knew when and how to help. Most did not. My point here is if you know a single parent trying to do it all because the ex is not involved and you see them struggling with time management, maybe offer a hand or a kind word. Judging them because there late often leads to more hurt and anger. ON THE OTHER HAND, as a single parent, it is ok to let some things go and ask for help when needed. It is also ok to say no because you trying to do everything is going to exhaust you. In my case it exhausted me and led to health problems. Finding a balance is the key. What to let go of, when to ask for help and when to say no. For others be there, offer help, don’t judge and try to understand. I pray you all can do that sooner than I did.

Reflections of a single mom.

Hello, my name is Jilene. I am a single mom to my three beautiful children. Of course, they are really adults. Ages 18, 19, and 21. Two boys and a girl. I got divorced officially 13 years ago, but things were bad for 18 years. Parenting in today’s world is hard, but doing it alone, is even harder. I will share the mental, emotional, physical and financial problems in the hopes it shows someone they are not alone and they will survive. Whether you are a single mom or a single dad, support and understanding are crucial. I hope I can provide some of that.