Friday, June 7, 2013

Setting the Record Straight

I have been a single parent for almost three years now and in that time I have experienced many misconceptions first and second hand. I would like to clarify some things for those who may not understand or have knowledge of what it is like to be in my situation or another that may be similar. You all know how I love bullet points and lists :)

I am single. This is a fact. I am also a parent and this means I will be around other parents. Some of the parents I interact with are fathers, most of which are married or in a committed relationship. There seems to be a misconception that just because I am single I am somehow a threat to another person’s marriage. I promise I am not. I would never make a move for a married man. I do not flirt with parents on the playground or during our child’s swimming lesson. I am a lady. This term is not used as much as it should be, but I do consider myself a lady. Being a single parent does not make me a slut, or desperate to find my child a dad. There is no need to “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife”. IF a married man made a pass at me I would be disgusted.

I am not on any government assistance and never have been in the past. I have a good job and make a decent living. BUT… if I were on assistance why would it bother you? I was left with nothing for months. Overnight I went from a two income household, expecting a child to a single income, single parent, paying for a home, car, bills, food, daycare, divorce and custody battle… assistance would have been damn helpful! I unfortunately did not qualify, so instead I went into debt. There is no shame on using government programs when you need it, none. Not every single mom is on welfare, and not every single mom on welfare is cheating the system.

I am not bitter or depressed. At least not any more than most people! I do not hate men or want to shut them out their children’s life. It might be surprising to hear that I am STRONGLY for a father’s paternal rights. I believe both parents should be involved whenever it is safe and in the best interest of the child. I tell other single moms very often to be civil and friendly to their child’s father. Having a good male role model is important for a child. My personal situation makes it impossible for me to promote a relationship between Nugget and her biological father, so her role models are my dad, my brother and my brother in laws. I know many more wonderful men than I do bad ones. When the time is right I would love to find a wonderful man for myself!

To anyone who thinks themselves a legal genius, a bona fide Law and Order expert let me set the record straight. As of right now, in the great state of Ohio, there is no way for me to dissolve my X’s paternal rights. It seems obvious that a pedophile who admits to downloading upwards of 700 images and videos of girls between the ages of 4 and 14 and who was caught trying to meet up with a 15 yr old for sex should lose all rights to be a parent. They are a danger, especially to a daughter. The state protects every other child in the nation against this man, yet my daughter lives with the threat of having to visit with this man. I currently have full physical and legal custody and that will most likely always stand, but the problem is my X can apply to the court for visitation and custody. That is his right, and I can’t change that. Instead I have to fight to keep my daughter safe and pay a lawyer to help me. Remember any money going to a lawyer is lost and I would still not qualify for assistance (legal aid or food stamps).

Another legal point; I applied for child support. Asking for child support does NOT mean X has more of a right to visitation. They are handled separately. I asked for the money for my daughter’s wellbeing. If I could live without it I would. It is for Nugget, period. Please do not assume that you know what you would do in my situation. I am trying to keep my little family going.

Being a single parent does not mean that I bring a bunch of men around my daughter. I have only introduced one man to my child and he was my boyfriend for 7 months. A man will never come before my child. Nugget is not an obstacle to my dating life. If a man can’t handle me being a mother then I do not want to be with him.

If you see a picture on facebook of me out with friends that doesn’t mean I dump my child off on a regular basis. I am with my child every night except once a week when I play soccer and she stays with her grandparents. I am allowed to have fun once in a while and enjoy adult interaction. My unmarried status does not give a person the right to assume I am licentious or anything but a responsible mother. To quote the frequent Maury guest “You don’t know me!”

And finally... I will say it again… I did not know my X was a pedophile before the day the police came to my home. I had no idea or suspicion. A lot of these men including my X are very intelligent and good at fooling people and hiding their activities. It is hurtful that others seem to think I had knowledge of this and chose to stay with the man. That is sick and weak. I am a strong woman; I would never stay with a man who I knew to be a pervert.  The fact that the first question asked of me when people find out is “Did you have any idea?”  is insulting.

EDIT: I am not referring to people who ask me "Looking back did you miss any signs?" or anything along the same lines. I am in no way offended when people ask me questions, feel free to do so!! There have been a surprising number of people that really want to know if I knew or if I ever found anything on our computer or in our house... When you have been asked so many questions it becomes easier to weed out those who are looking for information that may help them and those who may really believe I knew.


Amanda said...

Kuddos to you for so many things! As for people asking if you knew, maybe they aren't trying to be hurtful. Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe they're just trying to make conversation. Maybe they're unsure what to say and stick their foot in their mouth. You and nugget seem to be doing well. I applaud you for all you've gone through and yet you still continue to thrive!

Stacy said...

So inspirational! That's a great choice you made :)

Olivia {The more I see the less I know} said...

Hide yo kids hide ur wife! (laughing) love that youtube video.

Sorry people suck. And they somehow always know the wrong thing to say (or do).

Claudia B said...

Good for you! I have worked for the past 9 years I have been a single mom and never applied for nor recieved Welfare aid. I do get child support though and you are right about visitation and child support being separate. My ex husband hasn't seen nor does he care about his son in the past 9 years but I did get him to pay child support, court ordered and directly deposited into my account since day one and he has a good paying City job so he can support his child if only financially. And as you said, all that money goes to my son for his Hockey lessons, schooling, clothes, food, home and whatever else comes in between.

I don't date either. I've been on 2 since my divorce 9 years ago and it just wasn't for me.

You are doing an awesome job! And stay strong!