I stood outside looking out the window at the traffic on the street. Trying to figure out how we get here. A person who was my confidant had become someone I only communicated with via legal counsel. I stood looking out that window trying to figure out how this new twist in my life story is going to affect the rest of the book. My lawyer turned to me and said, “Ok it looks like since you will be awarded full custody, your child support payment of $3,100 will begin next month. Just sign here.” I immediately became relieved. Relieved that I will have some financial support. I could buy a better house, get a newer car, and afford to save more toward my retirement. Life was going to be ok. Then I did something very few people can do. I got honest with myself. You know, the kind of honest moment that only you and your creator ever know about.
I realized the money was really for me. My lifestyle improvement. Then I thought about him. What if he were to get remarried? It would be a financial burden on his new wife. What if they wanted to have more kids? Why would I want to take away what he so rightly earns for himself? The desire to affect that is bitterness. All these questions came to my mind. But in thinking of myself I thought about my quality of life. What about my social life, dating, vacations? When was I going to have the time to do anything? Being a full time mom was going to be hard and tiring. Why was I willing to put all the other parts of my life that I enjoy up for sale? And why was I putting it on the clearance rack?!
More questions came, honesty wouldn’t stop. Honesty kept hitting me. Why did I want to build a life for myself dependent on what my children’s father does for me? Seems like a type of bondage. Then that honest moment came and took the breath out of my body. I was putting more faith in what he can do for me than I can do for myself. Am I really such a weak woman that I can’t earn enough to build a life for myself without another man’s assistance? What if he stops paying, gets laid off, or just pays late? That would affect me negatively because I have made him a principal apart of my foundation.
As I walked over to sign the custody agreement I thought of my children. I have loved and cared for them with all that was in me. No one could love them like me. Honesty came and slapped me again. That’s not true. Their father love is equal to mine. Equal, the word kept playing over in my head. Where is it written that my role as their mother is more important than his role as a father? It’s not, his role is in fact equally important. I don’t want to rob them of such an important figure. That’s me being resentful. That’s not me loving them sincerely.
So I refused to sign the custody agreement and I proposed my own. I decided to not have any financial agreement and just have the children the same amount of time I did. We rotate the children every week. I was surprised on how much research has been done to show how good it is for children with this arrangement.
The absence of any financial ties make the relationship positive and healthy. We both have separate lives. I enjoy the company of his new wife. There is no jealousy at all. His step children come and spend the night over my house. It’s amazing how much money can destroy a family dynamic. The interesting thing is my finances have more than doubled since my decision. I am depending truly on me and I know what I am made of. Everything I have is because of me.
I understand that not every person can have this arrangement. Not all fathers are willing to be part of their child’s lives like that but many are. So mothers, if your children have a father who wants just as much time as you, ask yourself won’t you allow it. I encourage you to have that honest moment. Who is the child support really for?
Unfortunately, when that honest moment comes, most women won’t be honest enough to admit it’s not only just for the kids. If it’s not, then say no. Say you can provide just as good a life as the father and let him be a father. Give him the same amount of time to love your children and put their well- being before everything. That means you have to be devoid of anger, bitterness, jealousy and resentment because those emotions will block your bout with honesty that ultimately forces you to look at yourself, remove the shackles and be free.
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