Friday, April 12, 2013

Baby Daddy

I am a grad student studying mental health counseling. This is no way makes me an expert in anything but it does mean that I am not throwing around the term anti-social personality. I am not diagnosing anyone, but I do have the opinion of a counselor who has met with my ex whose opinion is that he suffers from this personality disorder. When I brought up my concerns that he he had a personality disorder we discussed the possibilities of borderline, and narcissistic but as more and more has happened it is leaning towards anti-social.
My ex thinks rules do not apply to him and he shows no empathy. He is manipulative, and charming, suffers from substance abuse, and thinks he is always the smartest guy in the room. For the duration of our brief relationship he made me feel like we had an extraordinary love. The truth was I was lonely and inexperienced in relationships and wanted to believe him.
My relationship with him is no longer relevant. My concern now is how to protect my daughter from this man that I chose to be her father. I was blessed with an incredibly intelligent child who asks many questions. I do not have the answers.
I have made several mistakes in my quest to look out for my daughter's best interest. Last year when her father took me to court to seek parenting time I was furious as he had not seen her for practically her whole life. Then I calmed down and decided to make the best of it. I insisted that we go through a counselor and in court he agreed that I would have sole discretion over his parenting time. After awhile of he and my daughter both pressuring me I gave in before the counselor ok'ed it and let them meet. For months I was present and we would meet in parks where they would play. Then I let her go to his house. During this time he was meeting with the counselor. At some point she said she wanted him to get a psychological evaluation where the psychologist had a copy of his criminal history. He kept telling me that he was scheduling this, or the doctor was canceling, or he was getting money together, there was always an excuse but he was getting it done. I had no concerns at first. He and my daughter adored each other and she was in counseling so I assumed if anything was wrong I would know.
Again, under pressure, after awhile I let her stay the night at his house. It was after a second sleepover and her counseling appointment following it that the counselor told me that she advised that I stop letting my girl see her father unsupervised. I freaked out. There were issues about boundaries, although I was assured that she was not being abused, thank God, and so I told my daughter and her dad that I had made a mistake and that I was going to comply with the counselor and there would be no more visits until he did the eval. Needless to say he was furious. My daugher was upset, but not as upset as I thought she would be, and not for long.
Five months went by without a word from him. He did not get the eval. The next time I heard from him he asked if we could see another counselor because he didn't want to see my counselor. I thought that was fair and I agreed. At the other counselor's office she said it was not her job to tell us what to do and he convinced me that the other counselor was to blame for turning me against him and I believed him. I agreed to let my daugher see him again.
It took one visit for him to start making demands. She went there once for a couple hours and then he wanted her for a weekend. I said no. I did not want her spending the night, and I had told him that he could not have her on Fridays because she had plans. He started talking about Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, which he does not get because I have full discretion over his parenting time, and how he would take me to court and assumed I would keep her from him until then. I did not respond.
So here I had ignored the counselor's advice in the first place and let him meet her when I shouldn't have, then she told me to cut him off, I did and he disappeared for 5 months and never complied with what the counselor wanted him to do, then he convinced me switch counselors and turned me against the counselor who was looking out for my daughter's best interest and got to see her again then immediately insisted in getting more time with her than I had ever let him have before.
After that there was a few weeks of calm before another storm. He showed up at my daughter's school. He is not allowed to see her there. I signed a form there when the counselor advised he be cut off the first time. He went in to request documentation of me not letting him have access to her. I have every right to not let him as I also have full legal custody. The school called me and I confirmed that he was not to see her. They informed him and told me they were going to call the district attorney and find out what they legally had to give him. I thought that would be the end of it. They called a few minutes later and said they legally have to give him report cards and disciplinary actions (which there were none). I asked if he took any of that and he did not. They said he had left. Again, I assumed that was the end of it. About an hour later they called again. Someone had come into the school and said that there was a man outside in his truck acting strange talking on his phone. It was him, an hour later. So they were calling the resource officer over from the local high school to make sure he left and when school was over they were going to being my daugher to the office and walk her to my car in case he came around. He was gone by then, but they ended up banning him from all buildings in the school district because the officer ran his name and apparently did not like what came up on his background check.
That night he posted a thinly veiled threat on his facebook page. A threat that I reported to the police and to my counselor whom I had returned to right after seeing the other counselor. He was threatening people who were keeping him and his children apart. That included me and my counselor. He also talked about how he had gone to the police over being banned from the school, only according to the officer who took my report the officer he said he talked to did not exist in the police department here. This is not the first time he believed things to be true when they are complete fabrications. These are the things that really scare me.
At this point I have filed a restraining order against him and next week I have to go defend it against him. I do not know if he will be at court or not. My girl does not know about the restraining order because I do not want her to be scared. I do not think he would harm her. Me, maybe, but not her. I do not think a restraining order will do anything to stop him if he decides to be violent, but at least it will leave a paper trail.
I hope this story ends here. He went away for six years and left us alone. I think that is the best way he can be a father to her. He does more harm by being in her life than good. My girl has my ex-husband who has been a father to her almost her whole life and still is. She also has my current boyfriend who parents her. She does not need him. I gave him a chance and I no longer feel any guilt for doing everything in my power to keep him away from her.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Accepting Feminism

Lately I have been thinking a lot about feminism. I have always been a feminist although I have at times been hesitant and even resistant about embracing the title. When I was a child my favorite shirt said, "Anything boys can do girls can do better." I looked for it every time the laundry was clean and wore it immediately. I do not know why I loved it so much. I do not remember ever thinking that I was less than boys. I was not into sports so it is not like I was excluded from activities in which I wanted to participate. Part of me loved the shirt because my mom liked it. Part of me liked it because my older sister did not show much of a preference for it. On a level I did not yet understand part of me maybe understood that if it needed to be said than it was important.
I was in fourth grade when I got my hair cut short. My gymnastics instructor had a short haircut and I loved it. It was the time of Demi Moore in Ghost and that is the style I requested. The next day at school in rural Pennsylvania was field day and I was teased and called a boy. It was painful but soon my friends got over the shock of me doing something out of the ordinary and everything went back to normal. I was changed though. That haircut changed me. One time when my family went camping I went into the bathroom and a woman told me that the boys was on the other side. I did not know what to say and I do not remember what my mom said to her but I was heartbroken. I look back at pictures of myself at that time and first of all, I did not look like a boy, and second I was certainly old enough to read.
When I was entering sixth grade we could join the band and in order to do so we had to go try different instruments to see what we wanted to play. I did not know what I wanted to play, but when we got there the man showing kids how to try the low brass instruments kept saying things to my mom and me to try to deter me away from them. He told me how boys play these heavy instruments. He asked if my brother ever made sounds like an airplane because that's what you had to do to play these instruments. I left signing up to play the trombone. I played that trombone because that man made me feel like I shouldn't. I was the only girl who played trombone in middle school but in high school there was one other in my grade and by the time I quit band my junior year there were a few more.
After high school I went to college but I did not engage in my education. I realize that every decision in life has lead me to where I am now and I would not have it any other way, but having the opportunity to go to college and be 100% engaged and wasting it is a regret I will always have. I learned a lot in those years, I made some great friends, and I had a lot of fun, but I did not get an education.
There was a long time where I thought I was being true to myself when I was not. That is a story I am not ready to tell. I am going to fast forward to where I started to come back to where I started, embracing feminism.
I am now raising my daughter and son, and helping to raise my boyfriend's daughter and son. Trying to raise daughters makes me very aware of everything. Everything I do is an example to them and every word I say may be something they remember forever. The same for the boys. I have become very aware of the word "bitch." It is not something I say often but it slips out and I am working on it. Once I started noticing one word I started noticing several others. Words I would never want them to use or to be called.
I think I was so hesitant to calling myself a feminist because there are so many different ways people define it. For me it is just a reminder to not feminize things to make them negative and to teach my kids that they should treat each other like equals. To let my kids know they can do what they want with their lives. The boys or girls can have kids or not, they can be stay-at-home-moms or dads, they can go to college or join the peace corp. I read the other day that feminism is a conversation. I love that. I don't need a strict definition, I need a dialogue.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Catching Up

I have not posted in a long time and a lot has happened since my last post. It has been emotionally draining.
I have been to court to face contempt charges that never should have been filed by my daughter's father. However, he immediately told me that he knew they were the wrong papers to file and is working to remedy the situation. Although seeing him for the first time in six years was intimidating we seem to be, at least at this point, willing and able to work together to get him reintroduced to my daughter in the safest possible way. I was not expecting things to go so well.
I have also reconnected with some old friends via Facebook and that makes me very happy. I was nervous to do so, with one in particular but she has matured as I have and we have been able to get to know each other again without going through all the crap that tore us apart 4 years ago which is exactly what I hoped would happen if we ever spoke again. I am very happy to have her back in my life even though she is across the country. I have missed her very much.
Today is the last day of school for the girls. I can't believe my daughter has finished kindergarten! I am not one of those moms who cries at these milestones. Not sure if it's the Zoloft that keeps me from breaking down of if it's the fact that I am so proud of the person she is and is becoming that I don't see any sadness in these milestones. I do wonder if I will feel differently when it is my boy because he is my baby. Time will tell. I am looking forward to the summer, tomorrow we are going to the library to get them signed up for the summer reading program and Friday we will go get our zoo pass and it will be the first zoo trip the baby will remember.
After some careful consideration I applied to grad school. I am going to return to the school I where I did my undergrad work and attempt a masters in mental health counseling. I'm very excited to return to school and the course schedule lets me stay home with the baby, watch the kids after school until the boyfriend gets home, and is even opposite his night class. Sometimes everything just falls into place.
On a more fun note I have made time to read and after the extremely funny "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. Then I read "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides and I loved it. I am also a fan of "Middlesex" by him and this was just as good. Now I have caved and am reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" by whoever wrote it and frankly it's as bad as "Twilight." Actually "Twilight" is a little bit better because I can at least skim the terrible writing to get the story and I am an adult so I can acknowledge how horrible the message is that it is sending to young women. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has practically no story and is all sex. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate a juicy book as much as anyone but I would also appreciate a decent story. I will give it the benefit of the doubt and finish it because I hate to leave any book unfinished, and I will probably finish the series so I know what everyone is talking about but seriously, if bored housewives need a thrill that bad there have to be better books out there. Or they need to spice up their own sex lives. Some day I will organize this blog and get a book review section going. . .

Monday, May 14, 2012

Something to Ponder

Sometimes the universe does some crazy shit to my life and I can't figure out if that means that I'm doing things right or if it's just fucking with me. Like deja vu gives me a feeling like I am in the exact right place at the exact right time. I read that somewhere, Sylvia Browne maybe in my days of spirituality 101, but anyway it rings true. Like how my daughter's dad came back into my life after so long through that facebook message and then shortly after that I heard from a long lost friend via facebook. Now this is not some friend, she was the best friend I have ever had but our friendship ended years ago for what seem like stupid reasons. I reached out to her once, right after I got married but she shot me down and I figured that meant the reasons must not have been stupid and I tried to let it go. I have missed her terribly. I have missed her most at the really important milestones in my life like the birth of my son, my graduations, my divorce, and I have always wondered what has been going on with her. But now even though we are facebook friends I have no idea how to talk to her. But I wonder if there is a connection between my daughter's dad coming into my life and then her. Like his return necessitates hers. Like the universe knows I am going to need her to deal with what is to come. Maybe I am making too much of this. Maybe we will just keep each other at a distance and look at each others' pictures and whatnot and that will be that because I do have friends, good friends, but I don't have her. And there is something fishy about the timing. Just makes me think.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Delayed Reality

This week several people I know have graduated from college. Considering I am 32 years old and some of these people are younger than I am and some are older I got to thinking about my own degree and how I have not yet used it and how I am not sure how or when I will.
When I graduated I was pregnant with my son and getting divorced. I feel that getting my degree is one of the things I am most proud of in my life. It was not easy and I could not have done it on my own. I have a very supportive family. Emotionally, financially, with child care, everything you could think of they were there to help me achieve my goal of graduating. The 3.8 cumulative GPA was all me.
The problem is I got my degree in political science, I minored in literature and I have a family to support. I would love to go to grad school but at this point that means more debt and really no more job prospects. I just love school. I love reading and learning. I could deal with an office job, I could probably even like it, but I love my kids and I do not want someone else to raise them. What is a mom to do?
The plan right now is to stay home through the summer with the boyfriend working and then in the fall when the kids go to school I will find a job and only the baby will have to be in some sort of daycare. My girl never had to go to daycare because I was in school and my mom and my now ex-husband were able to watch her when I was in class. But this is my life now and I cannot put off working for four years and stay home with Joey until he is in school. And that breaks my heart every time I think about it. When I think about someone else spending their days with his smiling face it makes me want to cry. I know this is a dilemma every mother faces when she has to return to work, but that does not make it any easier for me. I should be grateful for the year and a half I will have had at home with him.
Sometimes I think about how my life would have been if I had done college the "right" way. If I had just gone and finished right out of high school. But that is a waste of time. My life is the way it is because this is how it is supposed to be. I never would have gone back to school if I hadn't had my daughter. She was my inspiration to do better in my life and I have. Now the baby just adds to that inspiration and he has made me raise my standards even higher. I am constantly trying to become a better person for them. My college degree is one of my proudest accomplishments, but it is a distant third to being the mother of those two.
I am not the other two's mom but they live with us and I do take them into consideration when I think about my life and I also want to set an example for them and I want them to know that I am here for them too. The lines are blurred but the need for stability is there for all the kids, not just mine. I guess for now I will just enjoy the little time I have left home with the kids and then I will suck it up and join the real world, like every one else.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kittens. They're No Pug.

Last weekend we adopted 2 sister kittens named Tiger and Lilly. They are really cute and sweet and perfect for our family. Fixed, no claws, litter box trained, almost a year old, and they are already named which is a bonus considering the kids would have gone rounds about who got to name them had they not been.
I was the one who really wanted kittens. I wanted the kittens because I really miss my pug, Cleo but I absolutely do not want a dog because the last thing I need right now is another thing that needs my constant attention. I if I was to ever get another dog I can only see myself getting a pug and the thought of another dog literally makes my heart ache.
Cleo was my companion through the toughest time in my life. She was given to me by an acquaintance because one night when we had had too many beers I started talking about how cute I thought pugs were and how badly I wanted one and she said she had one who was pregnant but I could have her once she had her puppies. In my intoxicated state I agreed. I was not thinking about the fact that I worked all the time, lived in an apartment by myself and had no money.
When I got Cleo she had just had puppies, she was full of fleas and worms. She was as broken as I was. I got her into the vet the next day because she was easy to fix. After that she was so grateful to be taken care of she was my buddy. She slept with me, and we usually slept on the couch because she couldn't jump on my bed. I found her snorting hilarious when other people found it annoying, and I loved the way she slept with her tongue sticking out of her mouth.
Sometimes the fact that Cleo had to go outside was the only reason I went outside at all. When I had her I got fired from a job I thought I loved and I thought I was going to stay at for a long time. It was the only time I was ever on unemployment so I didn't really have much to do, so I didn't do much of anything. I stayed home and was depressed. Cleo made me get off the couch.
When I met my daughter's dad and he asked me to move to Oregon with him I told him I would go if my dog could come with us. So she did. I took my dog across the country with me. She lost half her body weight when we were in Oregon. She went to the beach with us and ran in the surf and she went hiking in the mountains. She was well traveled. Things changed when we came back to Indiana because I was pregnant with my daughter. I still loved Cleo but she wasn't the reason I got off the couch anymore.
When Cleo got to the point where she couldn't see or hear anymore and she was in pain, and it was time to put her down it wasn't a surprise but it still hurt more than I expected. I still mourn her every time I see a pug. So when I decided it was time for us to get a pet I knew it could not be a dog. I have been missing Cleo more than usual lately. I think about her a lot and I wish she could see me happy because she was with me through so much sadness. 
 The kittens are the right choice for our family now. They are still getting used to the chaos that is our family and so for now they hide in my room most of the day and come out at night, but they are getting more comfortable. Hopefully these kittens will be the family pets these kids remember growing up with until they move out and get their own first pets.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What the Hell Am I Doing?

I haven't posted in awhile but that does not mean nothing has been going on with me, or that I have nothing to say, because I always have something to say, and something is always going on with me. I have been trying to figure out what I am trying to do and/or say with this blog.
So I have been trying to decide what I like about other blogs before I actively attempt to get people to read mine.  It has occurred to me that I probably should have figured this out before I started blogging, but oh well, better late than never. So here goes.
I like when people write like they talk. I like humor and honesty. I like visual aids. When telling a story a picture can really make it so much better. I think it is a good idea to cover a wide variety of reoccurring topics. Spelling and grammar are important but I am by no means perfect. I will do my best, and I am hoping by writing on a regular basis I will get better.
I guess I don't really have it in me to get into much else tonight because I have been having it out with Liam all day and I am ready to just relax until morning when it's time to get up and do it all again.