Coming to Terms with Child Custody


I did something yesterday that I never thought I would do... I called my ex to come get our little girl early, I even gave up the rest of my weekend. It was the hardest thing for me to do. I feel like a complete scum bag. I have always thought I was the stable one, the one that would always be there for Madalyn but for some reason yesterday I just couldn't handle it. All Madalyn wanted was to be with her mom. She knew her mom was coming to get her for the holiday, so she would sit at the window and watch or constantly check the clock. This is after she just spent 4 days with her mom. I struggle with this all the time. I feel that the time I spend with Madalyn is good and I know she loves me so why do I get upset when she just wants to be with her mom? I know! Because I am selfish and immature.

Here is how it was explained to me: 98% of little girls are more attached to their mothers! Period!

I have been able to handle the divorce and all that went on but for some reason I can't find solid ground when it comes to Madalyn. I can't come to terms with only having 50% custody and I most certainly can't come to terms that she prefers to be with her mother!

Update: You would think I would learn by now but I guess I have a thick head. Madalyn's behaviour always changes when her mom is in the process of moving or getting a new boyfriend. Well I just found out that she is moving back in with her boyfriend. Normally I can see the signs in Madalyn and know something is up but I completely missed it this time. I guess I was too concerned with myself to see it.

This battle is brutal! When will it end? I pray and pray, God moves and things are better for a short time then it just goes back to the way it was.


Robert said...

Jason, Don't let this get you down. It is hard I know! My ex and I split sheets when she was still preg. She lied about the birth and then said that the father was unknown. Bottom line during all the 'bonding' moments I was gone. In the first two years of my DD life I spent just over 200 hours with her. Not even 10 full days out of 730. Whenever I had her at 'supervised' visits she would cry non- stop for mommy. Yes it hurts. Yes I cried too.
It is not selfish, it shows how important it is to you.
Just don't sabotage your relationship with your daughter. Don't ever say anything bad about her mother, and encourage her to tell you how much she loves her mother. (if she can trust you with this now then she can trust you later too)
It is hard, it takes work. I would have to explain to my daughter that I only got to see her a little bit and even though she missed mom, we still needed to try and have a good time.
It took me 6 years to get joint custody. Last year in first Grade my DD had an accident and cut the tip of her finger off. I was at work. My ex called me because the only thing my daughter was screaming is that she wanted her 'daddy'
I was off my boat and on a plane 12 hours latter. I missed the operation, she was out of recovery and at her mothers house by the time I got to town. I picked her up and she came to stay with me. We talked, we laughed, we cried. When it came time to take off the bandage for the first time it was really stuck, it was my belly she buried her face in, it was daddy's hands that covered her eyes so she did not have to look. It has been a hard road to build the bonding that was lost in infancy but if you are consistent and loving it will happen. It is not a competition with your ex, it is a privilege from your daughter!
God Bless You and Continue to Fight the Good Fight!

Jason said...

Thank you so much Robert. I was hoping for a dad's perspective on things. I can't believe how difficult this is. I called my little girl tonight and she said she didn't want to talk to me. I had to remind myself that she is only 4 and she is probably playing and not to take it personal.

It does take work and your story really touched me...

thanks again.

Johnathan said...

Jason, having done a truck load of research on this one, I found that Satan blinds us with comparing what you have vs. what could be, or rather, what you want it to be. I often get my 3.5 year old son telling his mom he does not want to go “home to dads”. It is usually because he got in trouble and does not want me to know, or his mom bought him yet more new things.

Now I think you are right on in saying it may be pure selfishness as I will bear that cross as well, but here is what I have done to deal with this issue.

Compare this. I have a great Christian brother who has an ex that lives only for herself, period. The children are neglected, she does not help with homework, does not even wash their clothes, won’t bathe them, etc., but she goes after him for support and custody every chance she gets.

When I talk to him, I empathize and pray with him that things will improve. At the same time, I thank God things are as good as they are for me. Like the old saying goes; things could be a lot worse.

Jason said...
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Jason said...

Sometimes I really think that I sabatoge myself from being happy. When I am with my daughter she wants to be just like me, wear the same type of clothes or lack of clothes which ever the case. I realized that for some reason that particular day I was under attack. Usually happens around the holidays becuase my ex always has someone to be with and she called with her boyfriend in the background and I simply got jealous. Not because they were an item but because I had no significant other. But I have spent the past couple years preparing my self so I don't make the same mistakes. I just started feeling sorry for myself and I pushed away the only real important person in my life...

Vivian said...

For a period, my son didn't want to visit his father. Then for a period, my daughter. It wasn't a fun time because I was being blamed by the father for them not wanting to go. Then there was a time when my son would refuse to talk on the phone to him as well.

With us, things sound a little different. Their dad lives in another state but still only about an hour away. Visitation is hit and miss at his convience and the children have built their own lives. Our kids are older. Our daughter is 10 and our son will be 9. They have their church activities they are involved in, school friends they visit and set play times with, and sports activities. Being that dad is so far away, he doesn't even know them. So, that plays into one area as to why they take spells on not wanting to visit their dad.

I do my best to encourage both kids to be respectful. Even when dad pulls the disappearing acts to do what is right and still respect him. When he calls, I encourage them to talk on the phone. When he does come to visit and they are in one of their moods not to go, encourage them to go and have fun. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

I will say as girls grow the do want daddy. My daughter in the past 2 years has shown more interest in her dad. I'm saying this to encourage you. The role of dad changes starting into these teen years (ARGH!!! Teen years approaching quick on my end!!). Girls need the guidence of a good, stable father. A father who can show her how a boy is suppose to treat a girl. As she starts longing for that male companionship in her life, the first man she turns to is her dad. If the dad can't provide that stability and unconditional love, then she'll look else where.

I pray for the day my children's father would take this active role and be someone they can look upto and honor without feeling they have to do so just to please God ... but out of love for their dad. However, each year passes with less activity from him ...

Hang in there. You sound like an active dad. Yes, girls do prefer Mommy but there's coming a day when she'll prefer Daddy.

Jason said...

Thanks vivianbeth, I know you are right and I also know your kids dad is missing out on wonderful blessings!

Vivian said...

I had a moment to think of your situation while I was working yesterday. I was praying about it.

There's a chance, a real good chance, your little girl might be afraid of loosing her Mommy. Given it more thought, with mom moving in with boyfriend ...

I think this is why God has never seen fit for me to date. As adults, we can get hurt. We get attached but we know if it is a relationship that doesn't work out that's ok. We mend. Children see it as someone else Mom or Dad ( or both) have rotated in and out of their lives. Just another person who is no longer in their lives. Questions start to build. "How long will Mom stay with me?" "How long will Dad keep me around?" It really does build insecurities in them.

I'm just wondering if this is what is happening to your little girl.

My son use to have ways of telling me his feelings when he was her age. He'd say Ax (his stuffed animal) didn't like dad's house "because ...". Or Ax is "scared that Mommy won't come home from Walmart". Now, he just tells me. Then, he felt more safe saying it was the toy's feelings than his own.

I thought I'd pass this thought along. Hang in there!!

Jason said...

I wonder about that if what you are saying is true as well. Over the years I have made it a point to not change things around, move from place to place etc. I think Madalyn understands that I am always there for her. That when she comes over to daddy's house things are going to be the same.

I don't think she understands all this moving around her mom does and the role of the different men. The more I try to examine and rid myself of my selfishness I can see more of what is going on with Madalyn and hopefully provide her with what she needs.

Anonymous said...

I believe Madalyn is needing to be with her mom because she is wanting to feel any stability she can in that world. Kind of like protecting that environment. It is a survival/control method. If she is not there she cannot make sure things are OK.
I am a survivor of a broken home and I know desperately how much that survival fight mode comes in.
Love her, encourage her next visit,and let her know you love her and that she can come back when she is ready. Tell her you understand that she misses mommy and that her and mommy are moving and Madalyn wants to help and make sure her toys get to her new room. That when she comes back you will do something fun. maybe the two of you could make a picture of her new room.
this will make it easier for both of you. I promise! As a single mom for 8 years I know it seems like giving in to Madalyns mom but, you are serving your daughter not giving in to her mom.
Grandma in Oregon