Dear Sue Ellen,
I am a single mom. I have a 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter. My ex-husband lives in Colorado and has remarried. In our custody agreement, he gets the children one month in the summer. It is his responsibility to make travel arrangements. Last week he informed me he bought two round trip plane tickets for the month of August. I told him I would need to fly with the kids, but he said they are big enough to fly alone. He never asked me if we (me and the kids) had plans for August, and he didn’t even ask when school starts; he just told me when he was going to have them because he is very self-centered and impossible to get along with. I don’t trust his new wife with my kids. He will be at work all day and the kids will be stuck with her and her 4 year old from a previous marriage. My ex-husband doesn’t see that she doesn’t care much about his kids, but I see it. I wanted to write to you in hopes you would tell all those parents out there to stay married, even when times are tough. Divorce is harder on the kids than you might think. Sometimes I get so stuck in my own sadness over the situation I forget that my children are going through it too. Now I have to take my little ones to the airport and turn them over to strangers. I have to watch them fly away into the arms of people that don’t love them like I do and somehow I have to be okay with it. Please share my story and encourage parents to stay together for their kids.
Dear Single Mom,
Thank you for sharing your story. I know it is hard to be a single parent, and I also know how horrible it is to take your little ones to the airport and send them away, especially when they are going into less than perfect circumstances. I am not defending your ex-husband, but I have seen lots of dads that are heartbroken because they are separated from their kids. Children need time with both parents. To help you get through it, try to plan some enjoyable grownup things you can’t normally do when they are home, like hang out with friends; go to a movie that isn’t rated G; get a manicure and pedicure, change your hair style, take a nap…you know….all those things you would love to do but don’t have time for.
I wish there was some kind of magic pill parents could take that would give them clear vision and insight about the importance of a good relationship with each other; and while I am wishing…I would like for this pill to help them always remember why they loved each other in the first place because it keeps things sweeter between them. Parents being united is a vital component in raising children to be emotionally healthy. When parents don’t get along, it hurts the kids.
If any of you readers are planning to get married, or divorced, please think about the impact you are going to have on the people around you. This includes your children (present and future), parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. It isn’t just about you. You may envision yourself as an excellent parent, but if you become a single parent keep in mind that you are putting your children at a much greater risk of abuse and neglect. If you are about to marry someone that isn’t quite right, but you are going to marry them anyway…please reconsider. Our kids are our most important natural resource. They are our future. Doesn’t it make sense to invest some time and thought in how we are going to care for them before they are born?
Please email your parenting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parent’s Corner on the subject line.