I received this comment from a single dad in response to my post, “Newly Separated Man Seeks Custody Advice:”
My ex and I divorced when my son was 1.5 years old. At the time due to a crappy lawyer and my ex being who she is, I got 4.5 hours with my son a week! No naps, no overnights, just 4.5 hours. I was scared out of my mind in regards to losing him. Finally after mediation and months and $27,000 I was able to get more time.
He had a hard time transitioning at every change. From naps, to his first overnight to having two overnights now. His mother made none of this easy and is still battling me. But I persevered and now he is doing really well with me! I am going to start to talk to lawyers again soon to see about getting him 50/50 even if it is another 9 months and $27k.
I have to say, I have some mixed feelings about this single dad regarding his motives. My skepticism comes from his alleged “crappy lawyer” and him saying “my ex being who she is.” Is it really a crappy lawyer who caused him to get 4.5 hours a week with his son? Or, is there more to the story? I wonder. “My wife being who she is,” could be a controlling, bitter woman whose hate is driving her to prevent her ex from seeing their son. Or, she is warranted in her motives (we can’t know from this guy’s comment, in other words, we will never hear her side.)
All this said, I really liked some of what I heard. This single dad is correct in that many kids have a really hard time transitioning to their dad’s house. In my opinion, simply having the kids not go there is a bad option. A child needs his or her father as much as his or her mother (with the exception of abuse or if a child is put in danger.) So, sometimes they have to be pushed a little bit.
One thing that would really help is if the mother would encourage the child that dad’s house is a wonderful, safe place (if in fact it is.) If it is, and if the mother is “still battling” him then shame on her! She is hurting her own child possibly out of her own hatred or bitterness of her ex.
As far as the writer’s last comment about getting his son 50/50, my opinion is that he should slow down. When he uses the words “she is still battling me,” and “I persevered,” that makes it sound like a war between the parents and I question his motives. If he was truly talking about his child’s best interest, he would have chosen different words. Maybe something like, “Even though it will cost me a lot of money and time, I want to see my son more.”
I guess my interpretation of this is that many custody battles are because of bitterness and anger and hatred between the couple. AND, because of money and child support issues. I’m not saying that is the case here. I’m just stating that it is wise to recognize the difference. In other words, understand your motives and be honest with yourself. In the long run, it’s your kids who will reap the rewards of that.
Just because a dad (or a mom) sees their kids 50/50, doesn’t make them the greatest parent in the world. And, if a mom or dad only sees their children a couple nights a week, they could still be an amazing parent. It’s all about how they are during the time spent. Number of days and nights don’t really mean that much. I guess what I’m trying to say is, no one should feel like they are a better parent because they have more days and nights with their kids. What matters is the relationship he or she has with their children.