27 January 2008

'Every Other' Parent

I have a very close acquaintance who's going through some child support/visitation issues with the father of her young child. They were never married, so she won't have to deal with the added joys of divorce, thank God.

She's telling me the compromises she's had to make ...and the added benefits he receives for the child he denied having until the DNA tests proved him - and his mother - wrong.
Where does his mother fit in, you ask? That was my question, too.

Anyway, it got me started thinking ...yeah, that whole thinkin' thing again... as she was telling me now that he knows her child is his, he wants her child every other Thanksgiving and every other Christmas... and a month every summer... but balks at paying 'her' any kind of child support or back-support for this child.

"Who should I make the check out to?"

I think "The Whore Who Mothered My Child" would be a tad too much...

Like the measly pittance is going to elevate her from middle to upper-class.

On the fast track. Good planning, Sunshine!

I'm sure the food, housing, clothing and medical expenses of this child is nowhere near the amount he'll bitch about sending. She'll be laughing all the way to the bank!!

Why is it so many non-custodial parents want to be the 'Disneyland Parent' and don't like the money aspect of child support? They want to buy the ice cream and visit all of the area attractions and show their children a really good time (tm) the entire twenty days of their yearly parental participation. But bugger their children the other 345 days per year. Meanwhile, we, the custodial parent, get to use all of our income on rent/mortgage, insurance, medicine, child care, car, utilities, clothing, food and school supplies/fundraisers. We don't have extras for 'fun' stuff, exciting places or ice cream. How dare we ask for some kind of monetary support! Gold-digging beotches, anyway!!

A real 'fair' sharing of parental responsibilities/visitation would be listed more like this:

You get them every other Flu/Cold ailment.
You get them every other 5-8 hour doctor visit for routine examinations.
You get them every other serious illness/injury or surgery (ear tubes, tonsillectomy, etc.).
You get them every other braces realignment.
You get them every other fit, shouting match and meltdown.
You get them every other parent/teacher conference or PTO meeting.
You get them every other sibling rivalry dispute over the stupid, little, plastic 'made in China' infantile toy you gave them last Christmas when you didn't have them.
Every other time the school calls and our child needs to be picked up, you get to take the time off from work, you get to explain to your boss why, and you get to pick up our child from school/daycare and take them to the doctor's for meds - and you get to stay up with them all night, cleaning up their puke and poop and snot. You get to try to bring the fever down and you get to worry if you can't.
Every other time the school has an awards ceremony, you get to attend the entire 2 hour program to watch our child for the 2 seconds they're on stage - if at all.
Every other time the school calls with disciplinary/education problems, you get to talk to the principal and teacher and nurse and parent of the other child.
You get to nag at our children to clean their room every other time it's needed.
Every other day you get to nag our children to brush their teeth and hair and take a shower and wash behind their ears and put their dirty clothes in the wash.
...And every other week you get to do their laundry.
You get to hear them complain every other time they're told to turn off the TV and do their homework.
You get to deal with the school bully every other time our child is tormented.
You get to hear our child every other time they say the world isn't fair.
Every other time they ask if they can go to the movies or out to dinner, you get to tell them I don't have the money for it.
You get to hold them every other time their best friend/boyfriend breaks their heart and tell them "this too shall pass" and "if she/he can't see what a wonderful person you are, she/he doesn't deserve you."
And you get to wait and worry every other time they're 20 minutes late.
Every other time someone invites you out for one thing or another, you get to decline because you can't find (or afford) a decent babysitter.
And, every other time someone invites me out for one thing or another, you get to find and pay for a babysitter so I can go out...

NCP wants the December 25ths and third Thursdays of November.  We get to have them the 21st of April
. You're right.  That's not any special day.  But what we know and NCP doesn't is:
The date doesn’t matter - Christmas, Thanksgiving or April 21st. Any day spent with our child - this wonderful soul - is Thanksgiving. And every morning kiss is a Christmas present.

NCP will never figure that one out, will s/he?



James A. Bowders said...

So what is it that I could or possibly add to this? My point being (on the top of my head where my hat hides it) is that I know and understand the commitment and responsibilities that go into being a parent. I was one for five years. That is a long story for some other time.

I am not going to go into a tirade about the willingness of people when they couple for those intense moments of extreme physical bonding, let’s face it even when it is bad it is still pretty good. (I do list the normal disclaimer for icky-ness, you know incest, rape and so forth) You do the deed you should be prepared for the outcome. In many cases it is in fact a sort of parental roulette.

But being a parent has a lot more to do than biologics. It has a lot more to do than monetary compensation and in some case a money Band-Aid. Hell, if they want to salve the wound with a T-Bill tourniquet all the more guilt to them.

In many ways I am a committed Father to a handful of children that are not mine biologically but when measured in love and care and devotion, I guess I rate up there. But like with my personal relationships the one I have with them is based of care and understanding and respect. Knowing that sometimes being a parent you have to protect them from themselves and allow them to wail about how unfair you are and life is and why nobody loves them. On the other hand I have been often called a Mother…for various reasons and at a wide range of times. So in some cases I do know what it is to be a parent.

And it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I pray I am never a NCP with questionable character.

But what do I know?

Sandra Miller Linhart said...

And what a wonderful 'adopted father' you are. I know your children feel your presence in their lives is a present in their lives. It's the respect you give them they appreciate the most.

They don't dwell on the fact they don't get to see you on 25 Dec or the third Thursday in November...

You know a lot more than some so-called fathers.

danna said...

You are not even close to nor will you ever be a NCP with questionable character. In fact, you are the complete opposite, and far better than both the "fathers" I have had, so I have some experience in that area. You have a knack for telling the truth, but in a way that we feel more loved and appreciated by it rather than telling us we are worthless and when we need you most you cop out, like so many others that have. Anyway, I wanted to get back to the original post, I think that you have definitely covered everything that I could ever think of, except to add insult to injury can you imagine a world where this "mother" of this NCP would pull this young working mother aside and express her discontent that the young woman has not yet finished her schooling!

"Well, yes because that is something I hate about myself everyday and am presently making plans to rectify the situation, with no help from this tag team, thank you very much" and all this young woman can think of is, when she does finish school, is this mother going to come out of the wood works accepting the glory for this accomplishment as well, just as she did with her "grandson" whom she had so much disdain for only a little over two years ago, but now feels the need to let everyone know, it is HER grandson. And all I can say about the school thing is, "where do you get off" it must be wonderful for your son who already has an undergrad degree to go onto his Masters program and not worry about missing class because he doesn't have a babysitter, and not worrying about having to work a minimum amount of hours each week to keep benefits for his child and god forbid he need to worry about getting a job at all for expenses, which he supposedly doesn't have? Which really makes me wonder...if I had all those luxuries I would have been finished with school, so don't patronize me. While you two are busy excelling and planning your future I am living my life and worrying about will I have money for diapers, what I need to make for dinner and what time I'm giving my son a bath and putting him to bed and "will he sleep through the night tonight?" and all this after I wake up every morning at 6am and start my 9-10 hour workday, so please excuse me if I'm not on track with your idea of what I should be doing with my life- @#%! off!

Sandra Miller Linhart said...

John Lennon said something like:

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." or something like that.

My children's NCP is busy starring in plays with a local theatre group. He thinks visitation can wait until it's more advantageous to him. Bugger what the children want. What do they know anyway? It's probably better he doesn't get to see them with all the emotional baggage he loads on their backs... what with all the crying and wailing and talk of being "So Lonely, Marci, Ya gotta help me!!!"

I wonder if he's just practicing for another of his plays.

I figure if a NCP balks at paying a fraction of what it costs to raise a child, and is virtually non-existent in the upbringing and care of his child but insists on having them the 'good' days of the year - well, our kids aren't stupid. They'll figure it out on their own time, in their own mind... and when NCP starts bitching about how unfair it is he doesn't get to see them as much as he likes, they'll try to reconcile it with the fact he just skipped out on having them over Spring Break again because he has something 'more important' to do... and when he bitches to them about how their money-grubbing mother 'destroyed' him in the divorce and he can't pledge even $5 to a school fundraiser because "I give your mom A LOT of money for things like this" and then they see him buy a (fill-in-the-blank) for his sexytary... well, they'll figure it out... that's all I'm saying.

And when you do get to return to school (if that's what YOU want) then what will NCP and Ma say about you then??? They'll probably say it's a shame you have your child in daycare during the day when, afterall, she's retired now and her grandson would be better off with her while you indulge yourself with petty dreams.. Selfish beotch!
What are you thinking??!!??
Git back in that kitchen and warsh them deeshes...

(This too shall pass)
Hang in there.

pass the popcorn, please!