You were supposed to be my forever. We weren't supposed to split up. We had the perfect family from the outside looking in. Yes we had our ups and downs just like any relationship, but we took a vow to be there for each other and stay with each other no matter what.
Okay, before we dive into abandonment, I would like to share a tidbit from my life. My parents were married when I was only two months old but divorced shortly after. My mother was abusive as well as a cheater so my father took me and left her. The court obviously awarded custody to my father. And my mother decided that she did not want her parental rights nor did she want her visitations. In fact, she eventually signed away her parental rights. However, my mother kept visitations with her firstborn who is my older half-brother.
Divorce. It’s a scary word, it can strike fear into some, and for others it brings up old memories of a broken marriage and a broken home. To me, it reminds me of my early childhood. I don’t have many memories from when I was little, most of my childhood memories are from after the divorce of my parents.
I left an abusive marriage more than 30 years ago when my three children were quite young. The following two years were spent repairing the damaged relationships with my sons, who had all but been ignored during the travesty that was my marriage. Even though I vowed never to remarry, I met a wonderful man who was the exact opposite of my former husband and eventually we were married. Our relationship was perfect and my children were very happy. In short, we had the perfect family. One-by-one my sons asked if they could call Tom "Dad" and of course no-one was happier than their new dad. Tom and I agreed at the beginning of our relationship that I alone would be responsible for disciplining the children because I was concerned they may resent him, so Tom basically became a good friend to my three sons.
In 2016, there were 2.9 million single parent families in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics. In 86% of these, the single parent was the mother. According to Gingerbread, only 52% of these mothers receive any money at all from the fathers of their children. In many cases, the amount of money these fathers pay is extremely low, an average of £35 a week.
You're going to remember car rides.
No one will know how it is to walk in your shoes. Some may experience one or two things in their life which have had a huge impact on them but at the end of the day they can move on with the help of friends and family, which would be — if you would compare it to a shoe — a sneaker. Just bought it and a bit hard at first, might get one or two blisters, but after wearing them in they are comfortable and fit like a glove. Which is what everybody wants: an easy stroll through life with a shoe that is comfortable and efficient in many ways.
It should be self-evident that both parents will contribute towards the upkeep of their children. Both parents contributed equally to the child being born and children should not live in poverty or miss out on the things that their friends have just because their parents don’t live together. Even when there is a step-parent on the scene, that doesn’t mean that both parents shouldn't still take responsibility for the child’s upkeep.
Divorce can be a nasty beast and in the end, it is the children that suffer the most. My parents separated but still lived in the family house. My mum did her best but the endless rowing became the norm. My dad went completely postal! Cut up Mum’s underwear, salt in the sugar pot, padlocked what used to be their shared bedroom, relegated my mum to sleeping on the sofa and to top it off—he loosened the wheel nuts on the car! Luckily it was spotted before any real damage could occur—what if I and my two sisters had been in the car with mum on a motorway! It does not bear thinking about! I can understand that dad is angry and hurt but trying to harm his children and the mother of his children is unforgivable.
I’ve never been a fan of absolutes, but people seem to be drawn to listicles (myself included), so here is a concise list of knowledge I’ve acquired as a result of both my education in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology and my experience as a step-mother of two beautiful young human beings.