There are multiple people I love in life. I love my parents, my sisters, my significant other and his child, my child, and my friends. I love them all, but, from the moment I learned Tiny Tot would grace my world, my priorities about love shifted. Above all, my child and his well-being have been, are, and will always be my greatest priority. I am devoted to him in a “helicopter mom who strategically loosens the reins when growth and responsibility become apparent” type of way. This is my role, and I accept this responsibility with my life.
Therefore, the people I ask to watch, care for, and tend to my child are those I entrust to place Tiny’s well-being as their priority when he is with them. This extends toward every single person who oversees the son I hold most dear. When they have him, when they care for him, I believe them to be the good, the right, and the just.
Sometimes, however, I do not fully trust the person watching Tiny, but I still begrudgingly accept their rights in my child’s life. Even when I know they’ve broken my trust, even when I believe them to make stupid and dangerous parenting decisions, I have to allow Tiny to go with them, due to court-ordered visitation.
Not only do I hold rights to Tiny, but his father has rights, as well. I can’t stop most of his rights (though I do place court-ordered restrictions against some of his more dangerous parental decisions), and I place little restriction during his time with our son. He claims otherwise. He whines that I micromanage his time, but how can I micromanage his time when I only hear about what he does after a weekend possession?
If micromanaging looks like, “Please tell me when our child is sick, so that I’m not hearing it from the school,” or “Please tell me the date and locations of all of his games,” or “Please do not leave our child in a hot car while you shop in Walmart,” or “If you’re going to tell our child that he cannot come out of his room on his birthday when he is sick, at least check on him or let me keep him,” then perhaps he’s right. I tend to view these “restrictions” as normal, standard co-parenting strategies which should be common courtesy to the other parent.
But, what do I know?
I’m always open to interpretation, but I’m not open to my child’s mental, physical, or emotional health.
However, when Tiny Tot is in my possession, I am not given the same respect from my son’s father. He not only questions my judgment (funny, since I’m the only person making good parenting choices), but he questions our child about my decisions, or makes comments to our child about how my decision isn’t the right choice to make.
Today, for example, Tiny is home sick. He’s choking on snot, he’s coughing, he says his stomach hurts, and his temperature is still elevated. His dad keeps calling to overtly comment about my decision for a sick child to stay at home when he is unwell.
I get it; he sent Tiny to school after a night of throwing up, where he then came home to projectile vomit down the hallway. His idea of “sick” is different from, … I dunno … school district policy.
When he calls, he makes comments like, “Well, you don’t look sick. Do you even have a fever? You do? What’s the temperature? What’s the exact number? Well, I don’t think you’re sick enough to stay home.”
He sits there, harping over the phone, telling our child that my decision to follow the school’s sick policy, as well as my decision to be the primary caretaker over our child, is not good enough to him.
At least he confirms, time and again, that I feel justified in thinking he’s a moron?
Hmmmmmmmmmm … . Yep! Still justified.
When my rights are encroached upon; when my role of mom is questioned or taken advantage of, I feel the momma bear in me come out. My BS meter only goes so high, and, I’ve got to tell you, it’s currently waxing to the point where I don’t know what I’ll say or do the next time it happens. Today I am sending a text message, and yesterday I sent an email, but this is the second time in four days that my role as mother was openly disrespected around Tiny Tot.
I will not stand for that.
These two events, events that make me question how nice of a Christian woman I am, are chipping away at my happy, carefree personality. I can feel it; I can feel the righteous anger growing inside me, and I keep replaying the incidents in my head, thinking about what I may do the next time I am disrespected in front of my child.
I am preparing myself for the fight against these bold, outrageous actions that only serve to diminish my role as Tiny’s mom. It is not only happening with Tiny’s dad. It’s occurring in a brazen boldness from the woman who will be my child’s stepmom, as well. I have to say, I’m no longer tolerant of their decision to usurp and negate me.
I may believe in co-parenting, but I most certainly do not believe in being taken advantage of, nor will I allow having my rights as a parent, as the mother and primary custodian, challenged.
This past weekend, however, my parenting was not only challenged, but the woman who will be a fixture (for however long) in my child’s world tried to invalidate my parental rights. Why? Because she is emboldened by my child’s father to treat me this way. This woman, the person my child will one day call his stepmother, took it upon herself to try to negate my rights as my child’s parent when he was scared, hurt, and bleeding. She told him he wasn’t hurt bad when his lip was bloodied, black, and bleeding (alliteration says what?), and tried to take him from me not once, but three times.
I am going to say one thing about this: if my child is bleeding, no human on God’s green Earth can separate me from him. If my child needs me, no one will get in my way. If he is scared, I am the person best prepared to calm him.
That is my role; that is my job. He is my priority above all else, and no one, no matter what they try, can change that. I’m a nice person, but I’m not that nice. I’m a good person, but I’m not that good. I may be a Christian, but my belief about turning the other cheek does not extend to my kid.
My BS meter is through the roof, and I’m ready for the challenge.
His father already knows this about me. I prove it time and again through emails, text messages, conversations, and lawyers. This year, in particular, my words and actions come in the form of lawyer words and actions. I will no longer stand for this nonsense. Want to hurt my child? Try me. Want to beat him with belts on your watch? Do it one more time. Want to leave him in a hot car, dripping, sweating, and unable to breathe? There’s a court order on my side, and I don’t have to go to mediation to enforce it.
Challenge me. Do it. Get between me and my kid. Try to alienate my child from the only person who places his well-being in the forefront of her mind.
Oh, and the next time someone tries to pull my child out of my grasp? She better come prepared for a fight.