Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Strike!

My Ipod is on a KidzBop strike.  It has started to just shut itself off in the middle of KidzBop songs.  If I push a button, any button, it turns back on and starts where it left off.  For about 30 seconds before it realizes children should not be singing Katy Perry and shuts itself off again.  It only does it on the KidzBop songs, though, and I have lots of other music on the playlist called "KidzBop".  I have my music, screened first for little ears, mixed in with it.  This is for two reasons.  One, if I had to listen to all kids music all the time, I would likely drive with my head out of the car window like a puppy to stop me from ripping the car stereo out and defenestrating it.  Two, Little Man now knows all of the words to 21 Guns, Ring of Fire and Across the Universe, and I'm pretty sure that means he is certified badass.  There's one song on there that I can't screen because it is in French, but I put it on there anyway because I like the tune.  I sincerely hope NoFx isn't teaching Little Man French curse words.  That could be awkward on a senior trip.  I have some Italian kids songs on there, too, so that I can keep up with my Italian studies without forgetting what I learned.  That will come in handy when we go to Rome, if I need to tell anyone where my head, shoulders, knees and toes are.

In other kiddo news, the Big Man helped me cook a magnificent dinner last night.  Last year, he told me when he grows up he wants to be a "cooker" and asked me how long he has to go to school if he wants to be one.  I told him about culinary school.  He has since upgraded from cooker and has decided he wants to be a chef.  At the rate he's going, he just might realize that.  He helped me last night create a pecan-crusted chicken with bourbon mustard sauce.  He nearly made the sauce all by himself.  It was seriously fantastic.  He remembers flavors and techniques.  As I was crusting the chicken for frying, he retold me word-for-word how his Mimi fries chicken and what techniques they use to make it.  He also will taste pretty much anything at least once, and he likes almost all new foods that he eats (except carrots, which make him gag).  I taught him how to slice butter on the lines of the package with the knife at an angle (butter knife skills for a 6-year-old FTW), and he picked it right up and cut 8 perfect butter slices to whisk into his delicious sauce one at a time.  I feel like I need to go to the store and buy tons of spices and wacky ingredients just so that he can create whenever he wants to.  He told me he can't wait to be a Taco Bell.  Dream big, Big Man.  Dream big.

Ok, this little blog here is going to take a serious turn for a moment, because I think this is important to say.  As some of you know, I am a member of a website for moms.  I joined this site when I first started getting serious with Eric and realized that he came with two little dudes, so I better learn right quick how to be the best stepmom on Terra Nova.  That was around 2-1/2 years ago or so.  Since then, I've been introduced into a whole new world.  The world of the Mommy Wars.  I ignore quite a lot of it, mostly because it doesn't really apply to me, but I do a lot of reading even when not replying, and something that's been bothering me really came to the forefront last week.  A noncustodial mother was asking for advice.  Her ex-husband was not allowing her visitation per the Indiana guidelines.  He was not allowing her to see the kids, and he was not allowing her to talk to them on the telephone.  Now, this story came with a LOT more information and craziness, but the above is what I want to focus on.  Noncustodial parent, unable to contact her children because the custodial parent (and stepparent, which is why this moved into Mommy Wars territory) is stopping it.  Here is what I want to talk about.  In the process of this, someone asked the noncustodial mother why she does not have custody of her children (and then added the line that it's hard for a mother to lose custody in Indiana, which pretty much implied that this woman was an abuser and had her kids taken away).  If she didn't lose them, why, they asked, did she give them up willingly?  Why is she now so bitter about not seeing them when she gave up custody?

Dudes.  This is complete and utter bull.  I don't know a thing about divorce.  Heaven forbid I ever experience it, but I can tell you this, from my uneducated opinion, divorce has to be one of the most painful experiences in a person's life.  Here, you have two people who used to be in love and used to enjoy one another and used to have the same life goals.  They've made the difficult decision to move away from one another and start life over.  Many families have one parent that makes more money than the other.  Divorce (like marriage) includes the nearly impossible task of making business decisions without letting your emotions interfere.  These are two people going through the most painful time in their lives, and they have children, a reminder every day of how happy life can be, and they both want them.  In this situation, they have to put aside the hurt, the sadness and the anger and decide, what is best for these little people?  Sometimes, a mother has to put herself aside and say, "If I decide to take these children, they will be living an unstable life while I try to get myself established.  I will have to move them from their home where they are comfortable, and we will struggle financially."  Sometimes, she makes the most unselfish decision she has ever made.  She goes against what conventional society says she should do.  She gives physical custody to the father.  She does not give up her children.  She gives her children...a stable life, a life of sleeping in the same beds they are used to in the same home they are used to, a life of staying in the same school with the same friends.  She disrupts their lives as little as possible while her own is in turmoil.  She hopes that her ex-husband and his new wife aren't spiteful (like the woman in the original story).  She hopes she will see them when she is supposed to without having to call the police or go to court, thereby usurping her decision not to disrupt their lives.

That is the noncustodial parent.  Mother or father.  That is the decision they had to make.  Noncustodial PARENTS do not give up their children!  People who give up their children don't want them anymore.  They don't want the responsibility of being a parent.  That is NOT what this is about.  Even if it is a mother.  The next time I hear someone bashing a mom because she does not have custody of her children, or judging her and assuming she doesn't have custody because she abused them, I want them to know, they can shove it.

Class is starting, and I can't figure out how to wrap this up cleanly. 


2 You Said What?:

Eternal Lizdom said...

I'm so glad you're blogging because I love your thought process. I love what you wrote about non-custodial parents.

A thought I would add: why do we a ssume a mother without custody is abusive or neglectful but a father without full custody is the norm and nothing is said about it?

TheAutisticStepmom said...

I agree, Liz. I was trying to get there, but I ran out of time.