Mom giving up custody

Esther - posted on 09/25/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I was watching Dr Phil yesterday and there was a woman on there who decided that after she and her husband got a divorce, SHE would be the one to move out & give custody to her (ex) husband. She did so because she wanted to write a book (about the daughter she lost to cancer when she was 3 a few years before that) and travel the world and she thought her daughters would have a more stable life staying in the home they knew with their father, and she wanted time to focus on her own happiness. Initially she stayed in the same area, later she moved accross the country. She kept in touch with her kids regularly and when she lived far away, she would fly back to see them every other weekend (unless she was traveling I suppose). The girls would also stay with her for the summer and they would alternate holidays. A fairly typical visitation arrangement, except the mom was the one to move out.



What do you all think? I have to be honest, as a mom, I just cannot imagine not being in my son's life every day of his life and choosing travel or a career over my son (although I am a working mom so I'm sure some people already feel I'm chosing my career - I think of it as a job - over my son).

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Cara - posted on 09/25/2009

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I have to say this topic is very similar to my own situation. When my ex and I divorced he decided he wanted the children to live

with him and it would take a court case to sort it out.

I have to admit I was torn about taking it to court, not because I was afraid of the outcome, but because it would mean more hurt for the children and

the potential to impact on their lives financially. What I mean by this is court proceedings can often be lengthy and the house would likely have to be sold

to pay court costs.





My children were told that their father and I were going to be divorced, which

came as no surprise to them at all. I then explained what may happen if we were to go to court, that they would likely have a lawyer to

represent them and when all was said and done a judge would decide what would be in the children's best interests in regards to where

they would live, visitation and other necessary things.



They were horrified at the thought that someone who did not know them could decide what they thought would be best for them and they

were completely against the whole court idea. So I made the decision to let the children have an input in what would happen and gave them

an alternative choice which was that I would allow my ex custody and would work out visitation and such.



My children already knew that I would be moving from the town we were living in as I couldn't live so close to my ex. (A town of roughly

2000 people, a town my ex was born in and I moved to when we married - I was what was known to born locals as a 'blow in')

They also knew that I would see them as much as possible and would be in touch by phone all the time.



So loaded with information, off they went to think about it and not surprisingly they didn't like either option but the thought of court was the scarier.

They were also concerned that if they chose to have custody with their father that I would think they didn't love me as much or at all.



I moved out, giving my ex custody (I have visitation as often as I like) I only took my clothes and books. I had to buy a new car, new furniture

and find a job in a new place and learn to live without seeing the most important people in my world on a daily basis like I was used to.



It was easily the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I struggle with my decisions every day but I know I made the right decision for my children

I let them have a choice and by doing so I know they have a house and financial security.



I used to always say I could never do this but I think until you are put in a position you dont know what you can do.



Just want to add I am in no way offended by this topic and apologise if anything I have posted comes across that way.

Sara - posted on 09/25/2009

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I agree with you, I couldn't give up seeing my daughter everyday...yet we expect men to do so in society. Do you think men feel differently about giving up custody of their children than women do, maybe because it's more socially acceptable for a man to give up custody?



And I don't think you should view being a working mom as chosing a career over him...it's called "bills". :)

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?? - posted on 09/26/2009

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I think that the second a mother feels that anything becomes a bigger priority than her children the last thing she should do is stay with her children. Selfish or not... she obviously isn't making her children her priority and if they have a father that is willing to make them his priority they would be better off with the father.



I think it's irresponsible for any person to put themselves before their children BEFORE their children are ready to be independant of their parents. BUT I think that keeping a parent in a situation where they are having overwhelming feelings of self deprevation... is a volatile situation for all.



Happy parents = Happy children. Even if it means 1 parent is distancing themselves from the responsibility of parenthood.



But again - individual situations will vary. Can't say for sure about any 1 instance what would be better. But generally, over all, it seems that when mom is doin shit she doesn't wanna do - the children end up paying for it in the end.

Erin - posted on 09/26/2009

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I think it really depends of the mother's honest motives for her decision. If she genuinely feels she is not coping, can't be the mother her children need and deserve and thinks they would be better off with their father, then I agree that she has probably made the best decision for her at the time. BUT if she is doing it because she just wants to be footloose and fancy free for a while... then yeah I have a problem with that. That's when it becomes selfish IMO. I've known people who's mother's took off on them - either for a break or for another man - and the outcome is never good. Imagine knowing your mother would rather be somewhere other than with you??

[deleted account]

Just playing devil's advocate here: I think the mother did the right thing. She acknowledged that she needed time for herself, and I interpret the traveling and writing a book as part of her healing process over the loss of her child. Grief is an on-going year after year process, and everyone deals with it differently. This mother thought that out and decided for her child's best interest at a stable life, the father would be the better provider. I honestly don't see it as a big deal, yet the double standard applies. Why is it perfectly acceptable for the father to be the one to move out and the mother granted custody, yet if roles are reversed, the mother is deemed selfish, self-centered, or uncaring, or viewed as a horrible mother? I don't think this mother has abandoned her child, nor did she relinquish parental right-yet this mother believes she could not be the mother that she probably would have liked to be. The child is being raised by a loving father in a stable enviornment. Why is this a bad thing?

Jeannette - posted on 09/25/2009

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huh...I just read the other posts...I don't know what I'd do to my husband (while he's sleeping) if he thought he was going to run my kids to daycare on his day off. I think in the beginning at some point - I already had 2 girls when we got married - I told him then, you are not their baby sitter, you are their father. So, don't view spending time with them as baby sitting. But he really wasn't like that anyway. I'm getting ticked just thinking about it and he didn't do it! lol! Poor guy!

Jeannette - posted on 09/25/2009

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I don't know..I have never lost a child. I cannot imagine what would happen to me mentally if I did. She stayed for a few years after her daughter's death, but maybe she felt she needed to tell her story so she never forgets.
I don't believe I could leave the other two behind though. I would need them to remind me that I shouldn't jump off a bridge to end my pain.

Lindsay - posted on 09/25/2009

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I personally could never do this and I do find it a little selfish. On the other hand, if she truly felt the kids were better off with her ex, at least she didn't try to drag them all over the place and let them continue a somewhat stable life. I'll have to give it some more thought. I may be back to continue my thought later....=)

Tracy - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Esther:

Mom giving up custody

I was watching Dr Phil yesterday and there was a woman on there who decided that after she and her husband got a divorce, SHE would be the one to move out & give custody to her (ex) husband. She did so because she wanted to write a book (about the daughter she lost to cancer when she was 3 a few years before that) and travel the world and she thought her daughters would have a more stable life staying in the home they knew with their father, and she wanted time to focus on her own happiness. Initially she stayed in the same area, later she moved accross the country. She kept in touch with her kids regularly and when she lived far away, she would fly back to see them every other weekend (unless she was traveling I suppose). The girls would also stay with her for the summer and they would alternate holidays. A fairly typical visitation arrangement, except the mom was the one to move out.

What do you all think? I have to be honest, as a mom, I just cannot imagine not being in my son's life every day of his life and choosing travel or a career over my son (although I am a working mom so I'm sure some people already feel I'm chosing my career - I think of it as a job - over my son).



I personally could not do it myself but as long as she kepts in touch with her children on a regular basis I see no different than a man that does this. I was brought up by dad from the age of 9. My mum decided a man was more important than being a mother.  At least this mum is still a phone call away and still actively particapting in the girls lives. I think its much worse when parents just disappear.  Its always hard on kids when parents divorce no matter what happens. 

Dawn - posted on 09/25/2009

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My husband use to work with a guy that was divorced but him and his ex-wife stayed living in the same house. What is a bit weird is they would have their boyfriend/girlfriend spend the night there too. Just a bit too weird for me. I couldn't do that.

Esther - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Sara:



Quoting Cathelijn:

[ ] Oh and BTW my husband is exactly the same with the daycare he will take his time to get there, if he is off he will still take her to daycare for a few hours so he can do his ''own'' thing. If I am not working my daughter will stay home with me.





My husband does this too!!!  Unless I'm sick, as in head in the toilet confined to bed sick, my daughter is home with me if I'm home.






Same here! My husband's company was closed for a week in August so he had the week off. Lucas went to daycare every day while he did chores around the house, did some reading etc.

Esther - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Laura:

I think that, having lost one of her children, something I could not even imagine facing, she probably feels that she doesn't have her whole self to offer her daughter right now. I think it's incredibly noble and unselfish for her to want her daughter to have the best situation for her remaining daughter.

During my divorce I only had my kids for 50% of the time...it was terribly difficult but now that he has them every other weekend I have learned to relish my alone time.



Actually, she has 2 other daughters and this was several years after her daughter passed away. She said the loss of her daughter taught her that you only have one life to live and she wanted to do what would make her happy so she left to do the things she had wanted to do (i.e. travel & write a book).

Sara - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Cathelijn:

Personally I could never l do it, If I ever got divorced (lets hope not) I would keep my daughetr with me, I think my husband would want her to be with me unless I really couldnt cope or there were other good reasons why I couldnt have her with me.

Even if the mother chose to leave because she wanted to do things for herself which is fair enough we all feel like this sometimes she could have come back and lived close. I have seen a documentary once about mums that leave their kids most of them left due to postnatal depression, but they all hate theirselfs for it now and they have a very difficult relationships with the kids, it seems to hurt kids a lot more when mums leave then when dad's leave.

I think we need to give the father a lot of credit for actually keeping the kids with him and working it out and not maybe let family take care of them.

Oh and BTW my husband is exactly the same with the daycare he will take his time to get there, if he is off he will still take her to daycare for a few hours so he can do his ''own'' thing. If I am not working my daughter will stay home with me.


My husband does this too!!!  Unless I'm sick, as in head in the toilet confined to bed sick, my daughter is home with me if I'm home.

Cathelijn - posted on 09/25/2009

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Personally I could never l do it, If I ever got divorced (lets hope not) I would keep my daughetr with me, I think my husband would want her to be with me unless I really couldnt cope or there were other good reasons why I couldnt have her with me.



Even if the mother chose to leave because she wanted to do things for herself which is fair enough we all feel like this sometimes she could have come back and lived close. I have seen a documentary once about mums that leave their kids most of them left due to postnatal depression, but they all hate theirselfs for it now and they have a very difficult relationships with the kids, it seems to hurt kids a lot more when mums leave then when dad's leave.



I think we need to give the father a lot of credit for actually keeping the kids with him and working it out and not maybe let family take care of them.



Oh and BTW my husband is exactly the same with the daycare he will take his time to get there, if he is off he will still take her to daycare for a few hours so he can do his ''own'' thing. If I am not working my daughter will stay home with me.

Isobel - posted on 09/25/2009

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I think that, having lost one of her children, something I could not even imagine facing, she probably feels that she doesn't have her whole self to offer her daughter right now. I think it's incredibly noble and unselfish for her to want her daughter to have the best situation for her remaining daughter.



During my divorce I only had my kids for 50% of the time...it was terribly difficult but now that he has them every other weekend I have learned to relish my alone time.

Sharon - posted on 09/25/2009

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part of me wants to scream "ROTTEN MOTHER!!" :: sigh :: but lets face it she is just doing what most men do. And part of me wants to scream "YAY!! for fighting stereotypes..."



My heart says one thing and my logic center says something else.



I gotta go with the logic this time. She isn't hurting her kids any more than any other father in a divorce situation.

Sara - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Esther:



Quoting Sara:

I agree with you, I couldn't give up seeing my daughter everyday...yet we expect men to do so in society. Do you think men feel differently about giving up custody of their children than women do, maybe because it's more socially acceptable for a man to give up custody?

And I don't think you should view being a working mom as chosing a career over him...it's called "bills". :)




Oh, I don't view it as chosing my work over my son! But I know there are people out there that do.


I don't understand how men can walk away from their kids either. But I guess in a divorce someone has to at least move out of the home. I would expect whomever moves out to try to stay as close as possible and as involved as possible in their kids lives though.



I do think that there is a difference between moms and dads, generally speaking. I know when the end of the day comes and I get to leave the office (or my house when I work from home), I cannot get to the daycare fast enough. I will cut accross the gas station to avoid a traffic light, I will cut in front of other cars, and I will jump out the car before it has come to a full stop. My husband is excited about getting him too, but he will finish that email he was working on, maybe take a few sips of coffee, go to the bathroom, take his time putting on his shoes, etc. It's a subtle difference, but it's a difference. Same with waking up at night. If my son's breathing changes, I wake up. If he jumps up & down on my husband's face, he just rolls over and continues to sleep soundly.






I didn't mean that you do chose career over your baby...I was just trying to agree with you, but don't think I worded it so well.



 



My husband is the exact same way...he loves our daughter with all his heart, but I am the same about getting to daycare, he's doesn't seem quite so manic about it.  But he also isn't as stingy about bedtimes, naps, etc as I am.  I guess getting back to your originial question, there's a part of me that knows that men love their children, but they seem to be a just a little bit different than mothers are...so maybe it just seems weird to me as a mom that another mom could chose traveling over being with her children...I would never do that.    Maybe it's easier for a Dad to not see his children everyday than it is for a mother.  After all, I do believe our bond is entrirely different, having carried them and given birth to them.  It's a connection that a man will never have, no matter how close he is to his children. 

Esther - posted on 09/25/2009

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Quoting Sara:

I agree with you, I couldn't give up seeing my daughter everyday...yet we expect men to do so in society. Do you think men feel differently about giving up custody of their children than women do, maybe because it's more socially acceptable for a man to give up custody?

And I don't think you should view being a working mom as chosing a career over him...it's called "bills". :)



Oh, I don't view it as chosing my work over my son! But I know there are people out there that do.

I don't understand how men can walk away from their kids either. But I guess in a divorce someone has to at least move out of the home. I would expect whomever moves out to try to stay as close as possible and as involved as possible in their kids lives though.

I do think that there is a difference between moms and dads, generally speaking. I know when the end of the day comes and I get to leave the office (or my house when I work from home), I cannot get to the daycare fast enough. I will cut accross the gas station to avoid a traffic light, I will cut in front of other cars, and I will jump out the car before it has come to a full stop. My husband is excited about getting him too, but he will finish that email he was working on, maybe take a few sips of coffee, go to the bathroom, take his time putting on his shoes, etc. It's a subtle difference, but it's a difference. Same with waking up at night. If my son's breathing changes, I wake up. If he jumps up & down on my husband's face, he just rolls over and continues to sleep soundly.

Jenny - posted on 09/25/2009

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I can't imagine it either but do recognize some people are like that. My uncle lives in Russia right now and his daughter is in Alberta. I don't think it is any different for a man or woman. I don't neccessarily think it is wrong, just different. I wonder what the kids think about it?

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