Should I take my kid from her Nana even though she's loved living with her most of her life?

Amanda - posted on 07/17/2011 ( 49 moms have responded )

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Until recently I was in the US Navy. In my first year I got pregnant and my mom went out to California to help me. Unfortunately my mom was having some problems with her asthma & didn't have insurance in CA. I couldn't take care of my daughter alone because I didn't even have a driver's license so my daughter went to Tennessee with my mom when she was 6 months old. Now she'll be 3 in September and loves living with her Nana, however I hate living with my mom & that's what I've been doing since May. I want to move out and take care of my family myself, but can I justify taking my daughter from the only parental figure she's really had for the last 2 years? My mother says it would be psychologically damaging if I did that to her but I think it's more likely to be my mother who's crushed by it. I appreciate her help, but I need to be an adult now right? My son's father wants me & the kids to move in with him in another state, should I do what I want or be more concerned with my mother's feelings?

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Alisa - posted on 07/19/2011

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okay, you've opened up a whole new dynamic here....is it possible that your mother is sabotaging your authority and place in your daughter's life? if she is openly doing that, then you will need to move as quickly as possible because staying longer will make it worse and harder on your daughter.

Susan - posted on 07/19/2011

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Take your daughter and leave. Just make sure that any custody papers that you filled out while in the service is rescinded, so she can't go to court and claim that she has custody.

Alisa - posted on 07/19/2011

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it depends on how long you've been back in your daughter's life as to how she'll adjust and if you've inserted yourself as the primary caretaker...if you've come back to live with your mom and let your mom continue to take care of your daughter, it will be way more difficult for her. she won't be damaged for life, but if you're not a primary role in her life or haven't been for very long then you're taking her away from the one person she trusts and will possibly have trust/abandonment issues, but not know why. she won't remember, but it will leave an imprint on her pysche. read what i said above about making the change as slowly as possible....if what i've said isn't possible (i.e. financial reasons), then think of ways to lessen the impact...can you stay with a friend in town until you move to Florida? can you stay with your mother a little while longer while you gently replace your mother as the primary caregiver? i love that you're thinking of what this will do to your daughter long-term....you're a good mom....now just figure out a way to make it gradual for her.

Sneaky - posted on 07/18/2011

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I'd take my children and go. Your daughter will not be psychologically damaged - YOU ARE HER MOTHER! Yes, she will miss her Nana, but what are your other options realistically? Live there for the rest of your life? I don't think so.

I think it is very mean of your mother to use emotional blackmail on you. She knew that the situation was temporary, that one day you would be out of the navy and want to look after your daughter yourself. I know that your mum loves her and will miss her, but she is YOUR daughter.

Shannintipton - posted on 07/18/2011

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IMO if you can support you and your son. GET HIM BACK. He is young enough that it shouldn't be a life alter forever kind of trauma. Do it now before it does because too difficult. Again that is in my opinion only. Good luck. :)

49 Comments

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Shelly - posted on 07/22/2011

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Yeah that's a tough one I agree that she is young enough to make the transition to living with you and your current partner and son just fine hon. I am sure she will miss her Nanna very much and you may have a few transitional problems but she will adapt. I agree it is your Mum who is going to be crushed is there anyway you can make it easier for you Mum. I know she is your daughter but and of course you have every right and to be honest I think your daughter will be better off in a full family enviroment however your Mum was there when you really needed her and has been all this time think how desvasted she is going to be and just try to think of some way to make it a bit easier on her. Other then that as I said I believe your daughter will be better with you.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/21/2011

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Your daughter has bonded with your mom and that is important; however at the end of the day she is your daughter and that is a relationship that lasts a lifetime. I think you are justified in having her live with you again, with visits from your mom as a grandmom. Your mom knew going in that you are the mom and she is the one that is doing the loving while you are serving your country. Is there any barrier to your mom moving to another state other than health insurance? Another way to look at it is what if your mom dies while your daughter is still in her teens, she will have to come and live with you, but not even know you well. The important thing right now is to build your family life. You all need to be together to do so.

Christina - posted on 07/20/2011

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I lived with my mom until my son was about 18mnths old, then I moved out. My mom didn't help me take care of him at all, but he saw her every day and got to play with her. He was just fine. She did weekly sleepovers with him once I moved out (would keep him Friday night until Saturday.) and kept that up until he was about 5yrs old. Then she would take him once a month.
I moved 1400 miles away from my mom and ex-husband two years ago. My children were use to seeing my mom every single week. They have had no issues with the move, and have done just fine emotionally. There are plenty of ways that my mom still communicates with my children on a weekly basis. She calls and she will also use Skype and video chat with them!

Heather - posted on 07/20/2011

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You would be fine taking her with you. She is your daughter. But I wouldn't move too far away from your mom because your daughter will need to see her and spend time with her still. I wouldn't move out of state though, you would deeply hurt your mom if you did that.

Toni - posted on 07/20/2011

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My brother's girlfriend recently moved out of her mothers house with her two kids. The kids were used to getting what they wanted and now all they do is cry and scream, "I want grandma!!" They have serious discipline issues. The oldest just turned 4 (girl)and the younger one is 18 months.(boy) The mother can't do anything with them. It is a horrible situation, and terrible for anyone they are around.
Good Luck!!

Ariyibi - posted on 07/20/2011

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I will suggest you pray about it, take your daughter and move. The decision will pay off in the long run. She can always go back to spend holiday with her.

Sandra - posted on 07/20/2011

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On another note... the transition is still going to be a bumpy road. Maybe while you are still living with your mom you can have her help you out with the baby so you can spend more time with your daughter and she can be distracted by the little one. Try having her sleep with you in your bed. Kids love sleepovers. Have her bathe with you and swim in the pool with her so you can get some of that skin to skin contact bonding with her. Take her out on mommy daughter dates so she can start to feel like she is someone special in your life. Since you have to wait to move, try to make the most of this time. Also, if your mom is trying to correct her with something don't be afraid to step in and assert yourself. Congrats on getting to be MOM again!

Sandra - posted on 07/20/2011

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It's going to be hard enough having to explain to your daughter later why you weren't there for the first three years. If I were you I would get out of there as soon as possible! The longer you stay, the more difficult it is going to be for your daughter. Especially if your mother is not supporting you in your role as "mom". The fact is that you are the mom and with nana constantly overstepping her boundaries it's just going to be continually confusing for your daughter. You need to put your foot down with nana and let her know that you appreciate her past involvement but her services are no longer needed. You are mom and you need to do what is best for you and yours. Just my opinion.

Nancy - posted on 07/20/2011

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I think there has been enough a transistion. If you can afford to live on your own without your boyfriend's help, than you should move out. You can also go live with the father, but should look at the long term. If you aren't planning on staying with him, it would be better to move out on your own. Plenty of single moms surrive. Your mom can still visit regularly whereer you live. Don't cut her off. Be responsible. Be kind, but you are the mother and you should be taking care of your child

Jeanne - posted on 07/20/2011

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Does she know your her mom? Yes, take your child with you. If don't your child will grow up wondering why took one child with you and not the other. I've been there. Your mom will learn to deal with things and she will learn to except it. Just Please keep their bond going. Even if mom is upset, always keep her informed and send lots, lots of pictures. Good luck.

Tillie - posted on 07/20/2011

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Wow, that is a tough decision. If I were in your shoes, I would have a sit down with my mom. You're home, if you truly want your daughter with you, then I would explain this to mom, and move on to wherever. Never speak badly about your mom in front of your children. If it ever comes back to you that ..nana said yes...just say, that was nana's decision, this is mine and I'm mom. You'll need to work a bit harder at bonding with her. Just put her on a schedule..meal times, naps, etc. keep to it and love her. She should be okay. Schedules give kids a sense of security. Establish boundaries, for her, too! If you want to move, just reassure your mom that you'll either bring the child to her for visits or she can come she her anytime it is convenient.

Margot - posted on 07/20/2011

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Being a mom of adopted boys we are going through a lot b/c of my son being taken from his biological mother at the age of 2.5. I believe it did cause him some stress. I also believe that it was the best thing for him. I think that if you can do things gradually it will work out great for you. You say you've been living with your mom, has she let your authority stand with your daughter? If you have already begun a mother/daughter relationship with your daughter then moving out on your own should be fine. I do, however, caution you to consider moving somewhere still close to your mom where your daughter can have regular once a week short Nana visits but always with you in attendance. Then cut back to bi-weekly, monthly etc. It is a process and you want to keep the relationship good on all parties and keep you daughter secure. I would say in about a 6 month period you should be able to move wherever you want and just have a normal Nana relationship by phone and occasional visits. Once you get out on your own your daughter will show you how she's feeling. Be especially aware of her withdrawing or acting out. The hardest part for us was patience at the switch over and even now several years later being able to handle some of the PTSD issues that remain. It was hard for me to understand how he could even get PTSD by moving to a stable environment. Hope this helps. I will pray for you and your family.

Margi - posted on 07/19/2011

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Absolutely... YOU are the mother. My father spent three years with his Aunt when his mother was in hospital with polio... when his mother came home (in a wheelchair and unable to walk) he went home to be with her as was his place. Your mother helped you alot, when you neeeded it, but you don't need it anymore. Thank her, remind her how much it means to have her in your (and your childrens) lives and take your children and get on with your life. Just make sure that she is welcome in your new home and life.

Jamie - posted on 07/19/2011

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In reading through all the posts (Amanda, your replies filled in all the pieces), I feel you should just move. It does not seem that your mother is supportive so trying to do it gradually won't help. I left my daughter's father when she was the same age and he has chosen not to really be a part of her life. It was an adjustment for her and the first 6 months were hard, but she is fine now and has been for quite a while (she's 5). I don't feel its going to damage her psychologically. Just keep telling her that you love her and that she is your girl. Keep reassuring her that this is what's best. And it is the best. She should be with her mother! You need to make the decisions, not your mother. Your mother seems like she is being manipulative and that's not right of her. I don't mean to say anything bad, but that's how it appears to be. As long as you are taking her to a stable home, go for it. Your daughter will adjust and so will your mother. It is best you take your daughter now since she is young too. It would be much harder if she was older.

Kira - posted on 07/19/2011

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Yes, I do think you should take her with you. I have seen so many times where the parent lets the grandparent watch the child out of convenience and then is blindsighted by custody papers. Yes, you should take her right away before she's old enough that she will be able to remember it. Thank your mom for all she did, but let her know Mommy's home, and your daughter will now be with you. As in period, the end. Go start your life, and spend as much time as possible with your daughter. It will not be more than a week before you can get a new norm for her.

Amber - posted on 07/19/2011

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If your mother ever cuts you off with something you have asked your daughter to do or not do, she is intentionally trying to challenge your authority. i would move out immediately and take your daughter with you. She is your child and you need to protect her. Your mother would be doing it because she loves your daughter but that is not taking your daughter's best interests to heart. Her best interests are to be with you.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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Thanks everyone for all the advice. And thank you Lucy for for recognizing my service, I don't think enough people think about how difficult our service members have it and especially the families of those service members.

Honestly, I'm going to try my best to do this as kindly as possible but my mother loves guilt trips so I'll prolly have to be mean to at least her. Thanks to all for reminding me of Skype though.

Amber - posted on 07/19/2011

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You should be concerned about your daughter's feelings. She is old enough to tell her what is happening and she can still visit her Nana but if you leave her there and allow her to live with her Nana, a little part of her will always think you didn't want her enough. Just take a while to do it so she can get used to the idea and make sure you spend heaps of quality time with her in the next 6 months. At the end of the day, every child wants to feel loved and wanted by their mother and father not a grandparent, provided you can provide her with a loving stable home!!!

Dee - posted on 07/19/2011

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THATS a hard question and need lots of thought . Your little 2 yr old is the one with the least power to control her life. you are right that it will be hard on the Nana but it will be equally hard on your little 2 yr old.you are putting her security at stake and a separation should be attempted only with gradual separation. you need to think how secure that relationship is that you are thinking of. how would she do if that arrangement fails and the people she loves keep on disappearing from her life? at any rate...make sure if you do, that you arrange calls every day and dont forget SKYPE. Your mom like it or not...is 'mom' to her and taking her away from her will be hard. if you do this make sure that both of them feel your compassion and sensitivity to their pain and make it as easy as possible with many communications.

Pania - posted on 07/19/2011

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hi amanda well in the old days you went where the partner or husband had work, i also understand your mothers feelings,your mum will be crushed by it but you've got to do whats best for you and your family. I must admit though, if your mother is fine with still caring for her grand daughter and you are fine with it as well why not leave your daughter there. You're only in another state, you haven't left the country.

Lucy - posted on 07/19/2011

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First of all, Amanda, thank you so much for your service to our country. I really appreciate your sacrifice. I agree with most of the moms here that your daughter rightly belongs with you if you can afford it. She will need a lot of 'mommy time'. If you can give that and take care of an infant as well, go ahead and take the plunge. My two children were almost 3 years apart and it was really hard taking care of both, making sure that the older one did not feel left out. My husband traveled almost all the time when they were young so I had to function as both daddy and mommy. I know you can do it. I have a suggestion. Be sure to take a number of photos of your daughter with your mom, and of her just playing in the house. She has good memories of being there and will appreciate those photos more twenty years from now. Its something you can do to preserve her precious memories. Then in the new place, begin to create new memories and photograph them too. Yes there will be a challenging adjustment time. She will miss her Nana. You can help by saying you miss Nana too (even if you sort of don't). I think a part of us still loves our mothers even if we can't live with them. Let that part of you remember any good times you had with your mom. I do hope it all works out and will keep you in my thoughts.

Pandora - posted on 07/19/2011

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As I have read through the posts well the first 20 its a hard road you are on. First I was on active duty as a single parent that is a even tougher road to deal with. I chose to get out and join the reserves rather than continue. Your daughter knows you she knows you are mom at 3 she is at a stage where she is trying to learn her own independence and accept rules from what I can tell she is being told two different sets of rules. Your mother and yours on who she should be with. Your mother seems to be taking over and reliving raising a child from only knowing your side of the story. This can come from empty nest feelings or just the fact she is receiving money from you and the state. Which how she is receiving money or assistance from the state when you sent her money is beyond me. I would take my child move to Florida is she really wants to see her grandchildren then she will come. If not then that is her choice to wait until you visit. My son was 2 when I was in Iceland he doesn't remember much a few people that were around but not a lot other than photos to remind him. The only thing is when we moved there he had a set back in potty training that I had to start over. You have to prepare yourself for a few set backs but remember if you do it lovingly and don't let her call the shots you will be OK. Never say anything bad about grandma around her and just explain that mom want a stable place for her beginnings in time it will be forgotten as long as your mother does not keep pushing the facts at her. That would be another thing I would monitor allow her to talk to her grandmother but set ground rules with your mother. If she is already trying to get her to doubt who she should be with it will not quit anytime soon. I would monitor all communications for the next couple of years. Good luck and do what your heart tells you to do. Do not feel guilty many military personal have to give up their children to relatives at one point in their lives or another. Its a fact of life that is not talked about much. They all survive and grow up just fine.

Kira - posted on 07/19/2011

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She's 2 1/2, you won't damage her forever, she's young enough she won't even remember it. Either take your daughter back or get ready for a custody battle, it sounds like your mom wants to keep her as her own.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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Yeah, all she had for custody was a POA that said she had the rights to care for my daughter as I would & if I died she'd keep her. Now I just have to make sure I have all her paperwork when we leave so I don't have to get new ones.

Emma - posted on 07/19/2011

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Then that is your answer. If your mom was as good a mum as you say then she should have done everything in her power to make sure that her daughter (YOU) spent as much time as humanly possible with her GRANDAUGHTER. You need to think about you and your children now any professional phsycologist will tell you that a child of 2 and a half will adjust. pick her up and leave, Your mum may try to pull on your heart strings but if she truly loves you and Dani she will let you go. make sure all records are sorted with regards to custodial rights while you were in the navy and go and make a life for you and your family, because thats what you are, a family.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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I really can's believe I'm having this much trouble with this, but I guess it's just because I know my mother was mostly a good mom to me & she has done really good with Dani so far. But I did miss her all the time she was away & it had me so depressed, I couldn't even get mom to bring her to visit so I had to wait till I had built up enough leave days so I could visit her.

Emma - posted on 07/19/2011

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Emotionally your daughter will adjust, she is young enough to do so aslong as the home she is entering into is full of just as much if not more love and security as that she felt at her Nana's. Assuming she knows you are her mum and hasn't been lead to belive that her nana is her mummy then I persoanlly believe it is the right thing to do. Can you imagine in 10 years time when she hits that age where all girls need their mum but hers is in another state and your mum is reaching the age where her child rasing days are exhausted. That may be more damaging than leaving her behind. Not to mention the emotional stress you will not doubtedly feel not having her near you when you are in a position to. My Mother In Law had both my girls while we went to work. The only time I really spent with them is at bedtime and getting ready in the mornings and I believe that even though we needed her support because we had to work it has been damaging not to have spent the early years with them as much as we should have.

Alisa - posted on 07/19/2011

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all of my gradual advice goes out the window if nana is aligning your child with her and against you.....if you know that she's usurping your role as your daughter's mother, then go. you can explain to your daughter in terms she can understand so it's not quite so traumatic for her.

Miranda - posted on 07/19/2011

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I say if you can transition some how. Get your own place, spend a couple of nights there a week. Then move up how many dyas slowly till they are used to the new place and then just visit gma once a week. They are you children and children are very resilient. You may have a few problems in the beginning but they will get used to the new setting.

[deleted account]

That's what I was just thinking Alisa. If Amanda's mother were willing to help and support her position in her daughter's life... a slower transition would be better, but w/out that help and support... she's not TRYING to make this better or easier on your daughter. She's just trying to keep her for herself. If you've talked to your mother and asked for her help in this transition.... and she's still not being supportive. It's time to leave as soon as possible. A clean break will be hard, but better in the long run. I'm sorry you even have to deal w/ this.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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Yeah, my daughter has already told me I had to "go back home" because she doesn't want me here. She still hasn't quite gotten the idea that I'm staying now because sometimes she asks me when I have to go back to the airport. It hurts when I tease and say "are you my girl?" and she says "no, I'm Nana's girl". I just hope after we move she'll learn to love me just as much because here I have no real authority. Every time I try to tell her to do/not do something I get cut off so she doesn't really listen to me unless my mom is gone to town or something.

[deleted account]

She'll be fine. Except an adjustment period and don't be offended by comments from your daughter such as ... you aren't my mom... or anything else equally as painful.


You've been living there since May, so your daughter has had a chance to get to know you a bit. Kids are resilient. If you and your son's father are committed to her and helping her through this.... your daughter will be fine.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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If I could afford to do it gradually I would, and I'd honestly prefer it that way, but I can't. Either I move out of my mom's place & stay close or I move away. I'd like to be able to have him move here instead, but he's got a good job there & there's a great school nearby for me to become a vet tech. Around here I can't find a job & the closest schools for me are like 3 hours away... I would like to raise my kids here though, it's a great rural area & I don't want to raise them in a big city, but the economy really isn't friendly to a mother in a rural area unless she knows how to grow her own food and diapers are SOOO expensive.

Alisa - posted on 07/19/2011

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i think you should do this gradually because your daughter will be crushed, too, but it really is nana speaking for nana. i think you need to spend mega time with your daughter.....even if your mom is there - you should be the one to be the primary caretaker - all baths, all feedings, play with her, take her places.....then you need to move away with her, but stay close so she sees nana regularly, but not all the time....you can then begin to see nana less and less until the move won't be impacting to your daughter. it will, however, impact nana so be kind, she's hurting. but you're the mom and your extenuating circumstance is now over. she was a wonderful mom/nana to be there when you needed her, but it's time for her to let you and your daughter go. it won't be easy so be sure to communicate with her regularly and sends lots of pictures, videos and skype with her....

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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I guess right now all I'm waiting on is getting enough money to rent a U-Haul while he gets the house set up, Does anyone think this is going to actually damage her for life? I don't really think she'll remember it cause I don't remember anything from when I was 3 & my mother moved me away from everything I know. I'm hoping the fact that my son's father has an older son her age will help her adjust. She'll have someone to play with & distract her right?

Rachel - posted on 07/19/2011

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Just take your daughter and move. You can allow your daughter to call your mom and draw her pictures and send them to her. also if your mom is good with computers or atleast decent you can set up skype and allow them to talk like that so your daughter can still see her nana. Good luck and you should raise both of your kids if you are now in a place in your life to do so. Your daughter will be ok. kids bounce back and you can explain everything to her when she is older. Good luck

Jenn - posted on 07/19/2011

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Your daughter will be okay after an adjustment period. If you are ready to take full responsibility for her and your son, then by all means do it. She is your daughter, not your mother's. Of course your mom will be sad! I do think it is going to hurt her quite a bit to not only lose her granddaughter living with her but also from being close enough to even visit. Its no wonder she's trying every angle to get you to change your mind! But this is more about your children. They need YOU and need you completely. I'm not so sure about moving with the dad. That doesn't seem very stable for children who've had stability and somewhat of a normalcy thus far. It would be far better if you weren't dependent on someone else to provide a life for you and your children. Of course, what we read on COM is just a fraction of your life so I could be way off base in my opinion. Which, that is all it is..my opinion :)

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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I would not be considering this if it was only to "shack up", and I really can pretty much guarantee my mother won't visit because she wouldn't before either. As much of a help as it was for me, my mother was doing it for selfish reasons also. I gave her $800/month & she got TennCare from the state because she was taking care of a minor child. Either way I'm not leaving my daughter behind again. At 3 she can get over being uprooted, but what about when she's older & asks why mommy left and took her brother & not her? That's not something I'd even consider putting her through.

Toni - posted on 07/19/2011

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That is really going to be hard for your daughter. Yes kids do adjust when they have to, but it will be hard for her. Is your son's father offering you more than just shacking up? Is he ready and willing to make a lifetime commitment to you, or are you talking about taking your daughter from a stable situation into an unstable one? I think you are wise to be considering this so carefully. On the other hand, if your mother can afford to make the visits, I'm sure she would make the effort. It sounds like your mom has been "the mom" for the first years of your daugher's life. Of course you don't want to hurt your mom, but I would continue to think about what will be best for your daughter, and that may be going with you, or it may be staying where she is. Tough position and I don't envy you, but I do respect the thought you are putting into it. God bless you all during this tough decision making time.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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I think I mostly feel bad because I'll be taking her so far away so even visiting is going to be difficult (especially since my mother hates Florida & mostly refuses to go there). If I was staying in the area it wouldn't be as hard because visiting would be easier. I wish I could leave now because thinking about everything so much is killing me!

Sneaky - posted on 07/18/2011

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BTW, lots of kids go into foster care or are adopted after three years of age. They survive. And how old is your mum anyway? What if she suddenly dies of an asthma attack? Your daughter's life will be uprooted anyway . . .

Shannintipton - posted on 07/18/2011

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I still think that if you can support all of you, go for it. I also think that three years old is still young enough for it not to do long term damage to her. It will be rough in the beginning but over time it should get better. Think of the big picture. A few months of confussion (sp?) compared to a lifetime with your kids. Seems worth it to me. Again, in my opinion only. Go with your gut. Good luck. That is a tough one. :)

Amanda - posted on 07/18/2011

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My son is not yet even 5 months old, I'm worried about my daughter who almost 3 & has lived with my mom since she was 6 months.

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