Stop It Already! – A Letter to President Trump

Mr. President,

Stop it already! It is time for you to grow up, act like an adult and do your job. I am a single mom of 3 young kids and I have to say your behavior since you took office has been shameful. Instead of being someone my kids and all the kids of this country could look up to you are exemplifying exactly what not to do. My children (and others in this country) live in fear of what will happen to their world because of you.

First off, let me address the issue currently going on in Puerto Rico. While I don’t know of anyone personally who lives on that poor desperate island that is a part of our country and deserves 100% of the support of all of us, I can definitely relate to what they are going through. Your ability to show compassion and sympathy is appalling.

Let me tell you a bit about what I had to go through when Hurricane Sandy hit New York. We had no power for 18 days, yet we were one of the lucky ones – we had a roof over our heads, ability to buy food to eat, and places we could go during the day that had power. Yes it was hard taking care of 3 very young kids with no power 24/7. Yes my days were spent searching for gas and waiting on long lines only to be price gouged by most of the gas stations. Yes, we were cold. Yes, we suffered. But we had access to safe water, we had a roof over our head, we could sleep together in the living room by a fire place to get a little heat. Yes, we survived with only a few colds. Yes, we were also lucky enough to keep our dogs with us and were also able to communicate with family and friends via my cell phone which I charged in the car. Yes, dragging a toddler around with me all day while waiting 3+hrs on a gas line was no fun. Having to try to get back in time to meet the school bus (once the schools reopened ~12 days later) was no fun. Yes, I was loosing my mind and my sanity and at the end of my rope, but at least I knew there would be an ending soon for our suffering.

So after reading all that I’m sure you are like “Hey, I lived through Sandy it was not that big a deal.” Well Mr. President you are wrong. Many of your fellow NY’ers suffered greatly during Sandy. Now take that suffering and multiply it by a factor of 1000% or more. That is what the people of Puerto Rico are suffering and for them there is no known date for the suffering to end. Their poor island was devastated and as it is an island and not attached to the mainland those people are trapped in the hell that the storm brought to them. There are many who are sick and have no access to medicine. They have little or no shelter. They have little or no power. They have little or no food. They have no real way to communicate with the outside world or to even abandon their homes and lives to head to the mainland. Yes, those lucky enough to be near San Juan maybe able to get some relief, but there any many others who cannot get to San Juan. And Mr. Trump, what is your government doing to help them? The answer is very little.

As a President of the United States you are supposed to be an example of what is good and great about our country. I am sorry to say you are not. You should be sending in planes to help evacuate the sick & those who wish to leave – instead celebrities and other organizations are doing it. You should be sending in boats to help – again, others need to do what you will not. You should be sending in tents and water purification systems – yet you are not. You should be sending in doctors, medical staff and medicines – yet you are not. Instead you are talking of debt and pointing fingers at others. You are teaching my children exactly how not to act in a crisis situation. Where is your compassion? Where is your love for your fellow man? Where is your sense of decency?

Now for another main issue which needs to be addressed… North Korea. Why are you playing a game of chicken with a mad man? Your rhetoric on the topic is disturbing and makes my kids (and other children and adults too for that matter) feel that you will not be satisfied until you get us nuked. You claim to be a smart business man, yet you are not being smart here. There is a diplomatic way to deal with this issue and you are not following it. (If you do not understand diplomacy I’m sure there are many experts in this country who would be willing to explain the concept to you). Yes, I agree that a tougher stance should be in place with North Korea and yes the thought of a mad man with his hands on a nuke is scary and should be controlled – but Mr. President, I hate to say it but you are almost as much a mad man as Kim Jong Un. So please stop tweeting threats to North Korea so my kids and others in our country (and for that matter the whole world) can sleep better at night. I do not need my kids waking up from nightmares and telling me that they are scared that President Trump will get us all nuked.

Now for my final request… please for the love of all that is in this world STOP TWEETING! You wanted to be our leader and with that comes great responsibility. America is known for being a great leader in this world. You claimed to be able to handle the role and you sought it out. Nobody made you run for office. This was all you. You also knew it was a 4 year commitment. So yes, now you are stuck with being our President for 4 years. Yes, now you need to be an example not only to your citizens (both young and old) but to the world as well. So please start acting like a President and not a spoiled toddler who keeps having temper tantrums. And most importantly – hand over all your technological devices from which you tweet to someone with more restraint and maturity. Your behavior in a child would cause any parent to put them in a time out and give them a lecture on good behavior. It is sad that I need to say that to the Leader of the Free World, but apparently I do.

So please Mr. Trump, can you stop it! Just stop! Take a deep breath and think. Think about how you can use your power to help. Stop instigating fights (such as with the NFL). Stop being a bully. Stop acting like a spoiled toddler and instead act like a President and not a dictator. (And if you could cut back on your golfing and have your family cut back on their travel as it is taking money away from those who really need it that would help too.) Just suck it up. You asked for this job and have yet to really embrace it. So please become the President we as a nation need you to be.

Signed,

A worried single mom with worried kids.

 

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Divorced Dads & Sick Kids

Tonight as I sit here I wonder are all divorced dads like my Ex or are there some better ones out there? You maybe wondering why I am I asking myself this question? Why is this thought on my mind? Well, tonight I sit here alone, kid-free. My kids are with their father’s this weekend. Now normally he will not take a sick child as he says “I can’t afford to get sick“, but this weekend he had no choice as I have plans I cannot change so off they went to him at his girlfriend’s house. And for the record – what makes him think I can “afford to get sick” any more than he can? Why is his health more important than mine?

Normally, if I even tell him (and now “them” as he’s living with the latest girlfriend and her daughter) that any of the boys even have a cold they ask me to keep them home. And of course I alway do because (1) I’m mom (2) they want me when they are sick & (3) why send them where they are not wanted?

But this time I let them know that our youngest was sick and that I had plans and they had to take him. Of course they complained, but hey kids get sick and parents care for them when they are sick. Right? So why is it that they think that they should only take the boys if they are healthy? To top it all off, a few months back the girlfriend’s daughter was sick and they never told me she was sick when the boys were scheduled to go over there for the weekend. Did I get the opportunity to keep them home and not expose them to the sickness in their house? No. In fact I was never even told about it and only knew about it when the kids got back and told me that the daughter “was sick and spent most of the weekend in her room”.

As a mom you can never say to someone… why don’t you keep my kids for a bit until they feel better so why do divorced dad’s (well maybe not all of you but at least my Ex) feel that this is ok?

So I ask you all this very important question… Should divorced dads take care of their kids when it is their visitation time and the kids are sick? 

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The Not So Single Mom

As a single mom life is hard. You have nobody to lean on on a daily basis and you are responsible for everything and anything that pops up with the house, the kids and work. There is nobody there to hand off anything to. Nobody to watch the kids so you can relax in a bath much less have 5 minutes alone. Nobody to run an quick errand to get milk (or whatever else is needed). Nobody to cuddle with an commiserate at the end of a long day. But what about the not-so-single-mom? You know her after all we all have friends who fall into this category.  The mom that is married, but who’s husband is absent either physically or the even more upsetting – there but not there type. What is her life like?

Single moms get props for how they keep their shit together, but the not-so-single-moms don’t get that same respect because everyone assumes that because they are married (or have a live-in partner) that they are getting the help and support they need from their spouse. The not-so-single mom may pretend to the world that all is good and that she has her shit together (just as the single mom’s do) but unlike the single moms who just try their best to make it all work and hope things will change one day – the not-so single-moms have a growing resentment and frustration building up inside them. And yes, this build-up is justified and expected. After all how would you feel if your spouse just sat there or slept all day and did not lift a finger to take care of your kids, to run any errands, to clean up around the house and in some cases didn’t even work? You’d be mad & frustrated too.

Basically their spouse is not a support system to them he’s an additional child who wants to be coddled and babied and does nothing much in the way of supporting his family (other than the few who fall into this category and actually go to work and bring home money for the family). Instead of helping the not-so-single-mom so that she can be rested and able to function properly he sucks away more of her life force bleeding her dry until she just can’t function and everything falls apart.

Will running an errand or two kill him? Would watching his child be a burden on him? Would doing a load of laundry or the dishes harm him in any way? No! But it would go a long way towards helping the not-so-single-mom make it through the day without becoming a basket case and breaking down. After all, we all know what happens when mom breaks down from the stress or god forbid gets sick right? That’s right – the earth stops spinning and the world as we know it comes to an end. After all, the household cannot function without us moms right?

But things don’t need to be this way. Things do not have to come crashing down because mom is too worn out to function (or sick). Especially in the world of the not-so0-single-moms as they have a partner (key word here is “partner“) that should get off his ass and help his wife and kids and household in whatever way possible so that one person does not have to carry the burden of everything on their shoulders. Marriage is a partnership and as such both parties need to step up and do their part. Be there for each other, emotionally not just physically. When you see your partner needs help help them. Ask what you can do and then do it.

Single moms would kill for someone to be there for them as they have nobody, but the not-so-single-moms are hurting too. They need support too. So if you know one of these not-so-single-moms reach out to them and try to help them the same way you would a single mom. And more importantly if you are a spouse of a not-so-single-mom please get off your butt and ask her the following question: “You seem very worn out, what can I do to help you today?”

 

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Fathers Day Musings

Father’s Day is a hard day for those who lost a father or those who are divorced or even those that are raising kids without a dad in the picture at all.

So as yet another Father’s Day is here my thoughts go out to all those who lost a father this year. I have friends who lost their loving caring spouse and father of their kids and my heart goes out to them. Those poor kids who lost their dad due to a long illness. Their dad was loving and caring and even left them some surprises to find after he passed. They know their dad loved them and always will feel that love even now when he’s gone.

Other kids only have a mom in their life. Their dad is not in the picture (if he ever was at all). Those kids have no-one to celebrate with or to remember and honor on this day. Though they do have strong mom’s who are there for them always and hopefully other father figures in their lives to celebrate as well.

On the other hand my ex is still alive, yet my kids dreaded going to their dad today and were asking me all week – can dad go on a business trip this weekend so we can skip fathers day? No kids, your dad loves you and wants to spend the day with you. No matter how much I say this to the kids they still grumble about going. This makes me so sad. The kids should be running into their dad’s arms full of excitement and happiness after not seeing him for a few days (sometimes even longer). But sadly this is not the case.

So as my kids reluctantly went off to their dad’s today I sit here and wonder why they don’t realize how lucky they are to still have their dad alive and in the picture. Yes I know I cannot make them feel the love from their dad, that is something their father must do on his own and something he is obviously failing at. My telling them that their dad loves them and cares about them is not something they will buy into as they don’t feel the love from him and feel he does not listen to them and their needs and wants.

So tonight I will once again remind my boys how lucky they are and remind them that some kids lost their dads, and that others never had one in the picture. Yes my kids are lucky to have a dad who wants to see them. Is he the best dad, no not by far, but he’s not a bad dad he just has no idea how to really connect with the kids on a personal level. He also does not listen to them when they try to tell him how they feel and when they express their needs. But hey that is something they can work on and hopefully improve over time. At least he’s here even if he’s not in the moment with them like they want.

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Trying too hard

So it has come to this… my kids are torn, they want to see their dad, but they don’t want to see him too. Why you ask? Because my Ex and his girlfriend are forcing the boys to bond as a family. The girlfriend is pushing herself into every aspect of their relationship with their dad and bringing her daughter along for the ride as well. Now don’t get me wrong they love their dad and want to be with him (something I encourage them to do), but they want to be in his apartment not forced to spend 100% of their weekend (including sleeping) at the girlfriend’s house.

It is now to the point where my kids are begging me NOT to tell their dad about their events/activities because they don’t want her to come along. My 9yr old actually cried last night begging me not to tell his dad about something that is happening in a few weeks. I told him it would be hard to not tell dad as the event takes place on a night they are supposed to go to dad. He then begged me to make an excuse that we had something else to do and would have to go to him late. He said he did not mind if his dad came but that he did not want the girlfriend and her daughter there. (Apparently he also begged them not to go to an event earlier this week, but they came anyway).

My 8 yr old and 6yr old are upset as well. They miss having one-on-one quality time with their dad. While the girlfriend swears they get that at her place they really don’t. They are very upset that they alway have to stay at the girlfriend’s house. My 8yr old is so torn. He is debating if it is even worthwhile to go to dad at all. I find this very sad. My 6yr old cries at least 2-3 nights a week over this. Telling me he hates it there, that he never gets to talk with daddy because daddy is always talking to the girlfriend.

While I am very sad about this and have tried to facilitate the discussion with both the Ex and the girlfriend it has gotten no where. My kids are beside themselves and I am upset for them. What I don’t get is why are they trying too hard to force the issue? Don’t they understand that for the sake of the kids you need to go slow and let things develop naturally? Why don’t they listen to the kids when they kids clearly say what they want? (And yes I have heard them say exactly what they want to their dad and he blows them off).

My kids are struggling with loving their dad, wanting to be with him, yet hating him for how he wants to be with them and not wanting to see him at all. But then the thought of not seeing him hurts them so bad they cry. But then the thought of another weekend at the girlfriend’s house also makes them cry.

So what it comes down to is this… the kids are slowly turing their frustrations with the situation into genuine hatred for the girlfriend and her daughter (who has an obvious crush on my 9yr old though the Ex and the girlfriend deny it). Eventually this will all come to a head where they will state that they hate the girlfriend and her daughter and don’t want to see their dad if they have to see him there.

Sad part is that this could all have been avoided if they just listened to the kids and stopped forcing the issue. Taking things slow would have helped. Now it’s too late, the ball is rolling toward a massive explosive end. The Ex and the girlfriend could still stop it and save they day, but they won’t. They think they know what is best, they think the kids are happy, they are delusional and live in their own world.

So I will do what I always do for my kids. I’ll be there to pick up the pieces. To hold them and tell them how much I love them and care for them. to explain to them yet again that their dad loves them, he just can’t show it in the way they want. But most of all, I will be there to listen and acknowledge their feelings cause that’s what a loving caring parent does.

 

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My kids are upset I can’t fix it

My kids are upset and I can’t fix it. As a mom that is the most frustratingly painful thing you can go through. your instinct is to hug them, kiss them and make everything better, but sometimes you are helpless. Nothing you do can help make things better for them. Things are out of your hands and in the hands of your Ex. That man that you were once married to, that man who fathered your children, and who left you all behind. That man who does not listen to his kids and does not care what they feel or what they want. And you as a mom can only let your kids know that you understand how they feel and that you wish you could make things better for them but all you can do is be there for them and try to get them to accept what is going on.

In my case, my Ex has a new girlfriend – the 4th one this year he has introduced the kids to. This one has a daughter who is a year or so older than our boys but whom seems a bit less mature than they are. (At least that was my impression when I finally got to meet her and her mom the other week months after my boys met them).

Now my boys (ages 6, 8, & 9) are not upset that Daddy has a girlfriend. (And I actually like this one as my kids like her and she seems to take good care of them). What upsets them is that EVERY time they see their dad he takes them to this woman’s house and has them sleep there too. They miss having their dad to themselves, they miss having one-on-one time with their dad, they miss just being in his apartment. They dislike having to be at her house all the time, they dislike not having a say, they dislike nobody listening to what they want – which is to be in dad’s apartment with their stuff and real beds to sleep in rather than sofas and air mattresses and no door to close.

My Ex does not seem to care what our kids want or need from him. His girlfriend is forcing the one big family concept on them regardless of how they feel and the boys don’t know how to get their wishes heard. Yes, they have fun playing Minecraft and other computer games at the girlfriend’s house. Yes, they get along with her daughter. Yes, they like the woman. All good things as far as I’m concerned. But they Ex and the girlfriend take advantage of these feelings and assume the kids are fine with staying there… something they cry over here… asking me why doesn’t daddy listen? Why can’t he let us stay in the apartment? We miss his place. Why must we always go over there? Do we have to go to daddy?

So it’s up to me to say, yes you have to go to daddy. Sorry he is not listening to what you want. All I can tell you is to keep making your wishes known and that maybe they will listen. Stand up for what you want and make your voice heard – just like you do here.  But know this, despite everything you feel your dad does really love you and care for you. It may not be in the way you want him to but he does. And I want you to know that you are luckier than some other kids of divorce. Some of them don’t get to see their dad at all or only during the summer or vacations. So in a way you are very lucky, you have a dad who cares and wants to spend time with you. It may not be the way you want him to spend time with you but at least he’s doing it.

And for the record I have tried to tell my Ex how our kids feel and yes he ignored me too. And yes I tried to talk mom-to-mom with the girlfriend when we finally met the other week and yes she ignored me too. Her desire to form one big happy family will fail miserably because of it.

While I would love to see this relationship last – not for the sake of my Ex but for my kids sake as this girlfriend is a nice one – I already see the writing on the wall. I know that the two of them will try to make the relationship last longer than it should just to try to prove me wrong but it is doomed. I already see the signs of my Ex’s wandering eye and the kids are starting to resent her for her pushiness and her not allowing them to have alone time with their dad.

So while there is nothing I can do for my kids to make things better all I can do is tell them that I understand how they feel, acknowledge their right to feel it, explain to them that they are better off than other kids in this situation, remind them that they like this girlfriend, and let them know that I am there for them and always will be there for them.

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Abuse takes many forms

Typically when one talks of an abusive relationship their mind jumps directly to physical abuse. While physical abuse is absolutely horrendous, needs to be stopped in it’s tracks and should never occur to anyone another form (and probably more common form) of abuse is mental abuse. This is the category I am extremely familiar with and have some thoughts I want to share with you about in the hopes that you will see the signs and get help (or help someone else get help).

Until the day my ex walked out to go live with his Mistress I did not realize the degree of mental abuse I was living with. At first when he left I was hurt and sad, but then I quickly came to realize that a weight I did not even know was there was lifted. I could finally breath again, I could finally not live with the anxiousness of not knowing which version of him was going to walk in the door that night or wake up that morning. Would it be the loving happy friendly helpful husband and father or the moody temperamental unhelpful husband and father? I no longer had to worry about it because he was gone and with him so was the oppression I never realized I was living with.

S0 how did I get to this point? How did I get to such a state where I was walking on eggshells and never realized it? The answer is slowly, over time he exerted his control (a control he still tries to maintain today in all our interactions and fails at because now I realize what is going on and I fight back in my own way but that’s a story for another time).

For me it started with him making comments about some of my friends and and saying he did not like them, then he did not want then around when he was there because they were “annoying”. This progressed to him not even wanting me to go out to see them or do anything with them. Because I loved him and wanted him to be happy I cut back ties with people I should not have cut out of my life. I lost myself in him and his needs. So instead of seeing my friends we spent all our time either together, with our families or with his friends. My friends got tired of waiting for me and they moved on. Good friends stuck by me and we saw each other and talked on the phone when possible. Of course once he left we were able to work on rebuilding our friendships but things were not the same. So eventually, I had lost most of my friends and was distant from my good friends.

Additionally, things that I liked to do were pushed aside as unimportant and told “why spend the money on that” activity. Yet everything he wanted we did. Simple everyday things such as eating out in restaurants he liked were ok, ones with the spicy foods that I liked were not. Any time I expressed an interest in something or hinted that I’d like something he ignored it, yet when he wanted something he got it (or more likely I got it for him).

So yes, I know I played a role in all this, but still I didn’t deserve the treatment I got and when I tried to stand up for myself and get what I wanted or needed in the relationship I was mostly ignored, sometimes humored for a bit or made to feel bad because I wanted something for myself (be it dinner out, to go to a movie or a show, or simply a small gift for my birthday or even flowers).

NOBODY deserves to have someone control their lives and I simply let him because I loved him. Even when he hurt me or cut me off from people I loved him. But I’m beginning to wonder if he was capable of real love… does someone try to control others because they love them? I think not. I think someone tries to control others because they are scared of love. They are scared to share their heart and be there, really be there, for someone else. I think they do it because it makes them feel good to have someone under their control who is there for them when ever they want.

As for me, I’m glad I’m out of that kind of relationship and I will never go back to that kind life again. Nor will I allow my kids to head down that path ever. As they grow older and start dating I am going to make them aware that when they date someone who tries to change them and not allow them to be who they are then that maybe a warning sign of trouble. I’m planning on teaching my boys not to control their girlfriends, to allow them to be who they are and love them for who they are and if they can’t then to do the right thing and break up with them.

So if someone you know starts a new relationship and suddenly you don’t hear from them don’t just assume it’s because ether time is taken up by their new love. Yes a new relationship is a time suck, but friends will always find the time to get together (or at the very least talk on the phone). If your friend keeps making lame excuses not to meet, try to find out why and be there for them. If you leave and give up on them eventually (like in my case) they will have no-one to turn to when they realize what is going on and need help.

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