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So, I’ve come to the conclusion that single parents (especially those with very young children – sorry parents of teens, not there with you yet, but I’ll feel your pain soon enough) deserve their own special awards program presented by a variety of hilarious and glamorously famous hosts and presenters. Each parent would enter the venue for the awards show via the red carpet, but rather than taking time they don’t have to get gorgeous, they’d arrive in their single parent attire; hair sloppily sliding out of an off-center ponytail, stained t-shirts, the same unwashed sweatpants/yoga pants from the last four days (complete with yesterday’s underwear), and deep, dark I’m-up-at-all-hours-of-the-night-with-screaming-children-every-night-and-still-awake-with-a-baby-at-5-am-every-morning eye circles, in all their shining glory.

Awards would be handed out to single parents for surviving a number of difficult, appalling and mind-numbing situations. This might include an award group such as public toddler meltdowns that result in stares and head-shaking from onlookers, all while the parent is holding another screaming baby and still manages to carry the kicking, screaming two-year-old and bawling infant uphill to the car on a hot summer day (or something like that). Another possible category for an award could potentially have something to do with repeatedly asking a toddler if he’s ready for his dinner for two and a half hours straight, only to have said toddler respond with screaming ‘No!’ and sometimes breaking down into tears. Then, at bedtime (the single parent’s sacred, special time) the toddler suggests that he’s ready to eat now. Managing to get through this without completely losing your mind (or your temper) should be worth SOMETHING, right?

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There should also be an entire series of awards related to working with bodily fluids and feces… dear GOD, there needs to be SO MANY awards to ALL parents who have to clean up poop and the like, but particularly single parents who handle these thing all by themselves (especially with multiple children).

There’s the ‘waking up in the middle of the night to deal with a blowout, giving a bath, fresh diaper and clothing, changing bedding, and putting the now wide-awake baby back to sleep’ award; the ‘pre-treating EVERY SINGLE article of clothing in the laundry basket to remove food, spit-up, dirt and dried poop stains before washing’ award; and don’t forget about the mother of them all, the ‘taking care of sick babies suffering from the stomach flu and repeatedly cleaning up a constant, steady stream of vomit and diarrhea that literally gets everywhere, all while YOU are also suffering from the stomach flu yourself’ award!

Single parents, you not only deserve an award, you deserve a freaking congressional medal of honor, a purple heart, a Nobel Peace Prize! Something to show that your hard work isn’t going unnoticed. Yes, ALL parents do this, but you (single parent) are doing it alone, without a partner’s shoulder to cry on or someone to take over when you feel like crap or when you’re tired or grumpy or whatever. You do it all, and you do it by yourself. You are a god/goddess and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. EVER.

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If you’re lucky, you have an ex who is a decent co-parent and can take on this amazing role themselves and give you a night off a couple of times a week or more. If this is you, count your lucky stars, because at least you have some time to recuperate and refresh before your children are turned back over to you.

Not every single parent has the luxury of a co-parent, though. I know a woman (gorgeous and lovely in every way you can imagine) who lost her young husband (younger than me) to an illness this last winter and left her alone with two very young children. SHE has the tough job of raising those two little ones while dealing with the trauma of losing her partner, best friend and co-parent. I feel like I can relate to her so much, sometimes, then at other times, I can’t help but notice our distinguishable differences.

My own situation left me to raise my children alone because their father is an abusive, unreliable person who can’t handle the responsibility of raising children. So, now I have two little ones who rely on me alone for their EVERY need. My friend at least has the help of her husband’s family to rely on; my ex’s family thinks I’m an evil liar who lives to destroy the Corporal, so, of course, I get no help from them. I have a different friend who is in the same boat as I am with her harassing, stalking ex who can’t seem to get it together either. So, we occasionally get together to drink wine and swap stories to maintain our sanity. (The moral of the story, girls… think long and hard about who you’re with before having a baby with a deadbeat)

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I hate doing dishes

Here’s a day’s worth of dirty dishes… As you can see, the bunnies ate well, but mommy only had two cups of caffeine, some of the toddler’s leftovers & what was left of the secret chocolate stash hidden at the back of the refrigerator. Without help, this sort of thing just happens sometimes. (Oh! And guess who gets to wash the dishes. E V E R Y  N I G H T.)

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Believe me, there are times when I wish I could just pass the bunnies off to their father for a few hours to take a nap or even for a few days to have a night or two to myself, but it just doesn’t work like that for me. The Corporal would say that I made that choice myself and that he ‘wants to help’ by taking the bunnies (SOOOO tempting!). But, he’s dangerous and untrustworthy and (oh, yeah!…) the courts agreed with that, so I just have to do the best that I can on my own. I wish (oh, how I wish!) the Corporal wasn’t an emotionally unstable abuser who could just be trusted to take care of the bunnies while I’m not standing over him!! But, he isn’t. So, I can’t.

Now we get to go back to court in a few weeks to deal with the issue of custody all over again. (yay… air-swirley motions with pointer finger) Oh, wait! That’s right! I never told you the results of the original custody order! That was actually by design. I was hoping that by laying low and giving it a chance to sink in, the Corporal would choose not to appeal the order. Unfortunately, though, the day before the order was to become permanent, I received a notice that he was appealing. So, back to court we go. I’m not really all that worried that the order is going to change, I’m just tired of being in court at this point and don’t want to go back again, it’s mentally exhausting and I have enough to deal with right now. But, here we go again!

The official custody order gave me FULL physical custody of the bunnies and the Corporal was given rights to supervised visitations through a third-party. He was also ordered to participate in an Anger Management program and undergo an intensive PTSD testing. I have to admit that I was a little surprised that everything worked out so favorably after hearing so many people (including lawyers) tell me that he was going to get some form of custody, somehow. So, I cried tears of relief when I read the order knowing that the bunnies were still going to get to spend time with their father when he set up appointments through the overseeing agency and that, more importantly, they would be safe.

He has, of course, done everything he can to verbally bash and discredit me. Saying that I took the bunnies away from him and continue to keep them from him. I hear that he’s also recently made a big deal on social media about having to spend $40 for an hour of time with the bunnies during their supervised visit on Bunny Boy’s 2nd birthday. The Corporal sent me a text message that same day saying that it’s “sad that I have to pay to see my kids just sad” and I have to agree. It is sad that he’s an unstable and unreliable person and can’t manage to take any responsibility for his actions, so now he has to pay to see his children. It really is sad…

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The words “parental alienation” get thrown around enough by his friends and family that I decided to do some research of my own. I found that it was a concept coined by once-renowned child psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner. He suggested that ‘alienation’ was a controversial form of emotional abuse that typically involves children in high-conflict custody disputes, where mothers “often fabricated custody-related child-abuse claims and programmed their children to do the same. He called this phenomenon parental alienation syndrome, or PAS.” (Source: Aljazeera America)

Oh, god… (rolling my eyes). Yes. I’M the abuser (again). Well, good. This is probably something that’s going to come up in the courtroom, no doubt. Thankfully, this is a highly controversial suggestion and the courts are taking a closer look at it now that the founder of the initial concept, Gardner, committed suicide and his findings were scrutinized by colleagues.

A six-month study conducted… by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts found no evidence of the hysteria Gardner described. “What he was seeing, he tried to understand through one lens,” says Robin Deutsch, a psychologist and director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. “So he made all of this stuff up.”

So, now the courts are siding with mothers again realizing that they’ve been giving custody to abusive fathers because lawyers were using this awful babble in the courtroom to gain the upper hand for their clients.

…children involved in false alienation cases can wind up trapped with their abusers… There’s an assumption “that fathers are essential to raising their children… [but] children do not do better with an abusive parent — no matter if it is a man or if it is a woman.”

The theory has been rejected by many experts and has never been recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Plus, this concept is applied primarily to sexual abusers, and even Gardner himself suggested that there wasn’t any evidence of parental alienation syndrome in domestic violence and abuse cases (of which, we are fighting). So, I’m feeling pretty confident that, even if the Corporal and his attorney try to plead this in our case, they’re going to fall very short. People can say what they want to say, but in the end, I know the truth… and so does my recording.

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So, what does the future hold for this single mommy? Well, now, months after a devastating break-up/beat-down, I’m finally beginning to warm up to the idea of dating again. It’s not at the top of my to-do list, but it’s finally on there, at least.

Now, how does someone who has two babies even BEGIN to date? This is a bit of a problem. The one that I’m facing next…

…To be continued.

Namaste gods & goddesses <3

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