I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Child Support, Anger, Sadness and ME

My ex left me at the most inopportune time to be with another woman. I'm cool with that decision; he liked her better or he was running away from being the adult male head of household that I required him to be (providing emotional support, love, protection, understanding, a geographic center to our family unit, oh and paying bills when I wasn't able especially during maternity leave). 

For many years I struggled to keep myself and my kids above water. I never really had a backup system financially or emotionally (see my post I'm Like An Emotional Orphan) so I always felt a crushing pressure to do better with my life to make sure that their lives would be better.

I tried to be brutally honest with my children about why somethings were out of our reach financially - like name brand technology, name brand clothing, extravagant birthday parties, new cars when they got driver's licenses and more.   I would work two jobs at times to make sure we had enough of whatever we needed but not enough of what we wanted. Yes, I worked hard but I felt like I was never able to get ahead financially.

Financially we struggled but we survived because I had to sometimes depend on the kindness of strangers and during a really bad stretch welfare and food stamps and like the mythical blue moon, every once and a while - child support payments.

The problem with child support payments is that they never seem to arrive when I would need them. If the rent was due on the 15th and I was $100 short - my child support would arrive on the 25th after I have weathered the storm of stretching my money to cover everything.

What worried me most about my ex leaving wasn't the financial stuff it was that I would watch my children grow what I felt was slower emotionally because they were missing a male figure in their lives.

Since I've been married I have seen the difference a man makes in their lives and I feel robbed (not for myself because my father rarely gives a shit about me) for them.

This makes me grateful even more for my husband but it makes me angry that the man who fathered these children with me didn't see the need to provide the love, discipline and emotional support to them that they need to develop into strong well adjusted human beings.

I can see the struggle that the kids still go through as they try to 'catch up' to the maturity that they should have mastered before but weren't able to because they didn't have their father there for guidance.

Our child support payments would come (and still do) when they want never when we were in need. This used to make me angry. Now it just makes me sad that my ex has never cared enough about us after he left to be disciplined enough to know that our household didn't grow money in the backyard and that the children were always in need of something. I stopped asking things of him long ago because frankly he didn't give a damn, to him it was like since he wasn't there the he didn't have to contribute. 

Our child support order is in Louisiana, a state with a low cost of living; we live in Maryland a state with a much higher cost of living. My ex doesn't understand that his Louisiana dollars don't make a dent in our Maryland way of life.
I've said before that I don't depend on child support payments. I've gone years without them and I'm always shocked and surprised when I receive another payment.

The sound of the words child support always evoke feelings of sadness and anger. I think what of life would have been like if the ex hadn't left, if child support was dependable, if...

As my grandmother would say 'if wishes were fishes then the ocean would be full'

Do you receive child support payments? Are they regular payments? Are they few and far between? What feelings do you have when you hear the words 'child support'?

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