Carolyn Hax: How does a mother clarify letting children reside largely with dad?


Tailored from a web-based dialogue.

Hello Carolyn: I lately began a brand new job. As I begin attempting to make pals with my co-workers, I’m usually requested whether or not I’ve children. I do; they’re 5 and 9, they usually reside with their dad more often than not. Our custody association was primarily based on quite a few elements, and it fits us all completely, however as a result of I’m a lady, all anyone ever hears after I clarify that is “unfit mom.” I’ve tried to determine the easiest way to reply this query to attempt to normalize our scenario, however all the pieces I say appears defensive.

— As a Matter of Truth …

As a Matter of Truth …: Humorous how we’re all terribly open-minded till we’re not.

I’d strategy it from that angle.

Truly, I’d not get into the main points in any respect and let folks thoughts their very own enterprise, until these potential friendships progress to the purpose the place it’s pure to share. At that time, you may share the main points and the humorous reactions you get from folks. As a result of that’s extra newsworthy than who stays with whom.

Till then, you may say truthfully that you just share custody, sure? Since “more often than not” does not imply “all the time” and subsequently your children are with you a few of the time. And, scene.

For once you do need or must share, I’d go at it from the open-mindedness angle. E.g.: “The youngsters keep extra with their dad. We’re terribly fashionable.” Then don’t (over)clarify. Plant the concept that in the event that they choose you, they’re being sexist, and allow them to course of it.

For “As a Matter of Truth …”: I can present some empathy. Your scenario was my scenario. My son is now 28, however at age 5, a couple of years after his father and I divorced, he went to reside together with his father. I had him on most weekends. I used to be a wonderfully good mom, however for causes that match all of us, it was your best option, and I’ve no regrets.

I did, nonetheless, cope with my mom’s confusion and her accusations that I used to be “giving up my son.” It damage so much, and these emotions of guilt and disgrace carried over into how I felt I wanted to answer folks asking me about my little one. I did say issues like, “We share custody,” or, “He’s together with his dad through the week.” However I nonetheless felt as if I wanted to comply with up with “not as a result of I’m a nasty mom,” and even the extra-dumb, “Boys want their fathers.”

All of this was ridiculous and never obligatory. I didn’t must justify our scenario to anybody, however I used to be younger, and individuals are usually judgmental.

Folks additionally usually have inflexible views of motherhood and the way moms are presupposed to behave and reside, and who’s presupposed to be the custodial and noncustodial guardian.

However I knew my ex-husband and I had been doing what was greatest for our little one, and I used to be grateful that, although we weren’t married, we had the sort of relationship the place we may assist our son as we thought greatest, not as others thought greatest.

Your scenario just isn’t the norm; it received’t at all times be simple. However you do get higher at fielding the questions. Handle your self, and don’t ever doubt that you’re a good mom.

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