When my ex and I split up 4 years ago, I let my little on stay with her father. I had nowhere to go, but to a town an hour away, and live in a friend's garage. The small town we lived in, before we split, had no jobs available that paid enough for me to stay off the streets. I needed to live in the city to find a job.
It was the better of the choices. My daughter would keep her room, her grandparents were next door (his parents, not mine), cousins around the corner, stay in the same school, with her friends, and her best friend was across the street.
If I had her with me, she'd have to live in a garage with me (my friend's house was already crowded, bless her), and I would be paying $125 a week for daycare. Add to that, I would hardly get to be with her, because the job I did get was nights, and daycares around this area don't seem to have slots available for that shift, or they close at 6pm, no matter what.
But I figured a year, and I should be on my feet, right?
No such luck. And before that year was up, he went to a lawyer, and sued for full custody, against the agreement that we had that he'd give me a year. And I have no money for a lawyer, plus -he- went through legal aid, so I couldn't.
Even now, I'm still not in the best position to give her what she needs. And it hurts.
What hurts worse, is the attitude. Chosing to let my daughter stay with her father seems to have stigmatized me.
Not my friends. My real friends don't judge. Thankfully.
But others. Coworkers and supervisors. They tell me I should just sue for custody. Gee, ya think? And are you going to pay the lawyer? Because right now, I just don't have $5000 minimum lying aound.
And then it get's really crappy, when he decides he has better things to do on my visitation days, so I get left out in the cold. I have no power. I have nothing. All I can do, when I talk to her, or see her, is to just let her know how much I really love her, and hope that she understands, and remembers, when I can't see her, or talk to her. Because I refuse to say a word to her about -why- I'm not there when I'm supposed to be, or why I didn't call. My child will not be used as a weapon by me...even if her father does play that game sometimes. :(
I'm sorry. I'm rambling.
I am glad to see that there is a community for us. And I'm glad it's a safe place.