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The Mom Who Abandoned Her Children- According To The Public Opinion

 

 

 

 

This blog is dedicated to the long distance moms in the world who feel guilty and shameful for not being with their children for whatever life circumstances were presented to them.  You are a good person, don’t let anyone tell you any differently.  Hold your head up high, and recognize that this too shall pass even though on some days you don’t think so.

On the family unit as traditionally constituted, children spend the majority of their time interacting with their mothers as the fathers go off to work and often come home late, resulting in the children viewing their mothers as the primary source of parental love, direction and nurturing.

Compound this with the biological bonds of attachment that exist between a mother and her children from the inception of the pregnancy and children’s need for a mother’s influence in their lives cannot be overstated.

So the fact that I have been a long distance Mom for almost 9 years shows how difficult circumstances in life can be, since ‘fit’ mothers ”are supposed to” move heaven and earth to stay physically close and connected to their children when possible.

Being a long distance mom has not been easy for anyone in our family, most importantly for the kids.  I found it to be almost too emotionally taxing on all of us to even talk to them, because the end of the conversation would always guarantee an emotional breakdown for all of us.  Saying good-bye was not ‘see you later’.

Living with the guilt that I have felt in these 9 years had an impact on who I see myself to be as a person.  I used to believe that I belonged in jail or should be left to die for not fighting harder to keep custody of my children.  I was judged by the world as being a drug addicted, child abuser, alcoholic just because I wasn’t given custody of my children.  In people’s minds that’s the only reason a judge would not give a mother child custody.  So, I lived in shame and fear of being judged most of that time.  At one point, I stopped telling people I had children, because when I did, I felt I had to explain myself so they would not judge me.

During these years, I learned that the key success in any parenting relationship (long distance or not) is to help the children feel that they are loved by their mothers, unconditionally and eternally.

Being a long distance mother meant that communication with my children had to be as often as possible.  Just over a year ago, the judge finally ordered my children’s father to allow them to Skype with me or even call me when they wanted to. (It took 8 years of begging their father to allow the communication lines to be opened)

Sadly, the children were prohibited from speaking with me via any means.  Parental alienation was becoming a horrific reality.  The kids were being told I didn’t love them by their father and step-mother.

Guiding children in their lives as they grow to become more and more difficult.  Going to the movies, soccer games, or Christmas concerts doesn’t exist, and this is very difficult to deal with at a distance.

The times we do have together require extra love and attention because of the motherly love they have gone without between visits.  My kids and I find that there is a comfort that we have with our traditions.  Our most important one is Starbucks Sundays.  This has been a tradition between the three of us for 9 years.  There is a sense of power and bonding that this brings to us.

The burning question that is probably in most of your minds is why did the judge not provide me, the mother, with custody of my children?  The truth is, because I was the breadwinner.  The father remained at home to take care of our children full time, while I traveled for work.  It would not make sense to take away the children from the parent who was at home with them full time and put them in an environment where they would have to live with a nanny because of all the traveling I had to do for work.

I lay here in bed tonight with my daughter snuggled up to me while I write this blog, and she is watching Lorax on her iPad.  Nine years ago, I thought my kids would hate me and would never want anything to do with me.  I was wrong.  Thank God I was wrong.

 

Kicked Out, On My Own, Might As well Not Survive

Alone in Toronto
Alone in Toronto

I recently returned to San Diego from my trip to Canada.

The trip felt different for me this time.  I felt stronger than before I left.  One of the objectives I had set for myself this trip was facing the many demons that appeared in my life in different places and at different times throughout my childhood and teen years.

During my last trip, I decided that I would visit the places around the city that caused me the most pain in the past.  I knew this was an ambitious task, but I knew that the only way I could close off these demons was to face them head on.  The great part of this adventure was that I didn’t have to this alone, unlike the many times in the past when I had no one to lean on for support.

This time, I was going to reveal my formerly secret life to not only to my boyfriend, but also to my children for support.  This time, I was going to reveal my formerly secret life to not only to my boyfriend, but also to my two children, who are now 9 and 13 years old.

The first stop was downtown Toronto.  Growing up I learned very early that in order to survive, one had to work.  In my late teens I had  quit college to support myself.  I worked as a waitress at two University bars downtown.  Both places smelt of stale beer from the night before, and both places were just old.

I enjoyed my job because of my love of people, but what made me sad was that they had what I wanted so badly, which was to actually attend to the University.  I would always try to overhear what types of things they did at school, the teams that played soccer and who their rivals were.  I was there for relationship breakups, exams, and then graduation.  At which point, I would never see them again.

The drunken stragglers were always a challenge to get out.  The bartender and I would typically clean the place and lock it up.  The bartender’s name was Farhad.  Farhad was a new immigrant to Canada from Iran.  He left his country and his career as a doctor to start a new life in Canada.  He could not practice medicine without going through medical school in Canada.  So, he gave up his dream, like many of us, because he didn’t have the money to invest in education, and he too, needed to survive with the rest of us.

I hated going home at the end of the night, especially in the winter when the cold wind felt like a hard slap against your face.  The characters usually on the subway at this time were drunks and drug addicts.  I had already learned that if you don’t want these people to bother you, do not make eye contact with them.  There would be times when I would still get harassed but I was able to hold my own.

I got off at Dundas Street, which is also the stop for the Eaton Center, a huge mall with beautiful architecture.  My walk from the subway was about 3 blocks, which I dreaded at that time of night.  I would walk past fast food joints and many times remember that I didn’t have anything to eat for dinner.  Unfortunately, at that hour nothing was open.  Once you passed the Eaton Center, the streets barely had any lights and were very dark and desolate.  The cross street was the prime area for prostitutes, who sold themselves just to survive.

The 15 story apartment complex was a gray concrete building that always had drunks and addicts outside smoking.  But this apartment was all I could afford at the time.  There were trafficking deals and prostitution taking place throughout the building, people stumbling and falling on stairs.  The individual units did not have doors, so people could go into your unit freely.  I had a small twin size mattress on the concrete floor.  There was no stove, microwave or refrigerator.  Typically the only light I had was what was shining in from the main hallway.

I always slept with a knife under my mattress.  Most of the time I was really scared, but you wouldn’t know it if you saw me.  Showing fear would be the end of me in that environment.  Petty criminals and serious predators in the building knew who the weak and vulnerable tenants were.  With mixed feelings, I now realize that my not showing fear or vulnerability throughout my life is what helped me survive the worst moments in my life.

Most nights I remember dozing off, looking toward the doorway, watching for shadows, listening to people yelling at each other, then crying and playing cheap radios.  One night I woke up upon hearing two gunshots.  My body froze.  I felt my heart in my throat.  It was that night, that I decided it was time for me to move out and look for a safer and saner place to live.

My kids and boyfriend were there with me, as the movie played out in my mind.  I could see from the kids faces that they could not believe their mother had had to live in a place like that.  I thought a lot about that particular moment for the rest of the day.

Afterwards, we went for lunch and all I could think was ‘I pray that my kids never have to live in an environment like that’.  About that time my children came over to me, hugged me, and said, ‘It’s ok Mom’.  Here I was, afraid of vulnerability all my life, but showing them mine from the past and letting them see it that day, was the best move I could have made.

 

The Medical Practice ‘Experience’ Economy and William Deming – Opinion of a Real Patient

 

MIND IN MOTION

I was recently intrigued by a conversation I had with a colleague about her visit to the doctor’s office.  My colleague was upset to say the least, with not only the staff attitude, but how arrogant and in empathetic  her doctor was.

However, she was most disappointed in herself because she invested a lot of time and effort researching and comparing in the hopes of finding the perfect doctor.  I asked her how she found out about the practice, and to my amazement she based it on the number of stars and reviews, and his recent win as a “Best Doctors” in a local publication.

Although my colleague did not have life threatening issue, she did have a concern that was important to her.

Instead of an answer or sympathetic ear, what she got from the experience was, feeling stupid for trusting publications, and 3rd party rating tools which practices have been known to pay for, to drive popularity and reputation.  The following day I decided that I would pull up the doctor and his practice name and see what it was all about.  My colleague had already written a negative review about her experience which I completely agree with her on.  A few days have passed and I thought I would check back to the post and see if there were any responses to my colleagues review.  To my shock, the review my colleague posted disappeared, and all that was left was the positive rating reviews.  It was at that moment that I remembered my career mentor who taught me about Deming and his business management beliefs and values.  The one quote that particularly stuck in my mind was, “The most important figures that one needs for management are unknown or unknowableRead more

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