Archive for the ‘ Divorce ’ Category

A Goodbye to Blogging, and Many Thank-Yous

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Dear internet,

Well… it’s about that time.

I’ve been blogging for over four years, and for over a year here for Parents.  It’s been an interesting and, at times, a pretty amazing ride.  I’ve written about anything and everything, been on some awesome trips, received my share of hate mail, been published on and linked to from places like Yahoo!, Shine, and Time.com, and corresponded and shared my life with some pretty incredible people.

I have honestly enjoyed sharing my life with all of you.  Opening up about all of my experiences– the good, like giving birth to Caroline, graduating dental school, and finding a job… and the bad, like Caroline’s hospitalization, my postpartum depression, and my divorce– has been exciting, cathartic, therapeutic.  But with my new start here in a new state with a new job and a new home, the time has come for me to move on.

I’ll admit that part of it is that I’m simply burned out on the criticism and hateful email that I seem to get no matter what I write.  It is not easy to share as openly and publicly as I do, and I might just not have the backbone for some of the responses that I get anymore.  Having a job as a “real” dentist also means that I need to be a little more careful and professional about what I put out there on the internet, know what I mean?  I’ve always written whatever I feel about whatever’s on my mind, and if I have to constantly censor myself or worry about what I’m writing, then I’d rather just not write at all… or at least not write so publicly.  I also feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to, and I really only enjoy blogging when I have something interesting to say.

I guess what it ultimately comes down to is, I just need my life to be a little more private right now.

I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who have read and loved my blog, whether you’re a new or longtime reader; whether you’ve read occasionally or never missed a post.  Your kind words and support got me through some tough times, your advice helped me make some tough decisions, and what some of you have shared with me, in return for all I’ve shared, has touched my life as I hope I’ve managed to touch some of yours.  My favorite part has been the emails and comments I get from other single parents who have been inspired by what I’ve written to make changes in their lives, to go back to school, to move on, to find happiness again.  I’ve appreciated every word from you, more than you know.

Thanks for laughing and crying with me, everyone.  You might see me again on the internet someday, in a more anonymous or private space…you just might not know it’s me.

With love,

Julia…and Caroline

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Long-Distance Visitation

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

So lately I’m scrambling to get my life together for the next year-ish plus, including but not limited to:

1) Finding a job (or several part-time jobs) in private practice,

2) Finding a new apartment,

3) Finding a new preschool,

4) Sorting out the latest complicated situation in my personal life, which for once I don’t feel like discussing here (hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?),

5) Not attending the purse party (this one was critical), and

6) Figuring out a plan for long-distance visitation, since Tyler is moving to D.C. and Caroline and I are staying here in New England.

Yep… lots of changes happening around here.

I have several interviews and prospects lined up for number one, numbers two and three are dependent on the location of number one, number four is just depressing me and you’d probably all judge me for it anyway, number five is very much completed, and number six is undetermined right now.  Which is where you people come in.

Tyler and I have always known we would eventually have to figure out some kind of plan for long-distance visitation.  He is a paleontologist, and there are very few job openings for that, so he will likely always live far away from us.  He’ll be going from postdoc to postdoc for a number of years, but once he settles down permanently, I’ll consider relocating to where he is for Caroline’s sake.

Until then, I have no idea how to work this– try to stick to the current every-other-weekend schedule?  Figure out several longer periods of visitation, spaced farther out over time?  Who will be responsible for traveling with her, and how will we work out who covers what?  I don’t want to just leave it up to him and not have a plan, because I’m pretty sure he’ll slowly fade out of Caroline’s life… and they’ve gotten so much closer lately, and it’s been so good for her.

(Selfish full-disclosure time: it’s not just about Caroline.  I’ll admit that I’m freaking out a bit about the potential of going back to the solo parenting gig, because that was a tough road.  I love my daughter, but she is quite the handful at this age and I need a little bit of a break.  My parents are fantastic and will always help me out, but Caroline needs her father, too, and he has responsibilities that he should be fulfilling no matter where he lives.  So, we need a plan.)

Any suggestions?  How do you and your ex handle long-distance coparenting?  And if one of you moved and you changed your visitation schedule drastically, did you actually modify your court order, or just work it out between you two as a verbal agreement?

 

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Correspondence

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

I would have to say that the most interesting thing about writing this blog is the email I get from my readers.

I guess it comes with the territory of revealing so much of your personal life for so long, putting it online for anyone to read.  I had a good friend tell me once that when she read my blog for the first time, a lot of it surprised her, because she had had no idea that I had felt that way (before my divorce).  I’m fully aware that this is a ridiculous statement, but for some reason I almost  find it easier to talk about things here than with people in real life.  I have a lot of people contact me and tell me they feel like they know me after they’ve read the whole thing.  I do get so personal here that I guess that in a way, they’re right. 

Enough about me.  Back to you guys.

I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail, certainly, for my more controversial posts (see here and here and here).  I mostly try to ignore that.  I’ve had people email me and ask me questions that I can’t possibly pretend to know how to answer, like “should I get divorced?” or “should I have an abortion?”  (I have to say that although I’m always glad to offer a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder, I don’t exactly feel qualified to offer concrete advice.)  I’ve had guys email me and ask me out, women email me and ask me for advice on how to go about getting a divorce, people contact me for dental advice or to talk about going to dental school.  And of course I always love the encouraging emails, when people contact me just to say that they love reading about my life and Caroline’s, and to keep it up. 

But the kind of correspondence that really makes my day is these: the single mothers who tell me that because of things I’ve written here, they feel more inspired to go back to school for their children.  The working moms who tell me that they take comfort in knowing that there’s someone else out there going through the same struggles, and feeling like their compromises and sacrifices are worth it. 

If anything I write makes even one person out there feel less alone, then hey– I’m happy. If I get just one of those emails for every ten pieces of hate mail, it’s been more than worth it.  So, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has let me know that putting myself out there on the internet like this has made a small difference in your lives.  I can’t express how much it means to me.

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More From Wisconsin: A Ban on Divorce?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

This just in: the state of Wisconsin is trying to make me have a stroke.

In defense of the bill that proposes a “public education” campaign maligning single parents for their alleged contributions to child abuse (previously discussed here), Wisconsin state representative Don Pridemore is saying that no one should ever be allowed to choose to get divorced– not even women abused by their husbands. Essentially, he states that these women should sit down and think about why they got married in the first place, and that should pretty much take care of the issue.

Now, I don’t generally take issue with people taking a personal stand against divorce. To each their own, and freedom of speech, and all that. Just because divorce was the right choice for me doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone, and it’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly.

But… saying that divorce shouldn’t be allowed to be an option for anyone– even for people in abusive relationships? You can’t be serious. Who are these guys, anyway? What exactly qualifies them to speak for (and give orders to) battered women?

Hey, Pridemore and Grothman? Yeah, I’m talking to you. I know you think you’re standing up for your beliefs and trying to make America a better place and defend the innocent children from all of us loose, divorced women or whatever. But listen, there’s a reason these things aren’t politically correct to say. It’s because they’re a bunch of judgmental, discriminatory bullsh*t. If children that result from abusive marriages need defending, I’m fairly certain it’s from the men who are beating their mothers and not from the women who are strong enough to stand up and walk away.

Pridemore states that children are more likely to go “astray” without the disciplinary influence of a father in the home. What is this, Little House on the F*cking Prairie? Sure, okay. Let’s just conveniently ignore all of the actual research about children and divorce and just throw around a bunch of outdated, misogynistic opinions, because that means more than science and psychology anyway, right? Forget the studies that show that it’s not divorce itself, but the way divorce is handled, that has the most influence on the psychological development of a child. Forget the common-sense truth that a child is better off in a single parent home than in a dual-parent home where they’re being abused. Actual facts are so lame and boring. Those don’t get you votes or publicity. Am I right?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe there’s an important document somewhere in this country’s history that states that we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, Pridemore, I’m pretty sure “liberty” includes the right to find your way out of a failed marriage, and I wouldn’t have my happiness if I hadn’t had the right to get divorced, so how about you mind your own business and back up off it, already.

Sheesh.

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Wisconsin Bill Aims to Penalize Single Moms

Monday, March 5th, 2012

There is nothing that makes me go quite as postal as hearing someone equate single parenting to bad parenting.

(Prepare to hear me go postal.  Hold me back, ladies.)

This bill, introduced in Wisconsin by a man who has never been married and has no children, states that single mothers should be penalized because their unmarried status is a risk factor for child abuse and neglect.  The bill would require the funding of ad campaigns to “educate” the public regarding the ill effects of single parenthood on children.

Imagine it: you’re a single mom (from the language, this bill is clearly aimed at women).  You collapse on the couch after a long day at work and feeding and bathing and getting your kids to bed, all by yourself, as usual.  You click on the TV to relax, and some ad pops up and pompously, self-righteously, ignorantly tells you what a crappy parent and child abuser you are, just because you aren’t married.  I don’t think so, Wisconsin.

Now, I don’t know in concrete terms what the aforementioned “penalty” would be (nothing is mentioned in the text of the bill), but it doesn’t take a lawyer to figure out the real danger here: the passage of a bill like this would set a precedent for legitimizing the usage of a single parent’s marital status as a “black mark” against them as far as the best interest of their child goes, and that, my friends, is straight-up discrimination and a giant step backwards for hundreds of thousands of women and children in this country.

The senator who introduced the bill would also like to underscore “the role of fathers in the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect”.  And what role would that be, exactly?  Too often, a single mother is single because the father up and left her.  How about penalizing those deadbeats instead of the hard-working, self-sacrificing women who pick up their slack?  Watch out, Caroline.  Don’t you dare ask me for that third cookie.  I might just freak out and do something crazy with all my female hormones and emotions running rampant and no level-headed man here to stop me.

No doubt this piece of judgmental trash masquerading as a state senator is one of the Limbaugh-esque far right conservatives who don’t believe contraceptives should be a covered service for the very sector of the population which contains the vast majority of single mothers.  I try not to get political on my blog, but really people, it’s the elephant in the room and I can’t hold my tongue: you can’t get birth control, you can’t get an abortion, and you can’t keep the child because then you’d be a single mother and, apparently, an abuser… so your only option is what, adoption?  But then he goes on to say that a child should be raised by two biological parents, so adoption doesn’t work either.  What exactly are we going to do with all these children?  Perhaps they will all just conveniently disappear?

Some of my regular readers may remember that I actually wrote something along the lines of this topic months ago. Statistics don’t lie: single parenthood is a risk factor for child abuse, plain and simple, and that fact should be recognized.  But in order to truly make a difference for abused children, it is critical that we distinguish between offering guidance, support, and practical resources rather than forwarding a cruel, judgmental, and purposeless smear campaign against women who face more than enough stereotyping on a daily basis in addition to all the other challenges of raising children alone.

Honestly, I know that this bill is too ridiculous to ever have a prayer of passing, and I shouldn’t even give it the publicity of a blog post.  But I couldn’t keep silent on the topic, because discrimination and an ad campaign tantamount to slander based on marital status is not okay, in this country or anywhere else.  I hope it never is.

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