I think we need to have one of those Tough Parenting Real Talks… We need to have a conversation about why I feel so awful and guilty for thinking that perhaps, just maybe, my daughter would be better living with her dad than she would with me. That just because I am her mother does not automatically make me the better parent for her to be with. That some children are born with a special bond that pulls them towards one parent… and sometimes parents don’t stay together.
I, on the other hand, got pregnant my senior year of high school with one of those druggie kids you tell people to stay away from. (He never did sober up.) I then managed to have another and another and two divorces before my children were all even in elementary school. My councilor says I have lots of issues, but that they stem from my father. My father was the light of my life… and he was a royal dick.
My little girl’s dad is not a dick. He, at one point, was all too immature to raise a child on his own, and for sure not the right guy for me. But he is not a dick. And now he is also far more capable as a father than he used to be, and he’s around much more than he used to be. So, that leads me back to the point of all of this…
Why is it that, as a strong feminist, I cannot help shake the guilt that I am sending my child away, or that I am a failure or a bad mom if I let my daughter live with her dad. Because I am pretty sure that, like myself and my sister, my baby girl needs his full attention more than she needs mine. Because I believe she knows with all her heart that I love her more than life itself, but that she may question that kind of love from her dad. Because I am trying to be a good mom, and save her from the trauma and hurt that my sister and I dealt with by deciding that I should let her live the majority of the time with her dad rather than myself, I am secretly telling people I don’t want my daughter and that I don’t love her.
I strongly believe that one gender does not parent better than the other. I fully believe men are just as good at parenting as women when put in the same situations. And that the societal idea that men are idiots when it comes to kids and don’t know what they are doing is ignorant.
So why do I feel so horrible? In addition, how have other mom’s who have given up residential custody by choice to the other parent dealt with this?