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.