November 29

Tears for My Children

Tears and Rain

So much of my anger and emotions are wrapped up in what this does for my children. As I have stated before, we adopted 3 children and had one of our own.  Last night I cried for the first time in months.  The last time I cried was because I was afraid of the effects on my oldest adopted son. He is so insecure in his home, and his value, and she has always been the one that creates more instability. This of course has caused more insecurity than ever. Yesterday afternoon she called telling me she couldn’t or wouldn’t parent him anymore.  She told me to come pick up all the stuff he needed and to take him, while she took the other kids out with her to my daughter’s practice.  I wrapped up at work, and came to get him.  They had “made up” and he was going to stay for the night.  I took him out to dinner, and we talked while the other’s were out.

It all started with her coming home, and immediately accusing him of a number of things as she came through the door.  He being the child who always wants to please her was shattered. He had pulled a perfect score on a test in a class he has been struggling  with. He lost his temper, and she chased him down the temper trail. He has learned to be very melodramatic from her, so he starts acting scared and yelling things like please don’t hurt me as she storms after him. The two of them become the perfect storm of manipulative anger.  She is so afraid of being accused of abuse, that she will get rid of him before tat happens.

He learned quickly after we separated that I would not put up with that behavior, and he would have to endure his rage by himself. He also learned that two year old temper tantrums were punished as I would a two year old before we ever get to the root of whatever problem that is going on. I no longer have to deal with this kind of rage from him. Sure, he is still melodramatic about things, but no unchecked rage.

I cried a lot last night. I want to find a way to save my children from her.  This attitude that she can throw a difficult child away will be seen by all of them, and they will be hurt badly by it over time.  I know she has thought about abandoning them. Her step-sister dumped a difficult step-child back on the mother, who by all accounts was crazy.  I almost wish she would just do it quickly, so I can pick up the pieces, and she can run away, and be the favorite aunt like person who comes into their lives in a rush, and showers them with affection. They will adore her most of the time, and her damage will be limited then.

I thought I was done shedding tears over her, but I guess that won’t come.  I will always shed tears for my kids, and I can’t save them. I have to try that much harder to ensure that my house, and my time is good for them.  I have already  decided that I will do everything I can to remain in the place I am renting, so they have a stable place.  She chooses to move a lot, and so I imagine that her home for them will change nearly every year as leases run out.  I want so badly to be at the very least a safe place for all of them to come to, where they know they are loved, and that they always have a place that is their own.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

November 25

Chivalry Lost

Chivalry

I have a bad habit of trolling through craigslist ads. Mostly because they crack me up. I never in my life seen so many BBW women wondering where their prince charming is. Well for the record, he left with the skinny chick.  The other common theme I see is all these women complaining about no chivalrous men left out there. I am sure there are some. They are happily married and retired.  Lets define what chivalry really is, because I think it has been lost on so many in our society. Women want it, even expect it, and men don’t do it because they are tired of the madness that this post-modern world has created in relation to men and women.

The first thing to extinguish is the idea that any woman deserves chivalry. It’s origins is from the days of knights.  It has many meanings, but generally came from the concepts of how a knight is to behave himself when not in battle.  I suppose the  ideas spread as at every age, men preferred to liken themselves to the battle hardened warriors of their era, rather than to the realities of their life, so they adopted the behaviors they attributed to knighthood into their daily lives.  Chivalry defined how a knight was to behave in the castles and court. They were to extend certain courtesies to those around them. Acknowledging that they were under their authority. Things like opening doors for even the little lordlings and ladies who had no true command of resources or physical ability to have authority over a knight was a for of respect. . The knights extended these courtesies to ladies of the court that also had no authority, nor any honor due to them. This extension was submitting an honor or power to someone else, that they had no right to.  I am not going to talk about all the aspects of chivalry, but this last point is important to understand.  Chivalry as we understand it in modern culture is based on the voluntary submission of privilege or position to honor someone else.  You must also understand that socially, politically, and in almost every other way in the cultures women were not afforded the same “rights” as men.  This public showing also demonstrated that this man was providing protection of the woman.  Chivalry was far less practical in the home. Men didn’t show the same deference for his wife. He also in the average family home gave her far more equality in decision making for the family than she was allowed in public. This meant that the power difference in the home was less, and the was less honor to give by the husband.

Lets skip ahead to modern times. As women have become publicly and socially equals to men, so has chivalry faded. The men have less power than they used to. These courtesies are based in power, so it stands to reason that men would be less chivalrous  than they were in days gone.  Allowing a woman to pass before you is not a courtesy when she can merely just go before you without prejudice. There is no cause for chivalry when the decision is hers to make. There is no social or legal moor to prevent her from retaining the right of way when passing through a door. In the past the woman would have waited for the man, and he would then open the door and allow her passage as a courtesy.  I have rarely seen a woman in the modern world who pauses for a man to go first, so it stands to reason that there is no reason for him to allow a courtesy that there is little opportunity to provide.

Lets further explore the realities of the modern world. Men are second class citizens in the west. We are treated as necessary evils. Where men in the past treated women as things to be treasured when they had the power. In many ways women were treated as fragile, but valued.  Now men are treated as the unwanted dog, or the jester in modern society.  We are objects to be tolerated or laughed at.  We have very little true power in society or in the family. We aren’t even considered physical threats. This negates chivalry. If men were to try to be chivalrous, it would really be duty to keep the women who have the real power now happy. Chivalry is not rooted in duty. If there is chivalry to be shared, then it is the women who should be chivalrous to the men. They hold the levers of power now, so I should have more doors held open for me.

Before I get a bunch of NAWALT type arguments, it doesn’t matter. Societal moors, family courts, and DV laws have changed the playing field. If you don’t like what you see from men out there, I suggest you go talk to women. Women need to stop fighting for more to be taken away from men. They need to stop breaking up families because life is hard, and when they do, they need to accept that it is going to be hard to work with that man to raise kids in separate households.  Women need to fight for men to have a strong footing in society again. Stop complaining, and look at the playing field from a man’s perspective. If you want men to behave like men of the past, then the world they live in needs to look more like the world of the past. If you want men who are going to use you, and go about their lives doing what makes them happy, then keep on doing what you are doing. Men will adapt, and you are not going to find freedom when men stop making themselves a choice in your lives.  There will be fewer and fewer gullible chumps looking to marry you, because that is how you raise a family, since very few families are being raised by an intact family any more. The dream has been exposed to young men, and they aren’t signing up for what their fathers endured.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

November 17

Angry About the Loss Of A Dream And A Promise

Foever Lost, Forever Present (in red)

This is something I hadn’t expected to come up as often as it does. It plays to my overly sensitive sense of justice, and right, and the idea that your word is your bond. I knew as the talk of divorce cropped up, that this would be an issue for me, but I didn’t imagine the ways it would hurt. I figured I would internalize it, and process it, and after a time of mourning I would be done with it. That has not been the case.

I was struck by this the first time a couple of weeks ago.  My grandmother died. We weren’t close. She was terribly manipulative of my mom, and had shown with my nieces that she wouldn’t be reliable to show up for a lunch let alone other grandmotherly things that you would expect. She had been a significant factor in my growing up though. We spent some portion of nearly every weekend when I was a child at their house for a family dinner or some other event.  I was sad and grieving as you would expect.   As I drove to the hospital to get there before she died, I was so angry. I couldn’t figure out why at first, and then it smacked me in the face. I had been there through multiple funerals for my wife. I had been there when her mother died shortly after we got married. I had gone through this turmoil providing what she needed at the time, or at least trying to meet her needs. They were obnoxiously hard to decipher.  But now, here I was alone driving to the hospital.  I would be there with my crazy aunt and uncle who had each other, my mom and dad, my sister and her husband, my cousin and his husband. They all had someone who had committed to be there through the tough stuff, through the sad stuff, and mine was not only there, but did not want to be with me through the tough stuff. She wanted to be happy. Such a shallow feeling, happiness is. It is something fleeting, and rarely found when you are looking for it. It sneaks up on you when you are busy being content with the crap life brings along.  My mom was so confused by my reactions at the hospital, because I was angry more than sad. The grieving came later, but I was truly and justifiably angry. I didn’t take vows with this woman to be cast off when things weren’t as good as you planned. I took vows to stay together even if it sucked, and trust me there were many things that sucked.  Basically, I felt ripped off by the fact that I didn’t have that person who pledged alongside me to be there for this stuff.  To further dig the thorn in, she made a big deal out of the fact that my dad does not want to be around her, and that she wasn’t welcome at the funeral. My mom would have made it work, but there wasn’t any reason, she didn’t know my grandmother well, because as I said before we weren’t close. It was just so inappropriate at the time.

Earlier this week I had another moment. This one just made me sad. For most of my life, I have wanted what my parents had. They enjoy each other tremendously. They tell stories about when they were young before kids, and about life with us kids at an early age. They yuck it  up with friends from years far past.  I was sitting at a bar getting some tacos and a beer for dinner after dropping off the kids with their mom. I was sitting next to two couples who were telling these kind of stories to each other. They were easily old enough to be my parents, or at the very least the younger friends of my parents. I became sad, and very inwardly turned as I saw these couples and the joy they had in bragging about partner and how they handled a situation, and the occasional jab about something far in the past. These are things that I just won’t have.  Not even if I were to get back together with the mother of my children. She is incapable of telling stories that don’t make me look bad, and her the hero. She doesn’t playfully jab me, she knocks me in the jaw and tries to call it light hearted. I have lost this part of the dream. There is no getting this back. I chose badly when I chose this woman, and the price of that choice is I will never have the dream. I will never have be loved by one person regardless of circumstance. I will never have stories to share with my partner about life before kids.

The first part of the promise I can have, if I ever venture out to find another partner for life. I would like to hope that my judgement is better than it was in my 20s, but I don’t know that I can trust that a woman is capable of this. Not that there aren’t women capable of this, but that I can’t tell them apart. Women, you need to police your own better. Marriage is off the radar for me for the foreseeable future. The risks are too high, and they aren’t shared between us. women are seeking divorce at an alarming rate, and that rate  isn’t much different for the religious as it is for the irreligious.  If you are woman who believes in marriage and desires to find men of quality willing to marry, then you need to do something about the culture fostered among women that men are interchangeable and disposable.  I married a woman who all would have counted as a Christian woman of conviction, and those convictions were cast off chunk by chunk as she wasn’t completed by me.  Which is another bone I have to pick the Jerry McGuire theology of you are supposed to complete me is crap. Marriage is supposed to be a commitment to working together to make it through life, not that I  or you should be creating a whole person by the union, but that two whole people are better than one. That proposition is being broken in our society all the time, and I honestly don’t see how I could try at it again, especially while I have kids that would be torn apart by another family break up.

Sorry for the semi-random thought processes here. This has been a rough couple of weeks.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

November 3

Child Support Is Immoral: A quick followup

Slave shackles

I just want to clarify one thing for anyone reading this. I don’t support men not fathering their children, or paying for things the children need. My accusation of immorality is the against a system that demands that they owe a portion of there income to their former partner to pay for the children, and that system is going to take it by force. It has turned motherhood into a paid vocation. The only system in history where motherhood has been a viable vocation is the ones where the mother was married to the father of her children.  We have replaced the husband/provider/protector role of men in society with a model that has women choosing a lover of the moment, the government is her protector, and the father(s) of her children are her providers.  Women are given the children in so many cases because they were the primary provider, and men are accused of not being active enough in the children’s life when they were together. Well that doesn’t account for the fact that there isn’t a man I know who wouldn’t want to stay home and raise their kids, but responsibility takes over, and they realize someone has to provide the means for these little people to grow up.  They do this willingly, and often view the time that the mother has with the children as a gift they were able to give to both the mother and the children. That is used against them in custody cases and child support issues.  Men if you are brave enough to get married, then realize that she will be treated as sacrificial for your sacrifice of time with the kids, and if you are the stay at home dad you will be treated as lazy for not getting a good job, and letting her stay home and be the doting mother.

Ten-Foured,

JeD

November 2

Child Support Is Immoral

Slave shackles

I know that in our culture, this statement is considered ridiculous. We have been fed a line for our entire lifetime about dead beat dads.  I think it is time for us to reexamine this thing we call love, marriage, and child raising.  The rules we are playing by are from the 1930s. They are based on a society very different than the one that we live in.  Alimony and child support are based on a society where women rarely worked if they were mothers, and couldn’t earn what a man earns. They are based on a society where women rarely left left their husband providers, but the men left their families to start over with another woman.  I don’t know that I actually believe that story, but it was certainly more likely than it is today.   I am not going to talk about abusive relationships, and when I say abusive, I mean someone is being controlled or broken in some way.   We all feel abused after going through the trials of a failed marriage.  Truly abusive relationships are much more rare than we are led to believe.  Now in modern culture marriages are ended with little more thought than a dating relationship, and women have the same opportunity to earn what a man earns.

The next problem is that the courts, at least here in the USA aim to provide the same standard of living for the children that they had during the marriage. They also apply a standard that the children deserve a certain portion of the parents income. The standard of  “the best interest of the children” is applied.

The first problem is when two parents are not together, unless there is significant means involved, it is impossible to provide the children with the same standard of living. You suddenly have two households where there was one. Now that father’s rightfully expect to have equal time with their kids, they must have a home that is adequate to house their children.

 The next problem is the idea that the children have any right to the parents income. This is the idea that is applied to justify child support.  When a marriage stays intact, the only index used to measure if the child is receiving what they deserve is whether they are healthy mentally and physically, and if they aren’t then they are receiving appropriate care. Suddenly in divorce, they deserve a percentage of the income, and that income is entrusted without strings to one of the parents, usually the mother. This is insane.  What if the parents normally saved 60% of the income, and now suddenly one can’t. Or what if the divorce is over the fact the husband wants to take a job that pays 50% of what he used to make, so he doesn’t have to travel anymore. Suddenly the court has control over whether he is allowed to do that without going to jail.  The court says he must earn close to his total earning potential. He no longer has a choice in the matter like he did before. Sure sounds like slavery to me.

The best interest of the child drives me nuts. If the court were interested in the best interest of the child, then there would be more remidations ordered to avoid divorce by the court, and less screwing with peoples lives. Since when is it in the best interest of the child to have the court in the middle of their lives their entire childhood.  The other problem with that argument is that it is completely subjective. The courts are supposed to try to make objective decisions, and they are being placed in a position that requires subjective reasoning, which they are not equipped to handle, so they try to pretend that with the right experts they are making a subjective decision.  Lets not kid ourselves, none of this is about the best interest of the child. If it were, then very few parents would be allowed to raise our children.  We screw them up even in a good home. That is a part of life. We learn how to overcome the shit in our lives, and we all have shit even in the best of circumstances.

All this sets the stage a little, but the truth is in the western world, money is power.  Having money gives you power, but so does controlling someone else’s money. Child support being based on a percentage of the parents income is not about providing for the child. It is about transferring wealth, and that is always evil. Simply put in the modern world, when parents are sharing responsibilities for the kids, there is no reason for a wealth transfer. The logic is convoluted. Probably because it isn’t about the kids at all.  If a mother or father has chosen to cut out the other parent, then they deserve no part of that person’s income, and if that person shares in any part of the parental duties, then they should pay while they are have the children in their custody for the child’s needs.  If the carrot of money from the other partner is removed, there would be far fewer divorces and out of wed lock children.

Now lets look at the logic of child support turned on its head a little. If time with children is valuable for the parent, then the time that is taken away from the parent should be compensated for. The parent who has the most earning power has the most valuable time.  They should be compensated for the lost time with the children at a higher rate than the parent who has a lower income.  In most divorce situations that would mean a stay at home mom would be due no child support at the time of the divorce, and if she had the children 50% of the time, she would owe the father a large sum for the lost time with his children.  She would have to get a job, and support herself and compensate her ex-husband for his lost time with his kids. Isn’t this how most law suits work. The person who has incurred harm is compensated to make up for the harm. Well in a split custody situation both parties have incurred harm, but one is more valuable in the market place than the other.

Men have sought divorces at roughly the same rate throughout the history that it has been tracked. They divorce today for roughly the same reasons they always have. Women rarely sought divorce before. It took some extreme circumstances to give up the security of marriage.  The system has been changed enough that they don’t lose the security when they divorce. They get financial support, and the state steps in to make sure their ex-husband continues to dutifully take care of her in the name of the children. Once the risks of not being married with children were reduced women have sought divorce for rather frivolous reasons at an alarming rate.  Not that the men’s reasons were less frivolous, but the rate of them choosing to divorce is and has been much lower than the women choosing to do so now.

The truth is I don’t think anyone should pay child support.  If two people or one of two people choose to part ways, then the children should be considered marital assets (didn’t want to say property). They have value to both the parents. It doesn’t matter much if one is a better parent than the other, if both are adequate. Yes merely adequate, because if the bar is set any higher, it is just a foothold for the state to come take everyone’s kids and give them to parents they deem better than you. We have already established that with the parents not together, the best interest of the child isn’t really the issue. Both parents decided to have kids together, so they decided at some point the other one was going to be the kind of parent they would like to raise a kid with.  The ramifications of that decision is that you are stuck raising that kid together whether you want to or not.  Along with the decision to split, both parents should determine how they are going to afford to not be together.  The fact our society puts so much weight on romance in marriage is ridiculous. The purpose of marriage is to raise a family. It is designed to combine the financial a time resources of two people to take care of each other’s needs and the needs of the children. Since the marriage is broken, then each party should be responsible for both the financial and time needs of their family, which is inclusive of the times you have the kids and are nearly complete, and the times when you don’t and are single.

We all know that the biggest reason for child support is to prevent divorce from putting women and children on the welfare roles. I suggest that if the financial incentives for divorce were removed, and some disincentives for divorce were in place, then you would have fewer split families, and the cost of the welfare cases that result would be less than the cost of child support enforcement costs now, and fewer dads would be estranged from their children. Of course this is supposition,  but I don’t think I am too far off.

Ten-Foured,

JeD