“I Just Want My Mom and Dad to Be My Mom and Dad!”

Life can be weird for children of divorce. Sometimes you need an escape.  We started taking the children on road trips; shortly after their mother and father had officially split.  Adventures and memories!  On one of those trips, however, my youngest stepchild brought me crashing down to reality. She was skipping alongside me on our way to our favorite hot spring.  Suddenly, she let out a cry of frustration.  “When I’m with dad, I miss mom, and when I’m with mom I miss dad!” she vented.  She was only five, and she needed her mom and dad.  “I just want mom and dad to be my mom and dad,” she confided to me. Really, this is what all children want, as far as I can tell. Children of divorce want the same things any other child wants; to be loved and taken care of. That isn’t an incredible ask, but if you look at your average divorced family, it is a rare reality. My favorite bio mom/step mom blog is about two families (with a focus on the moms) that – hear this – get along.  Yeah.  That’s it. The feat of getting along is enough to render them superhuman. Why is this such a big deal?  Because so few of cases end this way.  So few families manage to prioritize harmonious living, for the sake of the children. “Please don’t leave us!” We like to believe that our children are as invested in our marriage as we are, as parents.  Truth is,  children ultimately don’t care if their parents stay married or in love.  They just want both parents to take care of them.  They want to feel like dad is still their dad; that mom is their mom. Even by 5, my stepdaughter had moved past the idea of her parents getting back together.  She would occasionally ask, but without much emotion.  Just a vague curiosity if her mother and father would get married again.  The older ones, 7 and 9 at the time, had no interest in that, and, moreover, held firm beliefs that their parents would never get back together.  Still, all three wanted their mother and father in their lives, caring for them, and working together.  “Stop fighting!” was their mantra. In reality, what they want is very simple. Children, post-divorce, are still the same children.  If you provide a healthy co-parenting situation to the children, they will accept you don’t love their other parent (at least not in a committed, romantic sense).  They will accept that their lives have changed. But most importantly, they will know that you love them.  That is what they care about.  That is what they need to survive and stay connected to the mother and father they loved dearly as a small child.  That is what they need to be a family. Best of luck to you and yours!

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Toxic Mothers Sabotage Childrens Ability to Trust

What does it mean to be a mother? A mother, we say, is always there for her child. A mother always knows her child, we cry.  Yet what happens to the child when she does not? Maternal instinct is a powerful concept in our society.  We’re aware of it most with animals where the mother protects her young, but even trees have “maternal” instinct, using mycelium to communicate and protect their “kin.” (Fantastic Fungi, Netflix).   Some mothers love and care for their children above all else.  Some mothers earn the name of “mom.”  But there is no natural, nor legal, law that says a mother must protect her children. What happens to that child? If a mother cannot be trusted to have her child’s best interests at heart, and we do not trust fathers, then who can we trust?  And even if we do trust both, is it fair to the child to be torn between doing what Mom wants or what Dad wants?  Is that an acceptable place to put a child? Or should we take the child out of the middle, and allow them a chance to speak without fears of having given preferential treatment to either parent? We need to do better. If a family splits, the mother and father’s interests are both represented.  We believe the child should have their interests represented, as well.  At SageLantern we firmly believe this above all else:  Every child deserves a legal voice in the divorce proceedings – from the beginning until they have legal standing of their own at 18. If you believe in this, too, please reach out and find out how you can support our goals!

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