I wanted to start off by saying I’m proud of myself. I did something that I should have done from the very start, and should have done without hesitation, I finally filed for child support. It took almost 12 years for me to realize that it was the right thing to do, and the best thing for my children.
For years I felt ashamed to file for child support. Not because I felt like I was begging, or that I was being greedy, but simply because I felt like I didn’t want to force someone to do something they did not want to do. You’re probably reading this thinking that I’m crazy or too nice, or that I don’t make sense, let me explain.
There was this notion that I had in my own mind that I did not want to become apart of my story. This idea that if I was going to become a mother of children to a person that I was not married to or involved with, I would not use my position as a mother to induce what I wanted on that person. I had heard stories of women who wanted to have children with men so that they could “bait” them into a relationship or so that they could get all their money through child support. Just the implication of doing something like that or being that way as a woman disgusted me.
Then, at 19, I found myself in the position of being a single mother. Although, there was a relationship, it quickly dissolved. I had no hard feelings about it or towards him, it just was not a good situation. I did not have a dreary outlook on being a single parent, I just knew, one way or another things would be okay.
I was blessed to have a very supportive Dad and Mom who allowed me to live with them rent-free. However, I had to figure out what it meant to be a parent. Over the years that looked like a lot of different things. I had numerous hardships, road blocks, and growing pains. One thing it never looked like to me, was going to file child support. If that meant I made sacrifices or more conservative choices, I did it because that’s what I needed to do for my children to be okay.
The paradigm shift did not come easily. My husband would tell me that I needed to file for support. I would stubbornly say no, I don’t want to force someone to take care of their children. Finally, one day when discussing it, he said, it’s not fair to the boys. Those words pierced my heart. I realized that while I and my husband were sacrificing and working hard to provide and take care of the boys, that same responsibility was not being shared.
Suddenly, it was clear that just like I had to grow into being a parent it was time I shared that experience. It was time that I ensured that my children would be provided for by both of their biological parents. That the financial responsibility and accountability to my children did not solely rest on one parental side. I went online, printed the papers, filled them out and submitted them.
Whether or not I’m forcing someone to do something they want to do is irrelevant. I am making sure I do what is right and best for my children. That they have a life that they deserve, and that’s something I can live with. In hindsight, I see how my one negative view had a great effect on my life. It’s so silly to think that I made things much more difficult, unnecessarily, over an idea of what someone might think of me.
Having a child is one the most precious gifts in life. We all love the joy and privilege of being a parent, we should all love the responsibility of being a parent too. I am both proud and happy to finally share the joy of responsibility.
Sharing the sunshine of life; wife, mom, faith, and purpose.