During our last post we talked about a mother who gave up physical custody of her three children to accomplish her life’s goal of writing a best-selling book. The woman exceeded her goal, and her book has been translated into 14 languages. While segments of society may look down on her decision to be the secondary parent, the mother believes her success has enabled her to provide her children a wider range of experiences and has brought more joy to her life. In this post, we will look at the experience of one 30-year-old mother who now lives in New York City.
The 30-year-old mother was 17 when she became pregnant with her son. The father of her child was a cook in the restaurant she bussed tables at in Santa Maria, California. The 24-year-old father asked her if she wanted to get married. She agreed and ten days after their son’s birth they were married in a short courthouse ceremony. Though it worked in the beginning, the couple’s differences soon began to wear down the relationship. He preferred to work and be around the familiar. She had a love for travel.
The young mother was accepted to Berkeley and that is when the young family was stretched to the breaking point. The young woman did not want to turn down the opportunity but her husband did not want to relocate. She moved to Berkeley, and the father refused to give up child custody. After two weeks of thinking it over, the mother decided the best circumstances for her then 3-year-old son would be to stay with the father and his extended family who adored him. She agreed to give up physical custody of her son.
The summer after her first year of school, she spent the summer in New York waitressing and playing music. Two years ago she relocated to the city permanently and is now remarried. She talks to her son regularly and he makes regular visits. Though she admits it is hard to keep a presence in her son’s everyday life, she still fights to be his emergency contact at school. She retains legal custody. The mother has not discussed her custody decision with her son yet but believes the choice she made has made him an open-minded child that gets to experience California and New York.
Source: Marie Claire, “What kind of mother leaves her kids?” Lea Goldman, 3/8/11