Thursday, October 17, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Mom with Kids From Multiple Dads

Here's a perspective from a mom who is ripe for judgement - the mom who has kids with different dads. Here's what she has to say.

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I have two beautiful boys. They have two different Dads. And it should go without saying, but that doesn’t make me a horrible person. 

First of all, no - this is not what I wanted or planned for my life. I don’t remember ever sitting in my basement bedroom as a 14 year old girl thinking, “I sure hope I have more than one kid with more than one man and marry neither of them. That would be so amazeballs.” Second, I don’t think I am much different than most of the girls in my age group (at least from my graduating class). We all had boyfriends. Most of us had sex. Do I wish I’d made better choices in my life? YES. Would I undo anything in my life? NO. 
Anyway, I’ve met a lot of presumptuous people since I became a Mom for the first time 5 years ago. I’ve also met a lot of awesome people. But to keep true to the spirit of this post, I’m just going to talk about the presumptuous ones. So here are the domestic enemies of the mom with kids from more than one dad:
The Perfectly Balanced Family: 
I try to take every opportunity to teach my boys that everyone’s family is different. But some people obviously didn’t get that speech from their parents. The balanced family likes to look at my family and think, “What a mess that situation is. Those poor kids must be messed up.” 

Thanks, but not really. It’s not an ideal situation, but my kids are awesome and our family? Also awesome. My kiddos play nicely and respectfully with your kids on the playground (and unlike some other kids - don’t teach them things like how to make a toothbrush into a knife). They have manners, they don’t hit and they love their Dads just like your kids do. Every family is different but if you raise your kids right, every family can also be balanced.
The Pure People: 
Apparently, I'm impure. “She has two kids with two different men. She must be a whore!” While I’ve obviously had more than one sexual partner that does not mean that I’ve slept with an entire football team worth of men. Nor does that mean that I have casual sex, bring strange men around my kids, or introduce them to every man I date. In fact, my kids have only met one man I’ve dated. One. 
The “Responsible” People: 
This is because I am also apparently, irresponsible. These people don’t think I know what a condom or birth control is…. Except I do. Not that it's any of their business but I understand and use both traditional birth control and family planning methods. They are not all fool-proof and I have two beautiful children who serve as evidence of that.
The Abortion and Adoption Preachers: 
I was talking to a lady once who didn’t know my kids had two different dads and she said some really dumb stuff me. Like, “How unfair is it to bring a child into this world when the mom and dad are not together? What kind of life will that poor child have? There’s these things called abortion and adoption.” 

I just nodded and smiled while envisioning striking her in the throat with my hand. So, a child  - any child - is better off being aborted or adopted than being with a single mother? Is that your argument? Because lady, that is bonkers.

I've heard these kinds of statements before. I truly wish pro-choicers would give others just that – a choice - and without judgement. And let's be honest, while adoption is beautiful and wonderful it's undeniably complicated and not some easy answer. Like parents who wonder who their child became and a child who wonders why their parents didn’t “want” them. And what about the heartbreak for EVERYONE when a woman agrees to give her child up and then changes her mind? That's tough stuff. 

And at the end of the day, my kids were unplanned but not unwanted.* They are my loves, my responsibility and the best part of my life. Ideal situation or not.

(*According the CDC, 49% of pregnancies are unintended. So there's also that. xo, Lydia)
I’m sure there are more domestic enemies and I know I will encounter more as the years go on but here’s the deal: Please don’t judge someone based on what you see. Because seeing and knowing are the not the same thing.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

36 comments:

  1. People LOVE to judge! I have an 18 year-old step-son and 4 year-old twins. I love how "confused" people pretend to be by this so they can get information on how exactly this happened. Um, my husband was married before me and had a son. Amazing, isn't it? Frankly the "pure" and "balanced" families are becoming a lot less common. Show me a classroom of kids that are all "balanced" and I'll show you a dream world! Hold your head high my friend. As long as you love your kids - nothing else matters.

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  2. "Because seeing and knowing are not the same thing."

    Yes! Most of us need that reminder on a regular basis. Because even if we aren't commenting, we often are thinking that we are knowing when we are only seeing.

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  3. Good for you for taking a stand for all the single moms out there who have to live with these judgements from others. Assuming that "those kids must be really messed up" is a common misconception.

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  4. I have 5 kids. By 3 different men. Talk about feeling like a hooker sometimes! I was 17 when I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. He "wasn't ready". Yeah, well me neither. We had almost no contact after that for 14 years!
    I married my first husband when my oldest daughter was only 8 weeks old. We had two more daughters. After a decade we divorced. My second husband and I had two more daughters. Being the amazing man that he is he adopted my oldest daughter.
    I get some funny looks. But my kids are awesome. And they're all sisters, no matter who their father is.

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    1. This! I have 3 children, 3 different fathers. My oldest is 12, and her, um, sperm donor, we will call him, bailed when i told him i was pregant. (he was a catch:/) I meet someone a few years later, we got married, and my now 7 year old soon was born. For reasons I didn't get a say in, my husband left us and we divorced. Fast forward a few years, i met my fiance. We have a 17 month old son. I get strange looks all the time at the age differences between my kids, but each one is a beautiful gift from a different season of my life. Once my fiance and i get married, he plans to adopt my oldest. (my older son's father is still involved) I am looking forward to our household going down to two last names! That alone gets confusing for people. And same as you, my children are all brothers and sister, there is no "half brother/sister"

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    2. I'm the same 5 kids 3 dads 1st doner to 2 cheated gambled and drank till I could take no more (4yrs), 2nd I married turned out to be a domestic abusing controller I lasted 8 yrs 2 sons till he turned violent on my daughter we fled to a refuge, 3rd is finally my mr right we have just got married after 3 yrs and a beautiful baby girl, and may even have 1 more to even the numbers :) The middle 2's dad was Asian so they have muslim names and a tan so u can imagine the looks and round about comments I get!!, apparently to be decent human beings we should remain with 1 partner no matter how awful to ensure all children are pure :/ my children are amazing we have a lovely happy home (now) we wouldn't have if i'd have stayed with either of the other 2, we have all taken my husbands name. You would think in this day and age with all the womans rights etc we wouldn't get judged but such is life, no one bats an eye when men have multiple children with different women though :(

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    3. You just wrote my life story! I was 17 when I had my oldest daughter. Her biological dad didn't want to be in the picture. My first husband adopted her and we also had two other children during our decade of marriage. My second husband and I had twin sons two years ago, and he is amazing to all 5 of "our" kids. I never let my kids consider themselves anything other than full siblings to each other.

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    4. I love the last sentence to this comment. They are full siblings, nothing half about loving and caring for each other.

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  5. This. So Much Yes. Thank you! Also, my kids have different last names, and even my last name is different from theirs. Any kind of official paperwork...definitely an enemy. I have to bring birth certificates and my marriage certificate half the time to prove that I really am their mother.

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  6. Amen Sista! I couldn't have said it better myself :) :) :)

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  7. I have 2 sisters - one with the same dad and one with a different dad. Honestly, we forget half the time because I was her sister the minute she was born and she was mine. We are both close with our respective fathers but grew up together. I'm sure my mom wasn't delighted to have 2 girls born 16 months apart by 2 men, but she's an amazing woman and raised 3 amazing kids. Ahem.

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  8. Agree! My oldest (8) was from a man I never married. My younger boys (6 & 4) are from his great step dad, who I WAS married to. Things change, people grow, and divorce happens. Now I have 3 kids with 2 different last names, both different from mine. And I have gained two additional step kids (9 & 7) who share a last name with my now-hubby (whose name I don't use!). All the kids are" siblings". The oldest was only 5 when we got together, the littlest under a year. This is the only "family" they've ever known! They're healthy, happy, and fight like normal siblings! But luckily, I've learned to get along with BOTH my exes. The ex husband never dropped his role as" step dad" to my oldest, even after we divorced, and he still takes him overnights with the little boys! The dad of the oldest has 50% custody, and has always been very welcoming to the younger kids. (HIS ex, my oldest's EXstepmom, is taking them all to a festival this weekend!) So to all those who feel the need to judge, please go check on your OWN kids - are they sending harassing texts to a special needs child? bullying another kid at school? smarting off to adults in your neighborhood or destroying property? Because while my mixed family children are far from perfect, they are pretty good kids. I've watched them stand up for a bullied child, help older neighbors, etc. What are your perfect family children doing? Perhaps more attention should be focused there than on my kids. Cuz mine are doing JUST FINE! *rant over!*

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  9. I just want to clarify that I am one of the abortion/adoption people. I want people to understand that adoption is not all "heartbreak". And I can't stand when someone says that a birthmother "gives" up her child!! A birthmother NEVER "gives up" her child. She loves that child, but for one reason or another can not take care of that child. Adoption is a beautiful thing. Abortion is horrid!!! Children should have the right to live in a stable, loving home and I am not saying that a home with a single mother isn't going to be stable and loving. However, adoption does not have to be "heartbreaking" for anyone. There are open adoptions if both parties choose, also, where the birthparent(s) can come and visit the child and be a part of that child's life. My husband and I adopted 2 children and we love them as much as if they were our own by birth. As I tell my kids, my tummy was "broken" and I had to adopt you to become a mom. If adoption was not an option, I would not be a mom. I sometimes wonder why in the h#$% can other people have bioilogical kids and I can't and I will never understand it. An acquiantance is pregnant with a third boy who she is having from a one night stand. She lives with her parents and she can hardlly take care of the boys and herself let along another baby. She asked my opinion and I told her she should make an adoption plan. I answered her honestly. I would NOT have given my opinion had she not asked for it. There are Soooooooooooooo many loving families out there who will give these babies wonderful homes. There...off my soapbox!

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    1. Adoption is heartbreaking for the birth mother. Period. Don't deny her sacrifice.

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    2. Every woman has to make a choice to do what is right for her and what she has room for in her life and heart. As well as what she will be able to live with. I cannot imagine giving up a third baby? Not sure exactly how that would work? It wouldn't only break the mother's heart...for the rest of her life...but also her boys. Yikes! What a decision to make!

      I have 3, from 3 men. Never been married. I am sure you are a wonderful mother and the entire situation of adopting your children was blessed. I, however, would have aborted my children before I could give them up. I grew up as an "unwanted" kid in foster homes and later was adopted. I could never - ever - have a child and not be there to protect that child from this great big horrible world. My son was born when I was a mere 21, I was scared and alone. But, I got my act together and my son became my entire world...and later his sisters did the same. They will never have the terrible experiences I had as a kid, and I could only guarantee that by being their mother.

      That is the only way I could live with my decision. However, I would hold my best friend's hand through whatever decision she might have to make and support her 100%

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  10. I have 3, all from the same dad, who I am married to. We live together, and enjoy our family life. I can't say, however that they are so much better off than my friends who are single moms, with different dads. While there are some struggles associated with being a single mom, my friends kids are all loved, and well taken care of. In some cases the dad is involved, others not so much. Either way, they are being raised with values and love, which is what's important. A family is a family, and shouldn't be placed into some category of what is acceptable versus what is not. As long as the kids are being taken care of, loved and feel they have a place it shouldn't matter what the circumstances are, and I think it is high time others mind their own dam business. It must be really lonely for those who are so high up on their pedestals.

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  11. Anyone who would suggest to you that your child should have been aborted is just fucked up. That's got nothing to do with pro-choice.

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    1. This. Pro-choice has nothing to do with encouraging or even liking abortion. It is simply desiring that every woman have the choice to do what she feels is necessary if she ever feels it is. The woman who said that is what I like to call, "Fucked in the head." It's a technical term.

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    2. I totally agree. But can I just say - three of the best moms I know - with whom I'm very close - all had people suggest to them they have abortions because they got pregnant under less than ideal circumstances. I was FLOORED by this. It was so hurtful and fucked up and just WRONG. But it made me wonder how many times it happens to women and and they never say anything because it's so awful. It makes me so mad.

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  12. Agreed. I am fortunate enough to still be happily married to the father of both my kids, but he and I both come from, shall we say, complicated families. There's lots of judgement to be found out there.

    I do still think it's wise to use our experiences to teach our kids to make the best possible choices about things they can control. Not because of the preconceived notions of others, but so they can create the best possible situation for themselves and their future children. We're the best examples of the negative consequences of bad choices (sometimes ours, sometimes others') and the best examples of how to be great in spite of them!

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  13. Oh, YESSIR to all of this and the comments! I have two that are 11 years apart. I'm SO tired of getting the question everywhere we go, "WOW, that's quite an age gap there!" As if I am then expected to explain my life choices to strangers. Even if it was only due to fertility issues and not relationship ones, it's no one's damn business but my own. So I simply reply, "Yes, it is!" with a big smile and offer nothing more. I love the fake smile reaction from the statement-maker, when they realize I will offer no more information to them.

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  14. I could see (and have asked) if one (or more) of the children was adopted. Because there are a lot of families in my circle adopting, trying to adopt, or just recently having been adopted, so it's on my brain a lot these days. Not because I think you should give your children away, or abort them (I'm pro-choice, but the CHOICE part is important). I find the only way I can fight prejudice is by asking questions. Sometimes, I'll be told something is none of my business -- and that's cool. But I'm a mom, too. And whether or not I ask, my son's going to ask you or me -- or someone -- later. I hope it's me -- and I hope I can answer. I don't want him thinking he's got to tiptoe around people to learn about them. I don't want him being afraid to ask, and then hearing a rumor on the playground and thinking that's the truth. He's 10, so there is politeness and there is reasonable expectation of knowing what's going on with his friends' families -- however they are made. I don't want to assume anything about anyone's family -- so I hope you won't bite my head off if I ask. And please don't assume I don't want you as the head of your wonderful family, because that would also be bonkers!! ;)

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  15. I feel for you. I am a birth mom to twins. Very lucky in that I chose their wonderful parents and said wonderful parents have made it possible for me to know my boys as they have grown into wonderful men.
    When i was pregnant, people judged me for getting pregnant, judged me for choosing way ahead of birth time that I was going to give them up for adoption. Both of them- one ex friend even suggested that I should keep one. As if the non chosen to stay child had no future issues of why she gave me up but kept my twin brother??? yeah. it is why we are EX friends.
    My family has supported me through 26 yrs of being a birth mom. some days were unbelievably hard. and some days were sweet- sometimes those were the same days, like when I got photos or preschool artwork in the mail.
    I am proud of myself for knowing what my boys needed and being strong enough to let that happen.

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  16. great story. right up to the part where you used the word pro-choicers at which point I almost threw up a little. suggesting that a baby is better off dead than with a single mother is just jackassary and has nothing to do with being pro-choice. then there was the mention of unwanted adopted children and I have to say as being in an adopted family I can assure you that they are very much loved and
    wanted.

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    1. I think she was using the "unwanted" feeling in terms of how a child might feel when coming to grips with the meaning of being adopted. Yeah, they still know they are loved and wanted by their family, but there is still that "other" person/family that "didn't want" them and therefore have them up for adoption. I don't think the author is implying that kids are adopted just because no one else wanted them or that the kids always feel a sense of "no one wants me."

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    2. The unwanted comment had to do with the child wondering why he/she was given up by the birth parents - which is perfectly natural. Adopted children are VERY, VERY wanted by their families. And yes - the term "pro-choicer" would be better described as "asshole" in this context. I think she used that moniker to describe the woman who thought single moms should have an abortion, and not intended it to describe all of us who respectfully support women's reproductive freedom.

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  17. I was a teen mom and choose life for my son. My mother and i raised him and he has our last name. I met the second love of my life (besides my sweet son) when he was 3. He is the only father he has ever known. We married and had a second child and they are 5 1/2 years apart. They are total opposites and don't look alike at all. However, my husband and eldest look so similar it's scary! My mom always jokes asking if i'm sure he isn't his dad. Unfortunately, i'm sure! And We are now pregnant with our 3rd child. So they will be 12,6 and a newborn. We chose to wait and enjoy our babies as babies and not lump together. my brother and i are 13 months apart. My parents were married for 30 years before they divorced and i now have a step brother on my dad's side i haven't seen in years. And My husband is the oldest of 5 kids and none of them share the same mom and Dad. his mom and dad had an abortion before him. So people need to quit judging and look into their lives. I didn’t dream of having a child out of wedlock but I wouldn’t trade him for the world!

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  18. I have 2 daughters of my own (11mo & 3yrs), from the same dad, and until my idiot husband moved out a few months ago, 2 awesome step-sons (14&16) who lived with us full time. I am 5 years younger than my ex, I would've had to have given birth in the middle of my senior year with the oldest son. I am the parent that went to school functions, and parent meetings. So, toting my stroller & later double stroller, off we went to the high school or middle school catching my unfair share of nasty looks. I tried to ignore them as much as possible because I happen to ROCK as a step-mom.

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  19. We have friends who got married just over a year ago. The wife has two boys from two previous relationships, and the husband has a girl from a previous relationship. All of the ex-partners are still involved with the kids, and I have no idea how they keep up with who is with who when.
    I do admit I was a bit of a Judgy McJudgerson of them in the past, but the only real downside to their family situation is when the kids have to map out their family tree at school, they'll need a bit more paper. At the end of the day, they are happy, the kids are happy, and every so often, the schedules all align and they have a WHOLE weekend with NO kids!

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  20. growing up I looked so vastly different than my biological sister, who looked exactly like our stepsister.
    I was blessed with the fair complexion, she had the darker hair and eyes.
    Grocery stores: is she adopted? meaning me.
    now mom is remarried, so I have 2 more step sisters.
    my 3 kids? they have a step brother on this side, and 2 half sisters on their dad's side.
    Only we don't differeniate. we just live, its all family. I still call my ex's mom and grandma, he still brings the kids to my grandparents.
    Certainly not traditional. Ages: 15, 10, 8, 7, 5, and 4.

    Family is family, no matter how complicated or simple. Each life is so different, our thoughts, personalities, opinions, and choices, the only thing we should have to worry about with dealing with others? How am I supposed to get along with that person?

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  21. I love you for this post. I have three children, one from a previous relationship and two with my husband of 8 years. The kids are only spaced a couple of years apart, and they all look so much alike that nobody suspects they're half-siblings. In fact, I don't think much about it either, because my son's biological father is not in the picture, and my husband has raised him for 9 years. Yet when a judgey mcjudgerson realizes that my son has a different last name...ugh. For the most part, it's not seen as a big deal, at least in the company I choose to keep. In fact, I know quite a few people in similar situations. Of course I have been judged, especially as a young mom (loved that "domestic enemies" post as well) but as I've gotten older, I've learned to shake it off and not let it affect me, because I KNOW everything has happened exactly as it's meant to. No, I didn't plan to have a baby at 19 with a man (boy) whom I thought loved me, but didn't. However, I would not trade my son for anything in the world. He has been the light of my life since the second he was born. He is exceptionally gifted, a mega talented athlete, hilarious, ambitious, everybody's friend, and an amazing big brother. "Unplanned, but not unwanted." Darn right!!! Can't imagine life without any of my precious children!

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  22. I have a "traditional" family, so I cannot relate to your domestic enemies.....but you know they're all just ding dongs (self censoring...) I Love your post!!! Being a mother is the most thankless and most thankful job in the world. All that matters, in the end, is that you love your kids and you are raising them just as you should....everyone else can take a flying leap (I am totally censoring myself again right now!!!) Take care my dear and thank you for the awesome post!!!

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  23. Im 27 and im a mother of 4 loving children and have my fifth on the way. I do this all alone and it can be really hard but I get up evey morning and get through my day. My oldest I had at 16 and I was so happy to have him I knew having sex at a young age could lead to a baby but I.also was being careful but it happened anyways. 4 years later I had 3 more with my ex and now years later I couldn't imagine.life without them I would feel so bored and lonely with iut them. The new baby is on the way now and I was thinking of other options I.could do but now I know this will be our new addition to our family and I couldn't be happier, I know I have 5 children now and three dads but they have one strong mom who will always fight and be there for them:)

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  24. I will say this, i have 3 children to a woman who already had a previous child when i met her. Now she has a house and numerous benefits. Her plan was to have as many kids as possible and live off benefit and she said that if i was not willing to give her more children, then she would make more with another guy. We were together for 5 years and during the last 2 years did her best to break me down. My kids see me once a week if I'm lucky for 2 hours. I would like to add that i was not abusive or anything of the sort, but quite the opposite. She now has had a 5th child. What do you make of my circumstances people?

    Clearly the mother has had issues since teen years, her dad neglected her, she was suffering eating disorders, self harmed herself with tattooing. My kids are feeling the pain are confused, as i can clearly see this and it shows in their behaviour. She refused me contact at firstuntil i went to the solicitors.

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  25. So why didn't the OP use condoms? Preventing pregnancy isn't that hard

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  26. I'm. A single mom of 3 by 3 different dads. I planed to never marry. Because marriage does. Not work like it used to. I never intend to get devorced and I garuntee that won't happen by. Never getting married. Look at the stats! My children were not expected bit never unwanted. And I will not marry, abort or adopt to please anyone. Also just because I have a kid with you does not mean you have me locked down or that I will put Up with any of your crap! Standing up for my self does not make me a slut. Refusing to settle for the kids does not make me a whore and my kids are not any less then the "perfect" kids from the alleged. "Perfect" families. They are mostly "perfectly " miserable. If you ask me. Put the "perfect" kids next to mine and tell me you're opinion on my life after you realise what amazing little lady's I have while the so called"perfect" children. Bring on thoughts of suicide. I have to be doing something right. To Have such great children. I make no apologies for doing what's right for my self and girls. And God help the person that tries to make me feel less because I have a tendency to slap those people with the truth so hard they are left in tears. The "perfects" need to get over the jealousy that they set them selves up for an almost certain devorce, court proceedings that bleed them financially dry, and the list goes on. Don't judge me for being smart and refusing to place my self smd children in to the pitfalls that most "perfect " parents put them selves in! No one can make you feel inferior with out your permission. And nobody will ever get that form me especially if it is a result of the regret of their life descisions. Sucks to be you, don't hate me for being smart!

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