Eviction Notice

Welcome to the "On Balance" guest blog. Every Tuesday, "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Writers need to use their full names. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Dawn Zamanis

I am a divorced single mother to five sons under age 15. I work from home as a freelance writer. I live with a benign brain tumor. I've fallen off the proverbial balance beam so many times over the years, all I've got to pass on today is my conviction that balancing life means keeping life in perspective.

Five years ago, it might have appeared that I had it all. I was married, living in a sprawling mini-mansion on the west coast of Florida. I worked from home. My husband and I staged our fights by our in-ground pool, in a master bath larger than the lobby of the Plaza Hotel and throughout 2,500 square feet of living space.

After our divorce, I downsized my life into a rented 1,400 square foot home, sans pool. Eventually, the testosterone level at home began to reach dangerous levels. Two of my five sons hit puberty, and the remaining three inched closer and closer. Many times I found myself longing for the company of a female friend or a surrogate daughter. I once resorted to asking my sons "Does this outfit make me look fat?" They looked at me as if I were crazy (and fat). My life clearly lacked balance. But how was I going to find it?

The divining wand turned out to be my eviction notice from my landlord. I grew up and spent the first 35 years of life in Brooklyn, N.Y., much of which time I worked as an insurance broker, before having my children and moving to the Sunshine State. Florida was never for me. Although I was inundated with children, laundry, lawnmowers and freelance deadlines for the Tampa Tribune, New York beckoned me like a siren blaring at 2 a.m., jolting me in my gut. I took eviction as a sign to return to the city where my life had taken root in 1967, the only place I'd ever truly felt like me.

With five kids in tow, I moved back to civilization as I knew it. We are now squeezed into 700 square feet in Brooklyn, close to friends, street sounds and the city life. Bodegas and pizzerias, block parties and cellar doors; air-conditioners that jut from windows; the Mill Basin Kosher Deli with the best pastrami sandwich in Brooklyn; snow plows and street sweepers; the Botanic Gardens; Coney Island; and the seasons I missed for years. Three of my five sons are finishing the school year in Tampa and will be back in New York in May.

Finding balance is more than opting to work outside the home, inside the home, or at home with kids. Balancing family, work, and life encompasses more than coping with logistics involving schedules, guilt over "quality time" spent with kids, whether to be a stay-at-home mom, work from home, or remain in the workplace after having children. It's about finding and being comfortable with your private level of balance. And your balance is as unique as your own fingerprint.

Dawn Zamanis lives in New York and is a single mom to five sons ages 15, 14, 11, and 10-year-old identical twins. She writes for The Bay Currents, contributes to Twins Magazine, and serves on the advisory board for the National Organization of Single Mothers.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Dawn-Great guest blog. I hope your ex husband is helping you out financially. Your living space is making the DC area look luxurious. I grew up in NY too. I really miss the theater, ballet, and deli. You just don't get real deli here. Best of luck to you and your family. It sounds like you got your hands full. I also hope your health remains steady.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 22, 2008 7:35 AM

What is the point of this Guest Blog?

Posted by: Confused | April 22, 2008 7:49 AM

I believe the point is - balance (and life) is what you make of it

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:15 AM

But Katz has the best pastrami sandwich in the city.

Posted by: Yum! | April 22, 2008 8:17 AM

"What is the point of this Guest Blog?"

Read the last paragraph.

IMO, this is the best entry ever written on this blog. Everyone has to find their own balance.

Posted by: lurker | April 22, 2008 8:23 AM

Holy mackerel, Dawn. You are a survivor for sure. I wish you all the best.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 8:27 AM

"Everyone has to find their own balance."

Really? I didn't know that.

What's the next guest blog: "Breathing, everybody needs to do it."

Posted by: Really? | April 22, 2008 8:27 AM

Why do people in bad relationships have so many children? This is just a general question.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:28 AM

Why do people in bad relationships have so many children?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:29 AM

because 50% of children are not planned, and twins cause a huge jump from three to five kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:32 AM

"Why do people in bad relationships have so many children?"

I think it is because some people think that having another kid will solve the problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:33 AM

"Why do people in bad relationships have so many children?"

And then expect sympathy & support when the marriage goes bust?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:37 AM

"because 50% of children are not planned"

Um, no, we went through this yesterday on "On Parenting." According to the Guttmacher Institute

"• Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.[1] Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.[2]" (from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html)

Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, but 40% of unplanned pregnancies are terminated. So roughly 5/8 of the children born are planned (roughly 62.5%) and that leaves roughly 37.5% unplanned.

Granted, Guttmacher's pretty biased on the pro-choice side of the abortion equation, but you're welcome to present other statistics from sources you consider more reliable. (Yesterday foamgnome had some statistics from the CDC which weren't terribly out of line from the ones above.)

This math lesson brought to you by Geeks Anonymous.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 8:41 AM

"Read the last paragraph. "


Then print the last paragraph only. The rest was poorly written.


"IMO, this is the best entry ever written on this blog. Everyone has to find their own balance."

Everyone has to find their own balance! WOW!! Call the Times! Wire Washington! Alert Stockholm!


Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:42 AM

"Why do people in bad relationships have so many children?"

Well, sometimes the relationship is good when the children are born. When couples break up, sometimes no one is surprised, and sometimes it is a shock to everyone but the spouse who leaves.

Posted by: amazing | April 22, 2008 8:43 AM

What do the five kids think of Brooklyn vs. Florida? Did anyone ask their opinion? Were they given any input at all? Or were they just told "we're moving 1,500 miles away from your home and your father. Stinks to be you!"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 8:47 AM

Why are people so nasty?? It's so sad.

Go ahead, mock me all you want, if it makes you feel better! :0)

Posted by: WDC 21113 | April 22, 2008 9:05 AM

Um, I have a 700 sf condo that I share with my cat. And it seems small. One adult and five kids? Good luck.....poor kids, especially the teens. They need some sort of privacy at that age.

Posted by: Me | April 22, 2008 9:07 AM

I think that this is a wonderful blog. Finally, we see someone who knows what makes her happy and just does it rather than spending time worrying whether she should be a SAHM or a WAHM. I see so many women on this blog complain about the lives that they have or judge other people's lives. Use this as a reminder that we all need to do what makes us happy and if we find we are not happy, we need to find a way to adjust the situation.

Also, what is up with the negative posts today? Individuals with those posts come accross as being jealous. If you were really happy with your life, would you judge so much?

Posted by: Thought | April 22, 2008 9:12 AM

"Why are people so nasty?? It's so sad.

Go ahead, mock me all you want, if it makes you feel better! :0)"

How much homework did you do on this blog before you submitted your Guest Blog?

A professional writer would have scoped out the audience in advance. You didn't. That is sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:13 AM

Yes, I'm sure it *is* small. Ouch. A friend of mine, after having her child in her probably tinier than 700 sft apt in NYC found out her sister died (she had been sick). So she took them in. They moved not long after to Atlanta, but they figured out how to make it work (especially difficult since the children were making the move from Africa, where they are from).

Posted by: atlmom | April 22, 2008 9:15 AM

"Also, what is up with the negative posts today? Individuals with those posts come accross as being jealous. If you were really happy with your life, would you judge so much?"

Poorly written material tends to trigger negative reviews that have nothing to do with being jealous. Unless you are in high school, of course.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:16 AM

Wow, Dawn, your story reminds me of my mom's: divorced when I was 4, had a "safe" job teaching in the local high school, but it wasn't the life she really wanted. So she quit, moved us across the country, and went back for her Ph.D. And that decision made all the difference for us.

I appreciate your focus on putting things in perspective. When I ran into hard times, the big moment was when I stopped thinking "why me?" and started thinking "why not me?" It made me realize how vulnerable everyone is to bad [stuff] happening, and how fortunate I was to have the resources and support and fortitude to handle it. We got through, and I know you will, too.

Posted by: Laura | April 22, 2008 9:20 AM

This is all about how she wanted to go to ny, but nothing about her kid's reactions? 5 kids did not move to ny. only 2 did. Could she be in abandonment of the 3 who did not move?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:20 AM

The title of this blog should be "All about Dawn".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:25 AM

Actually anon, you are acting as if you are ni high school with your comments. If you are so disinterested in this blog, why do you continue to harass the writer about it. A mature adult would just read something else (there is a lot of content on the internet so something must interest you).

Seriously, you sound like a bitter angry person in your posts.

Posted by: Thought | April 22, 2008 9:27 AM

Could she be in abandonment of the 3 who did not move?

Interesting moral compass. What about the father's abandonment of his wife and the other kids? How much child support is he paying?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:27 AM

Jeez, people. What kind of lives do people live that they have to get all their nasties out someone who bothered to share a piece of her life with the public?

I think this was one of the best guest blog posts I've read here. Everybody always complains that the guest bloggers are the same. I'm kind of tired of reading about the SAH-parent vs. WOH-parent aspect of balance. Relationships with spouses, relationships with yourself, relationships with your place in life (physically and emotionally, etc.), relationship with your finances (and your landlord or lender!).... these are all part of balance too. So, thank you, Dawn, for bringing some balance to this blog!

Posted by: JEGS | April 22, 2008 9:29 AM

Dawn,
You're right. A big part of "balance" is living where you're comfortable. I have a friend who lives about a mile from me, in one of the new "big" homes--and she has pretty snooty neighbors. I don't think she's ever felt very comfortable where she lives. The other day, she came over to our home...we're in the small houses that used to be the low income homes...on the edge of all those big new homes. But our house is comfortable for us. We also live on a court that's very close-knit. Nobody is taking big fancy vacations, or driving an expensive car--in fact at least half the block is blue collar. But it's the kind of block where you come home after a long day, and someone yells across the street "what are you doing for dinner? We have plenty of food on the barbecue." So, you go over and join several other families for good food, a glass of wine, and friendship after a long day. It's also the type of neighborhood where kids play out in the street all the time. Where you can find someone to watch your kids at any moment while you run to the store. Where kids actually still sell lemonaide on the weekends...and everyone comes out to buy some, and visit. Where neighbors knock on your door because they just baked bread and wanted to bring you a loaf. We're also a league of nations...with families from all walks of life. Not like my friends fancy, "whitebread" section of hte neighborhood. The other day, she came over and one neighbor was out with her daycare kids. Another was blasting her Latino music while she washed her car...her three year old helping her. I thought for a minute, what does my friend think of where I live? It's a lot more blue collar than where she is. But you know what, it's very comfortable for us! That reminds me of your post. You have to live the life that feels good, and balanced for you.

Posted by: kattoo | April 22, 2008 9:30 AM

divorced when I was 4, had a "safe" job teaching in the local high school, but it wasn't the life she really wanted.

Talk about selfish, putting you through years of childhood poverty instead of delaying her own gratification.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:30 AM

What kind of lives do people live that they have to get all their nasties out someone who bothered to share a piece of her life with the public?

You've never heard of TMI?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:34 AM

WDC 21113 and Thought: While some of the responses to this guest blog may come across as nasty because they're terse, they do raise some issues. Yes, this is a short Guest Blog and so Dawn can't go into the details, but some of the legitimate issues raised include:

-What do the five kids think of this? Were they given any input at all? Yes, kids get moved across the country without their input all the time (like, because their parents are in the military:-), but that would be a big issue, ESPECIALLY because they're apparently being removed from their father.

-I'm going to presume that the three kids who are still in Florida are with their father. Correct? Do they want to stay there with him permanently and not join their mother in Brooklyn? How's that resolved? And does the fact that they're boys make any difference?

-The timeline in the blog is confusing. Okay, it looks like Dawn was born in Brooklyn in 1967. She lived there for 35 years; that makes is 2002 when they moved to Florida. So all five kids were born by then; the twins were 4 or 5 and the others older. They were only in Florida for 5-6 years, depending on when she moved back. So why is this so traumatic?

There's lots more left unwritten. Again, we understand space limitations, editing, etc. But it just seems like the blog writer had a point to make - she had to find her own version of balance and that required moving back "home". In making that point, she threw in enough extra information to cause questions, but not enough extra information to answer those questions.

So don't blame all the seemingly snarky questions on people being mean or nasty. Some of them may be, but some of them seem to be legitimate questions that are worthy of discussion/answers.

(And as has been noted many times before, anyone posting a guest blog and expecting only a long string of 'you go, girl!' responses is in for a rude awakening.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 9:38 AM

divorced when I was 4, had a "safe" job teaching in the local high school, but it wasn't the life she really wanted.

Talk about selfish, putting you through years of childhood poverty instead of delaying her own gratification.

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 9:30 AM

The post you're referring to didn't sound like "childhood poverty"--it sounded like someone who had a mom who showed her what it was like to have the fortitude to follow her dreams. That's a much more important lesson than having a fancy address. I always tell the same thing to my son, who's still in elementary school. He'll ask me how much a certain type of job pays...and I'll remind him that you have to really LOVE whatever occupation you choose because you'll be spending a lot of time doing it. What type of lesson does "sticking it out" in a job that you don't love or hate, teach your children? It's much healthier for a child to see a parent who realizes they're in the wrong career--or in the case of Dawn living in the wrong area of the country--and "right" things so they are happy. When the parents are happy it's much better for the kids' well-being. And it's also an EXCELLENT lesson for kids to learn that if you get stuck in the wrong job, or home, or whatever, that you have the power to change it! If more people realized that there would be far fewer alcoholics, overeaters, and people addicted to all sorts of antidepressants. Life isn't about enduring your lot in life--it's about using the resources you have to LIVE!


Posted by: kattoo | April 22, 2008 9:39 AM

"What kind of lives do people live that they have to get all their nasties out someone who bothered to share a piece of her life with the public?"


Dawn is a PROFESSIONAL writer and should be aware of what to expect when a person serves up his or her personal life for public consumption on the Net.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:39 AM

I felt disappointed by this guest blog. When Dawn mentioned her brain cancer, I thought that was going to be the central aspect of the story. Instead she wrote about moving. I understand that is important to balance too but it seems to be the smaller part of the story here. Incidentally, I hope she consulted her children on moving. When I had to move with my military family as a child, I hated it and always found it made it harder for me to have close friends and I couldn't have too many expectations since I would soon be gone again. Not everyone loves the big city; maybe her children were very happy in their hometown, just as she was as a child.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 9:40 AM

To each his own, of course, but I recommend that we let the insecure, miserable troll have this blog to herself until WaPO restores registration to this blog.

This could have been a great guest blog for the grown folks here to disucss.

Posted by: MN | April 22, 2008 9:42 AM

I thought it was an awesome post. I know that from time to time (espeically sitting in traffic) I think, would we be better off / happier / more balanced if we lived somewhere else? I think a lot of us question our decisions. Then you have Dawn who answered a calling and made a BIG change to put her family where her experience and heart thought they'd be happiest. How do you know its time to make a BIG change?

Also love the statement that "balance is unique" -- many paths to happiness!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 22, 2008 9:42 AM

"How do you know its time to make a BIG change?"

Arlington Dad: you've picked out a very interesting question to discuss. Anyone have any thoughts?

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 9:44 AM

ArmyBrat

"But it just seems like the blog writer had a point to make - she had to find her own version of balance and that required moving back "home". In making that point, she threw in enough extra information to cause questions, but not enough extra information to answer those questions."

Bingo!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:44 AM

FloridaChick: "Not everyone loves the big city; maybe her children were very happy in their hometown, just as she was as a child."

That's part of the point; reading the blog carefully makes it look like Florida wasn't the kids' "hometown". It looks like all five were born in Brooklyn, then moved to Florida when there were between 4-5 and 9-10 years old. But yes, maybe the kids were happier there in Florida, which is why I asked if some of them would prefer to stay there with their father.

And I agree with your point about moving as part of a military family. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 9:46 AM

You're all missing the bigger questions here -- are the boys Tampa Bay or Marlins fans and have you been able to convert them to Yankees or Met fans yet? I grew up in NY too, really miss those delis and diners down here in DC. I think it was extremely brave of Dawn to transplant her family. I would love a little less negativity on these posts too, btw.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | April 22, 2008 9:46 AM

Wow, Kattoo. You should love what you do, but children also have to learn responsibility and finishing what you start. The shift from a sense of duty to the sense of "me, me, me" has had a lot to down with the problems of this generation. Many employers find that young people feel entitled to be happy at work and not do the grunt work required when starting out. Parents should model a balance where you have to sometimes shut up and do what you don't like because it is required of you with pursuing your own activities to satisfy yourself.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 9:48 AM

We all know the plural of anecdote is not data, but for me, the lack of money never mattered as much as my parents' fighting and their unhappiness did - and that didn't take off until things were actually better financially, when I was 12 or so.

We all make compromises, but putting our childrens short-term happiness before our long-term health - and theirs! - is disastrous. Sure, you teach them about duty and responsibility, but you can do that and more if you move somewhere that is good for you and show them that you can _balance_ your needs with your family's. Kids not having to move is nice, but takes a back seat to the primary caregiver's mental health.
Plus, living in such a different city will give them a valuable alternate perspective on life.

Posted by: enkafiles | April 22, 2008 9:48 AM

Amazing! All you(probably just one)posters who think she made this decision out of the blue clearly don't know what you are talking about.
I'm sure she had to get her ex-husbands premission to move the boys out of state. And the boys staying behind to finish school isn't uncommon when folks move in the middle of the school year.
Didn't your parents teach you that if you have nothing nice to say then don't say it at all!?

Posted by: getalife | April 22, 2008 9:51 AM

The Queen Bees and Wanna Bees are circling the wagons.....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:51 AM

Off topic poll: My daughter starts kindergarten in the fall. She is scared to take the bus which picks up on the corner, very close. Our neighbor drives her rising 1st grader son back and forth each day and has offered to take my daughter. What to do? I'd prefer the bus but am also scared, she'll be riding with K-5. Any suggestions for helping her get over her fear?

Posted by: Lurkette | April 22, 2008 9:51 AM

Wow, Kattoo. You should love what you do, but children also have to learn responsibility and finishing what you start. The shift from a sense of duty to the sense of "me, me, me" has had a lot to down with the problems of this generation. Many employers find that young people feel entitled to be happy at work and not do the grunt work required when starting out. Parents should model a balance where you have to sometimes shut up and do what you don't like because it is required of you with pursuing your own activities to satisfy yourself.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 9:48 AM

_____________

I agree with you that you're right, you should be responsible and "finish what you start"--meaning finish raising your children, and providing for them. So, if your idea of happiness is taking a job that can't provide for your family, that wouldn't be a good choice. I also agree with you that you should have reasonable expectations when starting out in a field. But I don't agree that there's any value in sticking with a day-in, day-out job that you really hate. That's no life for you. It's not going to cause you to be a happy parent. And I think that's a bad lesson to teach your kids. If you have the power to make a change--then I believe you should! Sometimes I think too many people worry about what others thing, and lack guts. I think you'll raise the happiest, most resilient children by having a happy home that's energized by the passion you have for your career, and your life!!!!

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 9:53 AM

"Plus, living in such a different city will give them a valuable alternate perspective on life."

enkafiles & kattoo - you make some valid points, but as FloridaChick pointed out, there's another side. (Actually, more than one other side.) Suppose you've decided that you're happier moving a thousand miles away, going for that dream job. But it means that the kids will only see the other parent once or twice a year. Is that fair to the kids? Is it fair to the other parent? Do you care? Should you ignore the thoughts of the kids and the other parent, and just do what makes YOU happy? That's a real question that lots of adults have to face every year. And while it sounds good to say "go for your dream!" if going for your dream means crushing the dreams of several other people, is that still really the right thing to do?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 9:55 AM

Lurkette -- get her on the bus! In our neighborhood at least, they put the kindergarteners in the front of the bus, so the little ones arern't thrown in with 4th and 5th graders.

Riding the bus and waiting at the bus stop is a great way for her to get to know the kids who live nearby. If you can find just one first or second grader in the neighborhood who rides the bus to befriend her before school starts, that will help her get excited and comfortable too.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 22, 2008 9:56 AM

I think a mom going back to school to get her Ph.D is great - what a wonder example she must have been and still is to her children. It showed them they can achieve their goals no matter what.

Posted by: Me | April 22, 2008 9:56 AM

"Didn't your parents teach you that if you have nothing nice to say then don't say it at all!?"

Why is there a First Amendment?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:57 AM

For Lurkette: Why not let your daughter carpool with your neighbor for a few weeks while she settles into kindergarten, and when she (and you) feel more comfortable, try the bus? No need to start everything new at once.

Posted by: acorn | April 22, 2008 9:58 AM

Dawn Zamanis is a divorced single mom of five sons ages 14 and under, including identical twins, two special needs children, and one son with a congenital heart defect.

She has been a freelance writer for over 15 years for national publications. For the past two years, she has been a columnist for The Brandon News & Tribune (Tampa Tribune), and also pens a column in a newspaper in her beloved hometown- Brooklyn, New York, The Bay Currents.

Dawn is a greatly admired "single mom expert" raising five sons completely on her own and encouraging thousands of single mothers who face extraordinary challenges. She also has extensive experience and a vast understanding of children with mental illness and the mothers who raise them alone. Her volunteer work has included mentoring troubled teens, (particulary boys), teaching disadvantaged foster children creative writing skills, and participating in "The Great American Teach- Ins" at area public schools invoking inspiration while sharing her gift of writing with young students. She truly is a voice for the millions of DIVAS (DIVorced And Separated) single moms.

Dawn is currently at work on a non-fiction book exploring the real-life struggles of single mothers, particularly those with special needs children. She is also a contributing author to national magazines and is on the advisory board of the National Organization of Single Mothers, in addition to contributing articles to Single Mothers Online.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 9:58 AM

"Talk about selfish, putting you through years of childhood poverty instead of delaying her own gratification.

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 9:30 AM"

Umm, wow, excellent job of missing the point. Yes, we were poor for a few years. But we were ALREADY poor. So our choices were to lock in that guaranteed lower-middle-class, always-struggling life, or to take a chance, go on Food Stamps for a few years, but then have a degree that gave us a chance at a better life.

It wasn't a refusal to delay gratification. It was an intentional choice TO delay gratification: she knew that BOTH of us would be better off long-term if she had the degree and the better job to go along with it. And guess what? We were.

Wow. Only on this blog would a single mom sacrificing to go back to school to make a better life for her family be considered a selfishness.

Posted by: Laura | April 22, 2008 9:59 AM

" She truly is a voice for the millions of DIVAS (DIVorced And Separated) single moms."

I doubt it. She is not a voice for ME.

More poorly written material.

Posted by: Still confused | April 22, 2008 10:02 AM

Lurkette

Try to have your child ride the bus. After all if you rely on your neighbor, what are you going to do when the neighbors' child is sick - your neighbor isn't going to leave her sick child at home or bundle them into the car just for you. So you will either end up driving your child or having your child ride the bus.

See if there is another kindergartener on the bus your child can befriend before the beginning of the school year. It will be a familar face to make the bus ride more fun.

In waiting for the bus with my daughter when she was that age I learned a lot from the other parents who also were waiting with their children (who the good teachers were, found a babysitting co-op, etc.) I even made a few friends.

Posted by: Mom_of_1 | April 22, 2008 10:06 AM

"Wow. Only on this blog would a single mom sacrificing to go back to school to make a better life for her family be considered a selfishness. "

Wow. Only on this blog would another point of view get trashed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:06 AM

"Dawn is a greatly admired "single mom expert" raising five sons completely on her own"

If by her own admission three of her five sons are in Fla. while she is in NY how is she raising them on her own? These children are minors, someone in Fla (assume the father) is dealing with those day to day issues with the majority (3 out of 5)of her children.

Not trying to be nasty but if your publicity is saying something that you are "greatly admired" for doing something you should at least be doing it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:11 AM

"...Dawn is a greatly admired "single mom expert" raising five sons completely on her own ..."

umm, great bio, anon @ 9:58, but it doesn't match the guest blog. She (and husband) moved to Florida in approximately 2002, when the kids were 4 or 5 through 9 or 10, so she didn't raise her kids completely on her own up until that point. They fought there ("...by the pool.." etc.), so the divorce happened there. Okay, let's assume that the father completely abandoned the family in 2002 or 2003, so she's been raising the kids completely on her own for five years. Maybe, maybe.

But what about those three kids who stayed behind in Florida to finish the school year? She's certainly not raising them "completely on her own". I noted above that I'd presume they're with their father, which if true would give lie to a number of points in the bio the 9:58 anon poster provided. Okay, maybe they're not; maybe the father did completely abandon them and those kids are with friends. But she's still not taking care of them on her own.

So, this bio doesn't help answer the many questions that the guest blog raised.

(And to getalife @ 9:51: yes, kids staying behind to finish the school year is a common phenomenon among us military brats; I'm more than a little familiar with the concept! But it's more evidence that she's NOT raising the kids completely without help.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 10:13 AM

Why wasn't being a schoolteacher good enough for Laura's mother? Are we prejudiced against schoolteachers here? She needed to support her daughter, not plunge her into poverty for years. She could've gone back to school after she saved up enough money.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:16 AM

I'm surprised that someone is being so hard on a mother for going back to school to give her children a better life. That is the point of public assistance: a short-term program to help a family take the necessary steps to rise out of poverty. Kudos to your mother Laura and ignore anyone who doesn't even have the bravery to sign a consistent pseudonym to their post.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 10:22 AM

http://singlemothers.org/cms/index.php?Itemid=69&id=65&option=com_content&task=view

Posted by: 9:58 Bio Source | April 22, 2008 10:24 AM

Why wasn't being a schoolteacher good enough for Laura's mother? Are we prejudiced against schoolteachers here? She needed to support her daughter, not plunge her into poverty for years. She could've gone back to school after she saved up enough money.

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 10:16 AM

She wanted something different - and the longer you wait, the harder is it make that leap to go back to school. And I am speaking as someone who knows (was on the 20 year plan myself, but I did finish!).

Posted by: Me | April 22, 2008 10:24 AM

being so hard on a mother for going back to school to give her children a better life

We're not talking basic literacy or a GED, or a Bachelor's degree, but a doctorate. Not a necessity of life.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:33 AM

I enjoyed this essay.
There is not enough space in these entries to address the details for the satisfaction of the lurking snarks and snarkettes. Dawn made the best of tough situations (cancer, divorce, moving, spceial needs kids, etc). to make a better life.

She also realized that she alone was responsible for her own happiness, beyond the societal expectations of a big house, and marriage.

Posted by: chemguy | April 22, 2008 10:34 AM

http://singlemothers.org/cms/index.php?Itemid=69&id=65&option=com_content&task=view

Dawn's photo.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:34 AM

"She also realized that she alone was responsible for her own happiness, beyond the societal expectations of a big house, and marriage."

Duh!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:36 AM

"Didn't your parents teach you that if you have nothing nice to say then don't say it at all!?"

Why is there a First Amendment?


Posted by: | April 22, 2008 9:57 AM

The First Amendment doesn't prohibit your parents or anyone else in your vicinity from advising you that shutting up would be a one-woman beautification project.

The First Amendment only prohibits the US Congress from enacting laws that abridge US citizens' right to free speech.

In light of your confusion about what passes for civil discourse, it's no surprise that you are confused about the contents of the First Amendment, a document you could Google in less than 1/8 of the amount of time you spend thoughtlessly filling this space with bile.

Posted by: Annoyed Government Major | April 22, 2008 10:39 AM

Anon 9:57
You are correct about the First Amendment-but my guess is that if you address people in your life like the way you post then you must be a very lonely person.

Armybrat-sorry I must have missed the part of her blog where she says she is raising them completely without help. 5 boys-goodness I hope she has help!

Posted by: getalife | April 22, 2008 10:44 AM

Lurkette - put the kid on the bus. Usually they have a day where kids can go to the elementary school and get on the bus, meet bus drivers and get acclimated. If you start driving the princess now, you will be chauffering her around the rest of your life. She is probably not that scared.

Posted by: Get Real | April 22, 2008 10:49 AM

getalife - that's not in the blog itself; it's in the bio that was posted at 9:58. I pointed out that that bio contradicted the blog.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 10:52 AM

I think this blog speaks to the theme of personal fulfillment in terms of life balance. Dawn knew that she needed to find a way to get back her sense of self, post-divorce, and she realized that it might mean making that big change. That's a huge step in the direction of balance.

Posted by: JEGS | April 22, 2008 10:54 AM

I think the unclear issue is the extent Dawn's ex-husband is still involved in raising their children, or not. Did he completely abandon them, or are the older ones still with him in Florida? Are the handicapped boys institutionalized or at home? Dawn needs to come onto the blog to clear up some of this confusion, so the snarkers can't get distracted by it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:55 AM

Lurkette - having had four kids go through it, I'll join the others in saying "put the child on the bus." The kids are almost always seated by age (whether by rule or because it works out that way), and it's good for the children to start interacting with kids who are older. (If not now, when?)

Unless you have evidence that the older kids on the bus are out of control (e.g., hard facts from somebody else whose child has ridden the bus), put the child on the bus.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 10:55 AM

There are a lot of people on this board who enjoy spending their time writing posts to insight controversy--but really not even controversy--just to see how whatever comes off the top of their head flies with others. To those posters, including "The Voice of Reason"--which The Washington Post needs to DELETE--are you having lots of fun? Is writing mean things giving you a tremendous sense of satisfaction? I hope so...because otherwise you're wasting a tremendous amount of time for no reason.

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 10:56 AM

Perhaps Dawn can come back and answer some of the "real" questions posed by posters? I think there are some holes in this essay, sounds like the father is somewhat involved, are some of the boys with him?

Also, what are the complications of the benign brain tumor? Hopefully minimal, but it is mentioned and just left there.

Posted by: Get Real | April 22, 2008 10:56 AM

Kattoo- I completely agree. I'm from rural NY, so moving here and meeting my husband who grew up in Fairfax has been a shock for me. It seems like people around here are so focused on making more money and having an even bigger, more expensive home than their "friends" that the give up so much quality of life over it. In my mind, how important is the huge house if by the time you get home form your 12 hour work day and 2 hour commute each way, your kids are already in bed and there's no time to do anything enjoyable? My Dad always told us to choose our career based on something we would do even if we weren't getting paid. I understand responsibilities, but people often just live within their means. There are plenty of people in debt who make over $300,000 a year and plenty who make $30,000 who have none. I've often heard people say there's not much point to a raise, because you still don't have any more money. Meaning they just waste it anyway or buy a more expensive home or car etc. So my husband and I will live happily in our 600 square feet because we get to walk to our jobs, walk to many places of entertainment, and spend lots of time together.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 10:59 AM

Kattoo- I completely agree. I'm from rural NY, so moving here and meeting my husband who grew up in Fairfax has been a shock for me. It seems like people around here are so focused on making more money and having an even bigger, more expensive home than their "friends" that the give up so much quality of life over it. In my mind, how important is the huge house if by the time you get home form your 12 hour work day and 2 hour commute each way, your kids are already in bed and there's no time to do anything enjoyable? My Dad always told us to choose our career based on something we would do even if we weren't getting paid. I understand responsibilities, but people often just live within their means. There are plenty of people in debt who make over $300,000 a year and plenty who make $30,000 who have none. I've often heard people say there's not much point to a raise, because you still don't have any more money. Meaning they just waste it anyway or buy a more expensive home or car etc. So my husband and I will live happily in our 600 square feet because we get to walk to our jobs, walk to many places of entertainment, and spend lots of time together.

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 10:59 AM

___________________

Good for you for sticking with your OWN priorities, and not succombing to the grown-up peer pressure of big homes. Quality of life--and living according to what's true in your heart--is so important!

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:02 AM

The Voice of Reason

Your comments of 10:50 am have been reported and should be taken down shortly!

Posted by: Don't Be Ugly! | April 22, 2008 10:59 AM

__________

I reported it, too =)

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:03 AM

If you could "rewind time" what would you have done differently? AND...since we all get just one life, can you make a change RIGHT NOW...that would not compromise your family's well being...but let you live the life that would truly make you happy?

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:04 AM

Why was Dawn evicted? Was it her fault? Couldn't she keep up the rent? Were her sons too noisy? Or did the owner sell the home out from under her?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 11:09 AM

Kattoo

"If you could "rewind time" what would you have done differently? "

I would have skipped being addicted to this blog.

Posted by: Junkie | April 22, 2008 11:11 AM

Kattoo

"If you could "rewind time" what would you have done differently? "

I would have skipped being addicted to this blog.

Posted by: Junkie | April 22, 2008 11:11 AM

___________________

LOLOL! Actually I took a break for at least 6 months...so you can make that change =) IF you really want to.

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:14 AM

Step.away.from.the.blog.

And find a life.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 11:18 AM

kattoo- Of course you can change the direction of your life! Sometimes the transition's a bit painful, but certainly possible. We just got an email that my husband's cousin has given up sales and gone to culinary school. His sister-in-law died unexpectedly, and he realized we don't all get to live to 65, so why not start following his dream at 37? They have 2 elementary-aged kids.

You know, I don't think I'd change much if I could rewind time. I don't LOVE where I am now, but I know I couldn't have stayed where I was before and been happy. I can go BACK and be very happy. Even if I was miserable now, it still would have given me that valuable perspective. Fortunately though, life is very good. I only hope it stays very good or gets even better.

Posted by: atb | April 22, 2008 11:20 AM

Kattoo

"LOLOL! Actually I took a break for at least 6 months...so you can make that change =) IF you really want to."

I have strayed from time to time to the seductive arms of the WSJ's Juggle. If I must take a lover to break the chains that bind me, so be it.

Posted by: Junkie | April 22, 2008 11:22 AM

"User reviews and comments that include ...personal attacks...will be removed from the site."

From the rules for use of this blog

I understand your point about the voice of reason looking stupid by the stupidety of its own post, but I also know that there are more than a few casual and not so casual readers of this blog who may be disgusted by such comments. (and the fact that Washpo does not enforce its own rules).

Posted by: Don't Be Ugly! | April 22, 2008 11:23 AM

kattoo: "If you could "rewind time" what would you have done differently? AND...since we all get just one life, can you make a change RIGHT NOW...that would not compromise your family's well being...but let you live the life that would truly make you happy?"

In all honesty, as hard as it is to say, I wouldn't change anything.

Oh sure, it might be nice to have hooked up with that girl, or not hooked up with that one, or to have fought harder to get into that college, or to have bought more tech stocks at the start of the dot-com boom and sold *before* the bubble burst, or whatever. But you know what? I'm a product of my existence. What I've been through made me who and what I am today, and that's a good thing.

(Boy, am I opening myself up to shots with that one! "Yeah, maybe you wouldn't be such a long-winded blowhard who bores us all to death with stories of his family.")

If I went back and changed something, I'd just be a different person with different problems and different pleasures, and I'm not sure that would be any better.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 11:24 AM

"What I've been through made me who and what I am today, and that's a good thing."

Armybrat,
That's definitely a healthy perspective! And it sounds like you like where you are now in life.

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:28 AM

"We just got an email that my husband's cousin has given up sales and gone to culinary school. His sister-in-law died unexpectedly, and he realized we don't all get to live to 65, so why not start following his dream at 37? They have 2 elementary-aged kids."
___________
Atb, That's a great story--and so true. We don't know when our lives could be cut short. And it's good to know that you're happy with where you are now in life. I'm just talking about the people like your husband's cousin--having the guts to follow your dreams (if, of course, it doesn't compromise your family's well-being).

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 11:30 AM

"That is the point of public assistance: a short-term program to help a family take the necessary steps to rise out of poverty."

No offense, but why should I pay for someone to get a doctorate when I am working and putting my kids in day care?

Posted by: just wondering | April 22, 2008 11:30 AM

"If I went back and changed something, I'd just be a different person with different problems and different pleasures, and I'm not sure that would be any better. "

WOW! The biggest wow ever on the blog! You could have saved some lives along the way, etc.

There isn't enough space here for the things you could have done. And they woudn't have been all about YOU.

And you're right about the wind bag thing...

Posted by: OB Junkie | April 22, 2008 11:33 AM

OB Junkie: BWAAAAAAH!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 11:38 AM

Dawn never liked Florida in the first place. The lawn mowers annoyed her, cutting down a Christmas tree in 80 degree weather wasn't her bag, and she couldn't rid herself of that irritating thick Brooklyn accent - a must-do if you want to get along with the Florida locals.

Posted by: Florida Sucks | April 22, 2008 11:41 AM

ArmyBrat- You could have been BATMAN. How selfish of you not to wish to be a crazy vigilante who dresses up like a bat.

Posted by: atb | April 22, 2008 11:45 AM

OB Junkie could've cured cancer by now, instead of snarking here.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 11:46 AM

No offense, but why should I pay for someone to get a doctorate when I am working and putting my kids in day care?

Posted by: just wondering | April 22, 2008 11:30 AM

Well, how about this: because $100-200/month for 3 years provided the means to a much better-paying job for the next 35+ years. So a total outlay of $2-3K has resulted in, quite literally, hundreds of times that amount in additional taxes that she's paid. Not even to mention the effects on the next generation.

In business, they call that a loss-leader.

Posted by: Laura | April 22, 2008 11:47 AM

But Laura, she should have saved up for it first.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 11:48 AM

I must stick up for Florida! Florida Sucks seems to concentrate on south Florida or on the Tampa area. Not all of Florida is just old New Yorkers. There are still plenty of native Floridians and north Florida is very different in temperment and atmosphere than south Florida.

About the public welfare. That's a fair point about someone getting their doctorate. However, we have become conditioned to welfare being only used as a generational tool that is keeping people dependent. It was really meant to be for families on the down and out, and specifically for single mothers. I have found financial aid difficult for my master's program but if I had a child I would be eligible for so many grants, I would be a lot better off financially. It isn't fair, but it is the way it is.

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 11:48 AM

Thanks, Dawn, for your column. Finding a way to take something like being evicted, and turn it into an opportunity for something positive takes some real perspective, and I do think that is what balance is all about, in the end. My husband and I were just talking about how sometimes not getting what you thought you wanted turns out to be exactly what you need.

I have a good friend who made almost the reverse trip - she and her family moved from Florida to Connecticut for three years, and try as they might, COnnecticut just never worked for them. Now that they are back in Florida, even though they struggle with a lot of the same things, it all just seems so much more tolerable and manageable somehow.

Posted by: LizaBean | April 22, 2008 11:49 AM

"OB Junkie could've cured cancer by now, instead of snarking here."

Nope. I've been too busy shagging my boy friend "Tiger". I'll look into that cancer cure thing in the next life.

Posted by: OB Junkie | April 22, 2008 11:52 AM

Laura,

I understand what you are saying, but what about the working men and women who work, go to school and raise their kids? What about the people who took out student loans to pay for college. If everyone who wanted a high education quit their jobs and lived off the state, who would pay the state?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 11:55 AM

"Should you ignore the thoughts of the kids and the other parent, and just do what makes YOU happy? That's a real question that lots of adults have to face every year. And while it sounds good to say "go for your dream!" if going for your dream means crushing the dreams of several other people, is that still really the right thing to do?"

I think the same questions could be asked of a woman or man who wants to pursue career dreams, even when the income isn't needed. Did they consult with their children before putting them in daycare or moving to another state?

I work and my children are in daycare so I'm really not trying to be snarky. It just seems that people here think it is ok to pursue career fulfillment, but not personal fulfillment.

Posted by: interesting | April 22, 2008 11:58 AM

What's with the anon poster who every day says "interesting moral compass?" Are we supposed to be impressed by the holier-than-thou attitude? I notice that the poster doesn't typically suggest an alternative to the behavior.

Posted by: 21117 | April 22, 2008 12:04 PM

What's with the anon poster who every day says "interesting moral compass?" Are we supposed to be impressed by the holier-than-thou attitude? I notice that the poster doesn't typically suggest an alternative to the behavior.

Posted by: 21117 | April 22, 2008 12:04 PM

Suggesting an alternative would require a brain. "Interesting moral compass" only requires the ability to block, copy and paste day after day.

Posted by: anonforthis | April 22, 2008 12:12 PM

"What's with the anon poster who every day says "interesting moral compass?" "

LOL It's more than one poster...

Nominations for OB Top 10 Queries -

Why do people marry obvious losers?
Why do people in troubled relationships have children?
Why are there so many doormats?
Why can't people learn how to handle their finances?
Why do people put up with ....?

Posted by: Mmmmmm | April 22, 2008 12:13 PM

Army Brat, I take offense to the fact that you include me as someone who includes snarky comments to this blog. I agree with you wholeheartedly that there are issues the blog does not address. I just thought that it would be better to discuss them as civilized adults rather than judging someone. We don't get the whole entire story, which excludes a very important piece, which is where is the father.

However, the overall topic of this blog is balance and I believe that this short piece does include a very good lesson on balance that many others leave out. (i.e., You can find your balance and in turn happiness if you just listen to your heart) This is the piece that I chose to focus on. I would rather not make assumptions such as "she left her kids" or "her kids are not happy" since I don't have enough information to state this.

Gez, I was just trying not to judge others and you assume I am snarky. Yikes!

Posted by: Thought | April 22, 2008 12:20 PM

Wow, lots of posts. In response to katoo, who took a 6-month break from "On Balance" (which celebrates 2 years of posts next month, I believe), how'd you do it? I am seriously considering taking a vacation from the internet and news except for very specific work purposes. It's just so hard to contemplate, though.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 12:20 PM

Also, to Lurkette, my husband and I had recent discussions about the bus because my son will be starting school soon. We've decided he's going to take the bus. He's a bit freaked out about it, but it will give him confidence to face his fear and realize it's not so bad as he'd thought.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 12:26 PM

I can't wait for ArmyBrat's guest blog! I know it will be perfect, just like him. It will be exactly 300 words. There will be precisely the amount of information needed to make a clear and unambiguous point, but without leaving any unanswered questions. Every sentence will be a work of art, the math will all add up, and the infallible logic will lead us to some inexorable truth. I am on the edge of my seat. I only hope I don't have to wait too long.

Posted by: nervous anticipation | April 22, 2008 12:34 PM

"You can find your balance and in turn happiness if you just listen to your heart"

I agree completely. There is definitely more to balance than SAH WOH.

Lifestyle is a big issue.

Do you want the hustle and bustle of a city, the quiet of rural areas, or in-between suburbia?

Do you want cultural activities or recreational activities (would you rather go to a museum or play a sport)?

Does your career define you, or is it just something that supports your lifestyle?

Would you rather live at the beach or near mountains?

Is your dream vacation traveling the world by yourself or with your partner, or doing something closer to home with extended family?

It seems to me that the author determined that lifestyle was a huge factor in achieving balance and acted accordingly. Obviously, not everyone agrees with her choice, but I think we could all agree that many factors are involved in achieving balance.

Posted by: anon | April 22, 2008 12:44 PM

We don't get the whole entire story, which excludes a very important piece, which is where is the father

Posted by: Thought | April 22, 2008 12:20 PM

How long have you been here? Fathers are never an important part of this blog, unless it is to blame or mock us for something.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:48 PM

Anon, you do what's best for your children, even if it means making personal sacrifices or deferring your own dreams.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:51 PM

lurkette,

going against the tide here. I am with acorn, above. There's no reason to mix up your son's apprehension of the unknown in the form of starting kindergarten with his apprehension of the unknown in the form of riding the bus. Consider letting him ride with your neighbor for the first couple of weeks of school until he's used to kindergarten -- the destination. Then, he can focus on adjusting to riding the bus, if that's what you and your spouse want. During the initial couple of weeks, wait for the bus with the other kids and parents. Watch and see what's going on on the bus when it pulls up to your bus stop. Get a sense of whether what's going on on that bus is an environment in which you are comfortable placing your son. Is the driver experienced and in charge, or a newbie? Are the younger kids up front? Talk to the parents about their experiences. Don't assume that your son's experience will be like any child of anyone posting on this blog or like yours 30 years ago when you were growing up. We had one child ride the bus for three years; we moved; our youngest does not ride the bus. Different bus. Different driver. Different kid. Different bullies. Different analysis.

At the end of the day, you may decide that he'll ride the bus this year, he'll wait 'til next year, or not at all. It will be an informed decision based on your analysis of what's best for your son and what goes on on this bus with this driver, and not the groupthink that passes for advice on this blog.

Posted by: errrr | April 22, 2008 12:51 PM

"Anon, you do what's best for your children, even if it means making personal sacrifices or deferring your own dreams."

Please, enlighten us - which is best for the children, suburbia or rural countryside? Beach or mountains? Arts or sports?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:55 PM

I can't wait for ArmyBrat's guest blog!
Posted by: nervous anticipation | April 22, 2008 12:34 PM


He is too smart to do it, dude... Whoever is his boss is missing on his potential if ArmyBrat can post as much as he does. At my place an engineer would be running around with shining eyes waking me up at 3 AM to tell me what happened when he upped an inverter circuit.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:56 PM

"Wow, lots of posts. In response to katoo, who took a 6-month break from "On Balance" (which celebrates 2 years of posts next month, I believe), how'd you do it? I am seriously considering taking a vacation from the internet and news except for very specific work purposes. It's just so hard to contemplate, though.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 12:20 PM"

You are posting for advice about how to stop posting on a blog and reading news on the internet? How about just stopping, or limiting yourself. It is called Free Will, use it.

Posted by: Get Real | April 22, 2008 12:57 PM

"Anon, you do what's best for your children, even if it means making personal sacrifices or deferring your own dreams."

I agree. What's best for your children is also a piece of the balancing act. The list above represents things to consider and I didn't intend for it to override the needs of children.

Having said that, how many times have people said here that being SAHM or WOHM keeps them sane and is better for the children to have a happy mother? I think that the general happiness and life satisfaction of the parent has a huge impact on the family. Hopefully, people will figure out where and how they want to live before children are involved.

Posted by: anon | April 22, 2008 12:58 PM

LOL, get real. Is that an indication of how bad my problem is or what??

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 1:05 PM

Re kindergardeners on the bus - cousin's step-daughter had kindergarden "orientation" this year -- basically see your classroom, meet your teachers with mom and dad in tow. The nice thing was school district did a special bus run for kids/parents in kindergarden only and participation was required (I think). It was a great way to introduce the bus to kids.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | April 22, 2008 1:06 PM

"Why wasn't being a schoolteacher good enough for Laura's mother? Are we prejudiced against schoolteachers here? She needed to support her daughter, not plunge her into poverty for years. She could've gone back to school after she saved up enough money."

Did you even read Laura's response. Laura's mother raised a well-adjusted, self-sufficient, successful daughter. Laura obviously thinks highly of her mother and her mother's choices. Who are you to back-seat drive this woman's choices, which apparently turned out to be good ones, considering the good outcome for her family? Sheesh. Do you always look for the negative in every situation. If you do, I would imagine your life is pretty darn miserable.

Posted by: Emily | April 22, 2008 1:06 PM

"Hopefully, people will figure out where and how they want to live before children are involved."

It's not a static answer for most of us. Life happens. What seems clear before kids might change based on [ drum roll ] actual, real-life experience!

For example, say you decide to move back home to be near one of your sets of parents. His parents decide to retire and relocate to be near another sibling. You realize neither of you wants to live in that town, the economic climate is awful, the school system has taken a turn for the worse, and there's no reason to stay.

Part of what you teach your kids is to adjust and adapt -- not to avoid all risks, but to be willing to say, "Our decision to move to Kansas hasn't turned out so well. Let's evaluate whether it makes sense to stay."

This idea that you make no family changes after reproduction because the kids must never make a move they don't like or undertake a challenge they don't want is a bunch of naval-gazing hooey.

Posted by: Gillian | April 22, 2008 1:09 PM

"It's about finding and being comfortable with your private level of balance. And your balance is as unique as your own fingerprint."

I have to say, I loved this post very much for these last lines. It totally resonates with me and it's great to see it articulated in this particular forum. Love to read the story of someone who's comfortable in her own skin.

re: the idea of going back to school to have a more fulfilling career, that is a tricky one. Does one subjugate immediate family/personal needs for eventual career improvement? It's a real question (gov't subsidy or no, it's a sacrifice -- in terms of time if one goes at night like my cousin did while she had 2 small kids - she worked during the day and her husband definitely had to adjust his schedule - she's tremendously successful now and it worked out to everyone's benefit but it was a serious commitment to get her MBA...paid for by her company, btw). It probably depends on the career one wants to move into -- and of course, my own "fingerprint" comes into play here -- but I wish that I had had better counsel when I was younger (or listened more) about living your dreams/following your heart while making enough money to have all the freedom in the world. Money is freedom, in many ways -- not just freedom from want but giving you the freedom to say, pick and choose meaningful work, and to allow your kids to have meaningful experiences. And while my magic number above which I feel free may vary from someone else's, for me I wish I had been *less* self-involved about wanting to follow my heart (change the world, create art) and more cognizant of the real tangible benefits that economic independence and success can bring. It's definitely a balancing lesson I will highlight with my kids: sure, do what you love, but think carefully about how you will stay financially successful because money will allow you to continue to doing work you love...and live in sync with your values.

Posted by: MamaBird/SurelyYouNest | April 22, 2008 1:11 PM

Emily

"Did you even read Laura's response. Laura's mother raised a well-adjusted, self-sufficient, successful daughter."

According to Laura....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:14 PM

Laura's mother raised a well-adjusted, self-sufficient, successful daughter."

According to Laura....

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 1:14 PM

um. no. according to anyone who's read her posts today and always.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:15 PM

"I can't wait for ArmyBrat's guest blog! I know it will be perfect, just like him. It will be exactly 300 words."


Nah, I have a better idea. We could make AB a regular (Wed? Thurs?) column. "The Best of Army Brat". There is enough material here so a dilligent editor would just need to pick out some postings. Kind of what Hax does with some of her columns which are picked up from her weekly chat.

Of course, I would demand "The Best of Fred" every other week.

Posted by: Fred | April 22, 2008 1:16 PM

According to Laura....

Well,
I know this is cyberspace, and all of us could be pedophiles in prison who have computer privileges for good behaviour, but I have been on this blog for a long time, as has Laura, and she stikes me as one of the smarters, most reasonable, nicest persons on this blog -- consistently -- so I don't think it's an act. So kudos to her mother for her part in that.

Posted by: Emily | April 22, 2008 1:16 PM

Fred

"We could make AB a regular (Wed? Thurs?) column. "The Best of Army Brat". "

We could COMBINE ArmyBrat & Brian Reid (RebelDad) for "The Best of The Know-It-All and The Whiner".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:23 PM

WorkingMomX,

Actually I just got to the point that posting on this site and a parenting site that I used to like to visit wasn't fun anymore! So, I used to read less and less...stopped posting...and eventually lost interest all together.

I hope that helps =)

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 1:26 PM

Another thing to add...

There seem to be a lot of people whose hobby is to post inflammatory comments on blogs, and see what responses they get. They're the ones who make posting no fun!

Posted by: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 1:32 PM

I don't have much to comment on with respect to this blog. I agreed immediately with the thought that each person's definition of balance is unique. What another person thinks is balance might very well be total chaos for me.

But to turn totally OT:
My husband interviewed for the apprenticeship program last week. After the interview, one of the committee interviewers followed him out the door and handed him his business card and said he had a job if he was interested. He interviewed with this company today. He was told that he scored very high in the apprenticeship interview but may not get into the program because he has no experience. ARGH!!! Isn't that what an apprenticeship program is for???? Experience? They feel that someone who isn't already in the industry might decide that the industry is not for them and drop out of the program and therefore waste the money they have invested in that person.

This gentleman was so impressed with my husband's interview for the program that he is willing to hire him without experience (which up til now has been a sticking point). If my husband works out well at this job, this gentleman will write a personal recommendation to the committee in an attempt to improve his chances of getting into the program.

The end result is that my husband has a new job that pays considerably more. With any luck gas will not suck up the entirety of this raise (it is 30 miles one way vs 10).

I am very proud of his accomplishments and hope that it is the start of a turning point for us in all areas of our relationship.

Posted by: Billie_R | April 22, 2008 1:34 PM

"Of course, I would demand "The Best of Fred" every other week"

LOL, how about "The Men of On Balance," to include Fred, DandyLion, ArmyBrat, and who else? Arlington Dad, Happy Dad, F02 and Proud Papa (should they return), I know I'm missing some more...

And I completely agree with Emily's statements about Laura!

Posted by: LizaBean | April 22, 2008 1:35 PM

I can just imagine the lives of some of those inflammatory posters. They're sitting at the dinner table with their spouse and kids. Someone says "what did you do today, dear?" And he/she says...well I posted a bunch of mean stuff on the On Balance blog. One of my posts was actually deleted for violating Washington Post policy. And I managed to upset three other people. So, what did you do today?

Posted by: TO: Kattoo | April 22, 2008 1:35 PM

Laura has money hangups due to the poverty her mother put her in when she was a child.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:38 PM

"The Worst of Fred" tops "The Best of ArmyBrat" any day. ('Course, there is no "Worst of Fred", but if there were...)

FWIW, I've submitted three guest blogs to Leslie and she hasn't published any of them. Easily understandable, and more proof that I'm not a writer. Good thing I got this engineer thing goin', or my kids would be starving.

To anon@12:56 - well, the other day I over-clocked a new Intel 6600 and ya shoulda seen it!

Hooray for Laura. I have to admit I am somewhat uneasy with the idea of someone who has a good job and kids going on food stamps to get a doctorate; I really think she could have saved up for it or taken out loans or something. But based on Laura's writing it worked out for Laura.

Me? and Brian? Sharing a column? Nahh, I don't care about what kind of clothes might make me look cool because nothing's going to make me look cool. We'll just choose to inhabit our own spaces.


Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 1:42 PM

Follow your heart. Live your dream. Pastrami sandwiches, snowplows, street sweepers... What a pile of horse mulch! The fact is, if you have money and your health, you do what you want to do, otherwise, you do what you have to do.

When a mother of 5 finds herself divorced with financial problems and no place to go except a 700 foot dwelling back in her hometown, she takes it. Only then will she pretend to appreciate the small things in life. It's not the goal, but it's a living none the less.

Posted by: cash flow | April 22, 2008 1:42 PM

Haha ArmyBrat. I've had to help my boyfriend with overclocking for his work. I'm sure that was fun for you!

I hope things work out for Dawn. I'm still curious about the brain tumor. I wonder how that situation has impacted her ability to balance her life?

Posted by: FloridaChick | April 22, 2008 1:49 PM

"LOL, get real. Is that an indication of how bad my problem is or what??

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 1:05 PM"

YES! Go for a quick walk or get a drink of water and when you get back to the computer, exercise your Free Will. It is exhilerating!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:49 PM

Mine at 1:49

Posted by: Get Real | April 22, 2008 1:50 PM

Billie - good for you - I hope this is a good sign for you and your husband.

Lurkette - put her on the bus. Millions of kids do it every day. If you cop out then you are telling her that you don't think she's big enough either. Also, remember that she is safer in the school bus than in a private car. If someone treats her poorly on the bus then you might want to revisit this, but don't keep her off of it because of something imagined. Tell her she's a big girl and she can do it. You might be surprised at how good she feels about herself after her first day knowing she did a big girl thing all by herself! Good luck.

Posted by: moxiemom | April 22, 2008 2:03 PM

"It is exhilerating"

Spelling Police!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:05 PM

ArmyBrat

"FWIW, I've submitted three guest blogs to Leslie and she hasn't published any of them"

Three rejects = get lost.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:09 PM

OK, here I am.

""It is exhilerating"

Spelling Police!

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 2:05 PM"

should be

""It is exhilerating" (sic)

Spelling Police!

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 2:05 PM"

Posted by: Spelling Police | April 22, 2008 2:21 PM

Three rejects = get lost.

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 2:09 PM

Colonel Sanders had his KFC recipe rejected by 38 restaurants, until...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:21 PM

"Colonel Sanders had his KFC recipe rejected by 38 restaurants, until..."

Colonel Sanders wasn't looking for a few pathetic scraps of attention on a third rate blog.....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:24 PM

Well I thought it was an interesting if hole-filled guest blog with a nifty fortune-cookie kernel of truth at the end.

ArmyBrat very well stated all the holes and questions I have regarding the guest blog as well which will need to be addressed before I can really give it any more creedance than that. And for the record- I thought her response alone was 10 times better than almost all the guest blogs we've seen and the fact that she's been denied the opportunity is just insane.

Jegs also mentioned a point I questioned- that the time she was alone, she made no friends, had no sense of self, didn't take any real time for herself to be her own woman. That's a serious loss of identity and not what good moms do at all- and perhaps may be a big part of why she made such a drastic move.

Someone anonymously also asked the first question I had- why was she evicted to begin with? Almost all the reasons people get evicted are because of some seriously irresponsible behavior on the renter. Again, perhaps it's best for all that she not have kids to depend on her.

Posted by: Liz D | April 22, 2008 2:25 PM

WD-40 is named WD-40 is that it was the 40th formulae for a water displacing lubricant.

Posted by: and the reason that | April 22, 2008 2:25 PM

I misspelled credence didn't I? Durnit.

Posted by: Liz D | April 22, 2008 2:26 PM

Three rejects = get lost.

Then why don't YOU take the hint, anonymous snarker?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:31 PM

Liz D

ArmyBrat very well stated all the holes and questions I have regarding the guest blog as well which will need to be addressed before I can really give it any more creedance than that. And for the record- I thought her response alone was 10 times better than almost all the guest blogs we've seen and the fact that she's been denied the opportunity is just insane.

I think you just gave ArmyBrat a sex-change operation (LOL!).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:33 PM

Well, Kattoo used the wrong word "insight" incorrectly but we will not correct her on that today!

Posted by: to Liz D | April 22, 2008 2:33 PM

Liz D;

Dawn was evicted because her landlord wanted to sell the house. She wasn't being irresponsible.

Posted by: Florida sucks | April 22, 2008 2:35 PM

Get real, I will do just that. We just started an HR Health & Wellbeing initiative called "10,000 Steps". We gave the employees a pedometer and encouraged them to wear it and try to take 10,000 steps each day for a week. I had no problem doing that yesterday since I fitted in my 2-mile walk at 5:00 a.m. Today's day two, and I didn't get my walk, so I'm slacking. Got to go set a good example!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 2:36 PM

WorkingMomX,
I hope your pedometer is better than the ones they gave us here at work. Three of us in the office signed up for the same thing - 10,000 step. Nobody's pedometer worked even the first day :-(

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 22, 2008 2:38 PM

Count steps during the day instead of sheep at night?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:42 PM

"Three rejects = get lost."

Nah, I can't take a hint. A number of people who have known me will tell you that. :-)

At the risk of infuriating dotted and a few other Tar Heel fans, I'll quote Jimmy V: "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."

"I think you just gave ArmyBrat a sex-change operation (LOL!)."

My wife has hinted that that may happen if I ever cheat on her. :-)

(That was a joke! That was only a joke. Should it have been a true threat of domestic violence, your emergency operations center would have been notified.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 2:43 PM

Count steps during the day instead of sheep at night?

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 2:42 PM

LOL. So then we sleep walk during the day?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 22, 2008 2:45 PM

Oops ArmyBrat, seriously, I suck, you rock!

that 2:33 comment was NOT mine.

Florida- OK, so her lease ran out and wasn't given the option to renew?

Posted by: Liz D | April 22, 2008 2:47 PM

LizD, everybody loves ArmyBrat, but he is a MALE cat!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:51 PM

everybody loves ArmyBrat, but he is a MALE cat!

Is that Songster, rhyming again?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:53 PM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:59 PM

Not me, I write only complete verses not just a sentence.

For example:

(to the tune of Patty Cake)

Army Brat, Army Brat, an army brat's man
Mark him a flake as fast as you can
You snark it, you shark it and you write a big "AB"
And you toss him into OB for all to see!

Posted by: Songster | April 22, 2008 2:59 PM

I never reject Guest Blogs! Are you kidding? Sometimes I ask for more detail or something else, but I'm wracking my pea brain and I can't remember ever rejecting a GB.

If you submitted something and I haven't replied, that is not a rejection.

It just means I missed it or haven't gotten to it yet. And call me a loser, but sometimes I find Guest Blogs submitted in 2006 on my email queue and they are great and I publish them two years later. If I haven't responded, please resend and put "Guest Blog" in the headline.

Posted by: Leslie | April 22, 2008 3:01 PM

Oooh, an internal rhyme. I'm impressed, Songster!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:02 PM

Seriously, if I could figure out how to exercise in my sleep, I would be so happy!

KLB, I'm sorry the pedometers didn't work out for you. So far, I haven't heard any complaints about them not working, but I had a lovely conversation yesterday with a partner who thinks that we shouldn't be handing them out because it's intrusive upon people's right to choose to be fat. :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 3:02 PM

"KLB, I'm sorry the pedometers didn't work out for you. So far, I haven't heard any complaints about them not working, but I had a lovely conversation yesterday with a partner who thinks that we shouldn't be handing them out because it's intrusive upon people's right to choose to be fat. :)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 3:02 PM "

Um, what?? You're kidding right?

Posted by: Me | April 22, 2008 3:06 PM

Don't have the time now, but I could probably rustle up something along the lines of ArmyBrat and the theme from "Top Cat".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:07 PM

Songster, you can do better than that. Here, I'll get you started. In memory of Danny Federici (RIP):

He's got a wife and kids near Baltimore, Jack
He logged onto WaPo and he's never come back
Like a blogger that don't know where's he going
The words start out and they always keep flowing

Everybody here knows ArmyBrat
Everybody here knows ArmyBrat
Writes long novellas and bad family chat
Everybody here knows ArmyBrat

(Okay, Songster's a LOT better at this than me. I can't write songs any better than I write prose. But you get the idea. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 22, 2008 3:08 PM

I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. That is pretty much a direct quote.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 22, 2008 3:12 PM

"Colonel Sanders had his KFC recipe rejected by 38 restaurants, until..."

Colonel Sanders wasn't looking for a few pathetic scraps of attention on a third rate blog.....

Posted by: | April 22, 2008 2:24 PM


It was first rate until you started submitting comments . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:13 PM

"When I had to move with my military family as a child, I hated it and always found it made it harder for me to have close friends and I couldn't have too many expectations since I would soon be gone again"
Not everyone has this experience. I moved every one to two years as a military kid, and loved it. I had no problems making and keeping friends.

As to when you know you need to make a BIG change, in my life, its been when I was so unhappy at work that I used all my leave!

Posted by: babsy1 | April 22, 2008 3:17 PM

"As to when you know you need to make a BIG change, in my life, its been when I was so unhappy at work that I used all my leave!"

For me, when I realized that going to work sucked all the joy out of my soul, sort of like the way Azkaban is described in the Harry Potter books.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:26 PM

"I never reject Guest Blogs!"

And today's guest blog is proof of concept.

Posted by: Snarky Snail | April 22, 2008 3:28 PM

For me, when I realized that going to work sucked all the joy out of my soul, sort of like the way Azkaban is described in the Harry Potter books.


Posted by: | April 22, 2008 3:26 PM

No. No. No. Azkaban doesn't suck all the joy out of your soul. A dementor's kiss sucks all the joy out of your soul. Some dmentors guard Azkaban but others do evil elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Uh oh. That librarian JK Rowling is suing has joined OB.

Posted by: atb | April 22, 2008 3:55 PM

Somebody told me that Harry Potter was gay, or was that Dumbledork?

Posted by: HP fan | April 22, 2008 3:59 PM

"Somebody told me that Harry Potter was gay, or was that Dumbledork?"

Harry wound up marrying Ginny Weasley and siring three children by her, so it's unlikely he's gay. Long after the final book was published, JK Rowling did claim that Dumbledore was gay.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 4:04 PM

I suspect Steven Vander Ark is a little too busy meeting with his lawyers and his publishers' lawyers to drop on in here, LOL.

Posted by: MN | April 22, 2008 4:08 PM

Dang, leave for staff appreciation lunch, and look at all the fun I missed! Thanks for the nice comments.

This is my last post on my mom (today!), I promise. But I want to answer a couple of the legitimate questions that were asked. This was 1971, and it was a completely different world. There weren't 300 different student loan programs around. Teachers were even more underpaid than they are now, especially very junior ones -- my mom can pinch a penny like you've never seen, but we still lived in a small apartment next door to a huge refinery, and I went to a federally-funded daycare program for poor kids. And better-paying jobs? Again, 1971: her other option was secretary, which offered the same (lack of) money. Or a nurse -- but that would have required going back to school. There really wasn't much of a life for either one of us there.

So when she got a full fellowship to go to grad school, she jumped at it. She worked @ 12 hrs a day, between her classes, the student teaching for the fellowship, and other work she picked up here and there (like typing people's papers), but it still didn't cover everything (fellowships are generally designed to support one person, not two). So she took food stamps for a couple of years. BFD.

Could she have worked for 5 more years to save the difference? Maybe -- presuming that being a feminist divorcee in 1971 Texas wouldn't have gotten her butt fired first. But the program was there, she qualified, so she signed up. She doesn't feel bad about it, and neither do I -- as I said above, we've both long since paid back our debt to the US economy. And I really don't pay much mind to people who would criticize her choices without ever having been in her position. She's my hero, I know how hard it was and what she accomplished, and snipes from people who haven't the slightest clue what her life was like are pretty funny. Really, I heard much worse growing up from all the judgmental ninnies who looked down their nose at a poor divorcee who had the audacity to want a career when "nice" girls didn't think of such things.

I do find the "get a student loan" argument amusing, because even if she could have, I don't really see the difference. Federal student loans -- the kind I got to go to school 20 yrs later -- are still a government handout: Uncle Sam pays all the interest while you're in school, and subsidizes the interest rate permanently. I figure my student loans (which were a good 3-4% below private loan rates) cost the government more than her food stamps. So why is one "good" and the other something that we should be ashamed about in perpetuity, when they accomplished the same end? The whole argument reminds me of a particular Senator whose campaign platform was all about cutting government handouts -- except, of course, for the agricultural subsidies that helped him build his empire.

Oh, and yep, I sure do have money issues -- I'm determined never to be poor again. Again, BFD. Haven't yet met anyone who doesn't have "issues" of some sort or another. So if my issues let me retire 5-10 years early, well, bonus. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 22, 2008 4:11 PM

No, no, no. Being in Azkaban does suck the joy from your soul because of the presence of so many dementors. It is not the dementor's kiss (which actually sucks the soul itself out of a person), but their presence which drains joy. From The Prisoner of Azkaban, 187-88

"Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth . . . they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. . . . . Get too near a dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you."

"The fortress [Azkaban] is set on a tiny island, way out to sea, but they don't need walls and water to keep the prisoners in, not when they're all trapped inside their own heads, incapable of a single cheerful thought."

Posted by: I'm a bigger dork than you! | April 22, 2008 4:14 PM

Do I have money issues? You bet. Taking classes for my doctorate, well, lets just say that I'll be paying for that long after my mortgage is burned. Has it been worth it? Every penny! But I no longer use my credit cards except in emergencies. If I don't have the cash, I don't buy anything at all. It does make life a great deal simpler.

Posted by: babsy1 | April 22, 2008 4:20 PM

"Everybody here knows ArmyBrat
Writes long novellas and bad family chat"

Actually, I think this is pretty good AB.

I was thinking "Candy Man" as sung by Sammie Davis Jr.

"Who can take a topic
And make it cheesy all inside
String it out forever and then go hide
The Army Brat can, The Army Brat can"


But you have had enough verse about you today!

Posted by: Songster | April 22, 2008 4:44 PM

You go, girl.

Posted by: MN | April 22, 2008 4:45 PM

Does anyone really *not* have money issues? Even people who knowingly choose careers where they will make less seem to get pretty stressed when push comes to shove. Deciding to do whatever you can to not have that stress doesn't exactly seem like a nuerosis or "issue" to me, it seems pretty common.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 4:46 PM

Some folks don't have money issues. They have . . . shall we say. . . other issues.

See Elliott Spitzer and family.

Britney Spears.

The Kennedys.

The Clintons.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 4:54 PM

No, I meant issues differently. Those are people who have so much money that money is not a problem. I bet each and every one of them would be stressed out if they thought they didn't have enough money, just like Laura. I was referring back to the poster who said Laura has money "issues" from being raised in poverty because she doesn't want to be poor again. So who is fine with being poor, who doesn't get stressed if it looks like they can't pay all their bills? My new age friend says Eckart Tolle spent months on a park bench after he realized the material world has no meaning, so I guess that's one, but sure not enough to make Laura a minority.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 5:02 PM

The Army Brat can,
cause he makes a lot of noise and makes the Blog look good....

Posted by: Get Real | April 22, 2008 5:45 PM

I thought I owed it to the readers to briefly explain the reason for the separation from my children in Tampa. I moved to NY (of course after "consulting" with my children at length- but as with any decision a parent makes- a parent makes it, not a child. NY was where they were born and raised for many years.
They ended up returning to FL for a brief visit while I moved yet again into a more suitable apartment for the children. Bottom line-the non-custodial father never returned them to me. After unimaginable heartache and hundreds of dollars lost on airline tickets to bring them home, cell phones to try to get ahold of them and umteen court papers and my flight back to FL for a custody hearing, the children were ordered to be returned to me, their custodial mother. Prior to this, their father had popped in and out of their lives sporadically, perhaps once or twice a month and although I encouraged him to return to NY, he refused and hasn't even asked for visitation.
It was and is a very sad and devastating situation for all involved.

Posted by: Dawn | April 26, 2008 4:12 PM

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