School Has 9/10ths Custody….

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.

I’m feeling like I’m always the bad guy. The no-fun person. The all-work-and-no-play mom.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy


I have two teen daughters and I so rarely see them. I share  them half-time  with their  dad and full-time with school  and school activities.  Even  though  our  custody arrangement says  I get  the girls  on  my  birthday,  their school functions have prevented my being with both of them on my birthday for the past 5 years. Next year, their functions will be held locally, so no dinner with them but at least I’ll see them by midnight.

Tonight was the 2nd of the 3 nights I’ve had Aislinn this week that I’ve been driving to pick her up from a school function after 9 PM. Tonight, just as I was careening to the stop light near the pickup point, she called to tell me she was catching a ride home with her dad whom she said had been at the football game. A little late, since I’d reworked my schedule to pick her up and I’m cringing at  the impossibility of finishing a project before it’s due tomorrow morning and that it’s not good for my day job to be unprepared, even  though  this week has been incredibly overloaded. (I’m taking a break, finally!)

By the time I got back home with Aislinn, it was too late  to  take  her sister  to  get  gas  for  her  car,  which  I needed to do since Shannon hasn’t earned gas money this month and her college botched her meager  gas stipend and sent it to the Rocky Baptist Christian School for use of a bus she didn’t use.

Shannon’s  taking  Latin  III  and  Forensics   at  high school (junior year) and a full load at college, which is free under this  program. She’s so swamped with homework that she can’t hold down even the most flexible of jobs (working  for Spilled Candy on her own  schedule) and can’t find the time to mow the lawn once every two weeks so she’ll have gas money, let alone pay for her car insurance.  I  let  her socialize  once  a  week,  particularly since a grief counselor recommended she not become so isolated after her friend’s death. She leaves at  o-dark-30 tomorrow  morning  for  a  forensics  tournament, and  I won’t see her again until the end of the weekend. It’s my weekend with her.  We’re both stressed. The next weekend I’m with her, she has another tournament. Naturally.

I’ll have  the weekend  with Aislinn, at least,  but I’ll have to work much of it, including laundry, prep work for the repair  guys  next eek, and  mowing  the  lawn  that Shannon can’t get to. Aislinn’s  not going to be happy, and I already know it. Her weekends with her  dad are endless movies, sleepovers, and shopping trips. With me, it’s the only time she has to clean her room, put away her clean  clothes,  do more homework,   and  pick  up  her messes around the house.

Her time with me is more about chores than fun, because  things still have  to  be  done  around  the  house whether she’s here the rest of the week or not.

She gets a little attitude over doing chores and doesn’t really care if she doesn’t earn an allowance since her dad keeps her funded, so half the time, I’m riding her to get her work done because I’m not going to let her off easy so I can be Parent of the Month.

When  I’d  first  realized  she  always  had  plenty  of money I couldn’t account for, it threw me.

One of the guys at work just found out his 15-year-old girl was making extra cash by giving blowjobs to 15- year-old boys.

Uh. The things that parents get to worry about!

Life Coaching Tips

She’s at that age where all adults are stupid and she actually preferred a friend’s birthday party to a family vacation (one to Daytona with me and the other to Canada with her dad), even though I think she ended up enjoying both.

My next weekend with her is during my central Florida tour  at   the  end of the month, so I’m looking forward  to  hauling  her  with  me and  getting  some  long- awaited one-on-one time with her while doing something fun.

Meanwhile, I’d just love to have a conversation where I’m  not  fussing at  somebody   to  pick  up  their  dirty clothes, mow the lawn, feed the dog, get their homework finished, and don’t be late for school.


But at least I’m not fussing at a husband to get off his butt and do something.


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