Category Archives: The Day That Changed My Life

Blogs writen during and about my being accused and charged (FALSELY) of child abuse.

That Woman in the Burke Ad is My Friend and She is No Criminal

Standard

Over the weekend I briefly read through some Facebook comments regarding a story about a woman in a Burke for Governor ad who had been charged with a crime in her past. I didn’t read the full story due to time and the fact that it wouldn’t change any of my opinions.

This morning, I came across another post about this woman and recognizing that her story resembled mine, I felt it was time for me to actually read it. My heart dropped not only when I learned this was about a friend of mine but also when I read the comments on the article. It became one of those weird PTSD flashback moments. And I am not being hyperbolic, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to a very similar circumstance.

I will not get into her case and her personal story because that is not my place. If she would like me to write about it in the future, I will. But she has her children and her own sanity to consider. And laying everything out there may not be what is best for her right now. Also, she has been working incredibly hard to move forward and has no interest in defending herself by ridiculing or defaming her children’s father. She just isn’t that kind of person.

My friend, Erin, is a dedicated, loving mother to a couple of bright, lovely children. There is no doubt in my mind that those kids are her world and her love for them compares to no other. I also happen to know that Erin is a benevolent, generous, kind person who works incredibly hard on a daily basis to make this world a better place not only for her children, but the children of strangers.

When I was falsely accused of child abuse in 2005, I wanted to die. When I read the public comments made about it and me, I felt I couldn’t go on. If it hadn’t been for my daughter, I don’t know if I would still be here. The public commentary on my life and my motherhood – reading the horrible things people (who had no idea what they were talking about) were writing – someone may as well have been stabbing me in the gut. A couple of years later, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

Most days, I can live without it pressing on me very much. But then there are times when all of those feelings burst back into the forefront as though they happened only yesterday. And what has happened to Erin in these past days is a big example of that.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to run for local office. It was made pretty clear to me that after these charges (false or not) that would not be a good idea. At the time this happened, I was entering a social work program at Gateway. I was told after this that I would never be hired in that field. And now, I get turned down for jobs all of the time due to my background check. When I was writing for Patch, commenters loved to look me up and post things about that case simply because they disagreed with my politics. This affects me in different ways all of the time.

In 2012, I was asked to be in a couple of political ads. One was a commercial for a promising U.S. candidate. I was so excited. I was picking out some outfits for me and the kids when I realized that my past could cause a problem. I called the person in charge of the commercial and explained as much as I could. It was decided that I should not be involved in that way. Once again, that one incident brought up those heartbreaking emotions and disappointment all over again.

It never goes away. It may hide for a while. But it’s always there – lingering, somewhere.

When I read comments about Erin today, I wanted to scream and cry and hug her.

People need to know that ANYONE can accuse ANYONE of ANYTHING. People need to know that you are NOT considered innocent until proven guilty. People need to know that it is nearly impossible to prove you DIDN’T do something. People need to know that one questionable decision does not determine who you are – not for a day and certainly not for the rest of your life. People need to know that innocent people plead guilty ALL OF THE TIME and for many different reasons.

Our justice system is a meat grinder. And until you are a part of it – you have no clue what you would really do or how you would really react. It is terrifying and intimidating. And some defense lawyers suck and some D.A.s are crooked with an ax to grind. Sometimes a person will do whatever they have to just to make it end.

But the sad truth is – it never really ends. And now I have to see my friend have this all smooshed into her face again in front of the world and all because she just wanted to make our state a better place to live for everyone.

You need to really take a step back before you assume, before you judge and before you believe what you read. Because you don’t know the whole story. And you better realize that all of this – all of this nightmarish bullshit – can happen to you or someone you love at any moment.

Poopy Poopy Shit Shit

Standard

So, it was either sleep or blog. Because I am too pissed off and in a vat of self pity to do anything that is actually productive. Thus, I blog.

This morning as I arrived at the Dem office to do some volunteer work (I usually do 1-2 times per week), I received an email asking me if I was interested in staring in a John Lehman ad. I was all excited like I was just asked to the prom or something. Ok…maybe not PROM…but say…a date. Anyway, I got all the details and they were going to come to my home tomorrow morning with a make up person and everything!!

I shouted it out on Facebook because I was all thrilled like. I planned to go buy a new outfit. I contacted Kenzie’s mom to make sure we could have her – I knew she would love to be involved.

Then I remembered the woman from the Walker ads. She is a teacher and said she regretted doing it. People looked up all of her personal info and put it all over the internet. And I realized, it wouldn’t take long for someone to look up CCAP.

If you don’t know about my fear of CCAP – you can READ HERE…it is a long, long story and there were many blogs subsequent to that one. If you want to read more about it – just choose from the Category Menu ‘The Day That Changed My Life‘  Or click HERE (stories are from newest to oldest)

Anyway, I decided to let the producer know of my situation. He wrote back shortly after and said:

 

Heather.

Thanks so much for being pro-active and sharing. I think you are correct that it would be better for you not to be public in this way – primarily because it could dredge up bad things for you. I worry too about the potential impact to the campaign.

Thanks so very much for chatting, and for being so conscientious about this. If you know other mothers in Racine schools let us know.
 
All the best, 
So, needless to say I am pretty disappointed, pretty pissy and really feel like running away.
I just hate that every time I am able to put it all behind me, something else pops up to remind me that this will always be here to fuck up opportunities for me. So…I am just sad right now.

Seeking Advice…No, Seriously

Standard

Today my daughter (who is 6 and in kindergarten) came home with a field trip permission slip. “MOM!! Can you come with us this time?!” “No, Cass, I’m sorry but I can’t” I answered, which is usually enough. “But why? You never do! The other moms do and you didn’t even do it in 4K!” I changed the subject in a quick attempt to distract from my obvious speechlessness. I honestly just do not know how to answer that question.

In case you are new here…I was once falsely accused and charged with child abuse. This is on my record/CCAP/background checks. In order to go on a field trip, one must first fill out a Wings application through Unified. They complete a background check with each application to screen for histories such as mine. I was once told I may be able to appeal, but the process sounded humiliating and may not even work.  That is the VERY short version of the story.

So, honestly, what on earth can I tell my daughter? I so badly wanted to be that fun, involved mom. Field trips, class mom, PTA…and it is bad enough I cannot do the things I wanted to do as a parent. But my daughter cannot have the mom she deserves. It breaks my heart and leaves me at a loss. Any advice?

Elected Officials…Are They Really There When You Need Them?

Standard

 

So, a couple weeks ago I got a bug up my ass and decided to write to half the state pretty much begging for assistance in getting my criminal (that sounds so crazy) expunged. Thus far, I have had little response and absolutely no answers. First, I wrote to everyone on the Expungement Committee. Then someone replied to let me know that the Expungement Committee is no longer existences. Now they have a Special Committee on Review of Records Access of Circuit Court Documents. Not expungement by any means, but the closest thing they have to it. So, then I wrote to all the members of THAT committee. I then wrote to each individual member of The Wisconsin Supreme Court. It must have taken me 3 hours to search for all of that contact information.There is also the matter of Executive Clemency – AKA a Pardon from the Governor. Now, I do not qualify to apply for a pardon. The following are the qualifications:

You are eligible to apply for executive clemency if:

– you were convicted of a felony

and

– it has been five (5) years or more since you completed your sentence (including probation or parole).

You must apply for a waiver before applying for executive clemency if:

– you were convicted of a misdemeanor,

or

– it has been less than five (5) years since you completed your sentence,

or

you are presently incarcerated.

     

So, by those rules, I had to apply for a waiver. Still no word back. However, I found this anyway:

Pardon: A pardon is an act of official forgiveness that restores rights lost due to conviction. For example, a pardon of a felony conviction restores the ability to possess firearms, to hold public office, and to hold or be granted various licenses. The right to vote and the right to sit on a jury are automatically restored by the Department of Corrections once a person completes his/her sentence, including probation, parole or extended supervision.  

So, even if the waiver is granted…even if the pardon is then granted…the shit will STILL be on my record AND the CCAP website. So, what is the point to the Pardon?? None for me really as those are my barriers.

Here is the letter I sent…some wording is different depending on to whom I was writing…but you get the jist…

I am writing to you in regards to a matter which is weighing heavily on my life as well as the lives of my family. I am currently in the process of applying for Executive Clemency. However, the paperwork states that even with a Pardon, my records and information on CCAP will remain. Unfortunately my criminal history and CCAP are the root of my issues.

In 2005, I was charged with felony child abuse after my husband’s ex-wife falsely accused me. I had and have been a primary parent to my step daughter since she was 14 months old. She is now almost 11. Neither my husband nor I believe that corporal punishment is an effective form of discipline and between the two of us; we may have swatted her behind 3 or 4 times her entire life. I have many emails in which my husband and I asked my step daughter’s mother to stop slapping, hitting and pulling her hair as her forms of punishment. We were always met with an “I am her mother and I will do what I want” type answer. After one open handed swat on the behind, 36 hours after actually, she brought my step daughter to the ER. She later apologized, wrote a letter to the court and explained to me that she was pushed into it by her family. Of course, that was too little too late.

I was never arrested, given my rights, investigated or led to believe this would be anything to worry about. I was so very wrong. 6 months later – after no word at all – I received a summons in the mail explaining that I was being charged with felony child abuse. The CPS investigator (Todd O’Brien) who was assigned to my case was charged and fired earlier this year for not conducting the investigations he was claiming to have completed. Again, he never once met with any of us and simply sent the case to the D.A. I am convinced, and always have been that had he investigated, I would have never been charged. Needless to say my family, as I knew it, was destroyed and our lives were changed forever.

My attorney told me that juries do not like to hear the words step mother and abuse in the same sentence and that I would indeed be taking a risk. I had a one year old daughter at home. Therefore I hastily took a lesser plea (Alford) of misdemeanor battery. This is a mistake I will forever regret. I had over 20 character affidavits from psychiatrists to physicians to family members and friends. Everyone who knows me was astonished at the charges and clearly knew I was completely innocent. I am no child abuser.

Before this my record was clear in all regards. I never even had received a speeding ticket at that time in my life. I had no idea how the system really worked. And I was naive enough to believe that the powers that be would clearly see the truth and this would all be over.

I was sentenced to one year probation. After six months, the probation was amended and terminated with enthusiastic consent by my probation officer and therapist. My attorney, whom I did not know prior to this ordeal, assisted with this hearing at no cost. It was always clear to anyone and everyone in my life that I am far, far from a child abuser. Once again, I thought it was finally over. It wasn’t’t. I am reminded every time I fill out a job application and subsequently do not receive an interview. I am reminded when I am told I cannot participate in my daughter’s kindergarten class or go with her on field trips. I am reminded when my goals of social work and local political office are gone forever. I am reminded every time someone sees this information on CCAP. This has really made my life so much less than what it could have been. I am hurting. My family is hurting. Clearly there is much more to this story and I am more than willing to share it with anyone who will listen. I have been writing about this experience and have most of everything in the written word if you would like me to send it to you. Most of the available jobs in this area for which I am experienced are care related and I am not eligible to even apply. Many check CCAP as a free source of background checks even if I can apply. Also (and most hurtful), not being able to be an active parent in my children’s school is heartbreaking as I take motherhood as my most important job. It is everything to me. Always has been, even before my natural daughter was born. I did everything for my step daughter and she was never once taken out of my care. Not once during any of this. I have been the only one to take her to the doctor or the dentist or to help her with homework. I potty trained her, dealt with all daycare providers, purchased all school supplies. I have taken care of her for 10 years now and she is a remarkable girl to show for it. Again, I was never arrested, interviewed, investigated. I was simply accused of a crime of which I am not guilty by an unstable woman who has since recanted with a letter to the judge. And my mistake was taking the plea and not fighting this charge. I was simply a scared, naive woman with a baby at home who could never imagine even a moment in jail.

I wanted to add that as I was writing this, I was turned down for an account on Care.com to be a housekeeper due to this criminal history. Yet another blow to the gut. I am a positive active member of society. I vote in every election, I donate and I am responsible. I cannot verbalize how these constant turn downs and embarrassments destroy me almost daily.

I am appealing to you as my last ditch effort to have these charges expunged and removed from my record as well as CCAP. This would improve my life more than you can possibly imagine. Thank you so much for your time.

Best Regards,

Rep. Schneider’s response:

Thank you. There is nothing more I can do for you as I was defeated in the election in November by people who criticized my efforts to help people like you. None of the people who I tried to help over the last several years would even lift a finger to help me when I was in trouble.The Representative from Racine, Bob Turner, sat on my bills to address this issue for months during the last session of the legislature. I could not believe it since he was black and so many people who find themselves caught up in this system are black as well. I hope you have written to all the committee members with your story and that it will have an impact although I know that people representing the media like Bill Lueders don’t give a royal flying f…. what happens to innocent people with this system. They want all the dirt they can dig up on anyone and so do employers and landlords and it has been very very frustrating for me to hear of all these situations similar to yours and having it fall on deaf ears in the legislature. It is downright sinful when the state itself creates a system that bears false witness every day of the year. I would also suggest you write to the Supreme Court justices (each and every one) with you story. Hopefully there will eventually be a change but right now I am defeated and a has been and will no longer be able to carry on the fight. I am sorry. Perhaps you could write to the moron who defeated me but since his religious cohorts have already attacked me on this issue I presume it will also fall on deaf ears with him. And frankly, the Republicans have sent so many looney tunes to the legislature and particularly after my defeat no one will dare to take up this issue. In many cases I have witnessed over the years there are simply too many gutless wonders in the legislature who care nothing about justice but only about reelection. I am sorry.

Clearly, he is quite angry. I cannot say that I blame him.

Because of this response, I decided to write to Rep. Turner:



Dear Representative Turner,

I sent the following to what I thought was the Wisconsin Expungement Committee. I have since learned there is no such committee anymore but one to oversee the “fairness” of CCAP. I sent this to all of the members and to Representative Schneider whom I heard was passionate about these CCAP issues. My husband and I both supported your campaign and he walked door to door in your canvasses with the CWA. Now, I hope you can help us. It appears I have exhausted all the possibilities of which I am aware and I suppose I am hoping you may have a suggestion on how I can further proceed to improve my life in regards to the following matter. Please do let me know if you have any advice. I have already started the steps to applying for executive clemency, however, it doesn’t’t appear that will help my problem. Thank you for your time.

His response:

Dear Ms. Rayne: (yes, it says Rayne…lol)

Thank you for your message regarding the Wisconsin Legislative Council’s Special Committee to Review Records Access of Circuit Court Documents. I have attached the link for the committee’s schedule of meetings and study documents, which also includes a list of the committee members and the mission statement of the committee. State Representative Kelda Helen Roys of Madison is the Chair of this Committee. The committee is currently developing a list of options (changes) to CCAP that it will consider among its final recommendations. That policy paper should be available on the website within a week or so. I do not serve on this committee.

However, 2009 Assembly Bill 340 (authored by Rep. Schneider) was referred to the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee, which I chaired during the 2009-10 Session of the Legislature. At the public hearing held on this bill, many stories were told by people who had cases dismissed or had been pardoned, but whose information remained on CCAP, preventing them from finding suitable housing and/or employment. I recommend that you follow the work of this study committee closely, as the committee will likely recommended legislation for introduction during the 2011-2012 session of the Legislature. I am also copying your own State Representative, Representative Robin Vos, on this message, to ensure he is aware of your concerns. Again, thank you for sharing your views and experience with me.

My response to him:

Dear Representative Turner,

I emailed the entire committee a few days ago. I also emailed Rep. Schneider who mentioned your name which is why I forwarded this on to you. He claims you held up a bill last year which would help people in my position (I will paste his message at the end of this email). I sent this to you in hopes that you would help a bill like that pass in the future. I am not sure that people really understand the damage this can do to a person’s life. Any accusation can be made against anyone and you are then on your own to prove your innocence…it is clearly NOT the other way around. I checked out the site you forwarded and did not see a calendar of future meetings, but I will look closer. Do you happen to know if these meetings are open to the public? I will also keep an eye out for the new policies.

I have spoken to Rep. Vos about this in the past and am sad that he no longer chairs the Expungement Committee and that there is no longer such a committee.

I suppose you have to be rich to afford an attorney to have a life after such an event. Unfortunately, we are not in that position. From the very few responses I have had regarding this matter, it seems evident that I am stuck without help or hope for a positive outcome.

And then this was a response from his assistant:

Dear Ms. Geyer,

I just checked the attachment to Representative Turner’s e-mail to you and it was fully functional, with links to all written documents that the committee staff has produced thus far.  As the Committee Clerk for the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee, I can assure you that Representative Turner did not “hold the bill” in committee as Representative Schneider suggests.  There were not enough votes among the committee members (Republican or Democrat) to pass it because of the way it was written.  When bills do not have the support needed to pass them out of Committee, Committee chairs generally do not schedule them for a vote.  The Legislative Council Committee’s recommendations will hopefully be a better work product than Representative Schneider’s bill.  Yes, the Legislative Study Committees are open to the public, and many of them are either taped live or for later broadcast on Wisconsin Eye.  I fully agree with you that you are in a situation that is not fair and people in the Legislature are working hard to correct the parts of the Circuit Court Automated Program to address these inequities.   I suggest you address future correspondence to Representative Roys.  If you cannot get your link to function, please let me know and I will send it in a different format. 

 

I have not heard anything since. I feel, once again, completely defeated.

I have no idea what the HELL is going on with the fonts on this stupid site. If you don’t know HTML it is virtually impossible to fix these issues and it is very annoying. So my apologies. Guess I need some tutorials…

False Accusations + CCAP = No Interviews – UPDATE

Standard

***Update (original blog below written September 13th) – Today there is a new ad in the Racine Journal Times yet again for the same position I applied for…same position I am OVERLY qualified for…it proves even more to me that her last reply to me was total B.S. This really upsets me. This is where my skill set lies…in this work setting. NOT serving where I will likely make a fool out of myself. You know, they say right on the CCAP site that using that info for employment decision is illegal. Yet, do you think this has EVER been prosecuted? I highly doubt it.

As I have spoken about in the past, I have basically given up on finding a job. With the way companies check CCAP before you can even get an interview, it feels more and more impossible. I may have mentioned this, not sure, but the last attorney I spoke to told me that everyone looks at CCAP because it is free and my best bet would be to start my own business. (As if it is THAT easy.)  I have been turned down for countless jobs for which I am OVER qualified. I couldn’t even get a cashier position at Kohl’s because right on the application it asks whether or not the applicant has been CHARGED (not convicted…and just about anyone can be CHARGED with anything) with a felony. Stupidly, I was honest. And this was back before the job market crashed. Call centers, administrative work, customer service…all jobs I have not only done in the past…but excelled when I was there. I can do these duties blindfolded for Christ sake.

So, with the last job I applied for (call center…very simple shit here, people) I got a little extra peeved. I was told by a person who currently works there that they desperately needed people and I should apply. Immediately I sent in my resume and received this response right away:

Hi Heather – thank you for submitting your resume.  I will look it over and get back to you shortly.  I noticed you were looking for a part time position.  What hours were you interested in working?

My response:

Thanks for responding! Ideally, I would like anytime after 3:30pm…maybe 25 hours or so a week. I do not need benefits. But, once my daughter starts school in the fall, my schedule will be MUCH more flexible.  What hours were you looking to cover?

 Thank you again and hope to hear from you soon!

Her’s:

Our night shift is from 5 – 9 on Mondays – Fridays.  We do have a weekend shift that goes from 9 – 4 on Saturday and Sunday.  However, we can be flexible with hours based on your schedule.

 Ill be in touch.

Mine:

Sounds perfect!  Look forward to hearing from you!!
 
Have a good rest of the day!!
 
Then I heard nothing for about a few weeks, so I sent this:
 
Good morning!
 
I just wanted to touch base with you and inquire whether or not you have filled the position/s you were seeking.
 
Thank you and have a great Friday!!
 
Her response:
 

Hi Heather – we are still reviewing resumes. I will keep you in the loop.

Thanks!

And as of September 8th, I had heard nothing…yet I saw a NEW ad in the paper for the position in which I applied. So I sent this (knowing the real answer already – CCAP):

I am writing to you today with just a couple questions regarding my applying for a position with XXXXX. Several months ago, I learned from a current employee that your company would be hiring due to a high volume of work. I immediately sent my resume to your attention. You rapidly responded back to me, which was very much appreciated. I knew that my skill level and experience made me an ideal fit and I hoped to be able to show that to you and your staff.
 
A couple months goes by and I had not heard anything, even after a follow up inquiry. And then this weekend I saw an employment ad in the Racine Journal Times.
 
Because of this, I would like to know what made me unacceptable for these positions. If there is something I can change to aide in my job search, I would really like to know what that may be. I would also like to determine your department’s decision to not bring me in for an interview. I feel that having this information may help in my future employment endeavors.
 
Thank you for your time.
 
Regards,
 
And today, I received this response:
 

Hi Heather – thank you for your email.  Unfortunately, when we are recruiting for a position there are many different things we look for on resumes, specifically for our call center and 100’s of resumes come in – especially during this tough job market.  When I showed the owners the resumes that came in, we picked a few out to do phone screens and interviews for.  I apologize that yours was not one of those.

This does not mean that your resume was not good or that there are specific things you need to work on.  It just simply means that another candidate fit the bill a little bit better.

I wish you well in your future endeavors.
Take care,

 
Now, I am sorry to be rude…but this is horse shit. Call centers were at the beginning of my job experience and I am way beyond that in my skill level and experience. I cannot tell you how much this shit pisses me off. I cannot tell you how defeated it makes me feel. Of course she wasn’t going to tell me the real reason – because it is illegal!! But I bet my left tit that CCAP can be found on her website history.
 

Changing the Way I Blog…and an Apology

Standard

When I started blogging about 6 or so years ago…I did it as a way to get my story about the abuse charges out there. To get the whole truthful story out there in my defense since anyone can see the accusations on CCAP. It turned into a whole new animal which became a source of support, release, creativity and just simply became an important part of my life.

I try to live a very authentic and honest life. To a fault sometimes, actually. And that has made blogging somewhat difficult. I want to be completely honest and open and up front in my writing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t see the value in it for me. However, some of my overly honest blogs have hurt people in the past. Not often and not many…but it has happened. Mostly to just one person, my husband’s ex wife.

For a long time, I honestly didn’t care. I try to protect others by leaving many things out of my blog world. I never want to hurt or embarrass my loved ones. But she has made me so angry and has hurt me so many times that I just didn’t care anymore when it came to writing about her. Plus, I never had any evidence or reason to believe she ever read my blog. For many years, I never heard one word about it from her. About a year ago is when it was first mentioned.

After that I attempted to control what I wrote in regards to her and our interactions. But as the anger crept back, I would fall back into that mode of not caring and just wrote what I wanted.

This morning I received an email from her stating that the things I say about her in my blog hurts her and makes it hard for her to make things better. I replied:

You are right. I think I have gotten used to being open about it because of
the need to defend myself and it turned into my release. A while ago I said
I was not going to discuss you anymore and then something happened to make
me angry again. I am trying to find a way to be an honest/open blogger (I
know many of you think it is stupid…but it has become a part of what I do
and who I am) without hurting or embarrassing others. There are other things
going on in my life that I cannot even BEGIN to talk about openly…and so
perhaps I was too open about what I can talk about.

I will write something today about this and I will try to not bring you up
anymore.

Again, I had no clue that you or anyone you know ever read my blog. I didn’t
even think you knew about the new one. But that is not an excuse. I will
make a public apology and I won’t disparage you anymore.

I am really frustrated with Kenzie’s behavior lately. She embarrassed us at
POTP by crying half the time just because she couldn’t get you to come down
there and we didn’t want to wait in the cold ass rain. It is something like
that almost every day. She acts very young for her age. And, yea, I guess I
blamed you because I know she doesn’t get that from here. But regardless, I
cannot think about what goes on at your house and I shouldn’t mention it
anymore.

I do apologize.

What I said, I meant. It isn’t right for me to continue to talk so openly about another person’s issues, past and troubles. It will be difficult not to write about certain things as it plays such a big role in my life. And I wonder how other bloggers deal with these issues. Seriously, I am asking…how? But as of today, I will make a sincere effort to not bad mouth my step daughter’s mother on my blog.

For those of you who know me or who have followed my blog, you already know what has happened and I suppose I no longer have the need to defend myself. Speaking poorly of her, truthful or not (I want to make it clear that I have never lied), it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t do anyone any good…it doesn’t help anyone – other than getting it off my chest, which is purely selfish. And there is just no reason for it.

I have talked about how the past years have turned me into a person I do not like. I have gone from laid back, funny, easy going and compassionate to mean, bitter, angry and resentful. Its ugly and I hate it. Saying mean things about another person doesn’t make it better, it makes it uglier. Holding my tongue has ALWAYS – seriously, since childhood – has been the hardest thing for me. But there are times in life when it is necessary. I don’t want to be this person anymore. I miss the old me. I only hope she isn’t dead. 

This is taking a lot for me I hope you know. Admitting fault, apologizing to someone who has hurt me a lot and making these changes is very VERY difficult for me. But I cannot expect others to change and mature if I do not.

Mean Moms…Have I Become One?

Standard
angry_woman

Image by Floyd Brown via Flickr

Once in a while I come to the realization that I can be very hard on people. I expect a lot. As a result, I am also disappointed a lot. Clearly this is not a healthy, fair or a productive way to exist. And I cannot say it is really a conscious thing. I think I am so very hard on myself that I naturally just put that on others as well. Now, I am not saying I am some kind of heartless hard ass. That is far from the case. While I am much tougher than I once was…I am still a bleeding heart. I forgive extremely easily. I understand and empathize with the troubles of others and always take that into account when considering their behavior. And there pretty much isn’t anyone I wouldn’t help if I could.

It also depends on the topic at hand. When it comes to parenting, that is where I become most judgmental. If you have read my blog before, this will not be much of a surprise. I have strong beliefs when it comes to parenting, raising children and teaching them. Beliefs which are SO strong that I sometimes block out other perspectives and am very quick to condemn another for doing something I see as very wrong. This is one of the times when Bitch Heather comes out.

And while I do not like this part of myself, I still stand strong in my convictions. I will always believe that feeding your kid McDonald’s on a daily basis is WRONG. I will always believe that booty shorts and eyeliner will never belong on a 10 year old. I will always stand by the fact that I do not think parents should be friends with their kids instead of being parents. There are certain things of which I know I will not waver. And because I am an opinionated loud mouth…I voice my frustration and disappointment in others for doing what I consider to be “wrong, lazy or stupid”.

Yesterday I, without taking a moment to process and perceive, automatically became angry when I was told that my husband’s ex was allowing their daughter to dance to a song I deem as inappropriate for a child in the school talent show. Quickly, I huffed and puffed and penned about my anger. I assumed she knew the song and simply didn’t care as many other parents seem to do these days. My step daughter’s mom has many different views than I do and obviously we clash in our ideologies many times. I was so upset that it had gone that far off from where I so strongly stand.

And many of you may think I am merely the step mom and I have no real right or reason to complain as she is not MY child. Its up to the parents and that’s that. True, I have no rights. And I have tried to step WAY back in regards to my parenting her. But you also should consider that I HAVE been a parent – a very active parent – to her for almost 10 years now and since she was in diapers. Every “step” situation is different and ours seems quite a bit different than many.

Anyway, her mother told me that she was not aware of the song lyrics or the inappropriateness of it being preformed by children. She did take that time to look up the lyrics and agreed to speak with her daughter about changing her talent show plans. I apologized to her for assuming she knew and was simply making a lazy, bad choice. I knew I was wrong to do that.

I then remembered one time as a kid in the car with my mom. The song ‘Walk on the Wild Side‘ by Lou Reed came on the radio. She turned it up and exclaimed how she loved that song and told me to listen to it. Then it gets to the part: 

Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was given head

My mom suddenly turned it down and gasped as she realized the lyrics. “Now that was stupid…I was wrong, don’t listen to the song.” And she had to laugh at herself.

My mom wasn’t a bad mom. She was young when I was born – only 20. She made her mistakes…some small, some large. But she did the best she could. The best she knew how. And I never considered her a bad mom because of that day in the car. So, why would I so quickly consider someone else ‘bad’ for something quite similar?

Being nasty to my husband’s ex has become admittedly and embarrassingly easy for me. My anger, resentment and bitterness have taken over the majority of my, what used to be, laid back personality. Yesterday she emailed me and apologized for things she has done to hurt me over time. She said she is working on things and hopes one day things can get better. Have I heard this from her before? Yes. A couple times a year it seems. But never before had we been in such a state of mutual hate. And though I am much more skeptical and weary…I know that SOMEthing has to change. This detest, this furious frustration, this constant battle needs to end. I cannot handle it and it is ruining who I want to become.

As my part of trying to heal this situation (not that it can ever completely be healed – who knows), I need to realize and remind myself constantly of the following:

1. Not everyone is going to agree with me…as right as I know I am 😉

2. I cannot control, fix or change others and I need to be okay with that.

3. Parents make mistakes. I make them everyday. I need to give people a break.

4. Not getting angry and lashing out doesn’t mean I am rolling over…it just means there are some things of which I need to let go.

5. Sometimes I can be kinder in my delivery.

As I say all the time, I am not perfect. And as I attempt to work on these things…I am sure I will fall back onto bad habits once in a while. But I do recognize that which needs to change on my end. As far as what other’s need to do…that is up to them to decide and there is NOTHING I can do about that.

Why Society is Screwed – Updated

Standard
Single Ladies

****Please see update below****

My stepdaughter walked in the room and asked if she could print something. I asked what as she needed to leave for school in 2 minutes. She said she needed the lyrics to All the Single Ladies because her and 3 friends were doing it for the talent show. I laughed and told her there was no way – that it was not appropriate for a 10 year old, that the lyrics were very grown up and the dance is not ANYTHING a kid should be doing. I just assumed this was the first she was bringing it up as I cannot imagine a rational parent approving of this. But then of course she tells me that her mom encouraged her to do it.

Listen, I really want to change things on my side here. I want to make strides in my developing a healthy relationship with my step daughter and come to terms with and let go of all the resentment I have toward her mother. But I am finding it nearly impossible. I do not exaggerate when I say that there is a new issue every other day. Some kind of conflict or fight or stupid ass unilateral decision. It is constantly in my face. How can I move on when I have to sit and be witness to a woman destroying her daughter’s future?

I am learning in therapy that I do not need to forgive her or anyone else for things done to me. I understand that and it makes sense. But a part of me still wants to forgive and get to the point some day of getting along and parenting in a calm, civil manner. There are times when I just want to say, ‘Wipe the slate clean and lets start over’. But then the phone rings…or something like this happens. And then I get that angry tight feeling in the pit of my stomach yet again. I swear, this constant stress is killing me. I mean it. I feel physically sick right now.

I can’t get that You Tube video out of my head…the one that circulated a few months ago with the pre-teen kids dancing a routine to this same song. It is so horrifying for me to watch. It just epitomizes everything I stand against. I will add the video below.

I am not a prude or some Amish saint…if you know me, you sure know that. But this kind of shit is getting out of hand. Parents are letting their kids do anything they want. Parents are more concerned with being friends with their children than being responsible parents. Parents are allowing their children to dress like 20 year old strippers. Allowing make up and booty shorts. They are encouraging their children to grow up far too quickly and in the process it is sexualizing them at a dangerously young age. I cannot hold my tongue on this. I feel it is wrong, stupid and irresponsible. People need to WAKE UP and get their priorities straight – this is exactly what is wrong with society. It is not bad teachers, bad economy, bad government…it is BAD PARENTING!!

Anyway, here is the video I was talking about in case you have not seen it:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**UPDATE**

My step daughter’s mom said she never knew what the lyrics meant and she looked them up today. She said she will talk to her daughter tonight. Obviously I don’t know if it is true, but it doesn’t matter. As long as she is going to do the right thing…it makes me happy that maybe she is coming around and will start making better decisions.

Also, I need to stop being so quick to assume. My step daughter told me it was one of her mom’s favorite songs…and it is very popular (she is more into popular music than I am) so I assumed she knew the song well enough to know the lyrics. I also assumed that everyone and their grandma saw the story I posted about above. When I first heard about that story, I got so angry and frustrated that these people would allow and support that dance to happen. And those were total strangers. When I see things like that in my face…in my own home…I get furious. It was wrong of me to just assume these things and allow them to get me upset and angry before I stepped back and looked at everything. Dr. Phil always says the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. But that doesn’t mean I should automatically react.

I really hope this means there will be more positive changes.

Grasping for a Solution

Standard

There are moments when I can literally see my family falling apart. I can see my life as it is now vanish into something unrecognizable. These moments seem to be growing to a more frequent pace and I cannot seem to stop it. I am doing everything I know to mend the wounds which keep me in pain…I try to be the best wife I can with what I have…I want so badly to be a good mother, step mother, daughter and person. I feel more and more as though these attempts are futile.

Something happens to my marriage, to my household, to my family each and every time there is any kind of conflict with my husband’s ex wife. They were married less than a year and were only married due to her becoming pregnant. And yet that short lived relationship will forever be a thorn in our otherwise normal marriage.

These conflicts are growing to be at least once a week. And with each phone call or driveway disagreement, my anxiety increases, my anger explodes and my tolerance is lowered. I simply cannot take it anymore. When these things happen, Charlie goes into automatic defense mode and he seems to forget who is REALLY causing the problems. He has to put up with it because HE made the error of impregnating a complete lunatic. But, I did not. Yes, I chose to marry him. But clearly you have no clue what is in store when people you do not know are involved.

His ex lets their daughter sign up for anything and everything she wants. She is merely ten and already involved with Peer Mediation, Girl Scouts, Choir, Chorale and Clarinet. And now she is asking to enter Pom-Poms. They do not get home from school until 4:30. And she already is not getting nearly enough sleep. Choir and chorale are in the morning before school. She needs to be there at 8am twice a week. When her mother signed her up, my husband informed her that we would not be able to bring her. She promised she would. This is the second week and last night she called yelling at him for not helping. She said she couldn’t take her and that he needed to have me do it. I explained at the beginning of the year that I would not be able or willing to do this. I believe she is only 10 and needs downtime and time to play. I do not believe in over scheduling children and having them in a million different activities. I feel strongly against it, actually. There is nothing wrong with say girl scouts and band. More than 2 activities and I think it is causing a shit storm of problems.

Cassidy (and Kenzie too) sleeps until 7:30 on a typical day without being woken up. Children their age are suppose to get at least 10-12  hours of sleep a night. I will not wake up Cassidy early to get her ready so I can drive Kenzie all the way out to her school only to return to get Cassidy off on the bus. Its stupid and I won’t do it. Kenzie already has to wake up early twice a week to get dropped off from her mother’s. It is very obvious she does not get the sleep she needs as it is.

Point is, I am not going to go out of my way and disrupt our lives to do something I do not agree with…especially for a person who has used and abused me for years.

So last night on the phone he was telling her that he “didn’t want to ask me” to take her. But he didn’t really say why or put his foot down like I thought he should. He did tell her she never should have signed her up or told Kenzie she could go. But in my belief, he never really says what REALLY needs to be said. He still acts fearful of her in a way and it makes me nauseated.

So, it came down to Kenzie not being able to go…but in the ex’s head I know it is my fault. And because of that…it will also be in my step daughter’s head. When she was on the phone with her mom, her mom kept asking her, “I don’t understand why Heather can’t take you. I live across town, can’t she help out?”  Are you fucking serious? I have been “helping out” aka “doing everything” for 9 years.

Last night when she learned she wasn’t going to be able to go this morning, she had a melt down. This kid is so spoiled that she cannot take no for an answer to save her life. I tell Cassidy I cannot afford something or that she cannot go some place and she is fine with it. She is SIX. Yet at 10, Kenzie will cry and beg and act as though she is dying. When I was a kid I could barely do anything extra. We had NO money and my parents (or just mom when she was single) worked at 6am every day. Not only could I not be in extracurricular activities, but I also had to get myself ready and off to school on my own. This kid has no idea how good she has it. She demands clothes from Justice. If she is told she cannot do something she has a breakdown. And then her mom acts as though this poor abused child is a 2 year old who needs to be coddled. In fact, she made Charlie tell her that she couldnt go today. She would not do it…she refused to take responsibility. So, as always, we are the bad parents. And one more thing, her mother doesn’t even have to work until 10am today. If it was sooo important and soooo necessary…why exactly COULDN’T she bring her?? It is all too sickening for me.

Mackenzie is a good kid and a good student. She deserves fun, extra things when they are possible. But when they are not, she needs to learn to be more gracious, thankful and act her damn age. She is either treated like a baby or an adult when it comes to her mother. There is no middle ground. And it is fucking her up and setting her up for a world of hurt. Her mother has the same sense of entitlement and is a big reason why SHE is so fucked up. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sit here and be audience to this shit?

I feel as though I am slowly losing my mother – a whole other story I am not ready to discuss. I feel I am even less slowly losing my marriage. I am so overwhelmed and stressed that I am no where near the mother I want to and should be. I have so much anger and resentment that I make a terrible wife much of the time. Some days can be quiet and calm and full of contentment…those days make me feel it is all worth it. But the rest of the times make me feel as though I am looking for an escape hatch. I do not want to feel that way anymore. I am working on it. But I am not sure how much my working on it can actually help or change anything.

So as it stands now…Kenzie is over it. Wasn’t upset in the least this morning. And Charlie and I went to sleep after telling each other we were falling out of love with the other. He now says they were words out of anger in an arguement…but I am not so sure. Especially since we are STILL at odds and I am still so very sad.

What SHOULD Have Been a Nice Day

Standard

The other night Kenzie and Cassidy were acting VERY wild. They were rough housing, wrestling, screaming, yelling and laughing. They were both equally being crazy and annoying. Charlie and I were acting as the referees off and on when it seemed necessary – with warnings, “someone is going to get hurt!!”. Of course, they did not listen as usual.

In the middle of one of their wrestling matches, Mackenzie’s mom called her back. While she was on the phone with her, Cassidy didn’t take a break from the horseplay. While she was climbing on her (she is almost 4′ and 48lbs.) Kenzie (about 5′ and 100lbs) started screaming bloody murder into the phone. Then she would act as if she was crying and telling her mom that Cassidy is beating her up and hurting her really bad. She kept doing this over and over several times, each time acting more and more abused.

Her mom’s first response (I won’t say how we know all this, but we do) was, “What the hell, Kenzie, you are older than her…smack her!!”

Kenzie (whispering), “I can’t, Mom, I will get in trouble.”

Her mom, “Then go tell your father!!”

Kenzie, “I can’t. I will get in trouble for that too. I am not allowed to tell on her.”

Her mom (after another bout of dramatic screaming and fake whimpering), “HIT HER!!”

A second or two go by. Then she whispers even quieter, “There! I kicked her.”

Her mom, “Good.”

They talk for a little bit. She tells Kenzie she hoped she could pick her up on Tuesday if she is not still ‘sick’. She is sick almost every other time she is suppose to have her. She was also supposed to have her on Monday (yesterday) but never called or anything. She simply just left her here without a word to anyone about it.

Some more yelling at Cassidy declaring how badly she is hurting her.

Her mom asks, “Where is your dad??!!” in a disgusted voice, “tell him!!!”

Kenzie, “I can’t, Mom, they are in their room and I am not allowed to tell.”

Her mom continued to encourage her to hit Cassidy since she “couldn’t tell”.

Let me first say that there is a rule in this house about tattling. Has been for years now. Never changed. There is to be no tattling UNLESS someone is going to, is or was hurting another person or themselves. She knows this. Cassidy knows this. Everyone here knows this. Of course we would not allow either one of them to hurt the other. Never. We knew they were rough playing and tried stopping them a few times. But kids will do that…it wasn’t something i was overly worried about. Especially Cassidy hurting Kenzie as she is less than half her size and could snap like a twig.

When she got off the phone everything was fine. Nothing was said, no complaints were made, Kenzie did not act hurt or upset or anything the whole night.

Let me explain that I did not know of this conversation until the next day. So, obviously, I was floored when I heard it. She played her mother like a damn fool. And instead of asking to speak to Charlie, this ‘mother’ instructs her much larger daughter to hit and smack my kid who is 5 years younger.

I am not going to go into how I FEEL about all this. Or what I THINK about all this. As if you know me at all, you already know these things. Charlie talked to Kenzie and was pretty upset. Told her that if it is horrible around here (this is also coming after a couple days of finding out that she cries every single time her mom drops her off) did she want to stay at her mom’s all the time. We both explained to her how you cannot cry wolf like that and how accusing people of hurting you can be very dangerous. And that we will not tolerate dishonesty.

Then he spoke to Katie. I heard the crap she was saying as I sat next to him. She was yelling quite loudly for someone who was supposed to be sick. She was going on about how awful and mean we are. And how of course Kenzie wouldn’t want to come here. He asked her if she just wanted to take her full time. She said, “Nice Charlie. She should spend time with her FATHER.” I could not hold my tongue and said loudly enough for her to hear, “If it is so horrible here, why would any good mother allow or want their child to be here?? It makes no sense!!” Seriously, would you send YOUR kid some place if you genuinely thought she was being mistreated in any way?? Its such a joke. Instead of answering, she simply hung up.

I went to pick up some dinner. When I returned I was informed of what happened while I was gone for those 15 mins. Apparently she called back and was on the phone with Kenzie. Kenzie proceeded to start BAWLING like she was being tortured and was literally BEGGING her mom to pick her up. She must have said she couldn’t and Kenzie flipped out in a crying breakdown. Charlie told her to stop and that it was her bedtime in 2 hours and she had to be here at 8 in the morning so it made no sense, she was to stay here. He had to take the phone away as she wouldn’t stop her dramatic craziness. This is right after she was told how this behavior needed to stop and how it is making things difficult on everyone. She is always telling her mom how she is mistreated around her and how Cassidy can do whatever she wants and never gets in trouble. When really, Cassidy is constantly being given consequences and I cannot even remember the last time Kenzie was given one. It is all just a bunch of lies. And we cannot have her lying like that to her mom or anyone. Especially after what happened. It puts me and our family in actual danger.

After her dramatic breakdown on the phone with her mom, she ate dinner and took a shower. While in the shower she was SINGING. And after, perfectly fine and normal…not upset whatsoever. These things are big manipulative acts. She can turn it on and turn it off like a goddamn switch and it is some scary ass shit. I worry to high hell that she is headed straight for a personality disorder.

One more thing…when she was freaking out on the phone, her mom asked her if I was home. Kenzie answered, no. Her mom then said, “No wonder why you are acting like this.” Because everyone knows I am the only one who doesn’t allow for that behavior. I am the only one who doesnt fall for it. She hates that.

Charlie is at a loss. As am I. When we do not have this woman interfering in our lives or screwing up her kid…things are fine between us and everything is smooth on the home front. But unfortunately, especially during the school year, it is more a weekly…sometimes daily…occurance. It puts our marriage to the brink where I seriously consider leaving. We fight, then we have less patience with Cassidy and our whole household is ruined for a period of time. I cannot continue to allow this. I am really to the point where I think she needs to just go live with her mother full time. Let her see how life would REALLY be like over there. Let her mom see what it is like to really be a parent. Let US see what it is like to live a normal life. But, fact is, she does not want her even the days she does have her. She would NEVER take her full time.

All of this ruined what could have been a nice, uneventful, relaxing day. And I am pissed and drained.