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Why Do We Stigmatize Non-Custodial Moms?

Why Do We Stigmatize Non-Custodial Moms?

Consuelo T., a Circle of Moms community member, knows firsthand the stigma society associates with moms who are not the custodial parents of their children following divorce.

My son moved in with his dad and I see he is doing just fine and has a great step mom...but the animosity kills me,” writes Consuelo, who adds that though she and her son have a close relationship, others have been hurtful and very immature to her.

“I am not the enemy,” says Consuelo, who says she wishes others would realize that.”My son hears the comments and passes them on to me. What do I do?”


Whether that stigma is real or just felt, the debate about custodial mothers rages on. Many Circle of Moms community members are reaching out to the community here for help in coping with the negative stigma. Others believe the stigma is deserved.

My ex and I have chosen that he remain the custodial parent for a variety of reasons,” says Crystal A. “I am looking for a group that may have experience with this non-traditional divorce arrangement. Can anyone point me in a direction? “

But Kelly M. writes: “Our families and our country are suffering from an epidemic that can be stopped. Too many non-custodial parents have abandoned the children that they produced and are willfully neglecting them emotionally and financially. We cannot force these people to be there for our children emotionally.”

We’ve all heard this accusatory assumption about non-custodial moms: “There must be something wrong with her, because the mom never loses her kids in divorce.” The underlying belief is that she’s a drug addict, has mental issues, or is selfish and walked away. Any mother that leaves her children must have something wrong with her, the litany goes.

But that’s not true, says writer Lee Block on the The Huffington Post, explaining that despite feminism, we’ve been programmed to think that it is the woman’s job to rear the children.

“When a father is non-custodial, we picture this guy who is out working really hard and just doesn't have the time to raise his children on his own,” says Block. “He is noble and kind and pays his child support on time. And, when he does take those kids for his three days at a time, we applaud him for doing it on his own. Why can't the non-custodial mother be viewed the same way?

Block adds: “The decisions these women made to not be the primary custodian did not come easily or lightly, but in the end, their only concern was what was best for the kids. None of them have split parenting time, they all have standard visitation. And, with that being said, they all not only feel a closer bond to their children, who confide in them more during their quality time, they have a better co-parenting relationship with their ex-husbands.”

Looking for support on how to navigate as a non-custodial parent?

Visit Circle of Mom’s group Non-Custodial Moms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
Chelsye-MaeGarrett1405808978 Chelsye-MaeGarrett1405808978 3 years

Hey ladies! I'm a noncustodial mom and a sociology student doing research. I NEED YOUR HELP! You can read all about it on my blog.

RachelHill RachelHill 5 years
The non-custodial moms I know had the kids taken by CPS; so that's why some people see them differently. She is unstable and the kids are better with us. She had custody because they had a judge that believed the children should always stay with the mother and she was a child abuser. No one would listen to my husband when he brought issues up. I guess since it's not the "norm" to give custody to the father, it's odd when they do have custody.
BeckyGlenn BeckyGlenn 5 years
Geneva: Wow. I suppose you've never known a woman whose children had to watch him throw her into walls, or known a woman who had to shield the kids while their sperm donor took swings at her. I suppose you've never known a woman whose child said, "Please, Mama, can we not stay here tonight? I'm afraid Dad will hurt us after we go to sleep." You've clearly never met a mother who ran to her parents' home as often as possible to escape the danger she and her children were in. You've never known a mom with more hospital bills for abuse than she had hospital bills for prenatal care. Moms do what they have to do to protect their babies, and if divorcing is what it takes, then that's what it takes. God (and I am a strong and committed Christian woman who researched this obsessively before choosing to divorce my children's father) does hate divorce, but He hates it, not only because of what it causes, but because of what causes the divorce to happen. There's a really good reason that those who file for a divorce aren't condemned to hell in the same lists of damning sins in the Bible: God will not expect a woman and her children to sit on their hands hoping the "man" of the house doesn't beat them to death during his next angry rage. He is NOT that kind of God. It is never, NEVER selfish to leave the "father" of your children in order to protect them. NEVER. You can feel however you want, but until the day that, God forbid, your husband socks you or one of your kids in the face, or threatens your lives, you can just shut your pie-hole about all this "selfish" business.
AprilBeck84980 AprilBeck84980 5 years
I'm not sure what this article is trying to say. I find the comment about non-custodial dads, "working hard is noble and kind" a riot. My ex only pays child support because the state takes it from his paycheck. There could be many different reasons a child is with their father. My cousin decided to move in with her dad because she didn't like how my aunt and uncle raised her. She was allowed to choose that. Her son is with his father because she is not mature enough to handle him and he needed a strong father figure. Especially if this is an agreed upon arrangement, I don't see a problem. If other see it as a bad thing, they are not worth your time.
MeganRater MeganRater 5 years
i think there is a story to both sides of why the BM is the non custodial parent
Tenille95719 Tenille95719 6 years
This is a touchy subject, however, I am for whatever is "the best interest of the child". My son's father and I have been fighting over custody for the last two years. He has four other children in his home with his new wife. I am a great mother and tells me that often. He says "i just want my son". I told him I will fight you til the end. He already knows this. I will say this, if I ever felt like my now 5 year old is getting out of control and I couldn't handle him, I would definitely send him to live with his dad. I think society today is too judgemental. We are so quick to throw stones when we are living in a glass house. We don't know a persons situation and we do not have the right to judge ANYONE.
KathrynHunter98020 KathrynHunter98020 6 years
It may be a stereotype, but my stepson's mom does not have custody because she deserted him for her own happiness and still 10 years later breaks his heart on a regular basis. I realize not all moms are like this. And its not right to judge every non-custodial mom as a bad person. Unless you know the facts its best to keep mum.
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