Category Archives: Parenting

Everyday Is for The Thief

He has dug a pit and hallowed it out and fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return upon his own head and his violence will descend upon his own pate ~ Psalms 7:15-16


You can run but you can't hide!

You can run but you can’t hide!

There is a Yoruba proverb that goes ‘everyday is for the thief but one day is for the owner’

It loosely translates as; you can get away with things for ages but eventually you’ll get caught and pay the price.

Well it, at one point, seemed that McDad would be paying the piper or as they are better known the CSA.

Here in the UK the Child Support Agency (CSA) are tasked to find absent parents and force them to pay maintenance for their children.

Super-Gran informed me way back in August 2013 that McDad now had a fairly decent job and that his girlfriend had advised him not to pay for his daughters upkeep if she refused see him.  Apparently he totally agreed with this and wouldn’t be supporting his kid despite that fact that it was his violent actions that led to her refusal.

Super-Gran advised me to do whatever I needed to do to ensure that our daughter was provided for with the information she had given me.

I called the CSA and gave them an update.

In November McDad bumped into one of my brothers and boasted how he now had a great job, just walking distance from where both my office and my brothers chambers are.

Naturally my solicitor brother, MrB, was more than disgusted that a man could be primping and puffing himself up like a peacock over a job but not feel the need to provide for his child. MrB reminded that I’m resourceful and if I really tried I could find the name and address of his office.

True to form after an hour of a concentrated internet search I had the name and address of the company he worked for and had rang the CSA to update them.

On Tuesday the 21st of January I called to see if their was any progress and a very helpful lady filled me in. They had called and written to him and eventually they contacted his employer and asked for a breakdown of his earnings. Their office was waiting for the information before making a judgement on how much of his income he would have to pay as maintenance.

On February 10th  I got shocking news! I had a message from the CSA to call them back which I did. It transpires that they have received the information from his employers and have made their final decision.

He should be paying hundreds in maintenance each month!

But as I first called them about the issue almost 9 months ago they will be back dating the claim!

He officially owes thousands in back maintenance!

If he does not make a direct debit arrangement they will order his employer to remove the monthly amount plus a further amount to cover the back pay directly from his wage before he receives it.

Basically he has no choice other than to pay what he owes; willingly or by force.

Now  its April 2014  and I called the CSA for an update. It seems neither employer nor McDad have made maintenance payments and the case is being referred to the CSA’s legal enforcement team.

Now whatever happens the amount the CSA have determined as owed by McDad will be an outstanding debt he owes. This will follow him to any employment he has in the future but how does that matter if he is not made to pay up?

I totally understand why women eventually give up dealing with officialdom. How many calls should I make and how many letters should I write before I just stop hoping for a favourable outcome for my daughter?

Why has it been almost a year since referral to the CSA, an official  government department, without resolution?

Why bother?



My Big Little Brother


My Big Little Brother

Since the event in May 2013 we have had no contact with McDad. Who really wants to have that kind of negative influence in one life? My daughter certainly has made it clear that she won’t have anything to do with violence, verbal or otherwise.

We talk freely about McDad. She tells me of times she spent with him (mostly fast food and shopping trips with the very occasional day at the science museum etc). It’s both a blessing and a tragedy that she has fewer stories of times out and about with him than she does about times spent with my brothers.

My little brother is home on from the ship and she is enjoying spending lots of time with him. He tries to be home for her when she gets back from school and pretty much taken over the cooking of the evening meals. He’s busy doing ‘man’ jobs around the house like fixing broken cupboard door and tidying the garden.

It’s lovely to hear Inny telling him all about her school day and him offering his manly perspective before offering a bear hug. He has expressed his expectation that she focuses when doing homework and was super encouraging when he found out she was taking extra math classes on Saturday mornings, checking what she is covering and her progress.

Together they are a great team. They are the team that she and McDad should be.

So in the absence of a decent father we are blessed to have him in our home.

As for me it’s lovely to have another adult to spend time with and talk about life and current affairs. He’s been so supportive on my C25K journey so far, offering to stay in with Inny while I go do my thing, giving me a fitness monitor and has even joined my gym!

Last night we sat chatting for an hour of so about charity and a news piece we had just seen. It was a simple evening and a lovely one.

Once again we will have serious Uncle/MrR withdrawal when he leaves.

I am very lucky to have three wonderful brothers in my life. MrB is calm and collected and an excellent listener, nothing is too much trouble for him when it comes to family. MrM is the life and soul and always the centre of attention (just don’t let him start telling jokes) but when the shit hits the fan he’s a man who want to help fix it. Lastly my big little brother, MrR, a whole 6 foot 3 but he brings calmness to the room, brings peace with him and is so generous with his time.

It’s not always plain sailing between us (especially with MrM, there is only 12 months between us and when we argue bystanders slowly back out of the room) but gosh I love these guys so much!

Thank You Darlings


you rock


My daughter, Inny, told me that she was so proud of me yesterday and that though we don’t spend so much time together she was so happy that i was getting healthy.  She also says she thinks my bum is looking a bit smaller (bless). She gave me a big hug and a kiss and told me that I smelt awful ‘but good-kinda-worked-it-awful’

My daughter La, emailed me from Paris to say she was impressed.

I am lucky.

Very lucky to have such lovely girls.

Thank you daughters for supporting me and understanding the changes to both routine and time spent together.

You are gracious and giving.

And I am lucky.

168 Hours

There are 168 hours in a week

where did my day go?

where did my day go?

37.5 of mine are spent working

10 travelling to and from work.

56 sleeping

7 on personal grooming, having a shower, getting dressed etc

2.5 taking my kid to Guides

7 on entertainment

7 cooking

7 washing, ironing, cleaning

4 shopping

That’s 138 hours of my 168 and the last three are, at best, conservative estimations.

This leaves me with 29 hours to ‘myself’ but I’m a single mother to an 11 year old so much of that is taken up with running her to and from friends, doing the washing she forgot to put in the basket after the washing session is over, taking her to the shops or the movies or just general chit chat. I also have a 24 year old daughter so there’s the occasional doing for her. And a cat called Woody. Lets not forget him. He can be quite pissy.

Next week I will spend 6 hours travelling to and from  a conference in the delightful Blackpool deleting my precious ‘free’ time down to 22 hours.

Later in the month 8 hours on a cold market stall with my talented cake making buddy to support her.

Amazingly I still find time for my lovely friends, the odd night out, the movies and a bit of lounging about.

I think I’m doing okay

But today I’m tired.

It’s one of those days.

Very tired today


© Mints and Wisdom 2013

Weeping For You


Lost days, moments of laughter and comfort

Fears for the misdirection and misadventure you pursue

The energy and effort past

Distant memories of hope and peace

Your mother weeps for you

The love is like a lanced heart

Never-ending or aching or urging

Constant questioning of what went wrong

Where are you love and loyalty?

How did you become the stranger?

That once was soothed and suckled in her arms

Your mother weeps for you

All squandered potential and promise

Smothered in aggression and dishonesty

Selfishness and arrogance

So near but so far

Oh Yes,

Your mother weeps for you.


© Mints and Wisdom 2013

One Morning 11 Years Ago

On this morning 11 years ago I woke around six am. Nerves had commanded the night and I had had a fitful sleep.

McDad and I were up and dressed in super time and the taxi arrived as booked. He had booked an executive car and we were whisked along on plush leather seats to our fate.

When we arrived our hero of the past few months was in shock ‘are you still carrying that thing around!’ she exclaimed.

‘For my sins’ I replied

The original core of the building was from 1890. Crowed in a side street; the view was limited. Not much could be expected for central London. The corridors were lined with history, floor tiles smoothed with age, walls tiled with brown.

The room was sterile with wipeable surfaces and plastic coated chairs. But it was comfortable enough and we settled in for the long haul with a little music and a cup of tea.

Strangers popped in and out all morning, listening, adjusting, asking and poking.  Our Hero’s time was up and so she said a quick goodbye and zoomed off home to bed.

The work was hard and the peaks were so very high. The little needle moving so far over to the right that the lack of profanity and the calm were considered as marvels.

The assisted kick off was at 8am but buy noon hunger had set in so McDad wondered off to McDonalds. He returned with fries and a tale of how he had got into a scuffle with someone in line.

Little did I know that this was how every important event with him would be tainted in some way by his aggression.

Quite frankly, on this morning I didn’t care. I was frying bigger fish.

I was asked to become a subject.

Oh yes anything to take my mind off it. I was welcoming and curious.

‘Yes, I have eaten’

‘No the pain seems the same’

‘Be my guest, have a look/prod/feel/poke/listen’

We looked inside and our excitement translated to tears.

We feared.

We anticipated.

Hours passed and we all stayed put. Exactly where we were when we entered.

No one and nothing moved.

Future stubbornness was called into question.

They came and conferred at the mouth of the room.

‘We could break shoulders and pull’ they suggested.

Those words washed past me, floating on a haze of pethidine.

McDad snatched them up and buried them outside the room.

The hands marched forward, tick, tock.

Exhausted and frail my bodyfellow and I withered.




Finally the big chief came along and declared war.

‘You have no choice now’ he said

‘We’re going in’

‘Get up and walk’

And so I did, the short journey long and arduous.

Every step a challenge,

A fight with exhaustion,

A mountain of pain.

Finally there I sat on the edge, McDads’ hands covered mine and he asked me to ‘breathe in, look straight into my eyes’

The room a flurry and blue activity as the hole sunk and the numbness rose like a wave from my core outward.

I lay down and the tugging and pulling began.

McDad held my head in the crook of his arm. ‘Don’t look around; just look at me’ he whispered.

But I saw fear there and smiled

Then the shakes set in and teeth rattled and rattled.

Then it was over and he looked from one to the other.

Hesitating not knowing who to be with.

‘Its okay’ a blue said, hand on his shoulder. ‘They’ll be fine’

‘Go’ I said ‘please’

‘Count fingers and toes’

And so at 10.40pm the blues sewed while we laughed with relief.


McDad; Twisted Logic

It won't be long.....

It’s no joke…..

So I was told two weeks ago that McDad has a new job.

Over a year of unemployment and he finally is working. Everyone is pleased for him and once again people can pretend that he is a useful member of society. Let’s ignore the little fact that he probably did not declare his criminal history and got the job under some false pretence.

The most interesting thing I was told was that McDad and his girlfriend have decided that because ‘he doesn’t see his daughter he won’t pay for her’.

Unfortunately my daughter happened to walk into the kitchen at the exact same moment I repeated what she said with incredulity……..’So because she won’t see him he won’t PAY for her?!’

Later she wanted clarification so I told her that SuperGran had told me that dad had got a new job but had decided that he would not pay towards her upkeep because he wasn’t seeing her.

This is more or less her response word for word;

“So because he doesn’t see me I don’t exist? I’m not his responsibility? I don’t eat? Outstanding, nice one”

Inny is learning from his actions that parenting is a choice.

Some people have children but chose not to parent them in any capacity. It was the first time I had heard bitterness in my 10 year old daughter. I feel so sad for her and kind of guilty too!

My brother has two children one is with him and his current partner in Norway and the other lives in the USA with her mother. He maintains regular contact with his daughter in the states and never defaults on his maintenance. He makes that happen. He takes responsibility for seeing that she travels to see her paternal family and has a solid and fruitful relationship with her little sister. He and his ex have always put my niece first and have managed to work out the best of a difficult situation.

My brother is no saint. He has made lots of mistakes in the past and at times can be thoughtless, wrapped up in his own world but his child has always been at the forefront of his mind. His actions have reflected that.

McDad is a much lesser man than that.

He is not seeing his child and so has to control something. This is going to be money.

His control has now extended to his 10 year old daughter effectively he’s saying ‘if you don’t see me I will not support you in anyway; you can starve for all I care’.

I think she gets that.

I can’t conceive not doing the best that I can for my children whatever the circumstances; that’s why I have put up sitting across from the sociopath that is McDad on countless occasions since we separated in 2005. I can’t imagine putting not making an effort for my daughters.

Since the incident in May, he has tried to demand I speak with him via his mother, intimidate me with the National Mediation service and excerpt control via money.

What he has not done is apologised for his behaviour, written to his kid to apologise for his behaviour. Made any attempt to make things better in anyway.

Were we expecting that?

No not at all. I know him well enough to know that he thinks the incident at the school was no big deal; after all he didn’t punch me or anything. I know form history that he does not perceive parenting as something he should do.

His child is not his responsibility.

He has never put Inny first and that is not about to change now. He has always left the nurturing of his child to someone else, his mother, his sisters, my brothers, my friends………. It has never really mattered who as long as he was not the person who had to wait around for swimming class to be over or out in the cold at Brownies or dropping off for a friends party. He only ever showed up for the fun stuff like her birthday party, drop off her Christmas present but of course never was involved in the arrangement (and rarely the funding).

He would make weak and short lived gestures like taking her to school twice a week for a term but that would quickly be cast off unceremoniously if something better came along. What happened to her and her routine was someone else’s problem. In the end his lack of commitment and unreliability meant no one bothered to asked him to step up and parent the child.

McDad is destroying his relationship with her with every passing day. It’s so sad. He’s gone from hero to zero in the last few years, finally topping it off with a show of horrid aggression exposing himself as a monster before her very eyes and in the company of her friends.

Now this.

I would weep with deep sorrow if my 10 year old daughter ever spoke about me in that way.

What kind of failure as a mother would I be to cause such bitterness in the eyes of an otherwise happy, intelligent and loving child.


See below for previous McDad posts;

McDad – A Tweet – A Decision
McDad: Asserting Himself
McDad; Still an abuser
McDad the bully