Making Hard Decisions

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Life is full of hard decisions.  As we get older they get progressively harder because more people join our lives and are affected by those decisions.  As a mother of 3 beautiful girls I recently had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life…at least I hope.

I flew back to Florida last week for my monthly trip to see the girls.  During this trip, I was also going into mediation with my soon-to-be ex-husband.  We had been together for 8 years when I knew for sure that it was completely over.

During those 8 years, we had had some ups and downs throughout the marriage. I wanted to leave several times before now, but I tried each and every time to work through it — even if it meant pushing my hurtful feelings aside and dealing with the unhappiness.

The state of Florida orders all divorcing couples to go through mediation to see if they can resolve custody and support issues without going before a judge. Prior to mediation day, I had planned meetings with the girls’ teachers to let them know what was going on and to form a relationship with them.  The teacher meetings went better than I expected and I left each meeting feeling conflicted in  my plan  for the girls.

I had arrived in Florida intending to fight for full custody of the girls.  After seeing the girls’ teachers and seeing the girls themselves happy to see me, but happier to go back home and to school each day, my plan changed.

They make straight A’s, and their teachers didn’t even know their parents were going through a divorce because the girls are so happy in class. They were both student of the week  within the first  few weeks of school.  I decided I couldn’t break their hearts or their father’s heart by taking them from their home on Florida.

I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and that I would leave if I had to change anything.  I wanted shared custody.  I wanted to make shared decisions with their dad on health, religious and school issues.  I wanted half of  Christmas break. I wanted 8 weeks in the summer.  I wanted every other Spring Break and  every other Thanksgiving.  I wanted a four day weekend every month and I wanted Mother’s Day.  If I didn’t get all of that, which is an amount of time sharing I could live with, I would leave and fight for full custody.

Mediation took 10 hours. All we resolved were the custody and visitation questions, but those are really the most important ones.

Next up…financials.  And, I won’t be sharing those details.


  1. I’m so happy the mediation went well (10 hours…YIKES) and you have the custody squared away. In the end, that’s all that is important. The happiness of your girls is what matters most. You are a good Mommy and I know you love them so much. I can see it in your eyes when you talk about them, and I can read it in your words when you write about them. You know what’s best for them and I’m so glad to hear that you were able to do some soul searching and meet with the teachers beforehand to figure out what that best case scenario for everyone would be. Stay strong and sparkle on!

  2. Courtney, you have to be the strongest person/woman/mommy I know. I cannot imagine having to make this type of decision and cannot imagine the strength it took to get there. I have been in mediations over custody for different reasons in my life and watching the process never ceases to amaze me. I, too, can read and feel your love for the girls in your words and they will understand someday and love you even more. You are simply amazing.

  3. When we become moms we also learn the greatest love of all. That loves allows us to put their needs and happiness first always! You are a wonderful mom! I can’t imagine how hard that has to be. Stay strong! You are doing a great job!

  4. It sounds like you and your soon-to-be-ex are doing a great job of parenting those little girls, most children whose parents are going through a divorce are not so well adjusted and happy! I think that speaks volumes about what a good mom you are. :) I am so glad that the visitation and custody issues went well in mediation. Hopefully the financials go as smoothly! Good luck!

  5. 10 hours…wow. Courtney, this is so much to go through, but I’m really glad that things went well in the mediation. It can be so hard to know the right things to do as a parent, and it stinks when doing the right thing for them isn’t necessarily what we want. You are a great mom, though, and your girls know that. When they get older, they’ll look back and see that you were actually even better than great, you were tremendous and made a huge sacrifice for their happiness. Now on to financials…

  6. That was my outcome as well, it broke my heart, I didn’t have the support that you have now from friends; i was alone with my pain, I am so glad that you put your babies happiness first, even though as a Mother it’s the most painful thing ever.

    You know I’m here for ya! <3!

  7. Your decision showed how much you love your children. We always want what is best for our children, and your actions were far more powerful than any words. Your daughters will always love you for working so hard to keep balance in their lives. Hugs and kisses to you.

  8. It takes an amazing woman to be strong enough to do what’s right and best for her kids even when it kills her inside. I stand in awe of you and I’m sending the biggest hugs I can send through the Internet.
    You are an amazing mother. Hang tight!

  9. I can’t imagine having to make a choice like that. As a child of divorced parents, I can say that it’s how your manage your relationship after the breakup that matters most to your kids. You are so amazing for doing what’s best for the girls – I am sure they will miss you terribly but it’s a heck of a commute for shared parenting. Now you can concentrate on making the time you get to spend together joyful.

  10. Xoxo. You have a good heart and head lady!

  11. What an incredibly hard decision, yet you put your children first…something that so many people going through divorce do not do. I know this will be hard for you to be away from them so much, but they will stay well-adjusted because of your loving heart. (((Hugs))) to you!

  12. Courtney… I do not even have to write what I am thinking. You know how I feel and I am so very proud of you and your decision. I am a dedicated Courtney fan, and would have remained one no matter your decision, because that is what friends do. But right now I really feel good and am so glad we had the chances we took to talk, share, and listen.

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