I am a 34-year-old single mother of 4. My children are 14 years old, 13 years old, 5 years old, and 9 months old.

Just to give a little background, in March of 2016 my brother died suddenly on my birthday. He and I were very close. Prior to this happening, I had never so much as smoked a joint. Occasionally a mixed drink but that was it. I tried meth. I am not proud of my choices at that time but, it is what it is. Needless to say, my 13-year-old spoke with her counselor at school and she in turn called Child Protective Services (CPS).

Now, my mother and I have never had a good relationship. We can only stand to be around each other for short periods of time before we are at each other's throats. Well, my older two are with their father. My 5-year-old and 9-month-old are with my parents. I completed everything I was supposed to complete per CPS, been clean from drugs since July of last year. However, because the father of my 9-month-old has an addiction problem, my mother was named primary managing conservator of my two youngest. The only way I can be a part of their lives at the moment is to live with my parents.

I moved back home in August of this year and it has been hell. I feel that I do everything possible to take care of my kids, clean up after them, feed them, etc. Yet she will not let me leave with my baby. My 5-year-old and she don't get along, so she is ok with her going with me when I leave. She is set however on "this is her house and her rules". Honestly, I am coming to believe that she will never give me my children back, unless I conform to every specific detail she sets forth.

If I do anything she doesn't agree with, I am automatically in the wrong and a worthless, no-good, pos. She undermines me to them both and I can't say anything to her about care for my kids. I was the sole caretaker of my kids all their lives until this past year and a half. I just want to take my kids out of this environment and start fresh.

What can I do?

  • 4
    Is your mother the legal guardian of your kids now? If so, has anything been said by CPS about when/how this decision would be reversed?
    – Erik
    Oct 1, 2017 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


You have obviously scared your mother. Trust, once broken, takes a long time to recover.

Perhaps you should start by having a calm, adult conversation with her focused on what you want and what you have to do to achieve it. What are the rules you have to comply with? At what point will she allow you to look after the children on your own? Write this down, not so much as a legal thing, but more as a commitment between the two of you.

Also, ask her as part of the commitment to stop denigrating you in front of your children.

Once you have that, you have a foundation to build on. You will have specific goals, and she will not be able to move the goalposts to suit herself.

I guess you are going to encounter resistance from her, because the current situation has put her in power over you, and this is going to move your relationship back to a more equitable adult-adult footing. So you may find she wants to keep the conversation in parent-child mode. Don't let that rile you (thats a child response: it keeps the conversation on her terms). Just stay calmly in adult mode. Ultimately your objectives are good and healthy: you cannot stay a child forever, so you are seeking a second chance to be an adult.

Part of adult behavior is confident assertion of your own rights and responsibilities. Don't let her treat adult status as some kind of reward you will get if you are "good enough". You can waste your entire life like that.


I am not familiar with the legality of the whole situation since I am not American and things are a bit different where I live, but considering the fact that you are drug-free and complied with all the rules set forth by CPS - then perhaps it's time to look into getting legal advice.

I assume if you go to court, your mother's word will play a major factor so proving to her that you can take care of your children is your top priority. Meaning finding a stable job, arranging for or proving that you can afford a house for all of you to live comfortably in - I am sure a lawyer will be able to advise you on all of this.

If you can provide some more information on what's required to actually get custody of your kids back, then maybe we can advise you better but it looks like this is headed towards legal action - where we cannot really advise you about on this site.

Good luck!

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