I am a single mother of two from Texas who moved to Columbus, Ohio, two years ago. I was married to a complete asshole who wasn't husband material and I left him, with my two babies in tow. I went and got on Section 8, welfare, food stamps and any other government assistance programs they had to offer. I went to community college and became a medical assistant, then a vocational nurse, and got a job working at the county jail in the medical division. I had a stroke in December 2000 and was incapacitated for almost five years. I went back to college--I started in the fall of 2000--and worked my way through to my senior year. I went to New Orleans, then came to Columbus, Ohio in August 2005. I got a job, enrolled in school at Ohio State University as a nursing major, and plunged headfirst into the task of raising two rapidly growing children. I did not date--I didn't have time, working three jobs--and I worked a lot, on the job and in school. I send my children to Texas for the summer every year and I use the downtime (lucky me!!!) to work extra hours to pad my paycheck. I go to Texas for a week and then I go back for a weekend to pick up the children. We come back to Columbus, I get home to discover I've been robbed; luckily, I have insurance. I file a claim and I work and study in the meantime. I live in an area that was nice and decent, but has gotten bad over the past year. My daughter was jumped and my son was beat up and his bike was taken, but I went out and got it back. My daughter was jumped three days later; she ended up with a 2-inch cut on her forehead, lots of scrapes and bruises, and a chipped front tooth. I told her great-grandparents and they told the children's father, the father they have not seen in ten years. He got my number from his grandparents and had the nerve to call me and tell me what a shitty mother I've been. He also called his mother and told her a warped version of what happened and she called me with the same shit about me being a shitty mother, about how I'm not providing for the children properly, how the children are suffering with me. Even my own family tells me I am doing wrong by my children by moving them so far away from everyone. My mother keeps demanding that I move back to where I belong, which is in Houston, Texas, and gets angry when I tell her no. They call me everyday, criticizing my parenting skills and trying to take my children from me, saying I don't know what to do with them, that I don't know how to raise my own children and that I need to come back home so they can make sure I'm doing it right. My mother and sister overrule me in every decision I make about my children; if I say anything to them about it, they take it out on my children. This is why I left Texas in the first place. They constantly tell me how to raise my children and how to run my house and I am sick of it. I hang up on them and I don't take their calls and they leave messages, saying that I need to call them back because they can't trust a child to raise their children, that I need to grow up before I can raise a child. Now, my sister had a little girl she was going to adopt, but she was taken from her because my sister beat the shit out of her and the child was only two years old, with bruises all over her bottom and legs. My mother was the worst provider ever; we went without a lot of shit growing up, like soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper, food and so on. She used to make me go next door to the neighbors and beg for food and household stuff and when we started working, she took our money to pay the bills and would get mad if we didn't give her our money. I even got put out over a $70 refund check and my brother got put out because he had a child on the way and was saving his money for that. I try to have a relationship with these people; with the exception of the children's great-grandparents, they are all full of shit. Where does their DNA provider get the nerve to tell me I'm being a shitty mother to children he wouldn't recognize if they came up and kicked him in the ass?! Where does his mother get the nerve to tell me I'm a shitty parent when her son hasn't seen these children since they were in diapers? Where does my family get the nerve to tell me I'm doing wrong by my children, when they have so much dirt in their own backyards? I wish they would get the fuck on somewhere because I don't need them to raise my children! I have been doing just fine here in Columbus, Ohio, for the past two years, despite my family's having told me I can't do it by myself. I think I'm doing a damn good job, even if they don't or can't see it! I am a good mother and my babies tell me so everyday. They thank me every time I do laundry, cook dinner, buy them clothes and even for paying the bills! My children know I am a good mother. Where does everyone else get the nerve to judge my parenting and life skills when theirs suck ass?!