It's especially hard when everyone judges me without hearing the whole story. My boyfriend's family thought ill of me for the longest time because I hardly ever see my son. One of his brothers (ironically, the one who has offered to help me) even went so far as to call me a horrible mother for giving up custody of my son. Even my own family doesn't understand.
When I lived 15-20 miles from my ex, I was so broke/poor that I would save the money that would have gone to feeding me all week, just so that I could feed my son and do something special with him on the weekend when I had him. I took him to the zoo or to the desert museum or to a movie. But I wouldn't eat all week, just so that I could do that for him. I'd also take him to the $.99 store every weekend and let him buy a toy. That was the best I could do.
When my son was here last summer, my boyfriend called my parents and asked if he could pick up my son and take him with him to do the vending machine route that he runs for his mom. My parents said sure. My son had the most fun that day. My boyfriend took him to several different accounts, including the police station, and even had my son stock the police station's snack machine all by himself after showing him how to do it. After they were done, my boyfriend took him to get ice cream. All I heard about for the next two days was how awesome my boyfriend was and how much my son loved him.