Before you read this, I want it to be clear that this is not a typical blast on dead beat dads. In fact, I am the last woman to talk about dead beat dads. With my experience, I do understand that some men just don’t know how to be a good dad, some men just don’t want to be a dad, and some men want to be but have a crazy baby mama that won’t let them be a good dad. All I want to say is, if your circumstances do allow you to take on the task of being a dad, then please take on the ENTIRE task. Don’t do a half assed job because it will ultimately have a negative effect on your children, especially girls. Kids are very resilient in a sense that they don’t know what they are missing when they have never had something. But little girls that get a part of a dad, but not all of a dad will know exactly what they are missing, make decisions based upon it, and they will long for it well into their adult lives.
Confessions of a single mom
Sometimes I wonder to myself whether or not things would be easier for my daughter if her father was just plain absent. When I found out she was coming 13 years ago, I never imagined that my life as a single parent would entail trials of this nature. How does one pick up the slack for a man who just isn’t a good father? Again, this is not some “I hate my baby daddy” rant based on my own feelings of being left to raise my daughter alone. I always took pride in the fact that I was not that chick who took every opportunity to put him down in front of our daughter and use her as leverage in a quest to live happily ever after. On the contrary, I have given him plenty of opportunities to be a good father, to be a huge part of her life, but he drops the ball every time. I tended to let it slide over the years, still hoping he would one day care about her the same way my father cares about me.
I ask myself if this is my fault, on a regular basis. Is it my fault because I wanted my daughter to know her father so badly, that I almost forced her upon him when he clearly didn’t want anything to do with her? I do blame myself for somehow missing the signs of his emotional disconnect during my pregnancy. For starters, within a month of me telling him I was pregnant, he dropped out of school (we were in college at the time), broke his lease on his apartment, and quit his job so he could go back to his hometown leaving me on my own from that day forward. When it came close to the due date he made the money excuse as to why he couldn’t be there, so I, still pushing for him to be present on the special day, purchased the plane ticket. When he arrived I asked if he wanted to feel her moving and he said “no”. Just like that. “No”. She was due on September 4, 1997 and the ticket was for a month stay – two weeks before and two weeks after the due date. Five days in, he decides he wants to go back home and calls his girlfriend to change his flight to September 2. My daughter came into this world on August 29 giving him only three days to spend with her. After that it has been years of let downs and struggles with his so called love for her. Fast forward to today and the situation is truly affecting my daughter and her self esteem! Exactly when does one say “enough!” and stop trying to make a man be a man?
Absence makes the heart stop
Now that she’s a couple of weeks shy of being a teenager, my daughter is showing signs of daddy issues. Over the years, he has broken promises, left phone calls unreturned, and showed lack of interest in her, leaving me to give her the shoulder to cry on (literally). I have kept the promise to myself to never speak badly about this man in front of her, however, it breaks my heart to watch her go through the pain of having disappointment after disappointment shatter her dreams of a father who truly cares about her and her well being. How did he get off so easily?? This man has no idea what it feels like to watch his daughter cry so hard over something he cannot fix to the point that she falls fast asleep from emotional draining. I hate that he has done this to her and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can’t explain to her the history and why he treats her this way because it will crush her. But, if I let her continue thinking he’s this great dude with a couple of flaws, it will only set her up for more disappointment. This is why I wonder if it would be easier if he was just absent. She would already know his character and be able to move forward. Since this is not the case, my little girl is stuck in limbo constantly waiting for that special day that he actually acts like a real dad. That day has yet to come.
Go all in or fold
Listen dads. Don’t play the good dad card with your daughters unless you are working with a winning hand. Just go all in or fold. I speak from my own experience as well as close friends’ experiences and it does the child no good to have a part time parent. These girls do not want excuses or “coulda shoulda woulda….”. They want love. They want quality time. They want to know that you care and that they can count on you at any time. Just because you and the mother are not together anymore does not give you an excuse not to provide these things to them. There are several stories of young women being close to their fathers even though he was not in the home with them growing up. If you are capable of creating the mini female you, then you are capable of the sacrifices necessary to raise them. Trust me, you don’t want to be that guy who regrets his poor parenting after the fact. You know, when you find yourself having that conversation with your adult daughter who tells you that she spent her young womanhood jumping from man to man searching for the feeling of love that you failed to provide to her as a little girl.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.