Sep 13

Cute little girl looking bored

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.

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  • Strongdoc

    All of these issues could easily be solved by NOT having a baby with someone who didn’t/doesn’t (obviously) want a child. Birth control…ladies AND men??

  • OMG did you actually look in the mirror? You had the choice to have this child and he did not and obviously did not want one… You are forcing a relationship that does not exist. Have you not gotten remarried and have the new husband adopt her? What about having her spend time with your Dad if he is still around? He did not want to be there DAY ONE.. you should of accepted that and came up with a plan knowing he would not take part .. is it really you that has not moved on and use your poor daughter as bait? You could of told your daughter you went to a sperm bank as you wanted a child so badly and you love her.. but nope you had to torture him and her with your dreams.

    • Nia Syrah

      thanks for the comments tracy.. if you would allow me to clarify a few things… the reason for the article is just that – because of what you got from it. not all women are wise enough at the age of 20 to see what they see in their 30’s so i thought i would pass on my late found wisdom as a warning of sorts to those young women who find themselves in the same ignorant position.

      now with that said – i think you missed my point. at no time during my daughter’s life did i want any relationship with her father, so to answer your question – my daughter was definitely not used as bait. what the article is about is my experience with wanting him to be a part of her life, not necessarily mine. as a mother, and as a woman with both parents in my life, i saw no reason to deny her that on purpose. ask any unplanned single parent and i can guarantee you they will agree that their wish was the same when their child was introduced to the world. whether their wish came true or not was not in their thought process until it didn’t.

      thanks for reading.. i enjoy feedback!

    • Joy Guyton

      “torture him” ? I’m sure she forced him to deposit his sperm in her uterus. Lol. If a man doesn’t want children, he will certainly take appropriate measures BEFORE implantation occurs.

  • Tanya

    I made the same mistake and had two kids with a man who has not been there for them. My situation is different because the kids chose to end their relationship with their dad and they have a wonderful step-dad who has done a great job. Hopefully your daughter figures this out and chooses to end contact with him on her own. Maybe she needs another adult male role model in her life. Is there anybody that could do this for her? Maybe a grandpa or an uncle? Kids figure out who cares for them pretty quick and if that hole in her life is filled she will be much better off.

    Neither of you need this man and maybe a frank discussion about her dad is warranted. I have not hesitated to let the kids know that his behavior is unacceptable and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Obviously this is a controversial view to take but it has always worked for me. It’s a myth that kids need their bio dad in their life. They need loving adults that care, it doesn’t need to be their dad.

    • Nia Syrah

      Very well said Tanya!! Although I learned a bit late, we have since had a very blunt talk about her dad and she was very grateful to be able to make her own decision where he was concerned… She does have several men in her life who care for her way more than dude ever did and even tough it hurts from time to time, she definitely sees the value in it and that she’s better off without him..

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  • Jon Stevens

    Here in Minnesota the presumptive shared physical custody bill to increase joint physical custody of the non-custodial parent(dads) from 25% to35% was defeated by the women’s lobby. So,we tell fathers they are only 1/4 a parent and wonder why they don’t take fathering seriously.
    The 70’s slogan was “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” that may be true(debatable) but children definitely need their dad.
    I can’t take my daughter out anywhere without someone giving me a “concerned” look as though I must be a creeper. I bought a t-shirt that says “call the police I’m guilty of being an awesome father” My point is:we admonish men to be involved dads but when we are,we have to put up with this b.s.
    Thanks for letting me blow off steam.
    Good blog

    • Thanks for sharing Jon and feel free to vent here any time. I know that as men we have been extremely silent in this conversation for some time and I would say that the “awesome dads” are drowned out and muted for the sexier “deadbeat dad”, “baby daddy” and the “absentee father”. We need more men like you to come forward, stick your chest out and yell “hey, I’m right here!” so as to show the up and coming kids that regardless of the situation a father should strive to be a father. Thanks again, and keep on doing what you do.

  • Louise

    Why should a guy bother to see a child he never wanted in the first place. You trapped him with an unplanned baby. Of course he doesn’t want her! Leave the man alone and get on with bring the child up on your own! You silly, stupid, selfish woman!

    • Nia Syrah

      Wow Louise… gsd and read the article (not just the title) before making assumptions, troll…

  • Karla Ponce

    I also want my daughters father to step up to the plate, not to have a relationship with me but with her. Till this day he says to leave him alone as I beg for him to meet her I have moved on and she has a father figure I would wish it was her real dad but is my boyfriend I always think to myself what it would be like if it was her real dad with her instead, but unfortunately it isn’t I have friends one with step dad and feels as if he is her dad a better father figure than her real dad, and I have the friend with a forced father in their life which is a total waste of time they feel how he is forced to be in their life. I’m scared of what my 6month old future will look like if he ever decides to be in her life when he hasn’t since day one I feel she will blame me when I’m the one telling him to give her the time of day.

    • Nia

      I understand your frustration.. The only advice I can give is this: don’t say one bad thing about that man. My daughter is 15 and sees her father’s flaws on her own. Just make sure you offer her a shoulder to cry on when she needs it and you give her healthy views of relationships as she grows up. Don’t allow her to meet every guy you date, as it creates a pattern of men coming and going.. Brothers, uncles and grandfathers are very good male figures until you find someone significant. good luck and keep your head up! She can’t hate you for something you have no control over..

  • Joy Guyton

    Wow. I appreciate reading this story. I learned in life, you can’t make a person care. Either they care or they don’t. As a mother and a woman, you also have to take the blame. Once he continuously showed you he didn’t give a damn, you should have tucked your pride away and looked for the best interest of your child. He is doing exactly what he had always been doing (running and giving half Ass efforts). You can’t take back the past. Focus on your teenager. Maybe some counseling and TRUTH will help. Teach your daughter to be stronger so she doesn’t accept this from other men including her “dad”.

  • annebeth66

    This is from my own experience of having an absent father: tell your daughter everything good & bad about the man. As a child my Mother never said a bad word about my Father and I was left with confusion, heartache and anger as to why their marriage ended. When I questioned my Father about their separation, he played the role of “gee I have no idea why we are not together as a family.” He forgot to mention his constant infidelity, the multiple children out of wedlock he fathered, the lack of care and concern that he had for my Mother, and general disinterest in me. When I learned the truth about him, I wanted to die. I thought he was a good man, when in fact, he was the worst. I wish my Mother had told me the truth from the very beginning. By trying to spare my feelings, the realization of his true character, just about killed me. I am decades later trying to work through my pain and it has impacted my relationships with men.

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