Are All Fathers Created Equal? Not Really

When people hear I’m a single mom, curiosity often gets the best of them and I’m immediately bombarded with questions about my daughter’s baby daddy. I’ve been through the drill so many times I can recite the questions by heart. It goes something like this:

Acquaintance: “Is your daughter’s father still around?”

Me: “Yes, he lives across town.”

Acquaintance, assuming that all baby daddies fall off the grid: “Does he still take her?”

Me: “Yes, but it’s complicated.”

Acquaintance: “But does HE take her?”

Me: “Yea, but….”

Acquaintance: “No!” shaking their head, “All that matters is that he’s still involved!”

This annoys me to no end because that’s not all that matters. It assumes that as long as a father stays involved with his child, regardless to what extent or other external factors, he’s a good father. That just by showing up, he should be awarded a gold star on his parenting chart. Regardless.

The questions no one asks, but which would be more revealing of Jose, my daughter’s father, is “Does he drink?”

“Is he verbally and emotionally abusive toward you?”

“When you’re at a school event and standing six inches from your daughter, does he refuse to acknowledge you, making your daughter feel guilty for loving her mother and divided between parents?”

“Does he send you threatening texts?”

“Does he pay minimal child support because he cheats on his taxes and then constantly complain to his daughter about all the money he pays?”

No one dare asks any of these, but should they, I would give an emphatic “Yes!”

Jose and I parted ways in 2006. Sadly, there is no co-parenting. Even a simple phone call to share the details of a dance recital or a recap of a doctor’s appointment would send him flying into a rage or slamming down the phone. So I don’t.

In the 10 years since we parted, he has been on a relentless campaign to portray me as a bad parent in an attempt to gain custody. As is, I have full custody and decision making, which is rare in New York.

Hence, I rarely discuss the situation with my daughter’s baby daddy with strangers because it’s such a red-hot mess. The details are so gruesome that it’s embarrassing. From past experience, I know what appears as polite interest can quickly turn to judgment.  More than once after hearing about our S&M dynamics, I’ve been asked, “How did you end up with like a guy like that?”

I’m still trying to figure that one out. Years of therapy and introspection have yet to provide an answer.

Recently, Jose trumped up charges and reported me to Administrative for Children Services. More disturbing is he sat in front of my apartment and watched the social worker pay a visit. Then, like a cat showing off the mouse he caught, he flaunted the fact that he reported me to our daughter, under the guise of “I was trying to protect you.”

This is the second time he called and it certainly won’t be the last.

But, as many have pointed out, he takes our daughter Savannah for visitation.

13 responses to “Are All Fathers Created Equal? Not Really

  1. I’m so with you on this. Even when my ex did get the kids they were miserable over there. I called him the swooper because he used to swoop in and take credit for my amazing kids. You just have to bide your time and she’ll get it.

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  2. Hugs! What courage! My experiences are similar to yours. Dreadful way to “have” to live. Continue to do what’s best for her. Continue to be warrior-Mom. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to blog about the ex, right now at this moment I don’t feel alone. Thank you. Again hugs!

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  3. Single mothers are the unsung heroes of the world. I admire what you do!

    https://unlearningblog.com/2015/11/20/dear-single-parent-student/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep …in a similar situation myself …far rom easy …but we’ll get there:)

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    • It’s unreal. People can’t believe it. Sending you a virtual hug.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly it’s a power game …..we’ve just got to recognise it for what it is ….try to rise above it ……not always easy when we so often feel beaten down BUT keep being the voice of reason and picking ourselves up to battle on …..fully fledged modern day warriors :D:D:D …….hug back to you:)

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  5. I feel like I could have written this myself. They might just be concerned that, God for bid, how can we possibly do this all alone, but what they don’t understand is that a bad dad is not better than no dad…..

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  6. I can sadly relate. So sorry for your pain . praying you get the joy you deserve .

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  7. I can so easily relate to your story! I congratulate you for being the strong supportive parent your daughter needs you to be! Best of luck to you both, it certainly sounds like you are doing an amazing job in a really hard situation!

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