After a divorce, both the mother and the father become single parents. The default assumption in society is that the mother takes on the bulk of the parenting, but our children deserve both parents in their lives as far as possible.

Sitting at my desk on Monday morning, I open up my inbox and there I find waiting for me is the Dads4Kids/Fatherhood Foundation newsletter. “You beauty,” I think to myself, as I generally look forward to the opportunity to peruse the newsletter whenever I receive it.

I scroll through to the piece titled “Single Parenting” by Michael Meyerhoff. I scan the first couple of paragraphs and then, like a stake through my heart, I am wounded. My mind is flooded with those feelings from way back when I myself was sidelined so cruelly in the parenting of my beautiful children.

Dreams Dashed

I am filled with a deep sense of loss and sadness as I grieve for my aspirations as a parent within my immediate family.

I thought we had passed this stuff. I thought we had matured around this issue. However, I am obviously sadly mistaken, because there it is again in black and white. I am a man who is no longer a father because I do not live in the same house as my children.

So, as angry men should, I decided to do something positive and share with you my thoughts, tainted with those lost aspirations, but still my thoughts.

One-Sided

The aforementioned paper starts off well, “It’s important for you to try to maintain a relationship with your ex-spouse for the sake of your children.” Well, it’s not only important, I think to myself — it is critical, especially if both parents are seeking to assist their children to achieve their full potential.

The article goes on, “If you’ve just experienced a divorce, a separation, or the death of your spouse, you may be totally overwhelmed with your loss and with the new responsibilities that go with being a single parent.” Well, that sounds reasonable enough. Then comes the bombshell.

“There you are, totally in charge of decision-making, finances, breadwinning, and nurturing. It’s no wonder newly single parents often feel fatigue and depression. Most single parents today are women,” and I’m crushed.

The article goes on to state some obviously insightful wisdom. The problem for me is that on each occasion, when the author mentions PARENT, he actually means MOTHER, and by the absence of comment, he condones the abusiveness that parents must inflict on their children as they work to sideline the other parent.

Sadly, this author condones that behaviour — he oils the wheels of parents, both mothers and fathers who, with callous intention, conspire to sideline their children’s other parent and as a result, lower themselves to the form of a child abuser.

Stand Up

So, with the greatest humility and compassion for my fellow parents, I say to both mums and dads, those who refuse to join their wannabe oppressors: Rise and speak out. Do it loudly, do it often, do it with love and grace in your heart, and reclaim our relevance in your children’s lives.

As fathers, we need to advocate for our children’s rights to be loved and cared for by both parents, mothers and fathers, whether we are married or not, whether we live with our children or not, because we are both parents, and our roles, our relationships with our children, are much too important to our children’s future, for us to be sidelined by a reckless attention to the power of our words.

My challenge is simple. Rise up, I say, and call this rubbish what it is: RUBBISH!

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By Raymond Lenton. Photo by Tatiana Syrikova.

About the Author: Guest Writer

Dads4Kids is a harm prevention charity committed to excellence in fathering. Our vision is to transform the nation by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be.There’s a crisis in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 870,000 children, more than 1 in 6, live without their biological father at home.

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