Let Fathers be Fathers

22 Jan

Yes, I am back with a new rant. It’s been quite a while, and I almost gave up on this blogging bit, but I must speak on something that I am noticing lately. I don’t know if I am late on this or what, but it seems as though women today are so focused on being the ultimate mom, that dads are not being allowed to be dads. It seems as though a pregnancy announcement automatically comes with the notion that all of the joys and struggles of parenthood belong only to the mother, and the father is just a spectator with the rest of the family. I blame this on the fact that most of us who are in our late twenties and early thirties right now, were unfortunately raised in single parent homes, or homes without fathers. We see parenthood in a very one-sided way, the mother-sided way, and a father’s role is either optional or nonexistent.

When my daughter was born I immediately noticed that she had the same shape head as her father, and the same exact feet. I had already decided that I would not be parenting on my own, but these features confirmed it (lol). When our nurse brought her from the nursery, I fed her, and then passed her to her father to burp her. “I can’t hold her,” he said, “I don’t know how.”

“Remember on the Cosby Show, Cliff said to scoop the baby like a football,” I explained.

He laughed. “But she’s too little.”

“She is yours, and you will hold her. This is when the bonding begins.”

“But I’m afraid I’ll hurt her.”

“You are her father. You can’t hurt her unless you intend to. Take her.”

                He finally took her and cradled her in his arms. I could see he was in love. I could see that she felt it. From that day on, he fed her, he burped her, he changed her, he bathed her, he put her to sleep, he played with her, he talked to her, he taught her things, he disciplined her, he did it all. She is definitely a daddy’s girl. Today people are quick to say she looks more like him than me, so there is just no way will I raise a child by myself who doesn’t even look like me (lol).

                I cannot blame single mothers for almost killing their selves in order to give their children the best of the best. Some men cannot differentiate between being in a romantic relationship with the mothers of their children and having a co-parent relationship with the mothers of their children, and so they end up neglecting their own mini-me’s. Unfortunately, that is their loss. However, these super single mother traits are starting to become noticeable in mothers who are in committed, romantic relationships with their children’s fathers. That really needs to stop. It is one thing to condemn deadbeat dads, it is quite another to create reasons to condemn present fathers.

                All too often nowadays I see mothers turning to their mothers and sisters for assistance with their children, when the fathers are present. I have always hated hearing people say, “Why don’t you have his father watch him?” As a mom, when your child is in your care, you are not “watching” them, so why is it that when the child is left in the father’s care, the father is “watching” him? I never use that phrase when my daughter is in her father’s care. “Where is your daughter?” “With her father.” He’s not “watching” her. She belongs to him as much as she belongs to me.

                Now, here’s a confession: deep down inside I have the superior mom attitude. My baby is my baby, and nobody knows her like I do. Nobody does what mommy does for her. Only I vomited everything she disliked for 6/9 months, only I felt completed invaded for 37 weeks, and only I writhed in pain for 11 hours of my 21 ½ hour labor! I mean I am M-O-M-M-Y. In my child’s eyes I am almost the equivalent to Jesus, the Miracle Worker! I am all that girl ever needs at the end of the day. These are things I keep to myself though, because it’s fake. It’s my fantasy. Yes, I gave up my body for 37 weeks, had it broken down for almost an entire day, and required up to six weeks recovery, but her father was there through it all. He endured my puke breath; all of his money was spent on hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies. He sat up and did what he could to comfort me when I had acid reflux at 4 a.m. He drove to the hospital and shivered through invasive examinations both times I went into premature labor. If he did all that, why must his duties end?

                When I was 13, I spent a week with my father and little sister. My step mother was only there for about two days, and then she had to leave the country on business. My father never skipped a beat. My sister was a little over a year old at the time, and my father was on point with everything, until I asked to hang out with some friends I made in his town. He called my mother and asked what he should do. She told him, “I’m in New York, you’re in Ohio and she’s there with you. You’re her father. Figure it out. I’m on my break from her (lol).” She didn’t have to tell him twice. After that my father never second guessed himself when I was in his care, at least not to my knowledge. I do know for a fact that was the last time he called my mother to make decisions for him.

                It is automatically assumed these days that fathers are incapable of doing what mothers do, and the truth is they are not! The baby cries, and mommy jumps. Daddy sits idle watching a game. Why? Because Mommy either made it that way, or when it started out that way she allowed it. What’s wrong with taking turns? As the oldest of all five of my siblings, I know all about taking turns… try it, its better than you think. It would also be nice for grandmas to fall back a little bit; particularly maternal grandmas. I applaud all of you who raised us on your own, or with the help of great-grandma, but if your daughter has a man in her life standing in the daddy-role, please let him play it. Mind your business when he makes decisions for his child and disciplines them. You did your part. You raised the young lady that he was blessed to procreate with. Fall back and be grandma. Take the kids to church, give them that unwrapped candy that you always have in your purse, and buy the random toys that mom and dad didn’t have time or money to buy. Just be grandma. Children love grandmas and they love them forever. I still love my grandmas!

                I strongly believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Mommy alone is not a village though; she is the leader of the village. Daddy is a leader too. Parents need to remember they gave each other these positions. Mommy could not be a mother, without father, and vice versa. Mothers, lets allow fathers to be fathers so we do not find ourselves overworked with no time for rest. Allow them to be more than an atm, and be encouraging, not degrading. Support them the way that you want to be supported. Yet, if you find yourself having to force him into being a father, your mistake was made when you opened up your pearly gates without a shield, and it is time for some serious revamping. There’s no time for a man who wants to stand and grin when they say “Aw Junior looks just like you,” but he doesn’t even know Junior is lactose intolerant. Everyone has a role when it comes to raising children. Fathers should man up and be fathers. Mother should allow them. Believe me when I say, you, him and your children will benefit from it.

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