I was not given the option to say in my kids’ life full-time. My ex-wife pulled the plug on our marriage. Once a parent threatens “D” there is no coming back. The self-centered meltdown must’ve been overwhelming. She needed to jettison me.
I, however, was not the reason she was unhappy.
What Dads Bring To Kids
Dads roughhouse differently. We play differently. We have different perspectives on the life ahead for our sons and daughters. While divorce in the US is 85% unbalanced, favoring the mom as the custodial parent and the one who is awarded child support, there is some light that 50/50 shared parenting is better for everyone involved. Even my ex-wife would’ve been better served by giving me half of the time with our kids. She went for the mom grab, and took all that she could get. Did she think she was the better parent? Did she think her love was more essential for our kids than mine? I don’t know. I do know, anything other than the SPO and typical child support offering were non-negotiables.
Dads are 50% of the parenting equation.
Now, we all know dads who suck. We also, probably know, moms who suck. But starting all divorce negotiations with mom’s rights trumping all other options is unfortunate, and NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN.
In The Best Interest of the Children
A phrase used to bully the non-custodial parent into submission. It’s all “in the best interest,” sure, but according to what evidence? There is no evidence that moms are more essential than dads in their kids’ healthy development. The opposite is true, BOTH PARENTS are equally important. What was designed 60 years ago, for the divorces of our parents, no longer serves us or the health of our children. I actually think it does not serve the parents either. My wife would’ve gotten more support, and more time with a happy and cooperative parent if she had only paused the divorce entitlement and abided by our spoken 50/50 forever agreement.
In the best interest of the children
- seeing their parents happy
- eliminating the fights between their parents
- having equal access to both parents
- keeping the legal and financial struggles out of the view of the kids
- share all kid-related expenses
- find a balanced schedule for co-parenting
- ex-spouses putting their kids first
- giving both co-parents the benefit of the doubt
But, the family courts are not committed to balanced parenting agreements and there’s a simple reason why: MONEY.
Unequal Divorce Is Good for the States
And check out this video about how the federal government funds our state governments.
And here’s a little visualization I created to give a voice to the unequal parenting schedule of the Standard Possession Order.
Dads Are Just As Important
As I was dating a woman with a small son, I was enthusiastic and committed to my “father figure” role. Now, three years later, I’m still struggling to let completely go. Still, an article from Fatherly, was too good to pass up. 22 Essential Life Skills Every Kid Should Have By Age 10. That’s about how old the young man is. I have been restraining my texts and offers, but this one was too important to pass up. I won’t point to the items that they REALLY NEEDED TO WORK ON, but I think the article is well done.
Here are the 22 skills. I recommend you read the full article and maybe subscribe to Fatherly.
- Use a map and a compass
- Carry on a conversation
- Have a firm handshake
- Know how to be alone (self-soothing)
- Knows how to swim
- Knows how to ride a bike
- Can care for another living thing (pet care)
- Knows how to spot fake news or go online for real sourced information
- Can make change (this one may be gone soon)
- Knows how to save (I’m still working on this one)
- Can chill out
- Can clean their room and does
- Knows how to write a letter or email
- Have proper table manners
- Good manners overall
- Can dress themselves
- Know how to reach you
- Can tell one good joke
- Know how to react in an emergency
- Can cook an egg
- Have good personal hygiene
- Have a robust imagination
Dads are equal parents. Some dads are deadbeat dads. Some moms are deadbeat moms. Some parents are assholes. Let’s not be assholes to each other. And, let’s work together in 50/50 shared parenting, and shared expense partnerships for the good of our children. Your kids’ relationship with the other parent is just as important as their relationship with you. Protect the sacred love of both mom and dad. Let’s work together on this.
- Pay Attention: When Your Partner Says They Are Not Happy
- MNDFL + MFKR (You can be either, better to be both)
- The Art of Indifference After Divorce: Letting Go With Intention
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life