Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where are all the single dads?

I ran across this post today and he makes a good point. I started to a comment and found that I was not saying what I wanted to say the right way and was coming off as if I were patronizing him. That was not my intention. I wanted to give props but it kept coming out wrong. What I meant to say was that it seems that most men don't wear the title of single dad like the single moms do. The dads I know are just dads. They don't put emphasis on the single status that they have. I am not sure why this is. I'm thinking out loud so again I hope to try to get it right.

I'm in my forties now and grew up with mom at home while dad worked. All of my friends mom's were at home when they got home from school. The dads worked and retreated to the den or study with the paper and a drink before dinner. Dad's were not involved back then as they are today. And that is a great thing. I think of my generation as the transitional one. It was our parents who really took to divorce with abandon. If a family divorced on the block it was talked about in whispers. The mom, if she was able to stay in the neighborhood, continued to take care of the kids and the father pretty much disappeared from their lives.

Imagine having little contact with your kids while married to find that for a weekend or longer time during the summer you (dad) had to interact with your children on a 24/7 basis. I think a lot of dads fell by the wayside. So fast forward to where these children are now parents themselves, the ones who promised never to divorce and put their kids through the pain their parents did and you have this new generation of dads who want to be as active in their kids lives as possible. The gender roles in marriage are still however pretty rigid except that more women work outside the home. Guys are involved with their kids. They are much more nurturing and involved in all aspects of their kids lives.

I hate to admit it but I think there are women who are threatened by this. The men I know who are single dads seem to do it effortlessly. I know that isn't the case but women are much more likely to vent about the challenges of parenthood whether single or coupled. Men still keep their emotions to themselves and are still less likely to admit that something is challenging. Calling attention to men's marital and parenting status such as "single dad" says that the marriage didn't work. Again I am generalizing here but I don't know any man who is proud or even relatively at peace with the fact that his marriage didn't work out. Calling attention to their perceived failure is not something they are likely to do. Women on the other hand have thrown out the feeling of failure or brushed it aside and held on to the perceived strength in being a single parent. This didn't happen overnight. It took generations and lots of legislation to get rid of the shame of being a single mom but it did happen and now its just a matter of time for the dads to catch up.

So...if you know a single dad give him a high five or an atta boy just for being who he is... a great dad.

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Blogger Mister-M said...

Perhaps it's because that Dads are typically run through the ringer by a divorce and family court system that is heavily tilted in favor of mothers?

Perhaps they just don't want to advertise their "singleness" because the risk associated with getting involved again, and marrying are just far too great.

Perhaps the reality is that single dads just find that being a parent without a partner is rewarding and not as difficult as the ever-complaining single mother who needs to solidify the perpetual victim status? Maybe dads don't complain about being a single parent because it isn't difficult enough to be worth complaining about.

Women are threatened by this because the "advances" in the name of "feminism" ran right past equality and onto misogyny. As a result, men are waiting a lot longer to be married if they're marrying it all because with the system set-up as it is today, the risks are far too much greater than any rewards.

Of course it's challenging. The difference is, men don't feel compelled to run around and complain to everybody about it. A challenge is welcomed, particularly when it comes to family.

I know I've chosen to read your blog and comment. I find your posts a little unsettling because you propagate the same kind of BS behind a thin veil of tenderness.

Imagine having little contact with your kids while married...

In what world do you paint with such a broad brush?

I grew up about the same time frame as you and not only did I have an involved father (even when he was working OT to support the family financially) - my whole NEIGHBORHOOD was full of them. They were at the ballpark. They were at PT conferences. They were helping with homework and reviewing grades and instilling discipline and hard-work in their children.

Be real... once child reach school age, even if you're a "Stay At Home Mom" - take 6-8 hours that the kids are at school and exactly how much more time are you really having with your children? How about when they get older and after their homework they run out to play with their friends until dark?

Between the falsehoods that are disseminated by radical feminism, the laws and legislation that has resulted, and mainstream media portraying fathers as morons or buffoons... methinks you need to look somewhere outside your little "box" to see a bit more reality.

February 28, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

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