By: Carolina + Mary
Your child’s father has been missing in action for most of – well – their life. Yet, when it comes to Father’s Day, they’re front and center to take in all the glory. As for our kids, the poor things are more than happy to comply.
So what’s a YUM to do?
Our co-founders – Carolina and Mary – chime in, and give their accounts on this scenario.
My father was/is amazing. Worthy of the different variations of “Father of the Year” emblazoned items that I would present him with year after year to commemorate Father’s Day. My daughter’s father (here on out referred to as my “BD” -short for Baby Daddy), on the other hand, not so much. In this way my daughter and I do not relate. So it’s not surprising that figuring out how to celebrate Father’s Day with her becomes quite the conundrum for me year after year.
It hasn’t gotten easier. My daughter loves her father. She thinks that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It isn’t hard to tell that he is the favored parent in her eyes, and I feel horrible admitting that it bugs me, not because I want her to love me more than anyone else (ok, ok, I DO, but that’s beside the point), rather because he doesn’t DESERVE her affections. From day one, I have been the sole provider from a financial, emotional, and physical standpoint and made all of the sacrifices. His assistance has been minimal, at best. Yet he can do no wrong in her eyes. My husband, who has been there for my daughter since she was 2 years old, gets the cold shoulder on Father’s Day and is pretty much treated as a consolation prize in her father’s absence for most major events. My BD is always greeted with a warm reception from her, despite how many promises he has broken or that he is showing up 48 hours later than he had told her he would be arriving…it drives me insane!
Despite this, I play the sideline and do my best to allow her to celebrate the special men in her life the way that she sees fit, partly because all of the parenting guides say that is how these situations should be handled and mostly because I don’t want her to grow up hating me or blaming me for standing in between her and her dad. I can only hope that, as the proverbial saying goes, when she gets older she will understand and be able to see the situation for what it is in hindsight. This isn’t implemented without angst – after all, I am trying to instill a work ethic in her that reflects that everyone must demonstrate worthiness of their rewards through their actions, and his very existence in her life unravels this theory , nor without anger – I would just love to high-five my BD in the face, a lot, and often. I must exercise great restraint to refrain from badmouthing him or forbid him from seeing her altogether. However at the end of the day, my decisions must be made in HER best interest, and to see her happy I will reluctantly support her desire to honor her father…for now.
Statistics say that 70% of inmates in juvenile prisons come from fatherless homes. Well, then again… What good are statistics? Statistics say a lot of random things about young moms.
I’ve been on both ends of the statistics spectrum. Only I never went to prison.
However, there’s something to be said about that overwhelming 70%.
My parents divorced when I was only four-years old. For a while, it was just us three – my mother, young brother and me.* We hardly saw our father.
And let me tell you, I sure did miss him. Terribly. There was a lot that went on when my parents divorced. Things I won’t ever completely understand. But what I do remember was my mom giving my father the option to visit us, whenever he wanted, and often times – unexpectedly. He would call out of the blue, we were there, and we would simply wait for him to pick us up.
Always in our stylish outfits and best behavior.
He would come, as if no time had ever passed, and we would go out to vist his friends and family. We got trickles and streams of my father’s other life; one we weren’t completely a part of.
Did it hurt? Yes.
Did it help me move on? Yes, completely.
It made me stronger. It made me a better person. And most importantly, it made me forgive and accept him as the man he really was.
* My mom remarried – a few years later – my step-father, who lovingly took over the role of a father.