Hero Mom, Zero Dad

It’s unfortunate that the single parent cycle will always be a battle women find themselves in because there are men who make mothers out of them, yet they won’t even play their roles as fathers.

I was at an event recently andran into Zethu, one of my female friends from way back who I remember going through a breakup with her son’s father, Luyanda, while their baby was a toddler. Catching up with her, I discovered that things never got sorted out between them. Instead Luyanda became negligent of his son out of spite for Zethu and told her that as long as he doesn’t have full custody, he won’t do anything for the child.

As independent as she is and makes means to provide the best for her son, Zethu still struggles, and has even considered taking the legal route which I think is a desperate measure, yet a very necessary last resort. You still get guys who take it as a personal attack, but they forget that it isn’t about him or their ex, but all for the best interests of the child.

Regardless of how much money they cough up in court, there’s still the fact dudes don’t spend TIME with their kids, and that’s one of Zethu’s worst battles.On those rare occasionsthat Luyanda does show up, he takes the child and drops him off at his parents’ house and goes away for days, only to come back when picking up the kid and taking him back to Zethu. No one values time spent like a kid.

Just having a parent who’s present for the million questions is what makes them happy. To a child, their very first best friend is their parent and as a dad, I wonder how hard it is for you to go watch a movie with your own kid or even take him to a picnic. Stay indoors in pajamas watching cartoons and playing games, eating junk food, taking random drives to show him the city, just to talk and connect.

Because Luyanda won’t budge, these are some of all the things that Zethu does for her son to try fill the void of his father not being active in his life. Her greatest fear as a single mother is how her child will turn out without a father or such a figure and wonders if all single moms go through what she does.The fact that she prioritizes her son and spends time with him because she wants to and enjoys it shows that the kid is well attended to and made to feel loved.

Some kids learn how to be men by having fathers around, while others learn what kind of man not to be through the absence of their fathers. Kids may not understand what’s happening between their parents, but they grow up to remember and that’s when they understand.

I suggested that at some point she must stop fighting with her ex to see his child. As the child grows it will become obvious to him that his father never spends time with him at his own will and it isn’t good for the child to be with someone who treats or views him as an inconvenience.

The child will end up blaming himself and feeling less than worthy as a person as his self esteem and confidence will have taken a knock from knowing that he doesn’t matter much to the man he sees as a hero. I don’t have a kid yet, but I know what it was like being one and having my parents around whenever I needed them was priceless and it set the bar for the value I place on myself.

I believe that it’s the role of every parent to make sure their kid has a childhood that is much better than theirs.We have all been kids before and can relate to their emotions. That alone should play a part in guiding you to being the best parent.

Imagine if you were a kid, stayed home all day and not went to hang with friends, all bored thinking what if you leave and your dad comes, deep down hoping he does, but doesn’t show up. On the days that you do get to see him, there’s no real bonding between you because he came with his buddies or with a girlfriend right by your mother’s house, creating some tension that you’re gonna have to live with when he drives off.

There’s more to being a father than having a role in conception, but some guys seem to find a thrill in knowing that they can actually produce kids, more than they do in raising them, while others consider it babysitting when spending time looking after their own children as if it’s a favor. If there’s one thing that separates a boy from a man, it is sense of responsibility and stepping up to what is expected of you, especially when those expectations are from your own doing. Fellas, to make a child is a choice, but to raise one is a priority.

To think that you’re punishing a woman by not supporting your child is only making her closer to the child you are quick to call yourself a father to but slow to act as one. You shouldn’t expect any credit for doing what you’re supposed to.You’re supposed to do it, it isn’t a favor.

So before you go beating your chest calling yourself ‘the man’, you first have to be A MAN. Take care of your own. Provide and protect. Show up, don’t show off. Don’t be an overgrown boy who spends his life on the run from what it takes to be a man: Responsibility!!!


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