For the Girls with a Single Mother on Father's Day
I recently was asked to do a guest feature on a popular website sharing what I have learned from my Dad for Father's Day. I replied, "I didn't grow up with my Dad as an active part of my life, but I have learned a tremendous amount of life lessons from my husband becoming a father. I am learning what a loving father-daughter relationship is like and I would love to share that!" I didn't hear back from them, and it got me thinking about all the kids who don't grow up with fathers in their lives. Where are their posts on Father's Day? And why don't we praise all the single mothers who are playing both roles in their child's life?
My husband Bradford and I are 100% on the same page when it comes to parenting, and we have an equal opportunity marriage! We split all the duties, and we both work hard for our business and our family. We both change diapers, read bedtime stories, wake up at night, do dishes, take the dog out, carry in groceries, do laundry, I cook, and he cleans up... The list goes on. When people see Bradford being an active and attentive father, I get comments, from mostly other women, saying, "Wow he changes diapers? You are so lucky." Or, "That is so sweet that he takes time to play with her." What? True is his child, and that is his responsibility as a parent. I am happy that Bradford is such a wonderful father, but at the same time, I don't think men need to be praised for doing daily tasks like changing diapers and feeding their hungry child. He wholeheartedly agrees with me and finds it to be condescending when people assume he is an idiot because he is the dad and quite simply isn't able to do those tasks appropriately.
Growing up with a single mother and having few to zero positive male figures, it is no surprise that my expectations for men were low. As a society I think it is the low expecations for men that makes it shocking to see fathers who are parenting like we are used to seeing mothers parent. I always knew the qualities I wanted in a partner and the person who would be the father to my children; I simply didn't know if I could find that person. I know most of my single friends share the same fear but I did, and you can too. I want every girl or woman who is reading this to remember that just because other men in your life have let you down or just weren't there for you at all, doesn't mean that was your fault. It wasn't! You deserve better, your mothers deserved better, and it is up to us as the next generation of parents to make sure we choose our partners wisely. It is easy to repeat a cycle of abuse, neglect, or just low self-esteem because, for so many people, that is familiar. Familiar yes, but healthy? Absolutely not.
Becoming a parent is the most important choice anyone can make, and it is okay to choose not to become a parent! I have several friends who enjoy their lifestyle and recognize that they wouldn't be able to give a child everything they need and deserve. That is the most honorable decision an adult can make! If you do feel you have what it takes to care and love for a child, make sure your partner has those qualities as well. A great way to tell is how he treats you as his partner. If he is loving, caring of your feelings and needs, healthily communicates with you, shares the same beliefs on parenting style, is mentally, emotionally, and financially stable, and is an honest good person you trust with your heart, then yes! That sounds promising. If you question any of the things listed above, then you need to reevaluate your relationship, and that is okay! Let me tell you as a woman who didn't grow up with a dad in her life; you do not need to lower your expectations just because your father lowered his. You deserve an equal partner, someone who is in it to win it with you! I hope if nothing else, our family can show you it is possible.