The world of fatherhood is far from normal, there is none of the stability and certainty that comes with motherhood. Don’t let anyone tell you that parents are equal, we are not. Men’s equality is measured in sterling while mum’s are measured in hearts and flowers. You see this all of the time, even in the family model, mum gets cards and hugs dad pays for the cards. Society has led us to believe that mum is right, as young men we learn that mum is that soft fragile creature that needs looking after. This is, of course, right we want to bring up children that understand how to respect and look after women after all. The trouble is that at no point can we explain to children that “hey it wasn’t dad’s fault”, you see it has to be dad’s fault, that is just the rules. Children face the same story that divorce judges face, it is always the other sides fault. Talk to a guy he will tell you that his wife was in the wrong, talk to a woman she will say that it was his fault. Unfortunately children hear mum’s view and only the best of women are honest enough to tell their children the truth.
I got to thinking about this because of a sad story from a friend whose ex has pretty much banned him from seeing his kids. Also because of recent conversations with colleagues and friends who are dealing with family break up. Most recently I had the rare delight of a phone call from my daughter, as sweet and innocent as my small blonde always is. Apparently an uncle is due to come over this Christmas and she is excited to see him and to meet his new daughter. The oddity of the conversation is that my daughter got to recalling previous Christmas and those that were there. The conclusion was that this year will be “great to have a full family Christmas”, she is 12. There is no point in the conversation where it occurs to her that dad is not present at Christmas, nothing seems odd in telling her dad that she is looking forward to a family Christmas. My daughter tells me that mum wants a new carpet but can’t afford it and I wax lyrical about “how hard it is to keep up”. As a dad I am practiced enough to say this without grimacing at the thought that it is actually my house, my mortgage and in fact the only entitlement that my ex has to live there is that she is mum to my kids. Don’t misunderstand me I, like most guys, am proud and only to happy to support my children. But just like we have equality in the workplace can we have some in family life please? how about some honesty with our children, don’t do it for the ex partners who were mean, mentally abused you or pushed you into affairs but for the children. Don’t even do it so that the children know that they have a dad, do it so they don’t grow up thinking you only had them because it was easier than working for a living.