It was suggested to me that I write this article by a frustrated single father called Chris. Chris loves being a dad and is very passionate about it but being a dad hadn’t really been on his radar due to his own unhappy childhood. Having already touched on men’s mental health, I felt this piece was well worth doing.
Keep your pants on for the moment men – this is going to be an eye-opener!
This is a recommended read for:
- A parent who has a son
- The son! (of an appropriate age and mindset – we are not encouraging anyone to read this to a child)
- A man who isn’t sure if he wants to be a dad
- A man who wants to have a family but isn’t sure if he’s with the right person
- A woman who wants to have a baby but isn’t convinced the potential father is ready to be a parent
- Anyone else!
Chris is a good man, he has tried to do the right thing all the way along his parenting path.
The frustrating situation that he is in now is due to many reasons and choices he has made in the past. He isn’t in control of his life and that alone is frustrating him – he just wants to always be a great dad to his daughter of 11. Chris doesn’t want to put men off from being a dad, he wants to share the challenges he has faced to make men aware of what they may have to deal with in the future if they decide to have a child for the wrong reasons.
Chris shares custody of the daughter and the daughter spends time living with both parents on what definitely used to be an even-par but as the son is growing up, his preference to hang out with his friends means things don’t go to plan. Arrangements change on a regular basis. If you’re a parent of an 11-year-old you will know what I mean, they start big school and make new friends. They join new clubs and their social circle gets wider and wider – they have old friends and new ones.
Chris always wants to be a very active father and a strong presence in his daughter’s life. He makes sure his daughter doesn’t go without but he and the mother aren’t on the same page when it comes to parenting and it’s a problem.
The human race…
Men and women are equal – there are good and bad men and women, there are good and bad parents. There is no intended prejudice or insults in this article. This article is mainly focused around Chris – a dad, who is very frustrated. Of course, a lot of the points made can apply to same-sex partnerships that are thinking of having a family too.
Accidents happen but Chris’s daughter wasn’t an accident, Chris had lived with a woman for a long time and after hitting 46, she decided she wanted a baby. Chris felt he should do what he thought was the right thing and make a baby with his partner to fulfil her needs.
I’m sure that there are a lot of readers that can relate to that – both men and women. I know someone who did it for her partner, he made promises if she agreed to have a baby and he didn’t stick to them – his work has always come first.
As much as she loves the child, she knows now that it was the wrong thing to do.
Chris wasn’t in love with the woman that he had the daughter with, they weren’t married (not that they had to be) there wasn’t a mutual desire to be a big happy family. From Chris’s point of view – there was just a need from the woman that he lived with to have a baby.
Chris was quite happy the way they were, to continue sharing a life with a woman who was his friend who he thought a lot of – they had a good set up. He didn’t feel the need for anything else.
However, Chris wanted her to be happy – he felt he did the right thing at the time by agreeing to have a baby. He thought it would make his partner content but things didn’t go the way he thought they would, having given her what she wanted.
Does Chris regret having his daughter? No. Does he wish he had given it more thought and had a child with a different woman? Yes.
Everyone is different…
Sometimes men can be put under a lot of emotional pressure when he comes to having babies. Some men are happy to be with their partner, just the two of them, sharing their interests and enjoying life as a couple. Other men want to keep their partner happy and agree to create a baby together and then there are the men that want to be a dad and can’t wait to get stuck into family life.
I don’t want to put anyone off being a parent by writing this article. I’m a romantic, I love being a parent and I wouldn’t change a thing about the choices I made with regards to ‘my’ children and this brings me to my first point.
There’s no place like home… ‘the womb’
It is a natural thing for a mother to feel that a baby which has come from her womb is just ‘her’ baby. It’s easy to forget that without that feisty little sperm the baby wouldn’t have grown in her womb at all. The fact is, a lot of women think no matter how good a man has been as a partner or parent, they still have the final say and right over the baby because they are its mother.
This is a topic of debate that I won’t be covering today.
The relationship I had with the father of my children was very different from Chris and his partner. As far as I was concerned, the father of my children and I had equal rights and opinions over the children. I loved the man and I wouldn’t have ever said the words that I had more right over the children. He was my best friend and I was grateful for what I shared with him and the lovely children we made together.
The layers of Chris’s onion…
In Chris’s case, if you had to peel back the layers of the onion with regards to his current frustrations about fatherhood the ‘my’ syndrome would be his main bone of contention.
It was at that point when the mother of his son uttered those ‘my’ words, that she alienated Chris and highlighted that she really didn’t have much respect for him or care for his feelings as a dad or a man providing for his family. The what he thought was the right decision that he made to help his partner feel fulfilled in life has caused him extreme amounts of stress for over a decade.
It’s a tough battle trying to be a good parent when the other parent isn’t willing to be a team player – it makes parenting such a challenge. A potential negative force on a child that at the end of the day, didn’t choose to be here.
Hair pulling frustration…
Chris is permanently in a disjointed unit filled with white lies, stupidity, weakness, bitterness, confusion, emotions, brainwashing, disorganisation and many other challenges that are preventing him from being the best dad he thinks he can be.
The main frustrations Chris has to deal with right now are:
- Lack of communication – a lot of women tend to be emotionally driven and if they don’t want to talk to someone they won’t. Thankfully Chris’s daughter has his own phone so some communication can be made at all times. Chris has a lovely relationship with the parents of the mother of his son and that is a godsend
- Emotional blackmail – the unhappiness and insecurities by the mother is subconsciously put upon the daughter and this is clear because the daughter quotes phrases that the mother would have said to him like ‘it’s alright for you, you have money to do things’. A boy, especially at his age, wouldn’t even think of saying that phrase. The truth is that the mother has a roof over her head, maintenance, benefits and a job – money is not a problem
- Emotional trauma – the mother cries in front of the daughter and shares her concerns which in turn installs worries and insecurities in the daughter’s mind
- Relationship issues – when the mother is aware that Chris has a partner, that causes unfair behaviour from the mother which in turn will create resentment from the daughter
- Lack of willing to be sociable – the mother doesn’t really have a life so the daughter feels he needs to be there to fulfil her life. He will become torn as he gets older and he wants to do what girls his age want to do – go off with friends and be independent
- Family jealousy – the mother thinks the son shouldn’t be shared with other grandparents and limits the time the other grandparents, Chris’s parents, can see the son
- Panic and fuss – the mother lives such a sheltered unsociable life the smallest things become too much for her and she over fusses which in turn creates instability in the daughter
- Cleanliness – sometimes when a person isn’t happy inside they let things around them go into disrepair and get dirty. This isn’t healthy and unnecessary – there are money, help and time available to prevent this. Chris’s daughter’s home that he has with the mother isn’t clean or tidy and he is embarrassed by that
Chris’s challenges don’t stop there but that’s enough to give you an idea of his frustrations. Chris isn’t perfect under his own admission but he knows that his daughter isn’t growing up in a good environment and he wants to work with the mother to do the best they can as a unit.
She just won’t help the situation – she won’t listen to Chris or the rest of her family. She plays the victim, she may have good reasons but a good mother should put their child’s emotional state first.
Easier said than done but in Chris’s case, the only way to stay sane is to accept that this is what he is dealing with. There is nothing he can do to help or change the mother of his child, she has issues, any expression of frustration is pointless and she is very reactive in front of the son.
Good advice and an offer to the mother to work as a team, a family unit, falls on deaf ears.
She has chosen to be single for the last decade and devoted every minute of her life doing what she thinks is best for the son. She wasn’t cheated on, she just made it clear that she wasn’t happy in the relationship once she had the baby and she thought she knew what was best for her daughter.
The daughter is a credit to them both, however, as a mother, her needs have overtaken what is best for him. She has smothered him and by doing so has created vulnerabilities and over sensitivity in the girl.
The mother’s words and actions are causing problems and when a child is small irrational behaviour doesn’t do so much damage but when a child is approaching teenage years it’s a different kettle of fish. The mother is emotionally selfish and unfair. It really is a situation that Chris didn’t want to be in.
Chris was abused by his mother and now he has to watch his daughter suffering because of his mother’s behaviour. One of the most frustrating things is the fact that the mother doesn’t realise she’s doing the detrimental things – she won’t listen to anyone.
She is over 50 now, set in her ways and clinging to her daughter.
We all have issues…
The mother isn’t a bad person and we all have issues, reasons we do things that may be to others seem unnecessary or ridiculous and it’s important to remember that we never really know what is going on in people’s heads. You can live with someone for 20 years and never truly know them.
This is another consideration, Chris comes from a small village up north and living in a small village does shield people from certain things and it would be easy to lose a little bit of touch on reality or be overprotective. There are so many variables to consider in Chris’s case but coming from a small community that gossip sometimes – doesn’t help.
What Chris, myself and most parents around the world would say to someone who wants to have a baby is:
Before you start breeding, make sure it’s what you really want and if you don’t want it – be honest to those involved.
Making a baby…
Making a baby together can be a wonderful experience – making love, choosing names for the new addition to the family and buying cute baby clothes. For some couples, when the baby finally arrives, they agree it was the best thing they ever did together. Yes, labour was challenging but they survived and it’s time to put the baby in the car seat and take it home to its new family way of life.
For others it doesn’t work out that way – they take the baby home, life changes and not in a good way a lot of the time.
You’re no longer ‘her world
When the baby comes along it is quite normal for a mother to focus on the baby and not make so much time for her partner. That might not be by choice, a baby throws a great big spanner in the bedroom scenario for a while especially if the mother had a C-section. The partner is no longer the mother’s world, just part of it.
In life – nothing is certain. People and circumstances change and what we thought was great once, might not work overtime. If we work at it and we are lucky, some relationships go on forever and the struggles of parenting getting shared. If we work at it and it doesn’t work out, relationships and parenting can become a mission – a matter or survival.
Read before you breed…
To make life less challenging we can educate ourselves and learn from others. When it comes to choosing to have a baby people should make sure they find out a lot about it first.
Being a parent is a huge commitment.
Are you breeding with the right person for you?
You are allowed to be selfish at the breeding point – if possible, do not create a baby because someone else wants one. It should be a joint adventure – a serious job that should be shared and hopefully enjoyed. As the Irish say… ‘be sure to be sure’. Make sure you are ready for what lay ahead.
Look at the person who you want to have a baby with or who wants to have a baby with you.
Ask yourself, to your best knowledge:
- Do you really want to make a baby with this person?
- Do you want this person in your life forever? After all, a child is for life not just for Christmas
- Do you and that person have a strong relationship that will be able to deal with the big changes a baby brings?
- Does that person add value to your life and help make your life a better place?
There will be crying, dirty nappies, screaming, spilt milk, vomit and marathon winding sessions. Breast pads that are drenched in breast milk, stretch marks, hormones and exhaustion. That’s all just in the first few days!
I can tell you this, with all the knowledge and best preparations in the world, you still aren’t ready for the emotions you will feel when you become a parent.
It’s a lot to handle.
Babies soon blossom into little people with little voices and sometimes big tantrums. ‘No’ becomes a regular word, your bank account shrinks and you become a taxi for your children.
Being a parent was right for me, I enjoyed breeding.
For all you expectant parents out there, don’t be disheartened by this article because I could write so many more positives things about parenting.
The offspring of a human being is a precious gift, look after it well.