Dear you, the man who schedules in our son.
Do you dare to call yourself a dad on the days that he is with me?
On the multiple days of the month when you shy from your responsibility?
Do you dare to call yourself a dad in between your planned weekends?
I’m asking on behalf of my son, as I believe he got the weak end – of this arrangement.
See, from where I’m standing your minimum effort is the foundation of his limited support.
And I don’t care for destructive contact guidelines advised by family courts.
And though primary custody works for me, I love him. No one comes before him.
Every waking moment spent together, I adore him.
And it works for you because life continued, your days centred around you.
Every waking moment spent concerned only about you.
Does it work for him?
Pencilled into daddies diary, like his merely an appointment.
I can’t pretend how things worked out is not a disappointment.
See, when we had our child, your future was mapped out.
No longer just about you, more than a man, you’re a dad now.
It’s not a job, you can’t quit, there’s no way that you can back out.
You can’t select your shift. Are you listening? You can’t tap out.
See, I’m a mum Monday through to Sunday, there is no annual leave.
Between loving, feeding and teaching, there’s no break or reprieve.
Baths and books, play dates and work, my time table is full.
And yet on this journey of parenthood, I can’t depend on you at all.
Our lives are completely separate, different rules and different homes.
We don’t communicate and the majority of raising I’m doing all alone.
And my deepest fear is that in our sons mind, this division becomes normalised.
That you unconsciously teach him your pattern of living separate lives.
And please believe me when I say, this is deeper than you or me.
Greater than a failed relationship, I’m talking the destruction of family.
Because ultimately it’s our parents and environments that mould us.
Our experiences, our theories, our conditioning that control us.
Understand that most of our behaviour is a result of our foundations.
Our core beliefs, standards and upbringing we very rarely stray from.
So when a man is raised by a father who fails in his duty to provide;
Time, emotion and effort. This pattern is often reenacted in his own life.
And we are driven by how we are programmed, it’s seldom a conscious act.
But we have a responsibility to make change, should we have a negative impact.
So yes, though we have both moved on with our lives, our romantic chapter closed.
This did little to remove the threat of what your distorted values pose – to our son.
So I’m praying that you recognise your patterns, hoping that you reshape them.
It’s high time we started caring and stopped raising disengaged men.
Absent fathers, they are the cancer of broken families,
Yet despite this, what remains is the expectation within society,
That when a relationship is over, and dad just ups and leaves,
The primary upbringing of any child is the mothers responsibility,
And what develops in abandoned children, is chronic insecurity,
Exploitation, feelings of confusion and we cannot ignore poverty.
Unhealthy attachments, resentment and lasting vulnerability,
Behaviour problems, substance abuse and issues with authority,
Mental health disorders, homelessness and teenage pregnancy,
Road men and offenders, a shorter life expectancy,
Promiscuity and truancy – this list just gets more distressing.
But these are the facts, the statistics – shit is so depressing.
So how do we change these outcomes? How do we steer our child from these paths?
We set aside our differences, we forgive and forget the past,
We begin to acknowledge the effects of non-involvement in children’s lives.
And you change your perception that your role is secondary to mine.
We start acting on the importance of supportive family ties.
We’re not enemies, we’re not exes, our child makes us allies.
See children, they need nurturing, protecting and guiding.
And I’m just a woman, a son, he needs a man to advise him.
Shape his heart, stay present and continue supplying;
Direction, attention and emotionally providing.
Preparation, communication, love and endless patience.
Do you understand? There are no days off, we can’t afford to become complacent.
He needs your strength, your compassion and unlimited availability,
And yes he has a mum, but that’s no substitute for his daddy.
So I ask that you dare to be a dad on the days that he is with me.
Because those are not your days off. You are not an absentee.
I pray that you dare to be a dad on more than just the weekends,
And trust me when I say, our son will never again be at the weak end – of this arrangement.