Single fathers are often overlooked and underrepresented in both society and media. This can lead to stereotypes and misconceptions about their roles and capabilities as caregivers and parents. Recognizing the existence and importance of single fathers is crucial for breaking these stereotypes and promoting a more inclusive and accurate understanding of parenting and family structures.
Within the black community, single fathers may face additional challenges and biases due to longstanding cultural and societal prejudices. It is important to acknowledge and address these biases in order to support and empower black single fathers as they navigate the unique challenges and joys of parenting.
One way to recognize and celebrate the existence of single fathers is by highlighting their stories and experiences. The Single Father Podcast, hosted by myself, is a resource that I try to present to chronicle the diverse and multifaceted lives of single fathers. By listening to the podcast, readers can gain insight into the daily struggles and triumphs of single fathers, as well as the unique challenges they face as members of the black community.
It is also important to recognize that single fathers are not a monolithic group and that their experiences and challenges can vary greatly. Some single fathers may have full custody of their children and be the primary caregiver, while others may have a more co-parenting arrangement with the mother of their children. Some single fathers may have chosen to become a single parent, while others may have become a single parent due to unforeseen circumstances such as the death of a partner or a divorce. It is important to acknowledge and respect the diversity of experiences and challenges faced by single fathers.
In addition to listening to podcasts and other media that feature the voices of single fathers, there are also many ways to support and uplift single fathers in your own community. Here are a few ideas:
Offer to babysit or provide other forms of practical support, such as helping with grocery shopping or running errands.
Connect single fathers with resources and support networks, such as local parenting groups or online communities for single parents.
Be an ally and advocate for single fathers by challenging negative stereotypes and advocating for policies that support their needs as parents. This can include advocating for paternity leave policies that allow fathers to take time off work to care for their children, as well as supporting policies that provide financial assistance to single parents.
By recognizing and supporting single fathers, we can work towards breaking down harmful stereotypes and creating a more inclusive and supportive society for all parents. Single fathers play a vital role in the lives of their children and deserve to be recognized and supported in their parenting journey.
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In this episode:
In this latest episode we talk all about the joys and challenges of celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. Tune in to hear about my tensions relationship with my relatives, the precious moments I shared with my toddler daughter, and the new memories we made together.
Let me know what you think about this episode and follow us: Facebook, instagram, & youtube: @thesinglefatherpodcast
The Single Father Podcast is brought to you by VentPack. Visit VentPack.org for show notes and more information on the company’s mission to combat challenges of single fatherhood with resources, digital products and mental health support.
Well, hello and welcome to another episode of the single father podcast. I’m your host, Kendall Donica, AKA father DZ coming here to help make life a little bit more easy. We talked about the joys of challenges of raising kids on our own. And join us for inspiring stories, practical advice, and to healthy dose of humor. As we navigate the ups and downs of single fatherhood.
Together. Follow us for the latest episodes behind the scenes content and a community. Of fellow single dads. Like you. Let’s vent. Together. All right, guys. Well, thank you for allowing me to vent with you today. Um, Like I said, we’re trying to get back up and running, going back to weekly episodes, giving you amazing content, hopefully some amazing guests and hopefully some amazing stories I can share with you about my life and where it’s going, where it’s headed and where it’s been.
You know, when we’re talking about relationships on this podcast, sometimes it can get emotional. Sometimes I can speak about the love of my life, the hurt in my life, the challenges in my life. But most of all, I like to talk about the true family in my life. Most of all. When it comes to the relationship with my daughter, I love to talk about that specifically. It being a single father podcast. So I want to talk to you guys about my journey with this little girl.
But I also wanted to talk about a holiday that we just had. That’s also been a little bit challenging for me with my family, and that would be Thanksgiving. You know, when my parents got divorced. Celebrating holidays like this Christmas, Thanksgiving, et cetera. You know, it wasn’t really a big possibility.
I remember every year when I was younger, our family got together, whether it was with extended family or with our own. We always got together and made this big, fantastic meal. It’s like the meal you guys are imagining right now, maybe for some of you, it’s your favorite holiday? For me, Tom lane. But.
You know that meal, I’m talking about, I’m talking about the home cooked meals. The, the macaroni and cheese that Turkey. The freshly baked ham, the stuffing. All of the favorites that you have on Thanksgiving. I’m talking about that. I’m talking about That.
And by the way, I’m ethnic. I come from an ethnic background African-American so the food that comes my way on Thanksgiving. It’s amazing. No offense to anyone who’s not ethnic. I’m just saying it’s been my experience that, uh, some of you don’t season your food. But with my family, it was absolutely amazing.
Well, my parents got a divorce. It was almost kind of like a. An episode of game of Thrones.
It was like a choose of side type of thing. One side, went with house mother. The other side, when we went with house father.
Me and myself, I kind of lean towards house father. And for anyone who’s been following me for quite some time knows the reasons why. But then. Shortly after that, it was kind of house on my own.
And for many, many years, I didn’t celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. And rainy other big holiday with any of my family, let alone, even really myself. And what I mean by myself is. I chose not to celebrate it even when I was alone, because I just had no one.
To celebrate it with besides myself, if that makes sense. So. Each and every holiday. Thanksgiving year after year. It wasn’t celebrated. Especially within our family. After my family got a divorce was a very fractious environment. And anything that anyone would try to do to fix it. When it came close to the holidays, intentions and feelings were rising. It could never be fixed.
Now a couple of years ago, four years ago to be exact, I had a daughter. And one of the best things about having my daughter is I felt I had the chance finally, within my grasp. To have a family once again. Get back to those old traditions. Get back to the things that I loved within my family. I thought.
I mean, I raised my daughter in the air, like move fossil from the lion king and I thought this was my. Ticket. My key. To getting my family back together. And if not that then making a family of my own.
But shortly after that, I fell into what seems to be like a hereditary. Type of curse within my family. And unfortunately.
Her mother and I ended up breaking up.
And that dream my ad. For a family. To get back to the way things were. They ended with the signature of a finger by a judge.
And with that. So did all of my ambitions to get back to the way things were.
Well, my daughter was one years old. On Thanksgiving.
Really wasn’t celebrated. I mean, Hey. There’s one, right. No reason to. Technically celebrate that. One of the things she’s eating is baby food. When she was too.
Yeah. I had some family around, but. It wasn’t Thanksgiving. It wasn’t celebrated.
When she was three.
I didn’t even have her for Thanksgiving. She was with her mother.
Now my daughter is four.
We all grown a little bit.
And as house mother. Was so much out of the picture.
How’s dad and house myself was still very much in the mix.
We bonded. He had a daughter. A new one. I have my daughter.
And this year. My grandmother. My Nana. She comes to me and says just like every year. I’m not going to celebrate it. But me, your uncle and his kids. We’re all going to the buffet for Thanksgiving.
We’re going to go to a buffet and. And just enjoy ourselves for Thanksgiving, right?
I said, that sounds great. Hey. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving in our family anymore. I’ll come with you.
But then I asked my dad what he was doing.
He said, um, Oh, I’ve got no plans.
I asked his mom, my grandmother, but she was doing. She said she has no plans. Those are the only family that lives in town. Right.
And then I saw an opportunity.
I could’ve gone to the buffet with my Nana and my uncle. And probably had a good time with my daughter since I had her for Thanksgiving this year.
I could do something different. Something. Unheard of within our family.
I could bring our family. Together.
So I decided to do just that. I called my Nana. I said, cancel your plans. You’re coming over my house. I called my uncle. I said, cancel your plans. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. I called my dad and I said,
You have somewhere to be. You’re coming over my house. I called my grandmother. I said, guess what you have somewhere to be. You’re coming over my house.
Went to think, went to Costco, got a whole bunch of stuff for Thanksgiving.
And then I Googled or Edward. Or should I say one on YouTube and learn how to cook a Turkey? On a warm Southern these things up. How to, how to serve a proper Thanksgiving dinner.
I cleaned my house immaculately.
This was important to me. This will be the first time. And God. I don’t know, maybe eight years.
And my family can be together.
All of us together.
In our own way. You know,
So I get all this stuff together.
And then comes Thanksgiving. I bought eggnog. About beer. I got, I bought wine about apple cider. I bought turkeys, macaroni, everything that I loved. From when I was younger, I bought it. I got it.
I wanted everything to be. How it was when I remembered it.
And then came the big day.
My family comes over.
I mean instantly just start laughing.
And enjoying ourselves and talking amongst ourselves, I had the Christmas day parade. But showing in my living room, I had everything together on the tables. I had little snacks, little board that I put out on my tables. Everyone gets snack on it while. Well, things are getting together. My Nana comes over, realized that I had one Turkey ready. And the other one that was far, and I mean far from actually being done.
I tell her I’m Nana. Oh my God. I just can’t be everyone’s counting on me. I didn’t. She’s like, don’t worry. Give me a pan. This is, this is a true. A black woman trick right here. I feel like no offense. And I really mean this. No offense, but I feel like only a block. Only a, an old school, black woman could think of this.
She says, don’t worry. Give me a pan. I’ll have it done in no prime. I give her a pan. She put some butter in the pan and she starts cutting the Turkey with a long night for. Uh, serving knife, right. She starts cutting the Turkey, put some insane. Cuts it into individual pieces. Put those pieces on the pan. She starts cooking the Turkey and real time.
And she says, it’ll be ready in 10 minutes. Get the rest of the stuff ready.
I said, oh my God. She saved me. I wouldn’t have known how to do to do that. I would’ve just put it back in the oven and say, sorry. Uh, we’re going to extend it another two hours, I guess. But no, she saved me. She saved my Thanksgiving.
Something amazing happened. There was absolutely no problems.
Everyone’s laughing. I have a VR headset. Everyone’s playing VR. We’re playing UNO. We’re drinking eggnog. We’re getting drunk. We’re having a great time. My daughter’s happy. My daughter stuffs her belly. She falls asleep. Everyone says how cute she is.
My cousins are over. I’m playing with them and learning new things about. Nintendo’s and things like that.
Everyone’s pleasant. Everyone’s happy. And we shared some really beautiful memories that day.
But no one was more happier than me.
Because for the first time, in many, many years, I got to celebrate. Thanksgiving. With my family.
And believe me. It was a fractious family.
I would have loved my siblings there. I would’ve loved my mother there.
Maybe in another world, I would have loved my daughter’s mother there.
How would I love to have a significant other there?
But I had my family with me.
And that was good enough for me.
And when I realized. Is, I don’t need.
I don’t need anyone specific. To make me feel like I have a family.
I just need a hand few. A handful of very few.
Give me that feeling.
And I realized at the end of the day,
My daughter. Is all the family that I need.
Because. I think when it really comes down to it. I didn’t get everyone together. Just. Because I think I did it from my daughter.
To give her the memories. I was missing.
To give her those moments. That I loved. And I cherished from when I was younger. To her, for her to think of the macaroni and cheese, the Turkey, the food.
I have no doubt that she would get that her mom’s house.
I wanted her to get it with me too. I wanted to share those moments with her. And for her to share them with me.
I wanted her to feel like she has. A family.
And it was a beautiful time.
Now I wish I could end it there.
Much like any other family.
There are the things that.
You wish were different. The things that disappoint you, the things. The emotions that come up.
The irritate mints, the. The bad part about your family? I should say.
This one is a little difficult for me.
For many years, my uncle. As always been the type of person that can really.
Well, you can really grind your gears. He’s a very macho. Man’s man. But he doesn’t show that subtly. He very much shows it with great extravagance. And on a grand scale. You wants to let you know of his mantra. Because of his manlihood. Of is don’t fuck with me behavior. It’s not thuggish, but it’s very in your face.
He’s the type of man that. You would think potentially is a little bit of a narcissistic. He’s very self absorbed in. And. At times arrogant.
And I don’t mean to speak any badly about my family, but. I want to give you guys the context to his personality.
I love him very much. But throughout my life, I can only speak the truth and the truth is. That I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by him because of this.
Because that type of personality that very in your face persona. It illuminates. Right. You can think he is a larger than life character, but when people say larger than life,
I don’t know if they always mean it in a good, good way. I think that can also mean in a bad way as well. And I’m not saying his persona was necessarily good or bad. But I will say that his persona was very much intimidating.
It made you uneasy. It made you very tentious. I gave off a very tentious nature about being around him or with him.
It was always known within my family that he’s a bit of a hothead and. And to be quite honest, there’s always been known. There has been in mental health issue in our family.
Now who has it or. You can speculate all day long. But. It’s a known fact.
With my uncle for many years, there’s been. A very tenuous relationship with him. And I do know his persona and also due to some things that. My mom has said about him in the past, too. Nothing. Crazy the way you think, but. You know, I remember when I was younger. And I don’t remember the context, but him and my mom had a very big fight.
And I remember her telling me. That she was quite afraid of him.
You know, He was quite. She was quite fearful of him.
And I remember being young. And that’s one of these key moments in your life that you just remember because it kind of haunted you.
It was nothing. Sexual or any of that nature of abuse that she was referring to, but it was mostly just. Fear.
I remember I was laying in bed with my mother, mother when I was young watching TV.
And then we heard a knock at the door.
She looked who it was and didn’t answer.
And then we heard the door open.
He walks in the door.
Goes, halfway up the stairs. And him and my mom have this verbal argument. I remember. She specifically told him. Do not come any closer.
I remember my uncle’s face thinking. I mean, I can see it clearly. And his face. Thinking that she was being ridiculous.
I remember how baffled he was with my mother’s behavior. Or reaction to his presence.
But to be quite honest, I was so young. I don’t really remember the context of what was being presented to me.
I remember after that there were many years. I didn’t speak to my uncle. Mostly because of my mom’s. Um, wishes, I guess you could say. Or influence on me.
I was very protective of my mother back in the day. And I knew that whatever that was.
I felt that he was wrong.
Now, again, anyone who’s followed this podcast for awhile, you know that now I have a very tenuous relationship with my mother.
I see her very differently.
And when I think about that day, I think about. How my mother reacted. And I think about my uncle’s face. And how he thought that she was being ridiculous.
They often say truth and madness lie in the same stream. I don’t know what was said that day. I don’t know what was done. Until this day, I don’t know who was wrong.
To be fair. I’m not sure if it was, I don’t know if it was that much of a big issue. Before I do known that for many years. I didn’t speak to my uncle after that.
After a while him and I reconnected.
I think when I was a teenager. This is when we started to reconnect more.
You started opening up to me about. Um, a lot of things.
And it was really when my parents got divorced, that he really became very involved in telling me all the things that I needed to know.
Some things about my mother. Some things about my father. Some things about my biological father. And some things about maybe the way she acted when she was younger.
None of them want to go into it all as of right now. I mentioned it on previous episodes, but. There were a lot of things that my mother has done. And if people have told me. That makes me. Needless to say very disappointed.
And. Throughout that process.
I reconnected with my uncle when about many things. Introduce me to my love of comics. I love of superheroes. My love of collectibles. And fantasy movies and. Animated cartoons.
One of his favorites were. Batman the animated series and I loved it. He gave me a whole bunch of CDs to watch with him.
And it felt so awesome. Just. Connecting with someone on a nerdy level. They always say, girl, doesn’t go, go for a nerd. And I had really. Not only that, but I had no friends around me to nerd out with.
Introduced me to one of my favorite shows of all time, Smallville it’s about how Superman was raised before he became Superman. My favorite show. I really bonded with him.
But the other thing is. Every time I was around him. See, I bonded with him in person. And I mean, I bonded with him over the phone. But in person.
Riding a bike almost. In person. It was like, he brought me right back to that tension.
He brought me right back to feeling uncomfortable. Do you feeling uneasy? Every time he’d give me a hug. He smacked my back. You know how you give a hugs? When you smell you pat someone’s back, you would smack it with the force of Zeus.
Every time I spoke to him, he would make me come out in the backyard with him and he, while he had a cigarette and I hated the smell of smoke.
Get a very commanding.
Presence in his house. And yeah, he’s the man of his house. Right. But it was. I could tell it made everyone feel uneasy.
I hated it.
Now my Nana. Again, For anyone who’s. Listen to me for a very long time, know that my Nana is like my mother.
She’s my she’s my mom’s mom, my uncles, mom. But she really took me in after my parents got divorced. She adopted me, got me through high school, put me up in college, like. She’s my mother, you know, she’s protected me, guided me. And it’s kind of true what they say that.
Woman. She took me in high school. I was very angry, angry child, and I was such an asshole. I was angry at the world, angry at my parents, angry at everything. I had so much regret how I treated her during that time. Every teenager does. But. I regretted it.
I love her so very much, but I’m very protective of her. She’s my Nana is a very sensitive person. She comes from a very. She’s an impressive woman, but she comes from a very, um, deeply black rooted. Cultural background. That’s. Um, consistent with racism and discrimination. In. Um, a degrading aspect towards women.
You know, she. Puts herself in a high standard when it comes to being a woman and being a woman of color. But she’s also very defiant, but she’s also very, uh, defensive and. Sensitive. You know,
But I’m very protective of her. Because I always said if there’s one person in this world that I know for certain loves me. To be honest, as of right now, even more than my daughter. I know that. Even more than my own little girl that she loves me more than anyone on this earth.
I’m not even, and hear me on that. I’m not even sure if my daughter loves me as much as my Nana loves me. I know that the woman loves me. She would do anything for me. You ever have a family like that? Where you know that no matter what you do, no matter what you’ve done, there is nothing you could ever do.
That would ever come between your guys’s love.
She loves me.
Just like how I love my daughter. And I know that because the love she feels from me. I feel from my little girl.
I say that. Because. Once, and for all, I have to explain this woman. Is my mom.
And for many years, I would see my uncle come up. And treat my Nana.
With. Someone of. Uh, misguided disrespect.
And I hated it.
I hated it because it was, it was very.
It’s a type of disrespect that you don’t even know that you’re doing it. But yeah, everyone sees it.
I would see him come up and visit, visit my Nana’s house. My Nana has. You know, a one bedroom. Um, No senior apartment.
And she has a pull-out. She’s a pull-out, uh, uh, couch. Pull up mattress couch.
So every once in awhile, I’d see the whole family sleep on the, on the pullout couch.
And I’d see my Nana sleeping in her bed. But more often. I would see a pillow and a blanket spread out in her closet.
And I’d say, Nana, what? What is this? And she’s like, I sleep in the closet when they’re here. And my Nana would brush it off a side, like, oh no, no, no, no. I don’t even, it doesn’t bother me, but it holds what the fuck it bothered me. Uh, but, but. I thought she was joking. There’s no way my Nana actually sleeps in the closet.
I started noticing it more and more. Year after year. Year after year. Multiple times a year, this one would sleep in the closet. And the older manana got a more started to bother me. Mike she’s a 66 year old woman. She’s a 70 year old woman. And this year. I’m like she’s a 72 year old woman. Sleeping in a fucking closet.
I remember a couple of months ago, I started to talk. With my uncle about the way he is treating my Nana and this and that. Not giving her this bubble ball of that.
And I remember he got so defensive at me. And we didn’t talk for maybe like two months.
But this time, this year where I wanted everything to be perfect. And my Nana’s saying how sad she is about, you know, The state of our family and things like that. This year. I think. It just boiled up and boiled up and boiled up. Where I couldn’t take it anymore.
I started with Thanksgiving.
I asked him to be at my house by one o’clock. I called him beforehand because Hey, black people are always late. Okay. I get it. But I called him beforehand and I said, look, man, I really need you to be here by one, in any Montana to help me with this Turkey. Is that. Okay. No problem. He didn’t come from maybe like 1 45.
My Nana tells me he was just laying down on the couch and took a shower, took a long, long shower.
And that’s the kind of thing that I’m talking about. The personality trait, everything revolves around him.
It comes over my house. Like I said, everything was perfect. I let it go.
The next day, my Nana calls me. Uh, practically crying about. Him. Putting her down in front of the kids. Things like that.
Asking her for some money after he gambled and.
And, um, Her sleeping in the closet.
And I think. I just had it at that moment, you know? I think I just said, look, this is, this is it. And what have you ever been so afraid to talk to somebody even as a grown man I’m 27 years old, but even I kinda. I don’t tell my dad everything. Right. And what I mean by that is I don’t tell him everything I feel. I mean, we don’t have that type of emotion thing. Right.
And so I was, there’s so much tension between me and my uncle sometimes.
But I called him.
And I say, hang on, call Matt.
Like you can’t be having Nana sleep in a closet. Next time.
Come stay with me. No problem. LOL. I texted him at first. Then he calls me. And heart races. Because I already knew.
So I took a deep breath and I said, you know what? I’m 27 years old. I’m a man.
So I answered the phone. She says, Hey man. I was up at that text. Let me say, Hey man, well, you know, Nana has been telling me that. She’s been sleeping in a closet. Next time, stay with me. He says. Yeah. So you’re telling me. What like are you trying to come at me in some way? It’s a no. I’m looking out for your mother.
My mother. I don’t appreciate that she sleeps in the closet. I said, oh, really?
So what you. You you criticizing me or you, you trying to teach me a lesson here or what. I said, look, man.
Relax. All I said. What’s the next time. Stay with me. I got a two bedroom, big ass condo here. He’s like. Oh, you didn’t offer us to stay with you. Did you? And I said, no. But I, I, I just didn’t think you’d. Let Nana sleep in a closet. He’s like, did you even know that? I didn’t know. Let’s just sleep in the closet.
And I said, look, man, I.
I don’t see how you didn’t know she’s been doing it for years. Every time you come. And he said, well, where else are we going to sleep? 10. Listen, I don’t know.
But I just didn’t expect a 72 year old woman. Your mother. To be sleeping. In a closet. On the floor.
He said, all right, man. So we’ll just want to say.
And I said, please don’t ever have my Nana sleep on the closet again. You said, let me repeat what you just said. You said don’t you ever let my Nana sleep on a closet again? And I said, no, no, no, no, no, buddy.
You’re just. You’re emphasizing it. I say, please. Don’t have her sleep on the closet again.
And he said. You know what. And I said, look before. Listen. Before you say whatever you’re about to say.
I’ve heard it so many times before in so many different ways, in so many different fashions from this family. And it’s fine.
I’m just looking out for your mother. My Nana. And if you don’t appreciate that, then say what you got to say.
I stand by what I said.
He says, guess what? You don’t have an uncle. Things up the phone.
And, you know, what.
It really didn’t bother me. I mean. In some. Way bothers me, I guess, because I have to be bothered by it because it’s my family, but.
I’m going to say something to you guys that.
I don’t think I really would say to a lot of people just.
I guess what I’m trying to say is. I don’t really have a value.
For family. Like you guys might.
And it sounds weird, but maybe in some way you can kind of interpret what I’m saying.
I don’t really value. Family and the way you might think. My family. My family.
My family has always been fractured. My family has always been broken.
Has always been conditional. Love. Not unconditional.
My family has always been defensive. Critical. Hurtful. Painful.
And I, at a certain point, I think you say. My family.
I don’t want any more of my family.
I want my own family.
A family of my making. A family of my choosing.
An unconditional. Love.
That’s what I want.
So at the end of the day, After he hung up. Yeah, I didn’t. I didn’t really care.
And it was because my family.
I don’t know if I ever really cared that much about.
Because they haven’t been.
My family. In quite some time.
And that may sound. However it sounds.
But I’m going to be honest. That’s the truth.
And I may reword that differently down the line. I may. Change the verbiage of that down the line. But.
When it comes down to it through and through at the heart of it. That is my truth.
She’s amazing. She.
Holds a lot of. Things together.
In our family.
She brings people together. She helps people. She’s kind, she’s loving.
She values. Family.
And she would be disappointed to hear me say that, but.
Not really my family.
I feel like I’m trapped in my family.
Itching to get out. Influenced by the behaviors of my dad. Who was. Horrible. To my mom.
Influenced by my mom. Who was. Manipulative and deceiving.
Influenced by my uncle.
Bold arrogant. Intentious.
Influenced by my Nana who’s strong.
But easily hurt.
I just want to get away.
Now I will tell you.
And my family. My daughter. My Nana.
My dad and my grandma.
I love them all.
But when I think about my family,
I think about the one I have yet to build.
That’s my family.
The fractured. Unorganized.
Conditional loved family.
But it is my family.
I just hope I build a new one, one day.
In truth. I did a lot of venting with you guys today. I don’t know if that’s how I really feel. More if that’s how I feel now.
I don’t know if those were my true words or just the words I’ve. Chosen to choose.
I don’t know if that’s the way my heart feels or just the way my heartbeats.
But I can only say what the truth feels right now.
And that’s my truth.
And that’s my family.
Would that being said.
I hope all of you out there. It had an amazing Thanksgiving. And I hope that whatever family you have. Whatever thing you’re going through or whatever. Family member is challenging your thoughts or.
Breaking your heart.
I hope that. You get to build the family that you want to build.
Keep the family that you want to keep. And distance yourself from the family that needs a distancing.
I hope that love finds you.
I hope that peace surrounds you.
And I hope that comfort consumes you.
I hope that you’re happy.
And to all the people. Or allowing me to vent with you today.
I hope. That we can vent together again soon.
All right guys. That’s the episode. I didn’t have time to get to the questions part of the episode today, but we will do that next week or I will answer. All of your questions that you might have for me. Listen, if you guys want a guaranteed question, by the way, there’s a section of our podcast called mailbag mailbag. We do at the end of every podcast episode, and I’ll answer some of the questions I get brought into us.
And you can do that by emailing me at hello. At vent pack. Dot org and in the subject line type of mailbag and just type the question that you want to be read on the show. If you want. Uh, guaranteed. Answer to your question. If you want a question guaranteed, to be read on the show. Then join our Patrion. It’s the price of a cup of coffee, just about five bucks a month. It’s a patrion.com/a single father podcast. Make sure you join the Patrion and you’ll have your question guaranteed to be answered as long as it’s, you know, somewhat appropriate.
Um, I will guarantee I’ll answer that in the show and I’ll do a little shout out for you at the end of the show as well. Um, or if you just want to take your chance and ask some casual questions, you can just email me with the mail bag. Uh, if you want an opportunity to vent with me on the show, if you want to be a guest and have a little venting session together, if you have a family member that you want to talk about with me on the show, well, guess what you can do that you can join our Patrion patrion.com/a single father podcast, and join with the tears where you be able to vent with me on the show.
And I look forward to venting with you very, very soon. Make sure to follow us on social media, which is just pretty much everywhere. The single father podcast, Instagram. Uh, Facebook, YouTube. Um, Eventually, um, you know, I’m not sure the timeframe on it, but eventually I’ll be doing video podcasts where I’ll be uploading those to YouTube, just to make sure you stay tuned for behind the scenes content, et cetera.
And guys just thank you for supporting me. Um, most of all, be sure to like subscribe, share, leave a review. Really helps. Allows us to. You know, Um, bring more content on the show, gain more notoriety, get more guests. Um, create better episodes for you. Um, if you just want to support the podcast again and go to our Patrion, just to be a supporter.
Um, if any of this resonated with you. Let me know Dami, follow us on socials. Follow us on the podcast. I look forward to venting with you guys very, very soon. So with that being said, I don’t think I’m missing anything. You guys have a great holiday. And, um, May, I guess I’ll be giving you the details after Christmas. We’ll see how that goes until next time.
The Single Father Podcast is brought to you by VentPack. Visit VentPack.org for show notes and more information on the organization’s mission to combat challenges of single fatherhood with resources, digital products and support.
To quote Star Wars, “between darkness and defeat, hope survives.” For those of you who are reading this feeling that hope is lost, hear me when I saw nothing lost can’t be found again. But what do you do when hope isn’t what is lost, but civility is?
I have been many things in my life, but the hardest role I have ever had to take on is being a father. Fatherhood comes with many challenges, not to mention the challenge of parenting from different households. How I parent from my house may be very different from what is taught at the other. Today, I experienced that fact all to well. My parenting style is very relaxed. Whereas I do not spank my daughter, I give her timeouts. Statistically, how many munities your kid is in timeout should reflect the number of how old they are. For example, if my daughter is three years old, she is only in timeout for three minutes. I am not a traditional father. My family is complicated and my parenting style reflects that. When I have custody of my daughter, I make sure she understands why she is in time out and emphasize how much I love and care for her.
However, her mothers parenting style is very different. We doesn’t believe in timeouts and only wants to communicate with her through words only. We agreed on never to use spankings or yelling as a punishment’s, but for the most part, we disagree on almost everything else. Small disagreements yes, but sometimes the smallest thing can have a big impact. Although this is a a specific situation, I know that many parents face similar challenges in their own lives. We are constantly reminded to give our children love and support, but sometimes it seems like we can’t even agree on the best way to do that. It’s important to remember that even though parents may disagree on some parenting styles, they have the same goal in mind: To raise strong, confident and happy kids.
I am writing this article to share with you what happened behind closed doors today. Her and I shared words with each other that are not going to easily be recoverable. I am hurt by this today because her and I lost civility with each other, and I am afraid of the affect it may have down the line. It is unfortunate that two people can be on the same coin but on different sides. Our parenting styles are just so different, and sometimes we forget that we equally parent and not one style is right over the other. We forget that love comes first. Today, I myself forgot that. Therefore when civility is gone, you must remain in control. Not control over your child, but control over yourself. We forget that when it comes to our children, we are both their parents. We often forget that the most important thing is to show them love, no matter how differently you may parent. Today, I have forgotten this. I took my frustration out on her, and I am sorry for doing so.
Being in control of yourself means being in control of your emotions. Sometimes being in control often means deciding some things are out of your control. I am reminded of a bible verse I tattooed on my arm to jog my memory in times like these. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I want to focus in on that word, wisdom. As I have gotten older, I have become wise to the things that set me forward, and understanding the things that set me back. Which is probably why as I was typing my negative response back to her mother today, I felt my thumbs wanting to stop, almost as if they were in pain. It was as if each letter I was typing out was like pressing on a needle, knowing I had to stop but moving forward anyway. After that I took a moment to pause, I regained control of my emotions, and understood the difficult situation I am in. Our civility may be gone, but I am in control of what I do next. Sometimes it can be hard to be in control of your emotions. During these times, it can help to stop and ask yourself whether you are making choices that will set you forward or back.
Do not let the lack of civility influence the lack of your control. Take control of your life, your emotions, your heart, and let the universe decide what happens next. Today was the first time in three years we have crossed a line with each other, and yet sixteen years still remain. My situation may have gotten harder but as I mentioned, between darkness and defeat, hope survives. Find hope and you will find control. The universe once told me, “I’m going to be your kryptonite. I’m going to push you further than you expect yourself to go and then some. I’m going to make you smile when you want to cry and I’m going to love you harder than anyone has ever loved you before.” Find the power to take control of your life and don’t let your situation get the best of you. With so many challenges we face on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to have a bad day or feel like giving up. But when you find hope, it has the power to keep you motivated. In fact, it can make you unstoppable. When civility is gone, control must remain. Control—the ability to direct the outcome of events and actions, especially in a particular manner.
My message to her mother is this: We share our daughter but not our anger, we share our love but not our defeats, we may not share civility but we could share control. My nana once told me that the most important thing I could do for my daughter was to keep her fed, clothed and loved. The second was to keep her close. Over the years, other women have echoed this sentiment, with some variation. My greatest victory is being a dad, my greatest role is being a father. My only hope is that if civility cannot come first, then love can. If you’re a dad, then you know that being a parent is the most challenging, but also the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. It’s also probably one of your biggest sources of pride. The challenge is that parenthood can be a lonely place. It’s hard to find the right support and guidance, especially as you get more experience under your belt. I am happy that I can share my triumphs and failures with you. My hope, is that instead of taking revenge, you take control.
Co-parenting is a relationship built off of another relationship. Better defined in the dictionary as sharing the responsibilities of a child. Therefore, what do those responsibilities detail, and what makes co-parenting such a taboo-related partnership? In my situation, my responsibility is to make sure that my child grows up feeling as normal and as loved as possible. This also means setting aside my anguishes to make sure my daughter never has anguish herself. Unfortunately in the beginning it is better often said than done.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to see our divorced or separated parents in the same room, nor do we have the benefit of having them speak kindly to or about each other for that matter. Why? – Well, a couple of reasons. For one, in most cases, you have two couples that have decided that they no longer want to spend another day together anymore and wish to go their separate ways. Therefore when reality kicks in and they realize that they have to spend the next eighteen years together, that can be quite a surreal experience. Think about it, for those of you who are in a relationship without a child, if you were to break up with your partner right now, you have so many options to remove that person from your life. You can delete their number, their photos from your phone, you can block them, remove them from social media, you can even move away. However when a child is involved, whereas you can still delete their photos, you kiss the rest of those options goodbye. You are both here to stay.
So how do you deal with this hyperbole shogun wedding? Being forced into a partnership can mess with your mental health and sense of freedom. Research suggests that parenting a young child can be especially demanding and challenging, which is associated with parental stress and depression (Matthey, Barnett, Ungerer, & Waters, 2000; Perren, Von Wyl, Bürgin, Simoni, & Von Klitzing, 2005). Roughly 15 million children (about one in five) in the United States live in households with parents who have major or severe depression, and about 5% of parents in the United States who live in two-parent families with their children report two or more symptoms related to depression (Child Trends, 2014). Being a parent is challenging enough, and doing it alone raises that challenge to a whole new level. The challenge goes back to those factors, mental health, and freedom.
Mental Health: Imagine dreaming of having a kid with your partner, and imagine that dream turns into reality. Suddenly your mind races off to the future, and you plan all of these events and moments in your head that you can’t wait to do together as a family. But then further imagine that dream is suddenly halted by the ending of a relationship. A mutual breakup is getting off easy, but often it can be one person over the other that believes things should come to an end. A breakup already can be mentally draining, and at least for right now, those dreams that you imagined doing together, you are now doing alone. The budget that you had for having a child is now cut in half, and the relief that you relied on when you were in need oftentimes is no longer there. Now your mind races with different thoughts. Thoughts like making more money, what do I do about daycare, will my child like the other more than me, I feel like I need to do more, am I doing enough, fear of rejection, fear of spoiling, fear of punishing, fear of abandonment, fear of judgment, fear of being alone, and the feeling of regret. It all starts to weigh on you. Bit by bit you can push yourself into anxiety, depression, and anger. Especially, when a step-parent comes in to play.
Freedom: When you found out you were having a child you came up with all these ideas in your head about you wanting to raise your kid. In most cases, the principles, morals, and beliefs that you had, you always planned on figuring it out with your partner as time went on. However co-parenting is not that simple. Some parents like myself have ideally, 50-50 custody where decisions, (legal and physical) are demanded to be figured out together. In other cases, one has more authority over the child than the other. But in all cases, you will rarely have a unanimous consensus on how your child should be raised. Vaccines, hair, school, beliefs, etc. are all decisions you must get approval about from the other parent. Depending on how your relationship ended or started, there may be cordial agreement or perhaps a petty array of ignorance and dismissive responses. However, for those who have watched the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, we know the most troublesome feeling of them all, is the loss of freedom to see your child every single day as you have once had or imagined. Sharing responsibilities of your child also means sharing custody of your child. Speaking from experience there is nothing more painful in my life than not waking up every single day to my little girl and only having her 50% of the time. Going to court, standing side by side with a woman that I once loved, fighting for my freedom to have a life with a child that I always imagined having together; it is a pain that no amount of words I type up could summarize the feeling in my heart.
Those are some of the challenges that arise from being a single parent. But the challenge doesn’t always need to be lost, it can almost always be overcome. How? – Well, call it cliché, but it is acceptance. You must first accept the things you can not change, change the things that you can, and discover the wisdom to know the difference. As Robin Williams once said in Mrs. Doubtfire, “You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t.” No matter what the outcome, how you choose to move forward will not only affect your future but your kid’s future as well. Children, know an actor when they see one. They can love a performance or hate one. As much as your kid may not listen to you, they have a good sense of them. They know when you are sad, angry, fake, real, kind, vengeful, spiteful, and even hateful. Just as they mimic your words, they can mimic your actions. It is not enough to just co-parent, you must co-exist as well.
During the early year of me and my daughters mother separating, all the toxic and spiteful behaviors of young early 20 adults were in full swing. Depression was creeping up behind me as it left scratches on my back from trying to catch and paralyze me. As rent and lawyer bills surrounded me; I felt out of control, hurt, heartbroken, confused, and a profound uncomfortable sense of feeling lost. I remember dropping my daughter off to her mother, no words spoken, and coming home to an empty apartment and an empty crib in the other room beside me. That was when the depression finally caught me. I sat on my couch paralyzed with no visible emotion, and yet feeling a swirl of emotion inside me. When I stood in that courtroom beside her mother, I was flashbacked in time to a moment where I stood in another courtroom, this time watching my parents standing side by side vulgarly fighting for their definitions of what it means to be co-parents. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would affect my future relationships moving forward. It was at that moment I decided to do something that I haven’t thought about doing from the moment we broke up, something that my parents never thought about doing with each other… apologize.
Your emotions can sometimes blind you from doing the right thing. I called my daughters mother and I explained (whether I meant it or not) that I was wrong. I called for peace and asked to go to dinner. We met and spoke at length on how we should move forward. And since that day, she and I have never once crossed a line with each other even in our most emotional disagreements. To this day, we argue but don’t fight. We disagree, but never too often. We have cordial hello’s and goodbyes and at times share events that have happened when the other parent is not there. We recently hit a once thought never to occur milestone of us spending our daughter’s 3rd birthday together at a kid’s indoor playground. I am confident in saying that neither myself nor her mother has or will say a bad word or sentence about the other parent in front of our child. There are good days and bad days but our situation is typically met with respect and a sense of understanding. Our once previous dinner conversation consisted of putting our daughter first and our emotions second. Putting our happiness first, and leaving our relationship behind. I wouldn’t consider us friends, I only see her once a week, and our conversations do not consist of much of anything other than relating to our daughter. She has a new boyfriend and a baby on the way. An uncomfortable fact, yes, but a fact that I cannot change. Nor do I think I’d want to.
As far as the other struggles on being a single parent, I feel like I’ve handled them quite well. The depression ended and has since been replaced with joy as I get to watch this little girl grow up. There are obvious disparities when it comes to being a single father as opposed to a single mother. For one, it is almost commonly thought that single fathers do not exist. Still, there are times people come up to me with saying such as “good on you for staying in her life.” An offensive comment based on what I believe to be a growing discontinued stereotype. Mostly because the thought is appalling to me, of course, I am in her life. I am not a weekend dad, I am a full-time dad, and I’m proud of it. Those disparities though are what I most seek to change. I struggled to find resources for single fathers in the beginning, as mostly everything is advertised for women. WIC which is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, allows single fathers to apply for their program even though their name does not advertise it. Almost nowhere on their website does it advertise, promote, or encourage fathers to seek their services in any way. I often wondered how many services are out there that fathers could apply to that they are not aware of which is why I founded The Single Father Organization. TSFO is an organization dedicated to helping single fathers with resources to help with parenting and growing families.
Furthermore, I love being a dad. I found a routine for myself. I joined a support group and pretty much have a go-bag for every scenario I can think of when it comes to leaving my house with my rambunctious little munchkin. The good part about co-parenting is… I have a co-parent. I have our daughter one week on and one week off and the weeks I do not have her I get that relief to go out and be a regular 27-year-old. Trust me if your week consists of costume parties, tea parties, cleaning up PB&J’s, and stepping on every Barbie accessory you can imagine, you’d need a little break too. I no longer have racing thoughts about the future, I just focus on what is in front of me. Dating is at times a challenge, and my house is a little pinker than I would like, but it is all worth it when I hear my daughter call me “dada.” I can’t predict the next fifteen years to come, but I do know that when I look back at how parents handled their situation, the one thing I can predict is things will be different. What hurts about co-parenting is change, and the relief we get is when we grow along with the change. So for those of you who are co-parenting, that is a bit of the good, the bad, the summary.