I was lucky growing up. I never even for one day, doubted that my parents would come home at the end of the day. That they would pay the bills and take care of my needs. We always had food, water, and a warm safe place to sleep. I know things were not always easy for my parents. I doubt they know how many times I heard them argue, how many days I knew things were tight. How easy it would have been for one of them to say, this is too hard and walk away. They never did. Not just because it was the right thing to do but because they loved us, and each other. My dad stayed until his final day, even now I believe he is still here in our hearts. I love my husband, even when he makes me nuts, even when he makes me want to scream. I love him. We have not always had it easy, and I know many times he has thought about leaving. At the end of the day (or the business trip) he comes home. My kids know they have a place to live, food, and a warm safe place to be. They know they’re loved because we BOTH show it. Even if he did decide to leave I know in my heart he would still make sure his kids and I always had those things. Not just because that’s what he should do but because he loves his kids and watching them or their mom suffer because of him isn’t something he wants.
I watch my friends lose their husbands, I see dads walk out of their kids lives because it is too hard, or because “She isn’t what I expected her to be”. I watch these men fill their lives with so much hate for the woman they took to bed, they gave babies to, the women they vowed to love for the rest of their lives. This is not okay, not ever. I understand people grow, they drift apart and sometimes you are better off apart (I am divorced from my first husband). Yet when you fill that gap with hate you don’t just hurt your ex, you hurt your kids. I know this for a fact because my first husband wasn’t as wonderful as my current husband. He was a pretty awful husband and dad. I know that my son deserved the love and support of both parents and it is something I will always regret. While he grew to be a wonderful man, I know that he deserves the love that his dad should have given him, I wish daily I could have made that happen for him.
I am not saying you have to stay married to be a good parent, sometimes that is the worst thing you can do. You don’t have to be there every night to tuck them in, or even say goodnight every night but you do have to be there. You have to call, you have to attend the dance classes, the soccer games, the IEP meetings. You have to be there when the kids are out of school sick. You have to take your turn being there.
You have to STAY part of their lives, always.
Even if the simple sight of your ex makes you angry. Remember that your child loves them, and their happiness is important to your kids, so don’t take away from that if you can. Remember that you are their parent, that means more than you participated in the birth process. Be the parent they deserve. Make that call every night (or as often as you can). When you can’t even a text or an email is okay, just let them know you are always there. Be there, tell them you love them. Stay part of their lives, they deserve it.
To the dads that stay, Thank you. Having the love of both of your parents does help, it does make a difference. Knowing that someone will always have your back means something, it makes you stronger, it makes you better. It makes you a better parent to our future generation. So thank you for staying, even when it is hard, even when you are not sure how you can do it, thank you for always being there for your kids, they deserve it. You are their superhero, their guide and they deserve that so thank you.
This is to not just dads but moms too.