A couple weeks ago, I wrote a piece called Real Dads Don’t Leave. In an effort to spare you having to read an entire novel, I wrote this and the next entry as separate posts altogether.
In that post, I shared my strong feelings (admittedly written in anger) about the three kinds of dads that leave. After publishing it, I received dozens of emails from extremely angry fathers who demanded that they were good men, destroyed by the vengeance of ex-spouses, and forced against their will away from their own children. After reading some of their stories, and having seen what I’ve seen in my own lifetime, I tend to believe them.
Today I want to discuss and debate what I believe is the second part of this extremely complicated puzzle with you. I want to talk about the mother’s role in this ever-worsening pandemic. Because the truth is, sometimes she does play a big part. Sometimes, in fact, Mom pushes Daddy right out the door.
And it needs to stop.
I believe that there are far more good men in this world than are counted in the numbers. I believe there are many men who have every desire to be good husbands and fathers. I believe these men marry for love, carry their brides across the threshold, and then give it their all, only to be pushed back out, barricaded, and despised throughout the marriage and (if it gets to that point) during the divorce as well.
But see, we rarely hear about these men. The women who push them away are far too vocal in their everyday efforts to disparage, impugn, and slander them. They are too busy crying foul play and taking their star role as victim. They are too busy calling these men out as deserters and abandoners. They are too busy castrating these men and waving their manhood in the air as their trophy.
And then… these once good men disappear completely. And let’s be honest. We all hate and despise them for leaving, never recognizing that every other option was taken from them.
And I’d be willing to bet that the women who push them out often didn’t know they were doing it.
Well, it’s time for a dose of reality. I understand that this message only covers a small percentage of situations. At the same time, I hope it will make us all stop and think about a few things.
Ladies, do you remember the day you got married? Do you remember how happy you were? Do you remember how enamored you were with the man to whom you hitched yourself? Do you remember not just thinking, but knowing that he was a good man?
Do you remember the day your first child was born? Do you remember the excitement that you shared with your infant’s daddy throughout the entire journey to get there?
Do you remember being extremely paranoid and constantly checking that he had sanitized hands every time he neared the child?
Do you remember the time when you grabbed your baby from her daddy and said you would just take care of it (whatever it was) because he obviously couldn’t handle it?
Do you remember laughing? Do you remember rolling your eyes? Do you remember being utterly annoyed and taking no hesitation to show it?
Do you remember the time when your baby’s daddy was sitting on the sofa next to you while you talked and laughed with the other women in your family about how incapable men are with babies?
Do you remember the time when your baby’s daddy was playing with his child, and you stopped him from doing so, declaring that whatever he was doing was too dangerous or that he was being too careless? Do you remember the time when you told him that he was going to hurt your baby?
Do you remember all the times that you referred to her as your baby?
Do you remember the time when your baby was learning to walk and he hit the corner of the coffee table and ended up screaming with a purple goose egg on his head? Do you remember getting upset because your baby’s daddy hadn’t baby-proofed the house to your exact instructions? Do you remember saying things about him not caring whether or not his child got hurt?
Do you remember when your baby grew to be a toddler and her daddy was swinging her by the arms? Do you remember how she ended up with a Nursemaid’s elbow and you were infuriated with him while you watched as the doctor put it back into place? Do you remember calling him stupid or unthinking? Do you remember telling him that your daughter would probably be traumatized for life?
Do you remember when your child first started preschool and you were furious because his dad forgot that it was his day to pick him up? Do you remember when you told him to just forget it, you’d take care of it every time from there on out? Do you remember arguing with him because he said he made a mistake, and mistakes like that just weren’t acceptable and proved how careless and stupid fathers were?
Do you remember when your child started Kindergarten and her daddy accidentally said something he shouldn’t in front of her? Do you remember how your child repeated it back later and you scolded the man for the better part of ten minutes about how reckless and destructive he was to his children?
Do you remember when your child was in the third grade and his daddy had just started his new business? Do you remember the night he told your child that he didn’t have time or energy to read the usual bedtime story? Do you remember badgering him about making sure it didn’t become a habit? Do you remember going into the next room and apologizing to your child for daddy’s lack of interest?
Do you remember when your child was in fifth grade and daddy took out his frustrations on her one evening? Do you remember when he yelled and grounded her for a month over something trivial? Do you remember how you cornered him afterward and told him he needed to cool it? Do you remember the fight you got in after that?
Do you remember when your child was graduating the sixth grade and how he spent most of his time alone in his bedroom? Do you remember how you and his daddy fought more often than you didn’t during that time of your child’s life? Do you remember how inept and clueless you always told him that he was? Do you remember how angry he would get every time you did that? Do you remember how your son’s dad stopped caring about everybody but himself, including your son?
Do you remember when your child first started middle school and you were sleeping in a different room than her father was? Do you remember how your daughter used to ask you what was going on and you’d say something snide or rude about her father and how lazy and worthless he was being? Do you remember how your daughter stopped liking her dad?
Do you remember when your child was about to graduate the seventh grade, and his daddy told you he wanted a divorce? Do you remember when you called him a quitter and a horrible man? Do you remember how you promised him that he would regret it? Do you remember how you threatened to take his children away permanently?
Do you remember the long divorce battle that ensued? Do you remember how you told everybody that he was not the man you married? Do you remember hating him so much that you declared to the court that he was an unfit parent and should only have partial or no custody? Do you remember how you were so convincing that you got what you demanded? Do you remember how happy you felt when this man who used to be a good man had his legal rights taken away?
My dear sister, do you remember the day when the sparkle in your child’s eyes, in the middle of all of it, disappeared?
Do you remember the happiness that was no longer there?
Do you remember the way your child acted out over the next several years of her life?
Do you remember the bad grades your son always brought home on his report card?
Do you remember all of the times you thwarted your daughter’s attempts to respect and love her father? Do you remember the wedges you drove? Do you remember declaring to your child that he was a bad man?
Do you remember how eventually it got so bad that your son declared to you that he didn’t want to see his dad anymore? Do you remember how happy that made you? Do you remember that his dad consented and agreed?
Do you remember how you then used that as further proof that he was a deadbeat, horrible, family killing deserter? Do you remember how you then used that to cement in your permanent status as the victim? Do you remember any of that?
Do you remember any of the times you made him feel inadequate, unappreciated, and unwanted in yours or your child’s life? Do you remember any of the times you called him names, degraded him, and did everything you could to make him feel worthless? Do you remember?
Because he sure does. He remembers all of it. He stored all of it every step of the way, along with the ten thousand other spoken and unspoken declarations you made. And with time, he did stop caring. With time, he did stop wanting to be there. With time, he stopped being a dad to your child. And, with time, he left.
Daddy left because Mom pushed him out the door.
Moms. Don’t you get it? Don’t you get that a good man can be destroyed on your words, thoughts, and actions? Don’t you get that a good man can be so belittled and so betrayed by your insensitivities and the careless ways in which you respond that he no longer wants to be there? That he feels imprisoned, powerless, and worthless?
Don’t you get that your child needs her dad? Don’t you get that the role a good and a real dad plays in your child’s life is not something that you can fully provide on your own? Don’t you get that there are things a child will only learn from his father? Don’t you get that a child’s daddy is not disposable or replaceable? Don’t you get it?
Don’t you get that your child’s father won’t be perfect? Don’t you get that you aren’t perfect? Don’t you get that constantly harping on him to do everything a different way or your way takes away all motivation and enthusiasm to keep fighting the fight?
Don’t you get that a major part of the bond your child will have with her father is dependent on you? Don’t you get that you have the power to add coal to that furnace, and you also have the power to pour the water that will extinguish it completely?
It is time these moms that push their children’s daddies out take a step back and are honest with themselves and the rest of us.
Please. I pray to God it’s not too late. If this is you, immediately go and start the process of making things right. Immediately make silent and verbal promises of the things that will bring your child’s daddy closer. Immediately stop finding the fault in your man or the man that used to be yours. Immediately stop finding ways that he can improve. Immediately stop insisting that everything is dangerous or reckless that he does with your child. Immediately sit down and write a list of everything you love about this man.
Or do you not care whether or not your child has a daddy? I think I would cry if that were the case.
Because I know that you do love that man. I know that you want him to be there and to be a real dad for your child. Why? Because I know that you love your child. I know that you want what’s best for your child. I know that you have no interest in the slightest of unhealthy circumstances for your precious one.
And please. If you’re divorced, make it easy and make it possible for that man to be a good and a real dad. Stop letting your pride and your anger stop your children from having a good man in their lives. Stop putting up roadblocks and driving wedges. Instead, open up doors and widen the paths that lead to good fatherhood. You must. If you love your child you must.
Dads are often only as good as you allow them to be. It is crucial that you understand that. It is crucial that you believe that. It is crucial that you act on it. With all the desperation of my soul, please stop pushing good daddies out the door. Please.
Dan Pearce, The Single Dad Laughing Blog
Also, just like last week I hope it goes without saying that I can’t possibly write something that would cover the millions of different circumstances surrounding this issue. I get that a lot of dads who leave just don’t care, and that most men who leave do leave on their own. That’s what last week’s post was about. I also understand that quite often the tables are turned. I only hope that we can all openly discuss this and debate it in a spirit of love and understanding, dolloped with a heavy dose of respect for each other.
Please find a way to follow. In the new few weeks, I’ll be publishing the final post called, “You’re not the man she married” It’s the final chapter in this three-part series, and is geared toward men and women, even though the title suggests differently.
And with that being said, what are your thoughts? What do you believe to be the truth? Am I way off base? Did I strike a nerve? I’d really appreciate your comments today. I’d also really appreciate if you share this.
If you’re interested, please read my post Worthless men and the women who make them. It covers some of these points, though specifically tackles the broader problem of women not appreciating and speaking kindly to their husbands.