The Present Parent from a Fatherless View
Original post: 6/19/19. Updated: 6/20/20
As a parent the time has been flying by, somehow I’ve been a mom for over sixteen years now. I’ve seen a lot in those years, both good and bad. I’ve learned a lot of lessons and have so many more yet to learn. Every person has a parent, whether that parent is present or not. Somehow God saw fit for me to be a mom (with His MUCH needed guidance every single day) and raise two beautiful daughters.
I mess up a lot as a parent, sometimes I lose my patience, and sometimes I just don’t know what to say or do for my kids. In fact, if there is a parent out there who believes they are the perfect parent, that should be the first sign to realizing you aren’t.
One lesson I have learned is that regardless of how much I try to perfect parenthood, or satisfy my kids, or even just meet all of their needs, nothing stands out more to them than just being there. Being a present parent – physically and emotionally. I’m not talking being around to be their BFF, personal shopper, chauffeur, or cook (although I’m pretty sure we all have felt we were at some point), but being there as a parent. And being the present parent doesn’t come easy.
I started writing this post over a week ago, as I do with most of my articles. Writing usually comes naturally for me, but at times I feel a loss for words. Usually, that happens when I’m writing something more personal. So, why did I choose to write this for Father’s Day? Because, my friends, the more years that pass by, and the more Father’s Days I (as their mother) celebrate with my children. And the more I see how much being or not being an involved parent can impact a child. And it breaks my heart.
A few years ago I was a single mom. I have celebrated Father’s Day with my daughters every year for almost their entire life. But then I married a great guy, the father of my two bonus kids (my stepsons), and I got a new view of parenting. The blended family and co-parenting life. And personally witnessing, for the first time, a father actually being involved in their child’s life. Not that I didn’t see this growing up, I did and still do with my own parents, but I’m talking about in my own home as an adult and parent.
There are involved fathers, who are present in their children’s lives. Ones who love and care for their children, and make them a priority. Did you know this? I know that question seems silly, but to 33% of children in the US (24.7 million), it’s a very valid question. To my own daughters, it’s a valid question. And they deserve this validation.
That means the other 67% of the population do have fathers in their life, in some way. And as we all know with divorce rates as extreme as they are, that likely around 50% of that population are children in a split and/or blended home. I find my own family in this category, and I’m sure a good number of you can relate to these statistics. This statistic only increases more per divorce and breakup.
Split and blended families
Too often split families are bickering, arguing over co-parenting, blaming each other, and just unappreciative of the other parent due to their own disagreements or because of what split them in the first place. I see it all the time, as a single and married person. Among my friends, my family, and the general public. Most split families are guilty of it, some more than others. I see y’all and I hear about it, and it saddens me. And also makes me jealous. Those of you with two willing parents – both involved! With all personal feelings set aside, do you know how blessed you are? Do you realize how blessed your children are to have a father?
To the married parents who feel like one parent is carrying a bigger burden, or who don’t feel like the other parent is doing their share, or who simply lack the ability to appreciate each other – I see you too. Your well-meaning comments about being stressed out because your spouse is out of town for a few days pierces a solo parent’s heart heavier than you know. And bless you for it, because you really don’t mean any harm. And you have valid reasons for your stress. But, do you know how blessed you are?
The fatherless children
There are almost 25 million fatherless children who won’t have a dad to wish happy father’s day to or see (at least) every other weekend, or who will go to their games or school musicals, or celebrate birthdays with them. Nor a father to say how proud they are, or tell them that they are loved.
If you have a father in your life, remember to take the time to thank him for being there! If your child(ren)’s father is present in their life, remember that you are one of the fortunate families. So please take a moment to appreciate that blessing!
And Dads, just in case you need to hear it, you matter and you are appreciated. Your involvement and presence are worth more than you know; you ARE a needed asset in your child(ren)’s life. My prayer for you today is that God gives you the wisdom, insight, ability, compassion, and knowledge to pour into your children.