Dictionary.com defines A Burden as something carried, a worry or sadness, or a responsibility.
Emotional as, pertaining to or involving emotion, OR emotion
If we combine the two words we could come up with something like Emotional Burden or Burden of Emotions, either way, the intended meaning is the same.
My purpose is to finally put the notion of emotional burden by way of a child’s father, in its entirety to rest(death), for the sake of EVERYONE who can relate.
When deciding to become a parent you are committing to bringing a life into this world with hopes of taking full responsibility of all of their needs, keeping them safe, raising them to be the best person they can be, and promising to always be there. Ha! Yeah right, and I wish. Parenting is not easy, it’s never ending, yet can be so fulfilling and rewarding. It is one of the most important titles you will ever hold. Your deeds as a parent depending on your beliefs are something you may one day have to account for. I’m not here to discuss or judge your beliefs, to each its on. I’m here to talk about the effects of burdens placed on mothers by fathers who choose to parent their child(ren) part time or not at all. Wait don’t go! This Blog isn’t intended to bash any fathers, I promise. Before you refute everything I’m about to say, I know I know mothers also create burdens. I believe you, but I can only speak to you from my point of view and hopefully give everyone something they can use. Just hear me out, and remember no one ever benefits from putting others down. Trust me that’s very far from my mind.
Ok now that I have begged and pleaded let’s talk….
How many times have you logged onto your social media account and notice how women and men who are in a “co-parenting” situation that appears to be completely dysfunctional? Worse a parent bashing the other parent for reasons they feel should be shared with the world? I see it way more than I would like to, the more interesting part is my first child is from a previous situationship. It was never ideal in my eyes and a lot of days I could’ve justifiably acted the same way, but why? Mostly how will it benefit me? When it was revealed to me early in my daughters’ life that I would be doing all of the parenting I didn’t want to accept that. I was mad and felt like my life was completely interrupted. I remember thinking why was I chosen to be a mom at this stage in my life, and with someone I was just “kicking it” with? After 2 years of denial, I finally accepted my assignment and decided from that day forward I would do my best to mother my daughter, and I would never put down her dad for the things he was or wasn’t doing. I figured whatever choices he makes he will have to answer to at some point in her life.
Guess what? We are at that point! I’m not going to outline every detail of my oldest daughters father, but I will say this the last time she actually saw him was at her 8th birthday party; she just turned 16 on July 14th. Kalicia’s dad has been incarcerated for the last 8 years. He wasn’t the most active parent years birth-7 either. There were a lot of days things were said or promised that fell through. I look at those years as preparation for years 8- the current. My daughter loved her dad like he was present every day of her life, she still does but it’s different. She is almost an adult and has a totally different awareness than an 8-year-old. While he was away he called her and wrote letters when he could. In the beginning, she really believed in him and just wanted him out. As the years passed the confidence she once had slowly gone away. I knew that one day she would begin to pay full attention to what’s going on and form her own opinion. Although I never liked the circumstances or having to explain them, I’ve always taken the high road by encouraging her to still be respectful. Based on what I have shared so far you could conclude that the burden that was placed on me was having to mother and father my daughter because of her biological dads’ decision making. One could ask why would you call being a parent a burden? I’m not, what I’m saying is because of the decisions of the absent parent I have had to carry certain things I believe were not mine to carry. For example, the reason for going to prison. You see as a mother who has no experience with that life, I feel it’s not for me to make her understand. I have said in a previous blog that I don’t think one could ever have a valid opinion or explanation of anything they have never experienced. This example is one that many are unfortunately too familiar with.
Let’s explore three circumstances as to how choices one could make may cause a burden for the other. These were chosen based on my own experiences as well as those of mothers I know, who have dealt with similar situations.
Physical- A majority of mothers including myself are having to parent their children alone because the dad is physically unable to do so. As I mentioned above this may be due to incarceration. The prisons are full of fathers, mostly brown and black fathers. It has been created by design to keep people from a certain demographic in broken homes. I’m aware that people have the free will to make conscious decisions. That most of the times the reasons they are in jail or prison are due to choices of their own. Either way, it’s a disadvantage for the mom and certainly the child. Trying to get a child to understand that their parent broke the law and now has to pay for that is what of the hardest unnecessary things a mom has to explain. There is nothing you can say about jail or prison that is positive. To hold the active parent accountable for the absent parents’ actions is selfish period. Every time my daughter asked me about her dad and why he was in the place he was in, I literally studdered trying to answer. After a while, I would deflect and tell her to ask her dad the next time they speak. I became unwilling to carry that burden. How do you begin to explain a crime to your child and the punishment? Not only am I carrying the burden of explaining your transgressions, now I’m carrying the emotional burden of my child responding to what she just heard. One thing I have learned as a parent is to not take on anything that causes an unhealthy environment for my children. No matter how crappy the situation is I will not compromise the innocence, happiness, or peace of their childhood.
There are also fathers who voluntarily decide not to accept their responsibility. Often times they blame this on the mom or the inability to get along with the mother. Honestly, it sounds ridiculous, any person with morals and a clear mind would never allow anyone to keep them from loving a person they gave life to. Unfortunately, some people go through life never accepting responsibility. They take the out of sight out of mind approach. Yes, it’s wrong and unfair to your child, but remember they will have to account for that choice. The best thing you can do is be a great mom and prepared to do whatever it takes to give your child the best shot at life. Let the dad go on, don’t waste time on a person who cares nothing about you. In the long run, you will come to realize by letting go and moving on you saved yourself from stress and negativity. You will keep your power. Never give anyone the opportunity to disrupt your mental peace. Neither of these burdens is yours allow them to remain with the rightful owner.
Mental- By not physically being there negative mental effects are likely to occur. When the child reaches a certain age and notices their peers having healthy interactions with their fathers, questions begin. They usually want to know, why doesn’t my dad care enough about me to be in my life? Did I do something to cause this? I can remember a time we were at a cousins wedding, all of my daughters’ cousins were on the dance floor with their fathers. I looked across the room and saw the look of disappointment on Kalicia’s face, she went outside to be alone. I followed her and when I asked her what happened, she answered with tears in her eyes, “everyone has their dad but me”. I could tell that she was trying to sort everything out in her mind at that moment. Knowing that my daughter was trying to sort out something so heavy on her own made me sad. A child should never have to draw conclusions about a grown persons actions or lack there of. I believe that incident has set the tone for how she processes things to this day in relation to how she interacts with all males. They say a daughters first true love should be for her father. My daughter missed that opportunity with her own father, but all is not lost. I have an amazing husband, dad, and brother in law who have shone her the best examples of a man. Instead of dwelling on what your child may be missing or accepting another burden, surround yourself and your child with people who are willing to be what they need. No, it’s the same thing as a dad but it sure beats not having any positive influences.
The following information is from CNN.com
If you’re thinking of starting a family, you might be in for some sticker shock: Raising a child could cost you nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
A middle-income, married couple with two children is estimated to spend $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015, according to a report released by the Department of Agriculture Monday. And that number only covers costs from birth through age 17 — so it doesn’t include college expenses. Families can expect to spend between $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average, to raise a child.
How many of you are receiving or spending this amount of money to raise your children? I know for sure I don’t receive this type of financial support to raise my oldest daughter, as for the youngest my husband is her sole financial provider, I’m still not spending this kind of money on either of them. I honestly believe, with the exception of college expenses, you can successfully raise your child with less money. However, I don’t believe you should have to raise them with NO MONEY, it’s extremely difficult. Children need things all the time from the day they are born. I hear a lot of single moms talk about going to court for child support and are never satisfied with the amount. I don’t have experience with dealing with the courts, but I do know when I was a single mom my thought process was always I will take any amount to assist me taking care of my daughter, so be grateful. There were times I had to work crazy hours, apply for food stamps and families first to supplement my income. During these times I was mad, not so much for not getting child support, more for the things I had to sacrifice to make sure Kalicia had what she needed or wanted. What I mean is, when she started school for the first time, kindergarten, I had to take a job that had second shift hours from 2pm-11pm. I was able to take her to school and eat lunch with her, but I was never able to put her to bed. She often spent her nights at my moms’ house because we didn’t want to wake her from a peaceful sleep to go home. I hated the idea of my mom having to make sure she had dinner and was in bed at a decent time every day. This was not her responsibility even though she never gave me grief for doing it. Thanks, Mom!
Some of the fathers’ points of view are not any better. I can’t tell you how many times I read on my social media feed dads bashing moms for needing or wanting financial support. Imagine that, a person actually thinking you should share responsibility, who in the hell do they think they are (cue major sarcasm)? How dare you to think you shouldn’t! I’ve also seen dialogue between parents questioning or commenting on how the money is spent. If you are doing the right thing that is all that matters, how the other person handles what you have done is on them. Questioning a moms decision making on the support of your child is not only ridiculous it’s wrong. If she is providing food, shelter, and clothing you have no reason to ask questions, what you are providing is extra. Let us not forget the regular physical and mental support she provides.
Parents, please invest in your childs well being, by giving them all the physical, mental and financial support they deserve. Please stop creating burdens that are not necessary or fair to carry. Or if you are carrying any type of burden that you didn’t create let it go, modify your life to benefit you and your child in a positive way. It’s time to put the burden (if any) to death, especially by means of another person. To all the dads who do their fair share and assist the mom any way possible, thank you! Keep being a positive presence. To all the moms holding everything down, you are every woman and no one can do it better than you <3. If you are in an unhealthy parenting situation, please consider counseling, get help, figure it out, it’s not worth being in a negative space. Together we can put these common parenting BURDENS TO DEATH. Remember the job of being a parent is forever and there are never any losers, either you win or learn. It’s about time we start doing both!
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