DADDY ISSUES

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Photo credit: Francy Reyes

Q: Why is she sharing such personal issues? Why are her posts all about her and her pain?

A: I write for self-reflection, I write for self- healing. I write as a way of acknowledging certain situations and thus making it easier to confront them and let them go. I write because I want to help others; and how can you help heal something you, yourself have never experienced? I am not a martyr. I am not a victim. I no longer live in my past. I am a woman of strength who wants to help others create their own flame when they cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Daddy Issues

Feeling is stronger than knowing.

Think about it.

Now for those that’d like to argue with me:

I know this burger is no good for me but I’ve been craving it all day. Eats burger, fries, the extra-large coke and the apple pie, self-induces lethargic food coma.

I know this guy is no good for me but I love him. Stays with guy, justifies all hurt.

I know I should be going to bed early but this sitcom gives me the feels. Binge watches show, hates the world in the morning.

Exactly.

So now that we are on the same page. Let’s move on to daddy issues and why they are the reason I keep an open door policy with the fathers of my children. Be forewarned, I am not asking you to agree with me, just simply shedding light on why I choose to parent the way I do.

First of all lets define daddy issues as the negative effects that spill into a woman’s relationship with men as a direct result of a messed up relationship with her father or the lack of any relationship at all due to an absent father.

Are daddy issues real? I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that I, for one, did not grow up with my father and coincidently have low self-esteem and as you read above, (it was not a typo) that was fathers with an s, have three children with three different fathers. So whether daddy issues are real or not, I do my absolute best to make sure that my children foster a relationship with their fathers. So that they never feel less than. So that they feel the power of love even if they never know the amount of work I have to do behind the scenes. Feeling is stronger than knowing.

I always wondered how my life would be different if my father was in my life. Would I suffer from as many self- esteem issues? Would I have three kids with three different guys? Would I struggle with receiving love?

If there is absolutely any chance that daddy issues are to blame for any of the above, then I’ll be damned if my children have to suffer anything of the like. So voila: open door policy. I exercise this policy in spite of whether my child’s father deserves it or not, in spite of the level of reciprocity, and in spite of  their financial mean or duty. You see to me, I feel that my duty as a mom is to raise a well-rounded, loving child, who understands the freedom of forgiveness and the power of love.

My child is not a bill, so whether the other parent is providing support or not should not hinder their relationship. Do I sometimes feel overwhelmed because parenting is tough both emotionally and financially, of course! But I have found that getting mad at their father (because of my expectations), and demanding that they do more (because of my expectations), and explaining how absolutely precious and deserving their child is until I am blue in the face (because of their lack of participation), only drains one person- ME! So in this arena, judge as you may, I no longer hold any expectations. My babies are MINE so I do my best to provide and anything their father’s bring to the table financially is an added bonus. My personal results? Less animosity, less stress, and my children live a life comparable to those their friend’s with two parent households live because I focus my efforts on providing instead of keeping tally on who’s doing what.

At least twice a week I ask my kids if they’ve talked to their father. If the answer is no (because their father has not attempted to reach out) then I have my kids call them. No answer? Leave a message. My older ones sometimes text and I video call for my youngest. For me, in this way I am teaching them that love is selfless. You should give it because it is within you to give. Not simply because or when you receive something in return. Let me remind you this is not about their fathers, this about them and who I want them to be. If I am completely honest, I find that this practice keeps the lines of communication open between my kids and their fathers and has to a degree, improved their roles. I don’t want my kids feeling forgotten or unworthy of a parent’s love. And while we are on that same honest road, sometimes my kids don’t want to make the call, they might not be feeling the reciprocity of the love they are giving. I don’t force them at this point, but I do remind them that showing love is one of the best ways to receive love.

This hasn’t always been easy and even to this day I sometimes find myself overcompensating for the sake of my kid’s emotional wellbeing. When things get tough or they don’t go as expected in terms of your relationship with your kid’s father, check yourself: are you feeling a certain way because you are reacting as a woman i.e. is it your ego or your feelings being hurt or are you feeling a certain way because you are reacting as a mother? i.e. your kid’s immediate wellbeing is at risk.

I know its hard taking yourself out of the equation. Especially assuming this person meant something to you, hence your baby, but your ultimate goal is to be a good mother. Don’t be a martyr. Don’t be a victim. But if having a civil relationship with this other party is possible, then do it for your kid. You brought them into this world, you are molding who they will be, they will not be molded by your opinion but by your example. No matter how hurt you may feel, no matter what your personal feelings towards their father may be, do not plant seeds of hate in your kid. Later on the fruit they bare will be your feast or your mess to clean up.

Kid’s father has a girlfriend? Clap it up. I welcome any woman that’s going to help make him a better man. Better him, better father, better relationship with my kid. It’s a win. The honeymoon stage is the best, they all love shopping for the boyfriend’s kid at that stage. Double win.

Girlfriend is trash and thus negatively impacts his relationship with your kid? That’s his problem not yours. You keep doing what you do. Do not speak ill of him to your kid. Let them see, they will one day connect the dots. I promise.

Kid’s father never keeps his word? Don’t hype your kid up with plans. If dad doesn’t show then your kid never knew. If dad shows its such a pleasant surprise! You’re not covering up for him, you’re doing what’s best for your kid.

Do you celebrate holidays? Play an active role in school events or extracurricular activities for your kids? Share as much information with your kid’s father as you can. Time, date, cost, plans. When my kid’s see both their parents coming together for their sake their eyes light up! That feeling is bliss. Kid’s father bringing a date? You bringing a date? Listen, the more the merrier. This is NOT a competition. No one is keeping tally. This is about the smile, the warmth in your heart that you feel when your kid searches the crowd and finds you AND their dad! Dad didn’t show? His loss. Your kid knows who they can count on and you don’t have to voice anything negative for them to know this.

If by any chance daddy issues are real, they are full of what ifs and of feelings of unworthiness, they are feeling that the grass is greener on the other side and if only your dad was around everything would be so different- so much better. Break that thought process so that it doesn’t negatively impact your kid’s future.

I mean seriously fuck daddy issues. Our dad’s mold us but don’t allow them to cause issues! Prep your kids so that the level of their dad’s involvement always turn into one of their strengths and not weaknesses. Prep your kid so that if their dad is involved they love hard and if their dad was never around, they love harder! The most important recipient of that love being themselves!

FYI: My dad wrote to me this week. Thanks for the source of inspiration! That’s right. We finally met when I was 19, by then the damage was done. Turns out however that the grass on my dad’s side was nothing but rubble. If by any chance I choose to visit my dad at this point in my life, it will be as he sits in a state penitentiary for the rest of his life.

 I no longer have to wonder what my life would have been like had he been a part of my life before. Now I wonder what it would have been like had I been taught the power of love. Self-love.

Be intentional with your parenting. We all do it differently, but whatever you do, make sure love is the lesson. Foster a relationship between your kid and their dad. Give daddy issues a big fat middle finger. First, because you love your kid and second, because you can somehow redeem yourself for not knowing better before.

 

I am grateful for all my readers!

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Thanks for reading ❤

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