Category

Custody

Fatherhood Half-Life

By | Custody, Daddy, Daughter, Divorce, Fathers and Daughters, Memories, Parenting, Quality Time, Relationships | No Comments

valve-half-life-2-portal-android-versiyonu-cikis-tarihi
While the term half-life is normally used when talking about nuclear physics or nuclear chemistry (not to mention a pretty sweet video game), it can also be used in a different way when applied to the nuclear family, especially when it comes to fatherhood.

Imagine this.

At a random point in your young adult life someone hands you an envelope with some shocking information.

The message is simple. Starting today you will only receive half of the life you would have normally lived.

That would probably change your life.

What you consider most important may become doubly so. Your priorities would suddenly stand out in stark contrast to time spent on less important things.

So it is for many divorced Dads. Their “fatherhood half life” begins with a divorce and a custody battle. And with most, half is an all too rare “best case” scenario.

From the moment she was born, I placed time with my daughter as a top priority. I like to think the D in my DNA stands for Daddy.  I was lucky enough to be self-employed from home the first year of her life and then to land an extremely flexible job that let me keep my priorities and promises intact. Then, divorce…and those promises got a lot harder.

I’m no time management wizard. There are numerous examples of how I’ve wasted time on things that held no real value. But fatherhood isn’t one of those things. It never will be.

My situation has my daughter living hundreds of miles away. I’m not afforded the same conveniences of many divorced parents. It’s high conflict but it has taught me many things about myself and my faith.

So when I hear about parents wanting to “take a break” from the kids, I wince.  You don’t know what you have. Dad up and recognize the benefits of your sacrifices.

Every time a new theater or dance camp opportunity comes up that we have to take a pass on because she won’t be here, I grimace. Someone else’s decisions are affecting her opportunities.

Would I act differently if she was with me every day? I don’t see why. Why wouldn’t I want to spend as much time as possible with the one of the most important people in my life?

Promotions, money, more stuff…keep ‘em. I’ll take time. You should do the same.

The fading (but not fast enough) standard of a divorced father being awarded every other weekend and half the summer is an insult, not just to the involved Dads but to the decades of studies that have shown how important a his relationship with his kids is. Those aren’t my words, it is scientific fact.

If you find yourself in a situation like mine, don’t give up. Fight for your rights as a father. Stay true to her.  If you get to see your girl every day, make it count.  It’s more important than you may know.

My girl and I have done a whole lot of living in our four short years together, whether it was on a daily basis or just half. One thing is certain. Our “half-life” is still very full of love.

If you like this, maybe you’ll like some of my other favorites? It’s OK to Say Goodbye to Saturday Morning Cartoons, My Guppy,  My New Morning Show,  Men Suck… , The Wonder of a Weed, and the G-Talk series

Todd


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It’s OK to Say Goodbye to Saturday Morning Cartoons

By | Custody, Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Memories, Parenting, Quality Time, Technology, Toddlers | No Comments

bugs bunnyLike other kids of my generation, Saturday morning was Shangri-La. We had a respite from the crazed world of learning math or doing chores. We had our Saturday Morning Cartoons. It was incredible.

Bugs and his Looney Tunes pals rocked.

Rocky and Bullwinkle rocked.

Schoolhouse Rock …well, you know.

(The Tick ‘Spoooooooned’)

With the roof of my mouth barely healed from last week’s shredding from sugary cereal, I would bravely refill my bowl and the Cap’n and I would head off for some quality time.

But earlier this week I learned that the cable channel CW was the last ship to set sail on the showing of the animated awesomeness that was our kids’ God-given right to punch out from reality.

And that’s ok.

You may think it strange for me to say I’m glad my daughter lives in an “on demand” world but in some ways I completely am. I’m rooting for it.

When I have her, my “Saturday mornings” (and hopefully this is how she’ll recall them, too) consist of going all out for breakfast with Daddy’s cinnamon pancakes, eggs, and fresh fruit. We find crafts to do or practice reading and writing. If it’s summer, maybe we get some pool time in. How much can we do together? What cool memories are going to be made today? How much more can I love you?

Why would I want her to check out? Screen time is a last resort in our house.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want her to know who Mickey Mouse is. For the record, there’s a Mickey Mouse short about Minnie putting on too much perfume that is reigning supreme in the iPad’s replay numbers.

I just don’t mind the fact that we can decide when and for how long that time is.

I do the same thing with my “House of Cards” or “Walking Dead” fixes. I watch them at a time we don’t spend together or she’s in bed. Thank you, Netflix and DVR. I can be a present parent and still get to watch my favorite shows. Win/win.

So why shouldn’t she get the same entitlement to convenience? I don’t think being able to watch her shows at a whim will turn her into an entitled citizen, expecting the same treatment from everything in her life. We figured it out pretty quickly, she will too.

Plus it frees up time for her to “be” in the room. You remember that blank stare we all had as kids. Our folks had to say our name 4 times before we snapped away from the boob tube.

So, goodbye Saturday Morning Cartoons. It was fun. It really was.

You’ve gone the way of the VCR and Atari.

Parting is somewhat-sweet sorrow…maybe more than I care to admit.

That’s your cue, Porky.


If you like this, maybe you’ll like some of my other favorites? My Guppy,  My New Morning Show,  Men Suck… , The Wonder of a Weed, and the G-Talk series


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The Civil(ity) War

By | Custody, Daddy, Daughter, Divorce, Fathers and Daughters, Parenting, Relationships, Teenager, Tips, Toddlers | 2 Comments

shutterstock_124904687-300x200There are two types of divorce – ugly and really, really ugly. (I should amend that statement since I have met one other person whose divorce was unbelievably amicable. But it didn’t involve children).

Truth be told, you haven’t learned the true meaning of compromise until you have dealt with a lawyer and the words “custody battle”.

Fostering a relationship between Grace and my ex is my job and one that I do not only because it is required of me but also for the fact that it’s in Grace’s best interest.  So I’ll stick to the high road.

Is it difficult? You have no idea. Does it take nearly every ounce of resolve at times to let certain actions wash over me and not let them affect who I am or what I do? Ask my stomach. It hates me sometimes.

But someday Grace will be old enough to discern for herself who her parents are as people and question their actions.  When that day comes I want her to be able to look at me with respect and approval. And some (other) day I’ll be “old enough” to be standing in front of an even bigger Judge and I’ll want the same look from Him.

So this is for you Dads out there who might have been handed the short, spiky end of the stick.

If you’re frustrated trying to be logical with those who have no use for logic, or if you’re dealing with someone who makes a living in the gray areas between right and wrong, or maybe it’s something as basic as not sharing a set of values or priorities. Whatever it is for you, hang in there.

What matters is to know, really know, who you are as a father and to be able to show that to your daughter in whatever capacity you are given – even if that capacity isn’t what you deserve.

Fight for your rights. Stand up for who you are as a father. Hang on with tooth and nail and spend every last dollar you’ll ever earn to defend your relationship with your daughter.

For some, the struggle to stay civil may last longer than the actual Civil War. So feel free to check back to this post when times get tough. You’re a good Dad. You love your daughter. Dad up and show her what it means to live with integrity.

T


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