When you are a single parent, frustration is a constant companion, which is oddly enough why no single parent should be lonely for even a minute. Besides the usual complaints:
– your ex, and the mother/father to your children,
– the nagging feeling that you’re doing something wrong as a parent
– seeing the job as a barrier to seeing your children,
– finding new companionship,
– the legal system,
– and money,
there are a host of other irritations. Some are much, much worse than others. I’m no exception to that particular mental state.
Lately, though, my biggest source of irritation is deadbeat dads – that is, those dads that have to pay child support for their children, sometimes with one woman, sometimes with several – and don’t.
I realize that child support is expensive. I pay it myself. Apparently, though, a lot of fathers seem to believe that they DON’T have to pay it. The way that I see it, this just makes my job as a responsible father much, much harder.
Single mothers, when told that I am a single dad, look at me with guarded suspicion. The legal system looks at me sideways, because I could always just “leave” and leave my daughter high and dry… even if that’s something I could never do. I am deemed to be possibly be not as good of a parent in part because of my testosterone level. The prejudice against fathers who want as much custody of their kids as possible is hard enough; add the stereotypical deadbeat dad into the emotional mix, and it creates an unfavorable position for me.
I’m a man working two jobs and a freelance position – none of which I necessarily do for my health. I participate in several community events and donate to several charities. My daughter has never been in any compromising position in my care, ever. I’ve never even just paid the minimum for child support for my daughter simply because I felt that I could afford a touch more – I give more when I can. I know child support is oppressive, Lord, do I know. I know that child support awards are unfair. I know that the system is bent against fathers. But so what? Work on changing the system if you like or if you can, but concentrate on helping the kids, first, because as dumb as the system might be, you still have your kids to worry about. Pay up, or negotiate.
In short, there’s nothing that I can’t stand more than a dad who can’t, or won’t, go out there and bust butt to make sure that their kids are being raised well when Dad isn’t around.
Deadbeat dads of the world, get with the program, or get out of the middle of the road. You’re slowing us down. And I promise, with my schedule, I definitely have someplace important to be.