Setting an Example

Here’s another draft that’s been sitting for sometime, that I felt needed to see the ‘publish’ button being hit.

A friend posted a video on Facebook of a woman walking into Target with her perhaps 10 year old son in tow. She found his father, who was in uniform and working, and told him she had to go to work. Despite him trying to remain calm with her, and reason – hello, he was literally in uniform and working when she cornered him – she literally turned and ran out of that store, leaving the child there.

This infuriated me

Number one, I know there are women out there applauding her, talking about dead beat such and such and serves him right and blah blah blah.

This is not okay.

I don’t give a fuck if that man hasn’t seen his boy a day in his life, this is not okay.

I am a single mother. I have not just one but two “baby daddies”. And I don’t care how much they piss me off, how irritated I may be, I would never in a million years subject one of my boys to this embarrassment.

I am not above crazy. Both men can tell you, I’m sure, of my less than logical moments. But I bet they both are thankful that I’m not this woman’s particular brand of crazy. We have argued. There have been angry exchanges, name calling has taken place, accusations. . . Things have been ugly. If you take into consideration the dynamics that make up these types of situations, high emotions are to be expected and with high emotions come some turbulent waters.

Being a child when you’re in charge of raising a child is not an option though.

First and foremost, I do not know this woman’s situation, so I suppose I’m not in any position to judge. But when I watched that video a few things did come to mind.

My first thought was of the child. How must it have made him feel to be essentially abandoned by his mother? Or the fact that the woman felt it necessary to force his father to take him? And for it to be done so publicly, with on-lookers videoing the exchange? And now it’s on social media for anyone in the world to see, including his peers. Sigh.

Circumstances have played out in my situation that made it to where my oldest and his father are basically just acquaintances. They know of each other, they acknowledge each other. But neither goes out of their way to spend a lot of time together. Whereas with my youngest, there is a lot more interaction and time spent between the two of them. I am okay with both situations. Never would I keep my boys from seeing their fathers, assuming that their fathers living situations continue to be without questionable conditions. But I would never force a man to see his child if he doesn’t want to. A child needs a father, yes. Absolutely. But more, he needs a father who wants his child. Who doesn’t view his child as a burden. Who wants to spend time with his child. This in part is why the video bothered me. Reading between the lines, perhaps the man does not have an active role in the child’s life. Sweetheart, that’s his loss! Children are wonderful creatures. They are fun and full of wonder, and it is a privilege to have a child in your life. And if that man doesn’t know this, or chooses to ignore it, that’s on him. His loss.

I myself have been in a situation where I was unable to go to work because I didn’t have anyone to watch my child. It’s a helpless feeling, and I understand that. You need the job to support your child, however you can’t go to that job and make that money to provide and leave a young child alone. Maybe he was supposed to have the kid and got called into work. Maybe she was fed up with him never taking the child because he “had to work.” I dont know their story. What I do know is that both my boys father’s work, just like me. I am the ‘primary’ parent so to speak, the boys spend the majority of their time with me. I will always go to the boys father’s first and ask if they can take their child in the event that they are off school or sick when I have to work. But facts are, these men work to help provide for their boys and their other children. Just like me. So if they can’t, I try and find someone else. And it has come down to me having to call off work because no one is available for my child but me. Number one, that child needs your presence more than your money. Especially if the child is ill. Number two. . . And here’s a mind blower for you . . . This is what happens when you have a kid! Regardless if you and the child’s father live under the same roof or not, there are going to be schedule conflicts and unexpected instances where one of you has to take off work for your child. Should it be the mother or custodial parent every time? Perhaps not. I don’t look at it that way though. Parenting isn’t about who’s turn it is. It’s about your child knowing unconditional love and teaching them responsibility and so many other more important things – not your selfish perspective. My view point is that I have primary custody, so it is primarily my job to make sure my child has adequate care. Then again, I’m a very black and white, cut and dried kind of person though. Some may argue that it took two to make the child so it should be both of you sacrificing and caring for the child. But I signed a piece of paper saying I was going to be my child’s primary caregiver. I take that role seriously, and not just because of the piece of paper.

I guess maybe it’s hard for me to put myself in this woman’s shoes because I enjoy my role as a mother. I struggle leaving my kids with someone else, even their father, when they’re ill. I can’t imagine missing an event – awards ceremony, game, what have you. And I would rather my children be with me than with someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t take them.

All I kept thinking while watching the video is of that poor boy and how he must feel.

People are so deadset on their own feelings, and their own motives. . . Bitterness and anger don’t have a place in the raising of a child. You set aside your own feelings and you do what you’re supposed to do – raise the child. Supposing the man was in the wrong, her place wasn’t to force that child on him. Her place was to raise that boy to not be like him. Her place was to teach that young boy to be a better parent than his father was. In doing what she did, she wasn’t teaching that man a damn thing. But she was teaching the boy something. She was teaching him about ugliness and anger, she was teaching him that you have to force people to want to love you. And she probably made him question his own worth.

I will never understand, nor will I ever applaud ignorance and ugliness.

I will always raise my children with what I have – and that’s my own love. Regardless of what their fathers do or don’t do, they will always know that their mother loves them and will always be there for them. Period, point blank.

Again, I realize that I don’t know the backstory to the video. But I can tell you 100%, without a doubt, that I would have approached it much differently, regardless of what the backstory is.

I hope that this is just an extreme case of immaturity and selfishness, and hope beyond hope that somehow, some way, that little boy learns how not to act, and grows up to be a wonderful parent, despite the example his parents set for him.

At the end of the day, that’s all we can do is parents. Love our children without bounds, and set the right example.

Published by: A. Elizardo

Single mother to two amazing boys, sister to an inspiration, and the daughter of two opinionated, sarcastic, fun loving individuals that are no longer physically with us. Music, writing, reading, my family - living and gone - are what keep me going as I put on my rose colored glasses and navigate us through this crazy world.

Categories kids, Parenting, Random thoughts, VentingLeave a comment

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