Being a single parent where the mother of my child is absent, I often ponder the question ‘Is it better for your kids to have an absent parent, or a part-time parent?‘.
First off, let me explain what I mean by ‘part-time parent‘. I am not speaking about the parent that takes their child/children every weekend, loves and cares for them. I am talking about the type of parent that only decides to see their children when it is convenient for them. That is what I classify as a part-time parent.
I have no doubt that many of you readers have dealt with, or are currently dealing with similar parenting situations.
For the last two and half years, the mother of my of my soon to be 10-year-old daughter has been absent from her life. Now, her absence isn’t due to any sort of illness, or major job opportunity that took her out of state and away from her daughter, it is simply a choice she has made. No phone calls, no texts, all communication ceases to exist between her, I and my daughter.
Since my daughter was born I have never once strayed from her side. I have always put her best interests at hand and looked out for her absolute well being. However, the question of ‘am I doing enough?’, always creeps into the back of my mind.
Should I be reaching out to her mother and trying to get her involved, or simply let it go? After all, my daughter’s mother and I did battle it out in court for the better part of five years and that didn’t accomplish much. If anything, it only caused inner turmoil within my child.
We live in a world where more and more kids are raised in broken homes. Marriages are failing at a rapid rate and many kids are born to parents that have already split apart prior to their birth.
Our court systems are flourishing with parents fighting for what they feel is right for their children or in most cases, what they feel is right for themselves.
So this takes me back to the question at hand. ‘Is it better for your kids to have an absent parent, or a part time parent?’. In my situation, I tend to lean towards the ‘absent parent’ answer.
For years my daughter’s mother came in and out of her life. There was a huge lack of stability for my daughter. Her mother moved constantly, well over 30 times in a short 7-year period. There was always a new man in my daughter’s life when she would go visit her mother and she never had a place to call ‘home’ when she was in her mother’s care.
This lack of stability, affected my daughter in many ways. Sleepless nights, high anxiety and she was constantly riding an emotional roller coaster that never seemed to stop. It didn’t matter how much I did on my end to create a stable life for her, because when it came time to ‘go see mom’, all the stability in my daughter’s life was tossed out the window for a few days.
For the last two and half years, life has been good, great actually! My daughter has turned into an awesome young lady with very little anxieties. Her confidence has risen to great heights and she has nothing to worry about. She can be herself. She can be a kid again. So by experience, having a parent that only chose to be a part-time parent and eventually leave the picture completely…seems to have benefited my child. However, is it my responsibility to continue to try and make my daughter’s mother a part of her life when it is evident she doesn’t want to be a part of it?
This is the bothersome question I often ask myself as a full-time single parent. Am I doing the right thing?
In my opinion, a part time parent that doesn’t put their children first, is doing more damage than good. Our court systems are designed to keep a family unit together. However, if there is no ‘family unit’, than it is a lost cause and the decision to force a parent to be a parent legally isn’t helping the child/children in question at all.
I often times equate my ‘parental situation‘ to a business. It just seems to make sense this way, to me anyway. If I was a business owner and I had one employee that decided to only show up to work when it was convenient for them, would my business flourish with this employee, or fail? Ultimately, it would fail. That employee is not benefiting the business in any way. In fact, they are causing more harm than good. This is an ideal and simple way to look at parenting.
In the end, all decisions that are made by a parent or parents, must be made with the child or children at the forefront. There is no parenting guide book. All we can do is be the best parent to our kids that we possibly can. Not all choices may turn out to be the right ones, but if you have your children’s best interests at heart…that’s all that matters.
What do you think? Is it better for a child, or children to have a parent be completely absent from their life, or come and go as they please? Let us know in the comments wherever you are seeing this article!