*this was originally titled Fathers Day in Indian Country. a much more modified and edited version, it’s message is still the same minus all my hang ups. i started this like 4 or 5 years ago. i switched it up because i remember a lot of things my dad taught me and i realize, daddy didn’t raise no fool. he warned me of men and did his best to protect me as long as he could.
reading through social media and hearing the buzz of people thanking and honoring their dads has been cool. it’s beautiful to read through children acknowledging the male role models in their lives too. i couldn’t help but also notice those who acknowledged the fathers who were absent.
this blog thoughts out loud is about my understanding of parenting and how my experience as a single mom, married, divorced, and what i grew up hearing/seeing. my views today regarding dead beat dads vs. men who choose to live active, healthy, present, and responsible roles in their child(rens) lives is based on my dad.
the man who also taught me how to be a woman.
before i go any further, it’s important to share that i don’t believe the narrative for every individual is similar or the same when it comes to parenting.
in fact, it will be different. it’s meant to be different and unique. parallel experiences may bond people together, but they also create unique experiences that are meant to offer insight and experience where none may exist.
as a single mom, i am divorced. i was also involved in a relationship that did not work out. as a result i have three beautiful children. what has become of the relationships, although failed, took me years to resolve within myself. i have been healing those pains and went alllllllllllllllll the way back to my childhood for this post.
some of you know a little bit about my story and some of you don’t. i’ll end the speculation soon enough, but let me just say this, my dad is my dad. he was there for me when my own father was a rolling stone. and yes, Pops wore that hat proudly. my mom, a beautiful #Diné girl fresh off the train landed in LA during Relocation and began her life and journey in #LA as a virgin. much later, i learned she gave him power and like any other power hungry ego maniac, he took it when it wasn’t his to take. some people might say she let him, that it was consensual, or that she wanted it too. well, with the #MeToo movement and #MMIW explaining more on this serious subject, maybe then y’all well understand my mama.
but i digress.
now, as my dad taught me, the responsibility to be a parent is one that is for life. my life also did not belong to me. as a mother, i find myself in a protective mode when it comes to my loves. not only their livelihood. but their hearts, minds, and souls. and not to negate or deny that there were any bad times, on the contrilly ma’frilly.
there were days i wanted to swing my Louisville bat or the machete upside a ninjas head. trust, my anger has reached that level and i believed their biological other was a selfish fool. today, i think much differently. i own up to the bs relationships and dysfunctions i co-signed to as well. i was no angel and in fact, i have been the devils daughter many a time, remember, my Pops was a rolling stone. his blood is my blood and i bleed heart and soul.
back to the biological others, i love and respect these men today. we have a mutual love and respect and our relationship has evolved because we had to. being stupid, simple, and dumb with pride was not the business. we have all moved on. imagine that, grown ash adults finally got their shit together.
trust me ladies, i’ve been through family court and sought individual family counseling. i’ve also had extended family members talk me away from the ledge of self destruction. it reminds of what it means to come from an Indigenous family. we have large extended families and divorce is never just a simple gtfo of here kinda of thing for Native families.
given how extended families are, often times, we are closer to our siblings than our own parents and our siblings, thats another story. all this to say, i’ve had my fair share of support. over the years, i learned parenting does not begin at 9 am nor does it end at 5 pm. as most parents know it is a responsibility 24/7, 365 days of the year.
as i have also come to learn, parenting is not one parent’s sole responsibility either. you see my dad was a single dad for 13 years of my life. it was me and him against the world.
paraphrasing one of my favorite comedians, Chris Rock once stated, “just because you can do it, don’t mean it’s supposed to be done that way” in reference to single parents who arrogantly state they can do it on their own and don’t need the biological other comes through. its true, yes, you may as a parent not need the biological other, but your baby or babies do. there comes a time when we have to look within to see, is it just me or them? they eventually come around, creator does that to some people. others, no. but that’s another story.
right now, i’ll be the first to admit, i can not do this alone and have shared the responsibility with my kids’ biological other based on this reality. regardless of a relationship that didn’t work out, our responsibility is to the kids first and foremost, come what may.
as challenging as it has been, one humbling fact remains, kids need their fathers. sure child support was secured however, the kids don’t care so much about the money, they care about things like going to skate parks to hang out or just plain kicking it. don’t get it twisted either, that financial (child) support helps to pay for those things too. living expenses. capitalism. need i say more?
today, i sure do appreciate when the child support payments are made. it does indeed make life manageable when the bills are due. however, one thing i’m also very aware of is that child support does NOT replace the valuable time spent with kids.
It’s ALL about PRESENCE not PRESENTS.
as we’ve worked through family court, establishing child support and visitations was a bit tedious. in the end, it all worked out. if anything i would be remiss if i didn’t share with young mothers out there that family court actually might be necessary. so don’t dismiss it or let the men off. hold them accountable.
today, i don’t understand why women don’t do this more often? to the women out there who say they don’t need a man or don’t need the kids biological other, they actually do need their father. maybe you don’t, but your kid(s) do. unless the individual man is an alcoholic, domestically violent, mentally unstable, incarcerated, child abuser… then that’s another story that demands both you and the child(ren) safety.
what’s important is for children to have relationships with their biological other. if need be, establish visitation through the courts and create a parenting plan with supervised visitation. hold the fathers or mothers accountable. trust, someday they’ll respect themselves for it.
i’ve heard too many women let a man off the hook by not seeking child support. pride and ego prevent this from happening. trust, as a child of parents who fought to keep me from each other, the tug at my heart and confusion sucked. i love each of my parents and learned to love my mom even more.
one of the things i find most annoying about single parenting is when i hear fathers brag about paying their child support. Mofo, thats what you’re SUPPOSED to do. shut the front door with that already. parenting is about spending time with your kid(s) and if you have issues with the mother, work on that because kids learn real quick from that too.
boys learn how to (mis)treat a woman, and girls, well, we learn how to be (mis)treated by men too. the most painful thing to do to a child is prevent a kid from seeing their biological other. or lying to them about who their father is, yeah that’s just going to hurt a child later on. through this learning experience i’ve come to find that women who say they don’t need a man are lying to themselves or have been lied to by some other female(s).
in closing, it’s so important to raise healthy children who view their biological other respectfully. granted not all situations will allow that. mothers in relationships need to choose wisely who they’re going to have children with. because eventually, those children will learn the biological other behaviors too. now i am crossing a line here and it may be that i’m touching on a sensitive subject, however, i can share based on my experience that those within my immediate family circle know it’s taken years for me to get to this place.
it doesn’t just happen, but we have arrived.
took long enough and the (inner) peace i have created in my life began from within.
forgiving myself for looking the other way when i should have put my foot down. forgiving myself for not being patient with myself.
forgiveness in the end is a dope place where love emerges and the past dissipates into the never world. in closing here… Blackberry Molasses comes in strong.
with that, i’ll enclose, more drafts to work through. purging my drafts and keeping the creative flow going. articles and book chapters to publish and blogging is still here to help.
peace and all that