Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
There’s nothing wrong with single fathers, we are the ones who stepped up to our responsibilities. We aren’t lazy or lame, we are the ones who keep our words, do our jobs, and rarely complain. We put others needs before us, whether our children or significant others, we get used to having our needs unmet. We provide as best we can, work hard to do so, and challenge ourselves to get better at all of these things.
For this, we get less parenting rights unless we fight in court, less flexibility at our jobs when we need time for our children, less interest in the dating scene because many women don’t want to deal with the responsibility of another woman's “baggage”. We struggle to be understood, to be given the benefit of the doubt when we have to cancel plans. Single fathers are told they are babysitting when we are out with our kids, because somehow our parenting acumen is less because we are men.
Dating is particularly acrimonious, to find a woman who understands that my time is divided between here and another tiny woman is comparable to pulling King Arthur's sword from the stone it lay embedded in. They don’t seem to understand that we no longer can pick up and hop around the world like we used to, or are just exhausted from the daily struggle of work and kids. Now its not beyond my grasp that single mothers deal in the same struggle as we do. However, in 2019 the pendulum of respect and understanding seems to have swung very far in the other direction from single dads out there.
Sacrifices are a daily thing, whether I am brown bagging my lunch so she can eat hot, giving up a Saturday evening at home to catch up with my daughter, or walking until holes are in my shoes so she can stay in nice clothes. What we give up to be parents can’t always be quantified or cataloged, to be a good parent requires giving up part of yourself, who you were, and maybe who you wanted to be.
Mine required an entire life to be evolved, for me to grow as a man and as a father to be able to accept the responsibility of what I had been given. From lifestyle changes to career it was a complete tear down and rebuild, in year 5 of her short life its only finally starting to bear fruit.
I wouldn’t give it up for the world though, from all the years spent as a hoodlum and running a vast criminal enterprise, starting the day she was born I was purified. I had someone on this earth that just wanted my company, that didn’t expect or want anything more then just me. To a man like me, that was everything, someone on this earth didn’t think I was an as*hole. That is what keeps my motor running, keeps me motivated, and keeps me strong. It makes all the sleepless nights, failed relationships, struggle and public judgments.
One day soon I hope single fathers will garner the respect that single mothers are only now starting to earn from society. We aren’t weak, we aren’t lost or caught up in anything other then trying to make sure our children grow up to be decent human beings and to break away from whatever situations and hardships we had to endure, that is the objective of almost every parent. To give their kids a better path.
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