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I remember a time when people put an effort into their marriage and commitments to one another. Divorce was unheard of many years ago. People weren’t quick to marry and just as quickly to divorce the minute a struggle presented itself to a married couple. Even more so, today many couples, married or not, have a child.

I am the last person to suggest that couples should stay together and be miserable simply for the fact that there are children involved, but I was recently having a discussion with a woman I had met at an event. While we chatted over wine, I had mentioned I had done some work helping fathers seek equal rights when it came to parenting. She seemed shocked and a little appalled. She actually asked if this was true. Were more fathers actually fighting for equal rights?  For the first time in a long time, I was speechless. It made me think, since when did it become ok to treat fathers like sperm donors and paychecks, and not ok to help them fight for equal rights? Since when was it ok to have a mother dictate the amount of time a father gets with their child?  When did it become difficult for a father to fight for fathers' rights?  Then the ultimate question came to my head; since when did a father have to fight for those rights in the first place?  Why isn’t he given those same rights from the birth of the child just like a mother is given?Photo: ancpr.com

I have been on both sides of children involved in the court system. I have seen the ugly and the good. My husband, for example, is a dedicated father to two children who loves and supports the both of them. He had to jump through rings of fire and back in order to get joint custody and a fair child support arrangement. His story is similar to many fathers out there: fighting for a right to be in the children’s lives and not getting the equal chance.  

I too am a mother, and I understand the bond that mothers share by carrying that child for nine months and the pain and agony of delivering that same child. I have heard many mothers speak about the bond they share with the child by being able to be pregnant and how fathers don’t go through what they go through in order to bring a child into this world. Here is a reality check ladies: it’s not their choice that they do not get to carry and deliver. It was life’s decision for females to have the strength and design for child creating and birthing. Why make such statements as if the man chooses for us to have the children? Did we forget it is physically impossible for them to do so?  Why hold it against them? Seems kind of silly to me and a poor argument. Let’s also not forget the fact that without fathers, there would be no children.  Remember that saying it takes two to tango? A father has just an equal right to a child as the mother.  

I’m sure many woman are gritting their teeth in anger or disbelief with the last sentence. If you are, ask yourself this question. Are you holding resentment towards your child’s father?  Maybe he was the one who ended the relationship? Maybe he was not a good husband or life partner? Did you ever think that he may not have been the best in the relationship department, but maybe he is an A-plus of a father?  Stop using your resentment to punish him. How does that affect the child? By using resentment and by keeping a good father away from their child, you are not protecting that child, you are hurting them.    

Our society needs to realize that fathers are not just every other weekend babysitters and paychecks. They are influential and essential to the upbringing of children. Yes, unfortunately you have those fathers who do not express an interest in sharing the responsibilities of raising a child, but must all fathers be punished for so few? If that’s the case then all single mothers must be deemed as drama-filled, money hungry individuals.

That moment that you decided to give life to a human being, you made a pact with life to put your needs aside and do what was in the best interest of this life. You agreed to mold and grow this new life with every best interest in mind. This did not mean to exclude the other half that contributed to the coming of this life. Fathers are fifty percent contributors making them equal to women in the making of this life. So we as women need to get off our high horse and come back down to reality. Give the fathers the rights they deserve and stop holding up the court system with the constant need to take a father for every penny he has.  

To those fathers who are fighting the battle every day to have a relationship they deserved from the very beginning, I stand before you, as a mother and wife and a woman and I applaud you for your dedication and commitment in being a father. There was a time where women did not have equal rights and it was through our own perseverance and dedication that we finally received the rights we tirelessly fought for. You too will get the rights you unfortunately have to fight for.  A right that, by Mother Nature, you shouldn’t have to fight for. That little being you fight for will one day realize and appreciate the fight.  

Ladies, how about we put down the shields and swords and sign the peace treaty for every father. It’s bound to happen and you can either be a positive contributing factor to this movement or a negative factor fueling the fire. It is your choice. Many questions are asked in this article, and I hope those who are truly sitting and asking themselves the questions find the right answers.

Karen Stebbins is a mom of four and wife of a loving husband who shares her love of sports (or else she wouldnt have said yes). Karen is an experienced paralegal and freelance writer on a variety of topics. Sports is her passion and her love of the game is undeniable.

 

 

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Photo: ancpr.com