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Happy Fathers Day

02 September 2012
It`s Fathers Day here today. One of the lead articles on the main news page of our local paper today is entitled "Dumped first wives take their revenge". It`s a story, by a woman, of how women are being ripped off by "cashed-up" ex-husbands and how they are getting dirty, both in and out of court, to get their share. A great choice for Fathers Day.

In three different relationships I have had children living with me who are from their mothers prior marriage. In all cases the childrens biological fathers showed no interest at all in their own children. They didn`t have them every other weekend, or half the school holidays, or any other time. They didn`t come to see them, ask to see them, and if offered, they did everything they could to avoid having them. They didn`t ask how their education was going, how their health was or what they did with their spare time. They didn`t take time to see them on their birthdays, or Christmas, and worst of all even on Christmas Day. They didn`t buy them birthday presents or even send them a card. They didn`t pay their Mothers any maintenance towards their children being looked after, or clothed, or fed, or having a roof over their heads, yet the mothers would see the fathers having money to buy themselves plenty of expensive toys, electronics, holidays, flash cars, or on children in their `new families`. It was as though after their marriage had failed they wanted their children to have never existed and now just go away. They did have those children, they were here, and Worse still clearly had no empathy for how that makes those children feel about the lack of love they felt from their Dad.

It pained me on Fathers Day to see children, and I mean teenagers who have a brain, wanting to thank their Dad for being their Dad, but couldn`t because they knew he wasn`t ever there for them, and didn`t show any love for them.

So three times, in addition to my own biological child, I looked after and loved these children as I would my own. With their mother, we loved them and created a family environment to grow up in. I went to work to earn the money to pay to support the whole family. To put a roof over these childrens heads, to buy them clothes, to feed them, to pay for their education. I went to their parent teacher nights, made sure they did their school work before play, took them out to dinner, to sports matches and concerts, took them on holidays they would otherwise have never had, sat for hours in hospitals with them when they were injured or sick and talked to them about life and growing up to help them grow and understand the world better. Sometimes also being a good parent wasn`t all about being nice and required saying `no` to things, or disciplining them for being out of line. But it was all in the best interests of helping them to grow up to become the best person they can.

Lets take it to the extreme. If you were adopted from birth, never knew your genetic parents and were raised by your adopted parents, who do you think you should be saying `thanks for looking after me for the past year` to on Mothers Day or Fathers Day? Or any day for that matter?

Did I get any thanks for it? Well, usually a big fat `yes` from the childs mother. There I got heaps because they really cared about their childrens upbringing, the responsibility they had to raise them and just how hard that was to do alone. They understood just how much you had to give up and how much harder that became when the father walked away and washed his hands of them all, leaving the mother to struggle to bring their children up on her own.

Were there any thanks from the father(s)? No. Not even a `thanks for taking that pressure off me. I appreciate what you are doing for my kids`. In fact, my experiences are they just got defensive and outright aggressive. Personally, I think it`s often either because their ego still made them feel like they still `owned` the mother in some way and some other guy on the scene undermined their power, or their ego just wanted to see she couldn`t get by without him, or a combination of both.

Were there any thanks from the children? Normally, I found not. Except in my marriage to Claire. I found in the past, when I loved them, created a family environment to grow up in, paid for their living, cared about their health, education, took them on holidays, worried about them and many other things, when my relationship finished with their mothers, there wasn`t even a `thanks for all you did for me/us`. When a breakup occurs genetics always blindly took over, and no matter how much you did for them, you`re persona non-grata and you never hear from them again.

Actions speak louder than words. It would be nice if more credit was given to those fathers who are actually there and put the effort in for their kids, regardless of genetics, rather than focussing on nasty vengeful "Dumped first wives" stories.

Oh, and, a special Happy Fathers Day to all the guys out there who look after children that they aren`t the biological father to.


Mark and Claire xx