Working out a successful custody arrangement with the ex-wife may have tremendous challenges—don’t give up.
I want you to know you are not alone in your fight for equality. We both know that the system is heavily stacked against you before you have even begun your fight.
Court and the process is financially and emotionally draining, and unfortunately, gender bias is as fierce as it is real.
But don’t you dare give up.
Yes you father, who hasn’t heard from your children in three months, don’t give up.
Yes you father, who has never laid eyes on your newborn baby boy, don’t you give up.
Yes you father, who has been falsely accused of abuse, don’t you give up.
Yes, you father, who has been reduced to a 1 night one hour a week dad, don’t you give up,
Yes you father, who has your kids every other weekend, don’t you give up.
Yes you father, who can’t call your kids to say goodnight, don’t you give up. Yes you father, I’m talking to you, Don’t you dare give up.
Your children are counting on you to fight for them.
There is nothing more agonizing, than not being able to help the person you love. As women, we have fought bravely and boldly for equality in the home and in the workforce, and I am grateful for that. The Gay and Lesbian community have fought courageously for equality, in the home, and in the workforce. I am happy that we finally live in a world where people are free to marry whomever they choose.
As a father, on the other hand, there is the unmentionable lack of equality in parental rights. Society doesn’t speak about the gender bias for what it truly is “an inhumane injustice”. Society seems more interested in poking fun at fathers, in commercials or meme’s and deem it as funny when in fact it is harmful to bash fathers.
We are not the perfect parents, we don’t have the perfect children or the perfect family. We don’t believe in perfection, but we do believe in progress. We aim to raise our daughters in our home without racism, without sexism, without prejudice and without gender bias.
As a stepmom, and a biological mom of our confident little three-year-old daughter, I cannot imagine robbing her from her father’s loving safe arms. It is our job as parents to protect our children, and in doing so, we are a unit, parents must work together to ensure their children thrive, emotionally, and mentally so that they can become successful happy adults. As women, mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, aunts and girlfriends, we need to band together in helping to break the cycle of broken children, by supporting father’s parental rights.
Remember this—when you are raising your sons who may one day become fathers. Remember this—when you are raising your daughters who may one day become mothers. Children come from two parents, and sadly, society and the judicial system tends to treat fathers as second-class citizens when it comes to parental rights. Children need to live happily, conflict-free, with both parents actively involved in their lives, regardless of their parent’s indifferences as a result of divorce or separation.
Today my step-daughter is 14 years old, and over eight relentless years of legal and court proceedings and in working on a better, healthier relationship with her mother, we now have 50/50 custody.
We don’t blame her mother, nor do we hold any grudges or resent her. We don’t think about the past, we focus on the future. We have all suffered. There was a time when we didn’t think it was possible to be good friends with her mother, but today we are, and we are thankful for that.
Our experience with the judicial system was painful for us. My husband felt defeated many times in his attempt to gain more and more access to his daughter, but he never gave up, I never gave up, and together we became stronger and stronger never losing sight of our ultimate goal. To get through holidays or tough times when we were missing my husband’s daughter terribly, we did our best to be patient.
We had to remind ourselves we had no control over what happens in court, or what a judge decides. Our fate was left in the hands of the system. We had to remind ourselves that we had no control over the day to day decision making in raising her. We focused on the love we had/have for his daughter, and never stopped calling her to talk to her, or emailing her, and made sure any time we did have with her we were entirely present, and attentive with her. When it was our hour, our over night stay, or our weekend with her, we made her agenda our agenda. You make the most out every minute you have with them. You drop all your adult plans for them.
Children don’t care about material things, as cliché as it sounds, all they care about is spending quality time with you, knowing and feeling they are loved is more important than anything you could possibly buy them. All the matters is your pursuit of connection with them. We always showed up, even if that meant we may not get to see her or speak to her. We attended her skating lessons, swimming lessons, school events, volunteered in school activities, and cheered from the side lines at her team sports. Sometimes we only got a quick hug to say hello and goodbye. Or a wave and big smile as she hid in the third row at her Christmas concert.
We knew in our hearts, one day, she will learn the truth, that regardless of what happened between her mother and her father, her father always has loved her, always will love her, and will continue to love her.
I know easier said than done. But I lived it, by my husband’s side—nine long years of our lives, working towards more and more time with my husband’s daughter. In and out of stomach turning, nauseating stressful court. When we felt defeated, or that the fight was lost before we even begun, we reminded ourselves that we were doing the right thing by never giving up. Even if my husband’s daughter may never know the fight and journey we took to get where we are today. From every hour we have with her, to every one-night-a-week sleep over, to every other alternating weekend, to where we are today with 50/50 custody, took hours, days, weeks, months and nine years of never losing hope.
Time with our children is important. We know from countless studies that children grow up more confident, successful, secure, and independent with fathers who are actively involved in their children’s lives. However when you don’t have that luxury, it takes immense courage to muster up the devotion in your heart and soul, to keep on going and fighting that fight.
It must become your goal, your mission impossible, your light at the end of a very dark tunnel, and your driving force to survive.
One day in the near or distant future, your kids will find you, and they will learn the truth, and when they do, they will love their Daddy Warrior for staying in the battle and never raising the white flag of defeat.