I won’t put this behind the paywall because I want as many people to read this as possible, especially single mothers who narcissistically believe they are the only parent their child needs…
I don’t know if what I’m about to describe is uncommon, or maybe even entirely unique to my daughter, but whichever the case, it’s true.
There have been two instances in which my daughter, who is only two years old, panicked but then quickly calmed down after seeing how I reacted to the situation. There are many more examples, but the rest are more minor.
The first time was a few months ago. It was the middle of the night, when the fire alarm for my building sounded. My daughter started screaming. Before I checked if I had done anything to set off the alarm, I went straight to my daughter and picked her up. Once she was in my arms, she calmed down completely. She wasn’t afraid any longer, or even worked up. I noticed this right in the moment, and took a split-second to look at her. There was no fear on her face.
Additionally, after checking everything and seeing nothing wrong, I grabbed a blanket, then held her head against my chest to cover up one ear, covered her other ear with my hand, and headed for my car. Everyone else in the building was walking out. I was rather under-dressed because all I thought to do was put a blanket around my daughter. The entire time we were outside, with the alarm still blaring, my daughter seemed not to care at all. She wasn’t worried, she wasn’t complaining; nothing.
My daughter’s reaction (or should I say lack thereof) wasn’t just about being afraid. Like I just said, she wasn’t whining either. She wasn’t confused. She was very relaxed while all of this was happening. And she wasn’t at first. Not until Daddy held her.
The second instance happened the day I’m posting this, America’s Independence Day. It was sometime in the afternoon, long before it got dark, and someone set off a particularly loud firework. That caught both me and my daughter by surprise, and she somewhat panicked. Right after the firework banged, she whimpered and ran over to me with her arms raised, which is how infants and toddlers ask someone to hold them (for the non-parents out there). Then, as soon as I picked her up, she was fine. Of course, that would be expected, since a firework only lasts a fraction of a second. But my daughter didn’t react to the loud bang that followed, or any firework after that.
I remember being easily startled by fireworks until I was about 9 years old, particularly from the ones that do nothing but produce sonicbooms (like they were meant to startle people). My daughter doesn’t even know what fireworks are, what they’re for, how they work, nothing. And she still realized that If Daddy’s not afraid, I don’t need to be.
In both of these instances, she saw that Daddy wasn’t worried. Daddy was calm, and most importantly, he was right there to protect her.
The more minor instances like these include being around strangers and clinging to me for just a moment. Things like that.
These are real time, visible benefits of my presence. I’m only pointing this out because my daughter’s mother actively tried to minimize my presence in our daughter’s life. She took it all the way to court when less than 10% of divorce cases involving children go to court. Our judge openly, yet softly, expressed how disgusted she was at my ex-wife for trying to deprive our daughter of her father and not even being subtle about it. “It doesn’t matter how much time she has with him,” is one thing my ex said. Yes, she actually said that. And she wonders why my opinion of her is so damn low now.
Kids need both parents. For all you selfish mothers out there, both parents includes fathers. Fathers are not meant to be visitors, or hang out buddies. Fathers are not meant to be present only every other Saturday and Sunday. Fathers are especially not meant to be nothing more than someone that you can suck money from like a fucking parasite. Fathers need to raise their kids just as much as mothers do. The presence of a father does things that a mother’s presence just cannot do. It’s biology, it’s nature. Mothers just plain aren’t the figures of strength kids look for and NEED from a father.
The strength kids need goes beyond feeling safe. When kids see their father persevering and never giving up, they equate that with strength. When they see their father being generous, they equate that with strength. When they see their father being kind, or even being funny, they equate those with strength as well. When kids have to grow up without their father, or their father wasn’t around nearly as often as he should have been, kids ultimately define strength in their own way and they bring that into adulthood. That’s why most prisoners, male and female, grew up without their fathers. I’d bet the rest had shitty fathers. Point is, the role of a father is absolutely important. Mothers are never enough.