I have to admit, it was tough writing this month’s blog because…well, I’m selfish. Over the course of the past six years since I have been divorced and my girls have lived in two homes, I have truly focused on me and my house without any real regard for my first husband’s home or his life, really. At first things were very rocky. Communication between he and I was matter-of-fact. All business. I avoided anything personal. Things were so raw. I had to be strong. Maintain a job and be the best mom I could be, and take on the responsibilities of two adults at my house. It had been years since I had mowed a lawn. I had never weed-eated grass. I didn’t have the first idea of how to manage a house. What happens when the toilet overflows? Or the garbage disposal gets clogged? I had no choice but to “fake it till I make it”. And somehow, I did. But even thinking about those times honestly gives me a lump in my throat, as I never want to go back.
My first husband has made his home into a loving one for our girls. While he is who he is and really has not changed his stance on a lot of things, I always feel like my girls are safe at his house. And of all the things I suppose a parent may worry about in a shared custody situation, I imagine fearing for your child’s safety while they aren’t with you would have to be one of the worst. So, for the stability he provides at his home, I am grateful. At first, after we divorced, his mom moved in with him. She served as a motherly figure for the girls. Eventually, he got married to a wonderful woman who has two girls of her own. They have a new home and are all settled in. While he and I still maintain matter-of-fact communication, I feel like we are honest with one another and take care of the girls when they are in our care. Don’t get me wrong, we still disagree on things occasionally, but that is to be expected with anyone. The bottom line is, he is my daughters’ father. And they need him, regardless of what my relationship is with him.
Fathers are oh so important for their children. As mothers and stepmothers, we have to put our feelings aside and do our best to foster the connection our kids have with their dad and/or stepdad.
- Fathers and stepfathers often serve as role models, caregivers, supporters, disciplinarians, and protectors of children’s hearts. I can typically count on the girls’ dad to emphasize the importance of studying and finishing their homework, especially when they don’t particularly want to cooperate with me.
- Fathers prepare their children for the real world. He reminds them that life is not fair, and it never will be.
- Dads interact with their children differently than moms, which potentially provides a contrasting perspective for kids to navigate. The girls’ dad definitely interacts differently with them than I do. I am a hugger, storyteller, story listener and silly-face-maker. He is a fist-bumping, very little chit-chat, serious, get-to-the-point enforcer.
- Fathers build confidence in their children and might challenge them to try things they never thought they could. He challenges them to finish their reading assignments by a certain date and try to perform a skill they may have not yet done.
- Fathers sacrifice for their kids, whether it be with time, work, or service. And children need their fathers. Just like we all need our Heavenly father, who sacrificed His son for us.
Thank you to all the fathers and stepfathers out there who teach their children how they should behave, those who provide for their families, and those who spend time with their kids. While none of us are perfect, I thank you for do your best to live out the things you preach and for praying for your children.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
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