Single Mums vs Deadbeat Dads

5 January 2020

Bing a single parent is hard and it's not just because of the responsibility of being the sole carer and provider for another human, it's the constant battle with the other adult who legally has equal responsibility for the child to step up and be someone who a mother isn't ashamed to say she had a baby with and this battle is most exhausting and stressful of it all.



It baffles me that we live in a society where fathers are given equal rights to their children yet in the same instance, they're allowed to walk away and dip in and out of their children's lives as they please whilst ranting about their rights and of course, as with everything else, it's the mother's responsibility to pursue them and force the law to make them step-up financially, emotionally and physically and often still to no avail. It is common that when relationships breakdown, fathers are the ones who tend to leave and mothers get the lion's share of the work - the daily care, the nappies, the nursery run, the baths, the food shops, appointment planning,  staying awake all night to comfort kids... list goes on and we do it all, we do it because we have to and because our maternal instincts don't allow us to even consider life to be any different. From the moment we fall pregnant for the rest of our lives all we know is to keep this little life safe and love it, it's our default programme but we're not considered excellent Mums, involved Mums or even good Mums, as far as society is concerned we're doing exactly what we should be. 

So, why are 'active' fathers who rock up once a week for trips to the cinema and a takeaway considered good when, as nice as it it is, the reality is that they're still doing the bare minimum in comparison to the mothers. More frustratingly, most mums hide the fact that some dads are deadbeat and don't see their children for weeks on end, if at all. We reluctantly ask the CMS to help us get money because we can be perceived as desperate and somehow, in some twisted way, we're actually afraid to call out shitty behaviour from dads for fear of backlash from their family and friends and having your child 'turned against us'. The fact of the matter is, a man can post as many photos of him and his kid on Instagram using #fatherandson but if he hasn't made any effort to see his kid for  10 weeks then he relinquishes his right to demand time as and when he pleases. Mums can't live in fear of calling a shit dad a shit dad when his behaviour is nothing but shitty and rather than defend deadbeat dickheads, family and friends need to call it when they see it and help them become better people rather than condone their arsehole behavour to the further detriment of their kids and the relationship between parents.

A mother's love is rarely questionable, it's continually demonstrated in our actions - everything I do or want to do has to be considered with Fred in mind. There isn't a single thing that can be done without it having a consequence on Fred's life - to put it into perspective, if I don't have a shower or bath on a Friday night then I need to have one during the day on a saturday, this has to be scheduled around his nap, if he doesn't nap then I can't wash until the evening when he's in bed. I can't afford to forget to buy any necessities from the shop, once he's in bed we're both in for the night and if we're out of something then we're out of it for the night. I can't have a few drinks when Fred is in my care, god forbid he needs me later in the night and I'm three-sheets-to-the-wind the same applies to an extent when he staying with his grandparent, looking after a toddler with a hangover is utter hell - there aren't any wild nights out or in for me and I wouldn't change it for the world, these just some of the sacrifices mums make for their children without question. Meanwhile, fathers can be living it large like they're in their early 20's - I don't begrudge that but why is it not ok to question a father's love for his child when he prioritises pretending he's in his early 20's over seeing his child?

I never intended to be a single mum, I wanted the cliche 2 parent to 2 kids kid and after everything we went through to have Fred I didn't imagine it would be so easy for one of us to walk away and stay away. However, my strength, sheer determination confidence in my ability to be a mum means that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am more than enough for my child and I can and am doing it with ease. However, I refuse to allow fathers who choose to consider barely weekly facetime calls and hashtags on instagram be put on pedestals and labelled active, involved and hands on. I won't beg for anyone who doesn't want to make the effort to be in my child's life and I won't gracefully ignore shitty behaviour for sake of keeping things amicable. My child will grow up knowing Mum had her shit together, I won't make excuses for someone else and I won't allow anyone to feel that they can walk in and out of his life as they please because when you don't see you child your child for 10 weeks you relinquish your right to dictate when and how you see them and mothers who are left to take on full responsibilities should be allowed to take control of the situation without judgement.


Here's to all the single mums smashing it alone. 

3 comments

  1. Well written Issy. You're probably one of the strongest and most honest people I follow and while I've zero idea about how it is to be a single parent, I totally agree with what you've said. Surely, it's not good for any child if a parent breezes in and out of their life as they please.

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  2. This, this and more this! You've hit the nail on the head and you should be very proud of yourself 💖

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  3. I'm not even a mum but I still nodded at every bit of this. I don't need to be a mum to tell you that one day Freddie will realise all this, though, and he will have so much pride and respect for the woman who played mum AND dad

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