As a single mother, you make countless sacrifices. I can’t remember the last time I went out on a date, got a manicure—let alone a massage—drank more than one alcoholic beverage or took a vacation that didn’t involve staying at a kiddie themed resort. I do recall bouncing checks, draining snot and getting peed on in a new outfit.
One sacrifice really hit hard. It decreased the time I spent with my daughter. Recently, I suggested that my daughter’s father and I create a more equitable visitation plan. That meant, I would have to give up something (my time) to get something in return (a solid father-daughter bond for my child). I always wanted her dad to have a presence in her life don’t get me wrong. But when both sides focus on past relationship problems, broken promises, and the need to be right, those things blur the bigger picture—what matters most, your child. My daughter’s father and I may never be on the same page, or even in the same book for that matter. We may never be friends or even like each other again. But one day, we will realize that each of us bring something so essential to our daughter’s life. Although we didn’t make countless sacrifices for each other as significant others, maybe we can do so in our new capacity as co-parents.
I wrote this intro after interviewing divorced dad Henry Brown. His words helped me see things from a different perspective. I think both Baby C’s father and I can learn a lot from this article. I’ve learned that you can’t change others. But fortunately, you can change yourself. I’m proud to share a story that’s often untold—one of a Black man raising a daughter and not complaining about child support but rather celebrating their bond.
What is the hardest part about being a divorced dad? What is the best?
The hardest part about being a divorced dad is no longer having someone to share the responsibility with each day. So, if you don’t have routine in place, you can easily get overwhelmed. For instance, after I pick my daughter, Kennedi, up from before and afterschool care, I help her with her homework, get dinner started, throw some clothes in the washing machine, eat dinner and get her ready for bed. In between, I do housework and get in some daddy daughter time. Once Kennedi’s tucked into bed, I have to get ready for the next day and do some things around the house. There are a lot of late nights, but if I didn’t have a schedule, I would be a mess.
I’ve been raising Kennedi since she was born, so being a divorced dad didn’t change much at home, other than hiring a babysitter when I wanted to go to the gym. I didn’t mean to sound cruel, but it’s the only way I could state it.
The best thing about being a father is watching a beautiful child grow, change, learn and love unconditionally…
Read more: Black and Married with Kids