June 12, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
You don’t even need a calendar. Just a little sensitivity developed over the years and you can feel Father’s Day coming. The way you can do that is to simply monitor the articles in the mainstream press, and, as the day approaches on which we supposedly honor fathers, the articles become more and more denigrating of them. Here’s one by Gideon Burrows (Huffington Post, UK, 6/11/13).
It could have been written any year in the past four decades or so around this time. The twits and scoundrels crawl out of the woodwork to inform fathers just how awful they are, how self-centered, how childish, how brutal, how lazy. Given that it’s Father’s Day you’d think the dad-haters might take a break and look at it as a nationally-recognized holiday for their misandric selves. People like Burrows could take the day off and get back to full-time dad-trashing on Monday. Or, if they’re workaholics and can’t resist showing off their ignorance and bias even for a day, maybe they could pick another target. How about AIDS victims in Africa? I’m sure they’ve done something to deserve their lousy fate. I’m mean, if you’re going to kick a guy when he’s down, why stop at fathers?
Burrows doesn’t tell us. Indeed, the only two things he effectively communicates are his profound ignorance of his subject and his disgraceful antipathy for men with children. He really gets the run-up to Father’s Day off with a bang.
It seems Burrows was writing a book on shared parenting (sounds like one to avoid) and so he did a Google search of that term. Now, do I need to point out to Burrows, that if you’re going to write a book-length piece on shared parenting and you know so little about it that you start with Google, maybe you ought to try a different topic? I mean, there is a LOT of information on shared parenting from a lot of different perspectives accumulated over decades. If you’re starting with Google, you’re truly at Square One and in for a couple of years of reading, maybe more.
But apparently Burrows’ Google skills aren’t great. Out of all the information on shared parenting, with all the organizations in existence promoting the concept, Burrows found “very little.” Hmm. If he found “very little,” I wonder how he wrote a book on the subject, but his article for HuffPo UK may give us some ideas.
That’s because his article is long on anecdote and anti-male bias and short on… well, anything else. My guess is he’s got enough of both to fill at least a short book.
Since it’s so easy to type in a search term and get information using Google, Burrows managed the feat and came up with several organizations in the UK and elsewhere that campaign for shared parenting.
Whatever the pros and cons of these organizations, their agenda, or their tactics, many of them couch their work in the language of shared and equal parenting.
But really they are about fathers' rights to see their children after relationship breakdown, not "equal parenting" in the sense of a child's right to a father who does his fair share of the parenting.
That’s right Mr. Burrows. Fathers’ Rights organizations campaign on behalf of fathers so their kids can see them now and again after Mom has split the couple up. You see, it’s hard to be an equal parent when you only see your child four nights out of the month. Somehow Burrows doesn’t grasp that.
But then he gets down to his main complaint about fathers – they don’t do their “fair share” of parenting, so, presumably, they should just shut up about all this claptrap about rights.
On the issue of men taking their share of the toddler and babycare: on the hard slog of the changing, and feeding, and burping, and cleaning up vomit; on the doing of daycare, the nursery run, the sick days and the doctor's appointments; on attending children's parties, shopping, washing and ironing for their children, and every other aspect of childcare that an equal father would participate in, most of these usually vociferous voices on parental equality fall strangely silent.
No, Mr. Burrows, actually we don’t. If you’d like to take a peek at what many of us write day in and day out, you’d know that we fight constantly for fathers who do exactly that and still are emotionally and financially destroyed by family courts who issue custody orders based on what’s between your legs, not what’s in your heart.
If you’d actually been interested, you’d have found my several posts about Scott Ritchie, for example, who did 100% of the “hard slog of the changing and feeding, etc.” of his son. He did that for the first six years of the boy’s life, but when his wife - who contributed income to the family, but not hands-on parenting - filed for divorce, he was kicked to the curb. What Scott got for his “hard slog” was to be a visitor in his son’s life, but that’s if he’s lucky. The judge also allowed his ex to move, pursuing employment anywhere she liked, any time she liked. When last we saw him, Scott was following his wife to Seattle from Omaha and before that from Michigan, just to be near his son.
See? That’s one of the many reasons fathers are loathe to do more of the only kind of parenting Burrows recognizes as valid; when they do, they’re just as likely to get slapped by family courts that daily demonstrate the same anti-father bias Burrows does.
And while we’re talking about “hard slogs,” Burrows of course only notices one kind – the kind that mothers do. When Dad gets up at 5 AM to catch the commuter train to get to work by 7, Burrows is nowhere to be seen. Just the other day, I noticed a group of men pouring asphalt on a roadway. This is central Texas and it’s summer; the temperature was in the mid-90s, the tar was steaming hot and there wasn’t a square inch of shade in sight. Hard slog? Tell those guys about the slavery of “attending children’s parties, shopping, washing and ironing…”
It’s true that fathers do less hands-on parenting than do mothers, but so what? Burrows sits in awe of mothers diapering children, but utterly disrespects fathers for earning the money to buy the diapers. In his world, putting a roof over little Andy or Jennie’s head, food on the table, clothes on their backs, sending them to school, paying the doctor, etc. isn’t being a good parent. Burrows missed the memo that explained that all those things are necessary for child well-being and that they’re mostly provided by fathers’ earnings.
He also missed the memo that explained that children really don’t care if Dad bathes them 50% of the time or 25% of the time. They identify their father within the first weeks of life, and from there on, he’s one of the two important adults in their life. When Mom decides to divorce and the courts endorse her wish for Andy or Jennie to have as little contact with him as possible, the kids suffer terribly. There are almost literally countless studies on that if Burrows had really been interested.
And, if Burrows had managed to do any research at all, he’d have learned that’s what equal parenting and equal parenting organizations are all about – kids. Those organizations aren’t about equal parenting because they like the sound of the words; they’re about equal parenting because children need both their parents, before and after divorce. It’s a concept that hasn’t yet sunk in on lawmakers, courts or the numerous know-nothing opiners the mainstream media see fit to inflict on their helpless readers.
So it’s no surprise that Burrows’ piece on fathers and children never gets around to saying word one about what contributes to children’s welfare. I guess Google didn’t have much on that either. Or maybe the little matter of what’s best for kids turns out to be a truth that’s inconvenient to Burrows Fathers Day message of paternal insufficiency. Here’s the simple fact: it really doesn’t matter who earns 60% of the income or does 35% of the story-reading. What matters is that children don’t lose a parent when they decide to divorce. That’s what “Fathers’ Rights” advocates have been shouting to the wind for decades now.
It seems some people just don’t want to hear.
The National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
The National Parents Organization is a non-profit organization that is educating the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents and extended families. If you would like to get involved in our organization, you can do so several ways. First, we would love to have you as an official member of the National Parents Organization team. Second, the National Parents Organization is an organization that believes in the importance of using social media as a means to spread the word about shared parenting and other topics, and you can visit us on our Facebook Page to learn more about our efforts. Last, we hope you will share this article with other families using the many social networking sites so that we can bring about greater awareness of shared parenting. Thank you for your support.