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May 11, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This article came out shortly before Mothers’ Day (Heat Street, 5/6/16).  It trashes dads so badly, I thought it must be Fathers’ Day.  I figured I’d been asleep for six weeks or so.  But no, Karol Markowicz just got a head start on the rest of the pack that, as in years past, celebrates Fathers’ Day by making up all sorts of absurdities with which to denigrate fathers.

Markowicz has some unsolicited advice for dads.  Of course she does!  Her advice: do more.  Do more of what?  More to celebrate her and other mothers.  You see, whatever dads do on Mothers’ Day, according to Markowicz, isn’t enough.

Interestingly, that includes making sure the children don’t get to spend time with Mom on, you know, Mothers’ Day.

If you were planning to take the kids out in the morning so she could rest, take them out for the afternoon, too.

It says a lot about a mother for whom the best way to celebrate Mothers’ Day is to avoid her kids.  It says that, for Markowicz, doing the things mothers do is a headache and a chore.  She gives us the message more than once.  For one thing, her entire article can be boiled down to “I’m not appreciated and everyone needs to do more for me.”  That doesn’t sound like a person who likes what she’s doing.  It sounds like a person who’s got a resentment constantly simmering on the back burner. 

She refers to “all I do” as a mother and calls it an “extreme sacrifice.”  She claims her children’s father “gets to” remain the same man he was before he had children, but she had to change.  If he “gets to” do that, it must be something to be desired, like going on vacation.  So for Markowicz, being a parent must be little but a pain.  She details all the things she does for her kids, but never indicates that she enjoys any of it. 

But that’s just Markowicz being the self-centered, “woe is me” kind of person she comes across as in her article.  What about dads?

Think about the great dads you know. Easy, right? You probably could come up with some right away. The ones who stand out because they do drop-off at school or cheer at Little League games. The ones who give baths or read books. Now think of the great moms. Harder, right? It’s not because there are so few great moms it’s because, barring a few bad apples, most moms are pretty great. Most moms do drop-off AND cheer at the games AND give baths AND read books and do about a million other tiny things that dads get so congratulated for doing. The bar is set so high for moms that a “great dad” is a dad who is somewhat involved in their kid’s life, but a “great mom” would have to go far beyond that to get her accolades.

So, Ms. Markowicz, who are all these people “congratulating” fathers?  And who are the ones setting “the bar” so high for mothers?

It’s certainly not family courts.  You remember them.  They’re the ones that take the best dads on the planet and kick them out of their children’s lives when Mom decides she wants out of her marriage.  They’re the ones saddled with child support they can’t pay because of draconian laws aimed at setting support levels as high as possible.  They’re the ones who go to jail because they can’t pay sums that even the Office of Child Support Enforcement says are routinely set beyond what non-custodial parents can pay.  And of course they’re the ones depicted time and again in popular culture as uncaring about their kids and brutal to pretty much everyone.

I missed the “congratulations” in all that Ms. Markowicz; maybe you can point it out to me.

About that “bar” you claim to be set so high for mothers.  Again, would you like to show it to me?  I’ve been writing about this stuff for many years and I’ve never seen it.  What I have seen is mothers routinely given a pass for the most outrageous, destructive, abusive behavior imaginable.  Remember the New York Mother who loaded her four kids into her car and drove them all into the Hudson River, killing everyone except her 10-year-old son?  It took the news media three days to determine that it was actually the non-custodial father who was at fault.  How so?  He’d expressed a desire to see more of his children.

That’s how high the bar is set for mothers who almost invariably get custody regardless of their behavior or character.  Mothers commit twice the abuse and neglect of their children that fathers do, but who notices?  Not you, Ms. Markowicz and precious few others as well.  Family courts routinely give a pass to bad maternal behavior, behavior that would get a dad thrown out of his kid’s life for good.  Pop culture?  When was the last time you saw a loathsome mother on television or in the movies?  By contrast, bad dads are all but unavoidable.

About that last point, if you don’t believe me, read your own article.  It’s a fair example of the genre.

And what about what’s not in your article?  You’re so embroiled in self-pity and aggrandizement, that you seem to have overlooked something.

As a mom, I worry about so many things. What if my kids get sick? What if I get sick? Do I focus too much on my first-born daughter at the expense of my two younger sons? Do I spend enough time with all of them individually? Are they happy? Can my too-sweet daughter stand up for herself? Am I on the phone too much around them? When is picture day? When is our day to bring in snack? Who’s that mom waving at me? Oh she’s not waving at me, phew. Are they making friends? Are they kind? Are they challenged in school? Oh no, I’m wearing denim on denim! How did I leave the house like this? Is it because I only sleep two hours at a time? And so on.

As a dad, my husband worries that raising them in Brooklyn might lead to them becoming Nets fans instead of his preferred Knicks. The end.

Oh, I see.  That’s all your husband and the father of your children does for you, his kids and his family.  Really?  Here’s what I think, and what I’d put money on.  I think you’re a stay-at-home mom.  I think that if your husband doesn’t earn all the family’s money, he earns the lion’s share of it.  I think he’s the reason you can pay such close attention to your children that you “worry” about wearing “denim on denim.”  I think that his hard work at the office or the plant is what gives you the leisure to spend so much time with your kids.  I think it’s his hard work that puts a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your and the kids’ backs. 

Here’s what else I think.  I think he calls that being a good father, a good husband, a good provider and protector.  You know, those things that fathers have always done for mothers and children.  The only thing that’s changed over the years is that mothers like you, Ms. Markowicz, have learned to disrespect the contributions fathers make.  You’ve learned to belittle what fathers do, while benefitting from them.  In bygone eras, mothers had more awareness.  Now, denigrating fathers is a non-contact sport; you can participate and never get hurt.

So here’s a question, Ms. Markowicz:  Given your low opinion of your husband and fathers generally, what do you do to honor him on Fathers’ Day?  Anything?  Or maybe you already have.  Maybe this article is your special gift to him.

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National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

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#Mothers'Day, #Fathers'Day, #fatherhood, #motherhood

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