Which came first: The child or the parent?

Anonymous wrote:

I have some things going on in my life that are really stressing me out, so I hope you can help.  I am a single father and am trying to be the best dad I can be, but the women I date just don’t understand that parents have to put their kids first.  My ex wife also doesn’t understand that, and I am often left watching our son on weekends or getting off early to tend to illnesses, school functions, etc.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?  What can you share with your readers that may open others’ eyes to the struggles that single parents face?

-Anonymous

I totally understand what you mean.  In fact, I just had this conversation with a friend the other day.  Sometimes, it’s hard for people that aren’t parents to fathom the idea of thinking about someone other than themselves.  I don’t mean to say that they’re selfish, but when they think of needs, they think of their needs versus their friends and family, society, etc.  They don’t have to first think of what their child may need, THEN think of the other things.  I have my daughter 3-4 days a week and I don’t want to sacrifice any time that I may have with her, so if I have her and friends want me to go out, I decline their offer to spend time with my daughter.  As a result, it’s cost me a few relationships and strained some friendships because of scheduling conflicts.  When I think about those strains, I know that I am doing the right thing.  Raising a child takes a tremendous amount of effort.  There should be no cruise control, and the television is not a babysitter.  If someone that you are in a relationship with cannot understand the importance of being a good parent, do you really want to establish a long term relationship and eventually have kids with that person?  I’d hope not.

It’s even MORE frustrating when people that are parents, like your ex-wife, choose to pass off parental duties or skip them altogether.  Personally, I’d be thankful that you are able to be such a good influence in your son’s life, when the mother seems to be skipping out on parental duties.  You should be the best parent you can be (also realize that the mother may have some issues that she is dealing with and that she is still a valid parent that may be struggling as well..try talking with her), and you will eventually find some peace in your life that allows you to straighten out friendships and find a relationship with someone that will understand the importance of being a parent.

Sean

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