Divorce: When Dads are left to raise the kids alone

I know this may seem stupid and petty but it bothers me nonetheless. I’m sharing this in the hopes that there’s someone out there who sits up while reading this and can relate. 

As time has gone on since my wife left, I stopped wearing my wedding band.  I don’t think I’ve worn it in almost 9 months. 

When I go out with the kids, especially on the weekend, people make the assumption that I’m visiting with my kids, rather than my kids live with me and we’re just going out to do something.

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How do I know these assumptions are being made? I know this because people have actually approached me over the last year to say something about the kids and say something like it must be Daddy’s weekend with the kids.

These comments aren’t mean spirited in nature and I understand why the assumption is made.

I’m in a less common situation in the sense that I think most times the Dad isn’t the one raising the kids alone, unless the Mother has passed away.

People just assume that I’m visiting with my kids on the weekend because I’m not wearing a wedding ring and we’re out together.  That’s all I can figure. 

Maybe it’s just those few people who have said something and again, they weren’t malicious in nature. 

Read This  The boys and I did something we don't often do anymore

I just hadn’t thought about that until these occurrences and now I feel like everyone is thinking that I only visit with my kids or I’m a part time Dad. 

The reason I think it bothers me is because I don’t even know how to be a part time Dad. I’m in the trenches every day and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  Fatherhood is something I take very seriously.

I also get that everyone’s situation is different and maybe that’s what some Dad are best suited for but that’s not me and I hate that people even think that. 

Like I said, I know it’s stupid but it’s something that’s been eating away at me over the last year and I just thought I would share a little bit of what I’m feeling when it comes to this whole divorce stuff. 

Guys aren’t best known for their sharing of feelings and when it comes to divorce, I don’t know the statistics but I’ve always had the impression that the husbands were often the cause of the divorce.

I guess I want to illustrate that it’s not always that way and sometimes the husband is the one blindsided. 

Maybe there’s other guys out there that thought they were the only ones going through something like this.  Maybe there are other guys left putting the pieces back together and raising the kids alone after the wife/Mother walks away. 

Read This  Feeling frustrated but determined 

Either way, I hope at minimum, I can show how the roles can sometimes be reversed and the Dad’s can find themselves in a position, more typically thought of to be the Mother’s. 

It’s really is a strange place to find oneself because most people who can relate to what I’m going through are the Mom’s left putting the pieces back together and raising the kids alone. 

I feel a strong kinship with all the single Mom’s out there kicking ass everyday.  It would just be nice to hear from the Dad’s who are in the same boat.

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17 Comments

  1. tannawings

    I think you get that more perhaps because there are more single Moms out there and the parents have never been married. Really, the vast majority of single Moms I know have children minus a husband. It’s like the guys just drop and go or have to be forced to show up which is sad. Maybe it is where I live, but the divorced folks I know almost all have shared custody (meaning half and half) I know many Dads out there who do their part if they were married but very few if they werent.
    Its kind of odd, now that I think of it. Both of my husbands best friends had kids and both had 50 50 custody. One had 6 children, with only 2 now at ‘home’ every other week. The girl is 18, but graduates in May, his son is 16 so he doesnt have long too go. The other fella had 2 kids but are grown and gone. Their kids werent on the spectrum, but when we first met Mark and he had 6, trust me, he had his ‘days’ he thought would never end. One of the guys had an at home business, the other had a go go go business but he was lucky in that he had good family support. Oddly enough BOTH of these Dads wear their wedding bands on their right hand- Mark says is to signify his commitment to his children (in his words he says his ex is a piece of work and it has nothing to do with her) but it was his marriage that produced his children , so he wears it. The other I think just wore his and got used to it.
    We do also know some Dads who have raised kids totally on their own.They were also married previously.
    I think youre doing a fine job, better than fine, there are Daddy bloggers out there raising kids on their own or are primary caretakers.

  2. MBee

    Maybe it is a reflection on the cultural norm. Moms takes kids on errands, Dads don’t. My (ring-wearing) hubby was asked the same question when the kids were younger.
    It is your weekend with the boys. Your response could be something like…”Yes. Even though they live with me, I miss them when they visit their Mom.” or “Yes, even though they are with me full-time, I look forward to our trips to the store.”
    It could be an opportunity to not only open peoples eyes to non-typical situations but also to validate your relationship with them without diminishing the one with their mom.

    1. Kim Gebhardt

      I think it’s 50/50 when it comes to which person ’caused’ the divorce. I wouldn’t worry too much about people assuming you’re a weekend dad. I can see where the assumption would be annoying, but as long as you know what’s going on and what the real story is, who cares what strangers think? Also, women tend to check for wedding rings on men when they’re single and looking. Mentioning ‘Daddy’s weekend’ might be their way of sizing up the situation.

  3. MBee

    Maybe it is a reflection on the cultural norm. Moms takes kids on errands, Dads don’t. My (ring-wearing) hubby was asked the same question when the kids were younger.
    It is your weekend with the boys. Your response could be something like…”Yes. Even though they live with me, I miss them when they visit their Mom.” or “Yes, even though they are with me full-time, I look forward to our trips to the store.”
    It could be an opportunity to not only open peoples eyes to non-typical situations but also to validate your relationship with them without diminishing the one with their mom.

  4. Kim Gebhardt

    I think it’s 50/50 when it comes to which person ’caused’ the divorce. I wouldn’t worry too much about people assuming you’re a weekend dad. I can see where the assumption would be annoying, but as long as you know what’s going on and what the real story is, who cares what strangers think? Also, women tend to check for wedding rings on men when they’re single and looking. Mentioning ‘Daddy’s weekend’ might be their way of sizing up the situation.

  5. Jimmy Rock

    I get this too sometimes when I’m out with my kids, even though I’m (quite happily) married. It doesn’t bother me though. I’m not all that interested in a stranger’s misguided perception based upon seeing a guy out with his kids. My pet peeve, though, is when people refer to a father with his kids as “babysitting”. Uh, sorry, I don’t “babysit” my own kids.

    But I will say, as someone else already commented, that sometimes women will make a comment to a guy who’s out with his kids as a sign of interest. From my experience, some women find guys out with their kids very appealing. In my younger days I got a dog for that purpose. That worked too… 😉

  6. Jimmy Rock

    I get this too sometimes when I’m out with my kids, even though I’m (quite happily) married. It doesn’t bother me though. I’m not all that interested in a stranger’s misguided perception based upon seeing a guy out with his kids. My pet peeve, though, is when people refer to a father with his kids as “babysitting”. Uh, sorry, I don’t “babysit” my own kids.

    But I will say, as someone else already commented, that sometimes women will make a comment to a guy who’s out with his kids as a sign of interest. From my experience, some women find guys out with their kids very appealing. In my younger days I got a dog for that purpose. That worked too… 😉

  7. Leslie

    My dad was left to raise my siblings and I, there were 3 of us and I was the oldest at 7, followed by a 5 year old and a 3 year old. This was in 1993, people weren’t all that awesome to him. I had so many friends that weren’t allowed to sleep over, let a lone come.over, because clearly my mom must have left because he was THAT bad. Makes no sense but that’s what people thought. It’s not easy being a single parent, but I think single dad’s get stigmatized unfairly and while people currently are more used to shared custody, they still expect mothers to be the primary care providers. Do what my dad did and wear your full custody proudly, do not be afraid to say it out loud, it helps normalize single dad’s and takes away the stigma 🙂

  8. Leslie

    My dad was left to raise my siblings and I, there were 3 of us and I was the oldest at 7, followed by a 5 year old and a 3 year old. This was in 1993, people weren’t all that awesome to him. I had so many friends that weren’t allowed to sleep over, let a lone come.over, because clearly my mom must have left because he was THAT bad. Makes no sense but that’s what people thought. It’s not easy being a single parent, but I think single dad’s get stigmatized unfairly and while people currently are more used to shared custody, they still expect mothers to be the primary care providers. Do what my dad did and wear your full custody proudly, do not be afraid to say it out loud, it helps normalize single dad’s and takes away the stigma 🙂

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