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The Plight Of The Single Dad

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:49 PM
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

By Michael Cole

For many years now we have been hearing about how hard it is to be a single mother. They have to hold down a job, maintain a household IE cook, clean, do laundry etc. They in effect have two very demanding full time jobs.

I think it is outstanding that there are so many programs designed to allow a single mom live with dignity. They have access to free or reduced cost child day care. There is “WIC” Women, Infants, and Children. There are education grants,reduced cost housing, free job training, and the list just goes on.

Google “single moms” and you get 19,500,000 results. Lots of programs geared to the the single mom.

Being a single parent is difficult at best, sometimes it is nearly impossible.

So why is the other side of the coin so often ignored? Where is “MIC” Men, Infants, And Children? Why are single fathers treated like low-life lay abouts if they are desperate and overworked enough to ask for a little assistance? It is no easier for a man to raise his children alone, in fact society often makes it harder.

Single dads are told “Be A man” or “Suck it up”. They are being men. They are raising the children they brought into this world. Yet, it is somehow their fault that the mother of their children could not be bothered to stick around and help raise the kids she conceived.

I recently worked with a man who narrowly escaped jail time because he didn’t want to pay child support to his daughter’s deceased mother. He supplied Michigan’s Friend of the Court with her Death Certificate at least twice that I know of, and yet it still took months to get it cleared up.

Some people will ask ” What right do you have to write this?” or “How dare you!” So here is a small part of my story as a single dad. I’m sorry, but it reads like a bad plot in a soap opera.

In Jan. of 1992 my wife told me she she wasn’t happy and “needed space to find herself” I tried to get her to go to marriage counseling, no way would she go. Let’s work it out ourselves, she said. I was willing to do anything to make her happy.

We lived in So. California and I worked in construction. I would get up at 3:30 AM six days a week to provide for my wife and two kids. As a result of my early schedule and heavy workload I was ready to sleep between 8:30 and 9:00 PM. She told me I needed to stay up longer so we could work it out. I told her anything she wanted I would try.

She pulls out the smallest zip-loc baggie I had ever seen with an off-white powder in it. “What’s that?” “Something to help you stay awake.” Being rather naive I said okay. Out comes a mirror, razor blade, and a straw. She proceeded to show me how to prepare and snort a line of Meth-Amphetamine. Stupid me, I tried it. Over the next few weeks she feed me way more than I could handle. The result? A drug clouded mind that would agree to anything she said.

She got her own apartment in March. In July she took my daughter and moved to New Jersey, 3,000 miles away. My son and daughter hardly know each other. New discoveries and revelations of what a fools paradise my marriage had actually been kept hitting me from all sides. I lost everything I had.

My family spirited my son away to Michigan because I was such a mess. Shake a man’s world hard enough the world doesn’t fall apart, the man does. I don’t know how I survived. Dumb luck and a little voice in the back of my mind “Your son needs you, you’re all he has.”

Even after all these years it is painful to think about.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Fast forward to December 1994. I found enough of myself to get back up and stand on my own two feet. I got on a bus to Michigan with a suitcase half full of clothes(every thing I owned) and a vague plan. “Get the drugs out of my system, get my son, and go home to California to start over”.

I quit the drugs cold turkey with no rehab. I then realized if I went back to California the hole I had dug for myself and climbed out of was there waiting for me. I decided to start over in Michigan.

My sister and mother convinced me ask for state help, despite my very limited success in California I agreed.

Here is the “help” that was given me, a single dad trying to cope with loss and raise a young son who couldn’t understand why his mommy left him.

I was enrolled in a program called “Work First” I was thrilled, my new home was going to help me!! They were going to teach me use a computer. I was going to learn to program and repair computers. I would be able to get a high paying job in a high demand growth industry. I would once again be a fully functional and contributing member of society.

I couldn’t wait to go to class. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I was still recovering from the meth, my body wanted to sleep, my mind wouldn’t let me. I was up and ready an hour before I needed to be. I was on my way!

My first week I took my tests and did my assignments. I was in the top five percent of my class. Our assignment on Thursday was to fill out a job application. I didn’t have a car so I walked to the gas station across the street. I got a job paying $5.00 an hr.

Friday I told my instructor what I had done. “Congratulations, you graduated”. I was out of the program. No free training. But not to worry, we’ll still train you.

Since I am a high school graduate it would have only cost me $150.00 a credit and I only needed about 20 credits! Making $200.00 a week how was I to get $3,000.00 for my training?

I have no doubt that in some data bank I’m listed as a glowing success for the program. Less than one week to get me a job, without having to pay for my training.

I stopped asking for help after that. To have all that help taken away because I wasn’t lazy and was willing to work for what I got.

I worked hard and became Manager of that station and have since moved on to better things.

I still had a choice to make, work two jobs to buy my son expensive toys and clothes or spend time with my son. I chose to spend time with my boy. I did without so I could give him what he needed. He needed glasses, he got them. When he needed braces, he got them. We may not have had a lot, but we had each other.

So yes, I do know what I’m talking about.

I did not write this so anyone would feel sorry for me, I am proud of my son and what I overcame to raise him. He is in college with a 4.0 average.

If you are a single parent and have read this far, have hope. You have something that was not available to me. You have a computer, you have the Internet.

With these tools you can build a home based business. You can be there for your children while building a second income on line. You don’t have to be gone most of the time to give them a little more.

You will have to work hard, but you’re used to that. Anyone who tells you “Sign up, Do Nothing And Get Paid” is lying to you or trying to scam you. At best they want you to scam money from other hard working people.

There are many free and low cost training programs available on line. Do some research and find the one that is best for you.

And always remember,You are not alone, there others like you, overcoming the odds, join them.

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