Oh. My. God. Grandma Was Right.

...men are sorry sons of bitches...

...it's what she said time and time again...and it was a mantra i refused to believe because, while some grandmothers might have said it with a heavy sigh, with tears in their eyes from a broken heart that evoked sympathy and conjured images of lost love, mine screeched it out while she puffed a cigarette and recalled her string of bad marriages...

...she had reason to believe men were sorry, i'll give her that...her fifth and final husband cheated on her...her earliest marriage happened before her 15th birthday to a man nearly twice her age (no telling when went on there)...she stood by helpless while my father's crimes ruined my mother's life...if anyone had a right to stereotype, it was grandma...

Grandma, in curlers, watches as her two daughters
attempt to kill each other
...still, i just couldn't believe her completely...my experience with men was limited to school teachers--who were kind and patient and accommodating...then as i got older my experiences with men were limited to those sensitive types that frequent coffee houses...eventually, i landed as my husband one of the most not-sorry men in the world...i'm 35 years old and had nearly forgotten grandma's warning...

...but over the last few weeks i've watched as several men i know have fallen victim to the "i'm divorced from my wife so i don't need to see or support my children" syndrome that seems not just to be sweeping the nation, but has also become accepted, a social norm...i guess when a nation is piloted by a man who was raised by a single mother it's time for us all to realize, if we haven't already, that the "traditional" family is a thing of history (if it ever really existed at all)...but that shouldn't give men the right nor the morality to broadcast seed like a scott's fertilizer tiller and then abandon their children when they find a new lawn...

...specifically, i'm thinking of one man i've known for over a decade who has three children...when faced with the prospect of paying his soon-to-be ex-wife the state mandated child support amount, he balked, telling her he wouldn't have enough money to survive...this guy brings in just over $3000 a month and the state said he owes his kids $1000...i'm to believe that a single guy, living in an apartment, who has given up parental rights to his children save for seeing them every other weekend can't manage to live on $2000 a month? my growing family (3 soon to be 5) manages it...i'm perplexed...i was further perplexed when their mother accepted a $300 cut in support in exchange for him taking the children every weekend...weekends he then shuffles them onto his sister or, get this, girlfriend who has two kids of her own...

...blah...the type of woman who would 1. date a man who isn't even divorced 2. date a man who won't financially care for his children 3. get involved in the lives of children who may or may not understand what is going on between their parents is a whole other ball of wax...

...meanwhile, the mother of these children, who has been a stay at home mom for over a decade, had to find a part-time job...she works less than 20 hours a week, must pay for an apartment big enough for her and three children, feed, clothe, and otherwise care for these kids on her own 5 days a week...on the few days she's gotten more hours at work that conflict with being home with her kids, she's asked their father to come over and watch them, to which he's replied "i have better things to do"...one of those things is taking off from work to spend time with his girlfriend and her two children...

...i'm disgusted...not just by his behavior (which as i talk to more people i'm realizing is run-of-the-mill) but by a culture that allows this to become normal...and i'm not sure there's a solution...

...i grew up with absentee parents...my father was in prison and my mother left me at grandma's house where i was raised until just before my 18th birthday...grandma didn't work and we lived on credit cards, $300 my mother gave her for my care, and a small alimony check grandma got from her cheating ex husband...there were nights i went to bed with a piece of toast and a glass of milk in my belly and that was it...i was loved, well cared for, and clean...but my life was very empty and lonely...i grew to believe that i was worthless, that no one except grandma loved me...in part i felt this way because when my mother came around i got the impression she was there out of duty, as if her feet were being held to a fire she couldn't wait to escape...

...i also grew up hearing stories about men--fathers of classmates, neighbors, and, years later, boyfriends of classmates--who worked under the table so they wouldn't have a tax trail, thus their wages couldn't be garnished and they wouldn't have to pay child support...one man even opened a business in his new wife's name so his ex, to whom he'd never paid money for his child, couldn't sue him for back child support...what type of people do these things?...okay, you hate the stupid bitch who you divorced...fine, great, more power to you...but then you go out of your way to hurt your children...

...i just don't get it...where are the emotional ties, the thoughts centered around what the kids are doing at that moment, the sense that when you look a child in the face you see yourself looking back?...how can men be so callous?

...i asked my husband (who is among an elite class of men i call the "awesome, amazing, most incredible men on the planet")...how he would parent if we suddenly got divorced...he couldn't even imagine not seeing our daughter every day...not seeing me he was fine with(!), but life without his little girl he just couldn't even get his head around...

...why aren't men like my husband the new trend in fatherhood?...where are they all?...why aren't they out there proving grandma wrong?

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