Fathering vs Mothering – Is it vastly different?
Two days ago I was travelling on a bus, West Yorkshire Bus to be precise, to go and do one of my favourite things, which is having a sauna. I especially like to have a sauna whilst living here in Hebden Bridge and especially in the Winter as it is so cold and damp here… pretty much all of the time!
On the bus I met someone I knew a little, more specifically a woman and a mother and we got talking about travelling. We were talking about living overseas and potentially how and when I could achieve that. In all reality probably not until my youngest child, Martha, is at least 18; which will be in 4 years and 1 month’s time. So my friend was talking about the time when she went to El Salvador and left her children who were 18 at the time, then after about 8 months had to return as she missed her children too much. It was like her heart commanded her to come back to be with her children.
Now, I love my children dearly, yet I know that there is a huge difference between fathering and mothering. I feel it is vastly different being a surviving parent as a father to children than it is to be a surviving parent as a mother.
I feel the levels of care and love are no different between the two, yet I do strongly feel that the emotional attachment children have with their mothers through the whole process of pregnancy, child-birth, early weening, and through the simple aspect of being female and being a mother, are far more emotionally tied than father’s are similarly emotionally tied. I think this is why it is easy for men to simply just walk out of families and leave the mother’s to cope with the children alone. Don’t get me wrong I am not condoning this behaviour by men who cannot cope with family life for whatever reason. In fact, I was a terrible father to my eldest son for some years of his earlier life when I wanted nothing to do with his mother and as a knock-on affect had very little to do with him. This went on for a few years and was a terrible time for all those involved, though now to me it really feels that a different person to the person i am now was carrying out such actions.
I suppose that does give me some insight into how Father’s feel especially when things go Pete Tong with the mother of their child. With hindsight I would say that it is important for both mother and father to have good and constructive contact with their children in the times of a split. However, i also realise this can be some times very very difficult to achieve due to the personalities and various other factors involved.
Returning back to the matter of Fathering, yes I do think it is very different to mothering and even when mother has left it is impossible for father to replace the missing female part. We can do our best as lone Fathers which is, I really feel, in terms of parenting, bringing pleasant, level-headed, balanced adults into the world which is what I am trying to achieve with my children. I guess if you wanted to find out how well I was doing you would have to ask my children.
I find it hard to really qualify the differences between fathering and mothering though often I do smile about how emotionally invested women can be in their children and some times such emotional investment can cloud their judgment severely. I might seem cold and distant saying that I am not so emotionally invested in my children, though I do not believe that is the case, I love them as much as life itself and I would be broken-hearted if any of them were to vanish from this life before me.
It has taken me quite some time to write this, I do not wish to offend any hard-working single mums out there; rather just put across the feelings of a hard working lone dad. When I say lone, I am not alone, I have had a hell of a lot of support from my family and friends over the years and my current partner, who has been the best with my children of any partner or that any lone Dad could wish for. So when I use the word “lone Dad” it is simply meaning soul surviving male parent.