Saturday, March 12, 2011

Who's to Judge?

I had a friend send me a link to an article that was about two different mothers who gave up custody of their children in order to pursue other interests and dreams...

I'm having mixed feelings about this.

First - the article is found here... And it starts off with the sentence, "Rahna Reiko Rizzuto says that she never wanted to be a mother."  Then follows up with "...when her sons were 5 and 3..."

Hmmmm...first major problem...If you don't want to be a mother...why are you having children...and not just one child, but two???

But...I don't want to digress into nitpicking this woman apart.  The thing that this article made me really think was also a topic of conversation among my friends and I and centered around this question...

Do you judge mothers who don't have custody of their children?

First, you may be wondering why this is pertinent information for a father's right's blog.  Well, consider the family court climate in our country that we KNOW caters to mothers first...and then consider if a mother who doesn't have custody of her children is criticized and scorned...how much harder does that make it for you dads to receive equal and fair parenting time...or even full custody of your children...simply because your ex is afraid of the stigma of a mother who "gave up her children?"

Now, I know that you fathers get a bad rap for not sticking around, doing more with the kids, attending every activity, etc.  In fact, the article was terrible, as far as I was concerned.  When I read it I wondered where the author, Lylah M. Alphonse, has been for the past 10 years and if she's EVER known anyone who was divorced that was male and non-custodial.

She actually makes this statement about mothers who choose to not have custody of their children, "But it shines a light on a glaring double standard: When a man chooses not to be a full-time parent, it's acceptable—or, at least, accepted. But when a woman decides to do so, it's abandonment."

Ok...let me jump on my soapbox for just a minute...how many of you fathers chose to not be a full-time parent? 

*crickets*

Thats what I thought.  How many of you were even given the option?  Yeah..  Strike one against Laylah. 

Second, in who's world is it "acceptable - or, at least, accepted?"  I'm guessing the same world where fathers just let the judge know they aren't interested in being a parent anymore.  Strike two, Laylah. 

Finally...I think I may have actually laughed when she said for a woman its termed "abandonment."  For you dads we just use the terms dead-beat and loser.  You should thank your lucky stars that its not abandonment (*note sarcasm puhleeeze!)  Strike three, Laylah.

You're OUT.

The unfair glossing over of the issue that fathers aren't even considered as a primary custodian isn't mentioned in the article.  Just the fact that these two women who made the choice to give up custody are some kind of "new breed" of women.  It almost made it seem like we're supposed to pat them on the back for their progressive attitudes and thank our lucky stars there are women out there like this.

And yet, if a father were to make that same statement or decision he is tried and hung without the benefits of a jury or trial. 

I suppose the big picture idea is that once a parent you are always a parent.  Regardless of whether you are custodial or not.  Just deciding one day that taking care of these children you brought into the world isn't what you want to do anymore is about the most selfish thing I've ever heard.

And that goes for mothers OR fathers.

I suppose another lesson is to not judge what you may not understand...but its really hard and we're not perfect...me especially.

So I have to end with one of my favorite of the 16,135 comments that were left on this article...

"I couldn't finish the article, I got bored with her story just like she got bored with her kids."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anna, I hope this posts okay. :) This is definitely a controversial topic, but an important one, so I think it's great that you're addressing it. Personally, I definitely don't judge any woman in this situation because, like you said at the end of your post, we likely don't have the full picture. For instance, here in Wa. State, it's not a given the mother's will get residential custody. Maybe this state is progressive in that regard (?). I know of several mothers who were not awarded custody and they are normal moms (as in not abusive, etc). So, at least here in Washington, it could just be the way the cards were dealt and not a voluntary choice. However, I also personally have a close friend who voluntarily gave up custody of her oldest son because he wasn't doing well living with her. He was desperate for his dad's involvement who lived across the country. Her youngest son (different dad) is special needs, so she had to make the decision (I think selfLESSly) to let her oldest son live with his dad. It was very hard, but she did it for the well-being of both her kids. As for the lady in the article you linked to, that's a different circumstance, and I happen to think she was being selfish. So again, until I knows the circumstances, I try not to judge anyone. That's my two cents anyway! :)

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