Single Mom Comes To Terms With The Value of Fatherhood

by Susan McKenna for

I never prayed so hard in my life.  I prayed that the man I had grown to almost hate would not be on that plane…

As an author of children’s books on divorce, a life coach and motivational speaker on divorce I want to instill the importance of fathers during and after divorce.  I think many times the “single mother” is in the spotlight, and society seems to focus more positively on that role more often than the single dad role.

I feel that many single fathers identify themselves as a part-time parent whose major purpose is to pay child support.  Many slowly back away from the struggle to feel important, as many times, as the non-custodial parent, their importance is often not recognized.  Men need to recognize they are important and realize that there is no one who can replace them, so they can grow a closer relationship with their children if they move from the children’s home.

Many years ago, when my children were very young, my husband left us.  You might want to say he didn’t leave “us,” he left “you.”  No, he left “us.”  Bitter because of the circumstances ― a newborn and two-year-old and the fact he was leaving for another woman ― I had a hard time getting past what he did to the children.  The toll it took on the kids and me was very traumatic.

Without getting into the details, I wanted nothing to do with him because I had offered and begged for him to be in the children’s lives and gave up begging when his only connection with the kids was on a very limited basis.  Years later, he began to establish a relationship with them; not the kind anyone would hope for, but it was a start.

Because I felt he was not a very good father and, in my case it hurt them very much emotionally, I secretly wished something would happen to him, to make him just disappear.  I felt that my troubles would be over.  On a bad day, as many single mothers do who have had problems with their ex-husbands, I fantasized about his demise so that our life would be easier.

One day there was a plane crash, in which the plane’s destination was a place he frequently visited.  That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I realized that no matter how this man behaved in my kids’ life…that my kids loved their father, regardless of what I thought of him.  They would be devastated if they should lose him, for one’s REAL father can never be replaced with a step father.  Children always long for their father.

I never prayed so hard in my life.  I prayed that the man I had grown to almost hate would not be on that plane.  When I found out he wasn’t, I was a changed woman and I lost much of my ill feelings toward him and started to appreciate him because of what he meant to my children.

They, like many other children, need their father in their life and they eat up every second that he can give.  Because he does not live in their house anymore, the time they now share with him becomes special…a real treat.  They see mom all the time but when with dad…nothing compares.  Some single moms don’t really want to see the joy in their kids’ faces when Dad shows up, and they try to ignore or block out the stories they hear when their children come home, wanting to share of how much fun they had with him.

Because many dads don’t get to see what happens when they drop their kids off, or when they are not there because they don’t see the need to share this with you, I will.  Believe me when I say that kids do miss you and cherish what time you can share, as well as all the wonderful things you can muster up that are surrounded with the fact that you love them and will take care of them regardless of where you live.  This is by far, the only gift that you will truly see appreciated when your children grow up to be a well-adjusted and loving adult without baggage.  You are just as important as Mom, and no one can ever fill your shoes!


Susan McKenna is a speaker on issues of single parenthood, and the author of Feelings Only I Know  and More Feelings Only I Know, both books deal with children and divorce.

Write McKenna at

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6 comments on “Single Mom Comes To Terms With The Value of Fatherhood

    Sorry lady, but the pain is too great and the loss too overwhelming. More than a few fathers will never recover from the kick in the guts that losing one’s children delivers. Your Easy-Bake Oven recipe for happiness makes me want to vomit.

    It appears that so many fathers felt validated with my last story. Validation in any form is very important when someone has been wronged, however, the fact that it came from the lips of a single mother, I felt was even more meaningful, well taken and I am glad I shared this healtfelt appreciation of fathers with your readers. However, I want to point out a road block that your readers may be missing.

    The importance of your role as a father has to come from you. If you are waiting for your exwife, or even worse…the courts, to give you encouragement or a pat on the back, you will be wasting valuable time and energy that could be spent on your relationship with your children. This is validation that may never come and to tell you the truth, should not drive your self esteem when it comes to your value. Know who you are as a father and BE THAT KIND OF FATHER! Don’t let the words of others steal that very precious gift from you.

    It all boils down to how your kids see you and how they feel when they are with you. If you spend time trying to undo what people who obviously won’t agree with you are trying to infect the air with, you are not only wasting your time, but giving this negative and hurtful behavior attention, which makes that spirt grow. Ignore it as you would a temper tamtrum. Let YOUR light shine and the love you have for your kids shine when ever you get the opportunity. Try not to waste valuable time complaining about the time you don’t have.

    When you get caught up in the story or the details it only takes away from the energy you and your children need. I know this is not the solution you want but it’s not always about the perfect solution, it is about the path you take trying to get there. Please feel free to send questions to me at

    Susan McKenna, Life Coach

    Thank you for the article

    Thank you so much for the article, as I am a divorced father of four who has remarried and I now have 6 wonderful kids.

    It is nice that you recognize the importance of fathers as I believe we play a big role in our children’s development.

    You have no idea what effect my divorce and being away from my kids on a daily basis has had on my life and on the life of my kids. As your first writer commented, I too feel unimportant to my kids.

    Until society realizes how unfair this system is to good fathers and husbands who have done everything within their power to provide for their kids and family, you will continue to reward bad behavior by mothers and people who have other motives.

    Good evening.

    While I appreciate the mostly positive message in your above article, I couldn’t help but take exception to a couple points in the intro.

    “Men need to recognize they are important and realize that there is no one who can replace them,…” ~ It’s not only men that need to recognize, but also the mothers and the courts, as they too help perpetuate this problem.

    “…so they can grow a closer relationship with their children if they move from the children’s home.” ~ again, mothers and courts need to play a more positive role here as well. There are mothers that leave town/state to chase other men and the courts allow children to be taken from their father amd only home, friends and lifestyle they’ve ever known.

    The other point I would like to make is the continuous use of the term “my children”. As a father who, in court, interchanged “my children”, “our children” and “the children” during court proceedings, the judge lambasted me for using saying “my children” and that was a sign possessiveness and devaluating their mother.

    Thank you for relating your story and seeing that the childrens’ father is important in their lives.

    Hello Susan,

    I too want to thank you for the article you wrote on Nice/wonderful to know that there are people out there that see us fathers as more than a check each month. I too hope that as my kids grow older they will come to see the lessons that I have tried to instill in them. Number one lesson, that I love them no matter where I may be! Once again thank you!

    In regards to the article by Life CoachSusan McKenna, what a refreshing story to hear. Her honesty warmed my heart in a way that I needed. I do feel very unimportant, my kids are young and seem to be very into Mom. I try very hard but feel I never measure up. But I will keep on being the best I can with her sentence in mind..that I will see the appreciation when they grow up.. Thanks for being so open.

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