Baby Daddy Drama Rama. [need actual advice]

With respect to Judah’s feeling different, I’ve been there.

My kids were the only Jewish ones in their entire school.
Only ones with a hyphenated last name.
Very liberal in a very conservative town.
Atheists among those with faith, even at the Synagogue (though there were more than just us) etc.

So while my kids had a traditional two parent home, we were different and left out in other ways. You may want to reinforce that idea with your son- yes he is different. That is a fact. But he is similar to the other kids in many ways, I’m sure. It’s a good lesson to learn that while we sometimes focus on what pulls us apart, there are more things that binds than we realize.

ETA: And with respect to his dad- it is not bashing to say “I think your father is making a mistake by not being a part of your life. Unfortunately we can’t change his behavior but I can understand why you wish it were different. That would be nice if it were”. Or whatever works for you. Validate his sense of “wrongness” and don’t endorse the father’s behavior. It may be reality, but it’s not right. But it’s not bashing him to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

I spent years being sad about the whole thing. What am I supposed to do? It’s not like we stayed bffs throughout the whole thing. It went from “fuck you” to “tolerable” to “hi” to “hey, there’s no point in being nasty” to “holy shit, jax, did we just win back the house?”. It’s not about being arsed. It’s about his position that it’s only going to do the child worse. That’s not MY position, but short of making up emails on his behalf, I can’t DO anything about it.

I actually like my single parenthood. The benefits (for me) are better than the alternatives.

My son is happy and taken care of. We’re not in a homeless shelter. He’s not suffering from some incurable disease. We don’t live in a dangerous part of town. We…it’s always been us. I can’t explain. I put together the baby furniture. I read the books. I got myself ice cream. I got fat all by myself and gave birth all by myself and named him all by myself and managed to take care of a 3 week old newborn and schlep to Stats class. I also watched him breathe round the clock when he had RSV. I can’t even fathom the idea of D. being in his life, so there’s no sense of “loss”. It’s more like, "never happened. *His *loss.

Sure. But not at the age of six. Also, I feel that the less hostile, the more likely D. is to be able to say, Okay, I’ve admitted to being a fucker for the last four years or so, and now I may want to do something about it.

The fact that they met in person was surprising. Whatever emotional defects that D. possess I can’t change just because I want to. I certainly can’t change it by being a constant nagging bitch about how terrible he is. I call him out enough, believe me, but I don’t harp on the dad-taking-kid-to-baseball-games thing.

I used to think he thought of it that way, but he does use plural form (“You guys”), make sure we’re taken care of, and offers an ear when I want to kvetch about something (which has been twice in the last six years).

We act friendly, and since we know each other so well, it does seem like we are friends. But think about it. If you got divorced, would you just be mean and nasty to your ex forever? Maybe. But it makes better sense to be cordial and it’s OK to recognize the fact that you know each other pretty freakin’ well.

I don’t know what that means.

So, since I’m the one who had the child, I should be 100 per cent responsible financially? If this were the economy that hired social studies teachers in the middle of the year, sure. I always figured I’d absolve D. of that someday anyway, or maybe just put that extra $24,240 a year into a trust fund for Judah.


You know when kids have figured out they have a penis or vagina or something? And they’re kind of wondering where babies come from, but aren’t ready for the details? He knows it’s IMPOSSIBLE to make a baby without a boy and a girl, but he also knows that some kids have just a mom, just a dad, or an aunt, or an adopted parent, or whatever. So I suppose in his six year old head, every kid goes somewhere.

I have to be careful if I say, “If D. knew you, he’d want to be here.” Because then Judah would say, “Let’s call him!” :smack: I need to be firm but gentle and somehow convey the message that D. is his biological father, but not his abba. I am his parent. I’m just trying to find the right language right now.

When he’s older, he’ll get more details, but I’m going to keep it six year old rated as much as I can…too bad I can’t say his dad is an astronaut. :o

If you don’t think he needs anything extra, why did you start this thread? You’re the one saying that it seems like he feels bad about not having a dad.

I also think that if we’re going to judge D., then we have to judge me, too. I have the uterus. I let the zygote become a real person. I was nineteen fucking years old, with real dreams and real potential.

Somehow I graduated college, worked, entered grad school and didn’t fall apart too badly, but I don’t think I need a medal. I did put my son in potentially hurtful situation. So…I think D. and I just chose to deal with it the best way we could, since I wasn’t going to have an abortion. (To this day, I can’t tell you what it was. It was just a…a thing that said this little cancer fetus was the better deal.)

Men don’t get choices. I’m not saying they don’t have responsibilities, but they don’t get choices. Or at least: not many options.

I’m not saying what he is doing is OK. I am not. I’ll never forgive him for making me be all by myself through pregnancy. I’ll never forgive him for the time Judah came home with a picture of me, him, and DAD. I’ll never forgive him for when they had to do a huge family tree in Hebrew and Judah and finally decided to just put D.'s name in there because he was the new kid in kindergarten and a blank spot looked odd. When I was pregnant, I checked my email constantly, was always on IM, always had my cell phone on. I thought maybe he’d call and say, “Aw, Jacques, I’m sorry…do you need anything?” I had my cell phone on the night stand the night I gave birth. And then Judah was born and I forgot all about D. until a week later when I realized oh hey, maybe I should send him an email or something? What’s the protocol for this?

What’s the protocol for this now? Yeah, I send emails - not large ones, not frequent ones - and 80 per cent have a pic attached. Of Judah. I’ve even sent a few of his drawings to D.'s office, but they were never mentioned, so I figured he does whatever he does with that quietly. Trashed, for all I know. At least he has the decency to be decent to my face.

Bad like left out, not bad like hurt feelings.

I’m scared of how to say things to him because I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

I don’t think he needs a father. I think he needs good adult role models, just like any other kid…I don’t oppose same sex parenting, either.

D. is missing out here. Not Judah.

One thing- he does have a father. He needn’t have blank spaces on a family tree. If he needs his medical history or what have you, you know who the father is. At six, I think he is probably capable of understanding that while his father is making the choice to be distant, he does still exists. He may be an absent father, but he is his father, whether D wants to acknowledge it or not. You can’t make someone act like a father, (as you seem to know all too well) but that doesn’t change the reality that he is one.

So you might have to come closer to the difficult line of overtly acknowledging that Judah’s dad is an absent one, rather than continuing the story that Judah’s dad “doesn’t exist”. Functionally it may be the same outcome, but conceptually it’s very different.

Something that stands out to me is the fiction you have that Judah “doesn’t have a father.” He does have a father. He did not spring forth out of the sea foam. I think more than anything, that is what is bothering the kid.

Both of you need to accept that you made the choice to have a child with a man who would not be willing to play an active role in the child’s life. You can’t write him out of this part of the story. He’s a bit character, sure. But he exists and you are all a part of each other’s life.

I think the hidden story behind the OP is that you think you should be able to keep your friendship with D, based on the fiction that you guys are not anything particularly more to each other but friendly exes, But it is complicated, and Judah is reaching an age where he has conscious desires and his needs are going to be a part (and probably the most important part) of whatever story you and D have. You had a plan, but it may not work out. You didn’t really think it’d be that easy, did you?

Other than that, WhyNot has some good advice. It’s basically what my mom told me, and it worked. Emphasize that he has lots and lots of people who love him.

I don’t understand. No one said he didn’t exist. He’s just not part of our unit. Judah knows he exists. I guess ‘father’ is a matter of semantics. Judah will tell you he doesn’t have a dad and if you point out it takes two, he’d say, well yeah but that’s not a dad. My mom takes care of me. And that would be that.

It was the line about “leaving a blank on his family tree”. That seemed like an odd decision that he would even need to think about.

They have just as many options as women have, except for one. If D is like most men who have unwanted children, he didn’t even utilize all his available options (e.g., wear a condom). So to complain about limited choices only when things go against their wishes is :dubious:. Biology afforded you with a choice he didn’t have, but that’s not a justification for anything. Excusing his abandoment on those grounds just makes you an accessory to whatever fallout his son incurs later in life.

Consider the saying “thou dost protest too much”. Unless you’re Judah, you don’t know what he feels like he’s missing out on. The very fact that he’s writing you Father’s Day cards should tell you that, at the minimum, he feels the need for a daddy placeholder in your family.

I’m not saying you have to make up emails on his behalf. But his position is a complete copout that you seem to accept with little argument. You’re not advocating for your son’s interest when you do this; you’re just picking the path of least resistance and letting D think that he has nothing to feel bad about.

Call me crazy, but I actually think it would be more noble if you stopped taking money from him altogether and just cut off ties to him. If you pride yourself on doing it all on your own, why not do that? As long as he’s throwing money at the elephant in the room, he can tell himself he’s doing his part. I wonder what he would do if you said “Look, the boy is starting to feel your absence…unless you start including him in your world more, just keep your money. We will be fine.”

I’m pretty sure the boy would rather have a roof over his head and food in his belly than a “noble” (martyred) mom.

I’m not saying you’re entirely wrong - I did stop chasing my ex for child support because of the effect his in-and-out presence in my son’s life was having on my son. But my son wasn’t facing homelessness as a consequence of my nobility.

It’s not clear to me whether this is the OP’s case.

Post 17.

Are you sure it’s just that he’s left out? Like you with the face is saying, it does seem weird he’s writing you father’s day cards if he really believes he doesn’t want a father. Ideally I don’t think it should matter if a child has a father or not as long as they have someone taking care of them but it does seem to matter to him. Not to the extent his life is over because he has no dad but maybe it’ll just always be something he wishes he had.

It doesn’t matter if I label it as such or if you don’t. What matters is what Judah ends up labeling it as. He may take your lead and think this is nothing to be upset about. But he may not. You’ve worked through your anger. Judah hasn’t even realized he might get angry. He might - and he has a right to. He might get pissed at D. He might get pissed at you. He has a right to his own interpretation of the situation.

You don’t think D is rejecting Judah. But what is it when he refuses to send the kid a birthday card? Or talk to him on the phone.

You say Judah doesn’t know how much contact you have with D. But Judah is seven - he knows you know where D is. That means you have contact with him. You don’t get the easy cop out on this that I do “all I know about your birthdad is on this piece of paper right here.”

She shouldn’t turn down money. The boy’s father has already withheld an emotional relationship, his mom should make sure he also can’t give the material benefits the father is willing to provide. It’s not about her, it’s about him, and he’d be better off with no father but a paid for college education etc., than no father and also no advantages.

I think the OP is looking for a way to explain this to her son that is 1) true 2) something he can understand 3) not upsetting and 4) doesn’t make the father look bad in any way. I think the problem is that there just isn’t any such animal: the truth is upsetting. The father doesn’t love his son, and almost certainly never will. It feels like a rejection because it is. There is no true way to explain these things that won’t be upsetting.

If your ex- feels obligated to take care of you but not his son, then I’m saying this doesn’t make any sense to me.

Seriously, I’m not trying to be snarky here at all, I promise. But why not be 100% responsible financially? The law says he has to pay his share, of course. But let’s ignore that for a second. Morally/ethically speaking, why is it reasonable to expect him to forego investing in his son emotionally, but it’s unreasonable to expect him to do that financially?

Practically speaking, it makes sense to take D’s money, of course. But by the way you ask this question ("…since I’m the one who had the child, I should be 100 per cent responsible financially?"), you seem to think that D is morally obligated to care of him financially. I’m just wondering why you feel this way and how you square it with your acceptance of him as an absentee father.

I’m a little unclear on the source of the Father’s Day card. If the kid spontaneously made one on his own, then yes, that’s a sign that he’s looking for a father (figure).

If it was a class project, OTOH, that could explain why the father issue came up at school. In this case, the teacher needs a gentle smack over the head with a clue-by-four that Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) crafts might not be appropriate for all students to do in class.

We had to do something similar with a family tree assignment - our daughter didn’t have room for two daddies and two mommies and four sets of grandparents, and we all felt pretty insulted by the idea of “real” mommies and daddies at this age. It wasn’t a project on genealogy, but on “Families”…well, our family has more branches than that! Some students have fewer branches than the default. That assignment caused a number of families difficulty, and after we brought it to the teacher’s attention, she made it optional and agreed not to assign it with a predrawn template in the future and to explain that the children should draw as many branches as they need.

They had a premade family tree homework assign with blanks and you were supposed to fill it all out - mom, dad, grandparents, great grandparents, unlces, aunts, cousins, brother, sister, pet

and then make a huge one at school with a presentation with the Hebrew words for those things.