When you’re faced with divorce with kids it’s very easy to fall under the impression that women should automatically get primary custody because they gave birth and/or are likely to have played the role of the “primary caregiver” due to the traditional husband-wife dynamic.
Well I’m here to tell you that I too have felt this way when I got divorced. But by accident I figured out that I was completely wrong, and I’m honestly quite ashamed that I ever fell into the “golden uterus” mentality.
Let’s face it. A lot of times men play more of a back-seat role in parenting. But why is that? Is it because they don’t care about their kids? Is it because they would rather do more important things?
If you have ever questioned that, Mama, then you need to check yourself because you too just might have the “golden uterus” mentality.
So why do men often play the backseat role in a dual parent household?
They Know Mama Bear Has It
We women are very in-tune with the many needs of our children; especially in the infant stage. We’re more likely to take on the brunt of the work from the get-go because we are instinctually connected to our babies. We can hear the subtle squeals in our sleep while men cannot pick up on those high-pitched sounds as easily. We are genetically, physically, and mentally equipped to nourish and fulfill all needs of our child from day one.
Those are some pretty intimidating standards for a man to try to match! And if anything it should be a compliment to know that Dad trusts in us enough to let go of the reins and allow us to dominate in our natural-born area of expertise.
They Were Unhappy In The Marriage And Stayed Away
A lot of men are introverts, and my son’s dad certainly is. He was non-confrontational and preferred to avoid all of our problems. He spent majority of his time at work, mowing the lawn, in front of the grill, or glued in front of the TV during our marriage. We were unhappy, and he avoided facing that. Does that mean he was a horrible father? Does that mean he was incapable of being a present father? No.
The Mom Was Far Too Controlling, Overbearing Or Judgmental Of Dad’s Parenting Style Or Lack Of Knowledge So They Just Got Out Of The Way
If you were constantly being criticized of your abilities as a parent, or your opinion was never taken into consideration wouldn’t you just let “the expert” handle everything?
When my son was a baby his dad would often try to help, but I wouldn’t let him. I was completely controlling and often pushed him out of the way. Eventually the offers to help came less and less. I have no one to blame but myself for that. We were supposed to be a team, and I placed myself above him.
They Were The Breadwinner And Felt That Providing Financially To Sustain The Family Was The Fatherly-Role They Were Brought Up To Fulfill
Everyone is raised differently. Some men are under the impression that if their family is provided for, then they are succeeding as a father. Depending on the marriage dynamic that’s all that was expected of them from their wife as well.
Naturally when words of divorce are muttered, instinctually, women feel that they “deserve” custody of their children because they have put in the majority of the work. That fixed mindset is a huge threat to men. It can leave them feeling extremely hurt and betrayed because it may not have ever been communicated that their backseat role was ever a problem until the fight for custody came into play. They then feel attacked by their ex and by the family law system. So you’re either going to get one of two types of fathers during a divorce: the ones who choose to fight or the ones who choose flight.
The fighters realize the importance of their role in their child’s life, and don’t want that taken from them or their kids even if they haven’t really displayed the desire to play that role up until now.
Many of the ones who choose flight either realize they don’t stand a chance in the family law system and don’t want to waste their time or money fighting for something they know they won’t win, or they truly believe that a child is meant to be with their mom the majority of the time. Why wouldn’t they? It’s been beaten into our minds for generations that each gender fills a certain pre-conceived role in society, and traditionally a woman’s is to raise children.
But here we are in 2017 where equality for everyone, including gender equality, is prominent. More women than ever before are playing equal roles as providers for the family, working, and sharing parenting responsibilities. Yet even with all this change the current divorce mindset seems to put the “golden uterus” at the forefront.
My ex embodied all of those reasons for playing the backseat role above, but he was a fighter. He told me if I ever tried to take his son away from him that he would hate me forever and fight it. At that moment, I realized that maybe he cares a lot more about things than I thought he did. Shortly after we started co-parenting my schedule at work changed and my ex had my son 75% of the time for a whole year. I was terrified that he wasn’t going to be able to handle raising our son alone. I still tried to control his parenting style and quickly realized that it wasn’t my place, and it was actually doing more harm than good. I grew to understand that encouragement vs. criticism transformed his role as a father. He had it in him all along; he just needed some confidence…someone to believe in him.
Dads Are NOT Equal To Moms
Not by a longshot. But moms are not equal to dads either. Each role is equally as IMPORTANT to the children involved. So, before you get caught up thinking that you’re better or more worthy of custody… feel your pelvis…do you have a hard, heavy “golden uterus”?