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4 tips for baby daddies on being present fathers

There’s nothing more sad in romance than a relationship starting out well between a man and a woman, they proceed to have a child and then the relationship turns sour and a break up is initiated- leaving everyone aggrieved and bitter. Baby daddy/baby mama relationships have an infamous reputation for being estranged, confrontational and sensitive to ‘explosion’ at the slightest provocation.

Quite often, when these relationships end, the woman ends up being the primary parent of the shared child; and often, this role is stereotyped that it turns these women into “bitter single mothers” while the men leave unscathed and untainted- save for an embattled heart which surprisingly takes short time to heal and they move on.

While the beef is between the parents, you often find that the child’s well-being sometimes slips through their fingers, leaving him neglected in certain areas. You may find that an aggrieved baby daddy will opt to leave both mother and child to their devices simply because the relationship did not work, or he turns into a dead beat father who shows up whenever he feels like it, disrupts routines and then disappears again.

But dear baby daddies, you have to come to a place of leadership and initiative in all this mess and decide to become present fathers without waiting for your baby mamas to find you, arrange ‘meetings’ for you with your child or take it upon herself to keep explaining your absence to your child to protect your image.

We understand you are hurt even if you do not want to show it but it will not be your baby mama’s duty to make sure you have a relationship with your child when you put in no effort. So, despite the bitter feelings you have towards your baby mama, here’s some tips on how you can continue being a present father to your kid/s despite being in the battle field with mum:

  1. There is no “kufa dereva, kufa makanga, kufa abiria” situation here. Your child has a separate identity and position in your life apart from their mother. Therefore, you must prioritize your child first. You must swallow all the bile you produce when you see your baby mama and smile like your child is an archangel heralding the second coming; and make sure they feel loved, wanted and cared for. Your fights have nothing to do with the child. When you see them, you are strictly dad, not an ex to mummy. Plan for eventful days with them that will keep their memories going until when they next see you.
  2. No matter the beef between you and your ex, you must put up a united front in front of the children and communicate respectfully with each other. Swallow that anger and wash it down with a chaser. This will go a long way in thawing things between you and your ex who will not end up limiting your time with the kids out of anger.  She may even arrange for you to spend more time with the children than when you were living with them in the same house. Keep your interactions with her light and friendly in front of the kids, then go fight in the messages or DMs later if things become unbearable.
  3. By now you are living in separate spaces and she probably has the child/ren. No matter these circumstances, be reliable and consistent in being a part of the kids’ lives. Agree to visitation days, custody days and shared schedules to ensure their lives are seamless and not interrupted by your former relationship. Do this actively such that they won’t even notice your odd absences and end up thinking you are away “at work” and only come when your boss gives you time.
  4. Co-parenting is not easy. You must also take care of yourself mentally and emotionally in order to present a sane and well-put-together father image in front of the children. Seek therapy or find someone who can walk with you in a healing journey so that you don’t end up bleeding on and poisoning the children against their mother. Only then will you be stable and able to be fully present for your children.

Do you have any more tips to share with us? Do let us know…

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