Dad’s not an option.

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Being a Dad isn’t like many other things in life like football or a job or higher education, it’s not a hobby or a choice, it’s a responsibility for life.  Marriage comes with divorce as a get out clause but fatherhood has no get out clause, it truly is a death do us part relationship.

Even an absentee father is ever-present in the mind of a child, Dads are an ever-present part of their daily life from TV shows, books, school, the playground and even when a Dad is present with a child at the shops or the conversation between two children comes up “my Dad is bigger than your Dad.”

A Dad can be a daily part of a family but still not present in their child’s life.  The pressure of work, bills and future plans, the odd jobs that need doing around the house all preoccupy a Dad from spending real-time with their kids.

This isn’t a judgement or to make Dads feel bad, because most Dad’s are doing the best they humanly can, however sometimes we all need a gentle reminder about our priorities as life runs away with us.

Remember that our children don’t need money more than they need Dad’s, even the poorest people in the world develop into intelligent well-rounded adults, it’s more often the children that have absentee Fathers that struggle the most as adults, low self-esteem, immaturity, emotional instability etc.  are often the results more commonly associated not with poverty but from not having a good relationship with a Dad.

A substitute Dad is a helpful accessory in a family with an absentee Father so long as he loves the children and embraces them as his own, however he will always be a step dad in the mind of a child and the need for their biological dad is still vital to the development of a child at least until they are grown up and understand life a little better.

Obviously if family life is really that bad to the point that you are a dad present in flesh but not in spirit you might be a more productive father living around the corner or nearby than one in the house but not actually there.

Never assume you aren’t important or your time or attention is a second thought after mum.  Just because mum “has it covered” with the violin concert or parents evening that doesn’t mean you aren’t an important part of these events , after all to make pasta you need wheat and water, if one ingredient is missing you don’t have pasta you just have wheat or water.

Something a little heavier but important, the number one killer of men under 35 in the UK is suicide and often the cause includes an absent Father through those all important childhood years.  Many of those that contemplated suicide have admitted how hard it was that their Dad wasn’t around.

We all know that mum’s find it harder to control their teenage boys and we also know that a child that can break boundaries are more prone to criminal or anti social behavior.  A good relationship with your children is vital to earn their respect as well. It is common knowledge that a teenage girl with a good relationship with her Dad is less likely to fall pregnant or sleep around looking for love from a male in all the wrong places.

We have one shot at being a Dad, one shot at giving our children a good childhood, one shot at giving them a head start at adult life and one shot at what type of care home they end up putting us in when they either look after us or get their own back.

So the long and short of it is that money wont buy quality time and quality time is the root of a childs needs.

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