The best of it
Over 20 years ago when we started our family, I noticed the emphasis on motherhood had moved from what was best for the child to what was best for the mom. Happy mom, Happy baby, so went the mantra. It struck me as selfish. My teen years had been marked with self-centredness which my long suffering mother had endured the worst of. I was happily maturing in my 20’s and in motherhood, I continued the journey from self- centeredness to other-centeredness. In essence I recognized why parenthood was a joint undertaking requiring a father and a mother. It wasn’t just because one of us required the occasional back up or break. Parenthood wasn’t about our needs alone. Parenthood needed both sexes because children needed both sexes. In essence, being a mother renewed my appreciation for my children’s father.
My mother raised me from my early teen years as a widow. I was dearly loved and supported. Still, there is no question that I missed out by not having a dad. I didn’t understand how boys thought, and why they behaved as they did. Instead, between my father’s absence and the rise of feminism, I thought what made boys different from girls just needed to be fixed. I had no notion that men and women were actually, physiologically and psychologically different. My upbringing had not been imbued with the complementary part of the male. I have a number of friends who also suffered from the absence or emotional neglect of one of their parents. However, from these experiences none of us inferred that that parent was superfluous. We all just made the best of it.
There is a role modeling that needs to take place from both a mother and a father, as well as the role modelling of their relationship. In fact for years, abusive husband and fathers were the topic of social change, precisely because their role was understood to be inherently influential. Weak and bad parenting whether from a mother or a father is not sufficient to re-design the family. It is a call for self-improvement not re-engineering.
In the absence of a father, we see how society has tried to fill the void. Uncles, grandfathers, friends, neighbours and teachers have all been the source of male influence before the steady diet of man- as- sexual- predator distorted our view of men. We’ve read how military parents appreciate the support of opposite-sex colleagues when a parent is on a mission. And Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa have been around for over 40 years and their numbers have gone through the roof. They fill the void. What void? The void of an opposite sex parent.
Research abounds. One study out of Concordia in 2011, another out of Oxford in 2012 and yet another out of the university of Connecticut, all published, and all conclude that dads are needed by their children. Really needed. Yet not until this time in history has homosexuality been used to fundamentally re-design parenthood and family. This re-design does not rest on what’s best for the child, but on what’s best for the adults. Unbiased studies however are showing that children from same sex couples do have worse outcomes. Until Professor Mark Regnerus’ study, which has withstood peer review, there were serious problems with results of other studies due to self-reporting and the total lack of random sampling. In a June 2012 Slate article, Professor Regnerus stated : “ On 25 of 40 different outcomes evaluated, the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families, displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents. Even after including controls for age, race, gender, and things like being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live, such respondents were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things. Why such dramatic differences? I can only speculate, since the data are not poised to pinpoint causes. One notable theme among the adult children of same-sex parents, however, is household instability, and plenty of it. The children of fathers who have had same-sex relationships fare a bit better, but they seldom reported living with their father for very long, and never with his partner for more than three years.”
I have no doubt that parents in a same sex relationship love their children or that their children love them. And love does cover a multitude of shortcomings. But it does not follow that it is the best environment for child development because inherently, it seeks to make irrelevant the opposite sex’s natural gifts to the mix.
Once I had reached early adulthood, I began giving my mother a Father’s day card on Father’s day, in addition to her annual Mother’s day card. She was pleased with my gratitude. And grateful I was, not because a father had been unnecessary, rather, because he had been but she had succeeded in making the best of it.