I wrote an article last week concerning a father’s ability to retain custody. I mentioned that the most important factor, in my opinion, was that the father needed to stay in the residence with the child (if possible) so that the mother of the child could not automatically assume the title of the primary caretaker. This primary caretaker title is important.
In traditional relationships, the mother typically assumes most of the caretaking. Even if she works, I advise my male clients to step up their involvement if they truly want to seek custody of their child. I tell them to get up in the middle of the night when it’s needed, instead of taking the easy approach and rolling over. Take time out of your day to coach your son’s baseball team. Teach your child to cook. Arrange to take your daughter to school. Make a doctor’s appointment…you get the idea.
Fathers, you don’t want to be labeled as the “fun parent.” The Disney land dad. If you really want to be the primary caretaker, you need to be the one doing the laundry, cleaning up the spills, soothing the nightmares. It’s not enough that you go to work and make the money for the family. That earns you the title of Breadwinner, but not the primary custodian.
I realize that there is not a lot of time in the day, and after a full day’s work, sometimes the last thing you want to do is homework. But dads who win custody are the dads that do the hard work, and not the ones who are sitting on the couch after work.