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Facts & Arguments Podcast

I'm a better dad part-time

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Giving my wife custody of our child raised eyebrows, but there's no single right way to be a divorced parent ...Read the full article

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  1. Tim W. from Vancouver, Canada writes: I think it's a good thing that Mr Seeley gave up custody, because,from his description, he didn't seem like a very good father. It's sad, especially for his daughter. To me, it started with her birth. Yes, he was there, but going back the next day t work shows where his priorities were. Not with his family. hen she became older is horrifying, especially since it didn't sound
  2. S M from Canada writes: The author not a very good father? I think, from looking at my friends and cousins and siblings that he is a very typical father, whether it be bad or good.

    But I would suggest he is an excellent father - he might not have done it on purpose, or selflessly, but in the divorce he ended up putting the needs of his child first and not his own. How many fathers do that? For that matter, how many MOTHERS would do that?

    I have a very good friend - a single mother with full custody. She was having very bad financial and emotional problems, and was worried sick she would lose custody because of them. I asked, might it not be better for the child to be with the father, it only for awhile, while she sorted herself out? She basically said no, it would not be better, in fact it would kill her (the mother). I had to ask a few times, 'would it be better for the child', until she finally understood what I meant. How many parents are like this? They automatically believe the child is best with them without really thinking what is best for the child.

    She gave all her love to her child, and sacrificed everything that the author did not, but I'd pick the author over her for Parent-of-the-year any day.
  3. Denis Pakkala from St. Catharines, Canada writes: What is the purpose of this article?

    There are so many Canadian Fathers who want to be fully involved parents and not just a wallet and an occaisional visitor.

    This is an insult to all of the Canadian Fathers fighting for equality and the rights of their Children to have equal access to both parents.

    Maybe the Author should consider writing about those Fathers, who are so often ignored by the media.
  4. D N M from Canada writes: Hmm, my first post lost in cyberspace, let's try this again:

    Denis Pakkala from St. Catharines, Canada writes: 'What is the purpose of this article?

    There are so many Canadian Fathers who want to be fully involved parents and not just a wallet and an occaisional visitor.

    This is an insult to all of the Canadian Fathers fighting for equality and the rights of their Children to have equal access to both parents.'

    You totally missed the point. This man thought hard about what was best for his daughter and made the hardest decision he will ever have to make. He put his feelings aside for the well-being of his daughter, and it seems, from the article, he has no qualms with his ex so there is reason and maturity on both sides. He deserves all the accolades in the world. If more parents, both mothers and fathers behaved this way, the world, for children, would be a place.

    Grow up Denis.
  5. J Van der Woods from Canada writes: There is nothing in this article that convinces me Mr. Seeley is a good father, and my empathy is directed to his ex-wife and daughter. The responsibilities assumed in parenting are most often carried heavily by the mother of the child... they carry not only the workload (often double or triple if they themselves have a career as well), but they also handle the emotional burdens of having children and looking after their well-being, even with a fully involved second parental figure.... having a supportive husband and father eases the load, but does not make it entirely equal.... and going at it alone is a commitment and workload unmatched by any other responsibility in life.

    For the ex-wife in the situation, having an ex-husband and part-time father who thinks they are a martyr for such a cause by 'giving up custody' is representative of simply having a second child around, someone who needs to be taken care of as opposed to stepping up their understanding of obligation and responsibility. I am surprised when individuals defend these actions as 'giving things up' when it seems to me that Mr. Seeley never gave up anything, given he failed to be involved in any aspect of his daughters life from the start (returning to work the next day and sleeping while the baby cried).... I wonder if these fathers have any clue about the ramifications of neglecting responsibility guised under the 'holier than thou' loving/adoring father who sacrifices their bond with their daughter in order to give her a better life...

    From what I understand, exclude and neglect are not words that should be easily substituted for one another...
  6. ginny smith from Canada writes: Denis, if you could look beyond your bluster, you'd see that this is in the 'facts and arguments' section, where people are invited to bring in their own experiences. The author is not speaking for all fathers; he's speaking for himself. And that's enough.

    The father sounds like he recognised his role as a father when he 'gave up' that role. He also recognises his limitations. And those are both good things. Because honestly, you can only begin to be a good parent when you acknowledge the limitations of your parenting. None of us is perfect, even when we'd like to be so that we can brandish our moral superiority over others.
  7. ginny smith from Canada writes: J Van der Woods from Canada, I don't think he's being holier than thou - he's pointing to the fact that *other* people thought he was being a martyr, that other people thought he was 'giving something up'. He seems pretty aware of the fact that he wasn't as involved as he could have been and that most of the parental care and responsibility was taken by his wife, not by him. Don't read more in than what's there. You know what, though? He doesn't sound so very much different from my own dad - or, for that matter, most of the dads of other kids I knew growing up - though my parents didn't divorce. My dad wasn't at home after I was born; he was out of the house 11 hours per day and saw us for a maximum of three hours per day and he made very few decisions concerning our care, because that was seen as my mom's role. Just as supporting him was seen as her role. Times are different now. The majority of my male friends who are dads are actively involved in their children's lives...but there is still very, very little actual co-parenting out there, where parenting is shared actually 50-50. in most cases, it is moms who research childcare, preschool, and afterschool programs, it is moms who purchase presents for children's parties and plan parties, it is moms who plan holidays and family vacations and moms who ensure that the household stuff is bought and that healthy meals are on the table. And this is the case even when moms and dads are _both_ working full time. And society, in general, doesn't see this as inequality - even though it is - for BOTH women and men. A case in point: when my husband (a full coparent) goes out with our children, he regularly gets asked if he's 'giving mom some time off'. No, he's not - he's enjoying his time with the kids; he's having an adventure of his own - he's being a Dad. Why is this so strange, even now?
  8. K M from to, Canada writes: I think this guy was a not so good parent who became a good parent and an exceptional divorced parent.

    Hopefully this essay will inspire parents who are undergoing a divorce to put the children's needs first, rather than their own. The children should always primarily reside with the parent who can provide the most stable and emotionally supportive environment. Unfortunately, there are too many mothers and other people out there who just assume this is environment is with the mom.
  9. Tom G from Canada writes: Writing an article about parenting, reflecting about it--that's more than most father's would do. You go, boy!
  10. S M from Canada writes: Reread the beginning of the article - kind of telling the reasons his family and friends gave for keeping custody. The grandparents were afraid of losing contact. The friends were afraid he was a doormat. Nothing about the child.

    I wonder though, in this case and others, that one reason that some fathers just don't involve themselves in parenthood is that the mother wanted children a lot more, and they agreed. I don't mean that they were doing it out of spite, but I can think of a lot of examples that couples had children mostly because the mother wanted them. Might only be natural not to be 'so into it' if you weren't really into it before it all began.

    Of course, now everyone will say, 'Then you shouldn't have had children if you weren't for it 100%' but it's not so simple. Who is really 100% sure ahead of time? Probably a lot of mothers are like 80-90% sure, but the fathers are more 50-60%, so they go along with it. You probably really know until they are born..
  11. kat i from Whitby, Canada writes: J Van der Woods from Canada, you are absolutely right. At the same time, I feel and understand the frustrations of the author. Let's not be too harsh on him. I commend him for writing such an honest piece about self-reflection.

    Richard Seeley, your daughter is going to need you to be there for her more and more as she enters into her teenage years. Be there for her because she DOES need you.
  12. K SD from Stratford, Canada writes: I think this author is very brave and furthermore, more honest than most people, which is more than the collective 'we' can hope for when it comes to the effect that divorce has on children.

    To know oneself, one's limitations and to be able to accept those is a gift and in the long term, a blessing. I'm happy to know that this father is not just going through the paces as many in his situation would.

    As parents, none of us are infallible. The point of parenting I've always said is to leave as little a dent in our children as possible based on our own flaws and foibles and this is precisely what this father figured out how to do just that. Good on 'im.
  13. dick brown from missy, Canada writes: The reality is this father probably enjoys his freedom from the shackles of marriage and child rearing. I am sure he loves his child but doesn't want to pay the price in terms of time to raise the child equally with her mother. Instead, he chooses the easy way out and adopts a 'buffet' style approach to parenting. In reality he chose himself, not his daughter. Maybe that is good for his daughter. You reap what you sow.
  14. fin clarke from Toronto, Canada writes: Love, forgiveness, understanding, honesty, kindness, openness are all present and on-going in this story.

    I support and applaud Mr Seeley for what he did and what he did not do.

    Mr Seeley demonstrated love of self and love of others in remaining a responsible parent to THEIR children. Their children will learn that people can work things out, especially some of the most difficult things....feelings, his own, his partner's and his children's.
  15. K Kennedy from Montreal, Canada writes: I'm HONEST about not being a good parent, so I CHOOSE to quit my responsibilities and leave them to the mother.... OH HOW SELFLESS OF YOU MR. SEELEY!

    Following suit of the honesty talk, I would HONESTLY love to see how the children of parents who quit their responsibilities feel about them, and what they learn about the concept of giving up or persevering... cheers to our future generations, the off-spring of honest parents!
  16. John Collier from Durban, South Africa writes: I want the child!

    I want the child!!

    Bring out the judicial sword and divide the child.

    You did the right thing man.
  17. K Kennedy from Montreal, Canada writes: Ginny Smith, so wonderful, candid and frank of you to speak about attempts at perfection and the notion of moral superiority over others when, all the while, you sit and criticize the thoughts of those who post before you...
  18. N M. from Canada writes: I applaud his decision. So many parents sacrifice their children instead of themselves after a divorce. Ferrying a child back and forth between parents every week is not the security a child needs.
  19. Tango Zulu from Canada writes: So a lousy parent is justifying the parenting decisions they've made since their child was born, and it's now being passed off as a selfless act in the child's best interest.

    Fact is Mr. Seely, your child was never your priority, you probably should not have been a parent to begin with.
  20. L H from Canada writes: 'Because I don't see her every day, I have much more tolerance for the behaviours that used to frustrate me. I offer comfort instead of scorn if she misses her mother when she's away on a business trip.'

    Mr. Seeley, I am trying very hard not to pass judgment on your situation, since I know very little of the day to day realities. But in writing the above, you consciously chose the word 'scorn'. Scorn? You offered scorn to your daughter when she missed her mother???

    Holy smokes. No wonder our world is so messed up.
  21. Man of La Mancha from Canada writes: Tom G from Canada writes: Writing an article about parenting, reflecting about it--that's more than most father's would do. You go, boy!

    Tom - I take exception to your remark that most fathers don't reflect on parenting. That has not been my experience and I believe that your comment is an insult to the majority who take their parenting responsibilities seriously. In my opinion the author or the article is someone who did not take his responsibilities seriously and largely opted out of parenting when it no longer suited him. There is help available to learn better parenting skills, if that is indeed the issue.
  22. fin clarke from Toronto, Canada writes: Mr Seeley and his partner decided to become parents. Mr Seeley and his partner decided to remain parents. Mr Seeley is being honest and transparent.
    Who among us has never lost patience, shown anger, been insensitive to others?
    You cannot 'unring a bell' but you can learn from your decisions. Mr Seeley is learning and sharing his learnings.
    I feel stronger in my approach to living and parenting knowing that people in our society are offering such pointed comments.
    My son comes home every day wondering why people are harsh. 8 year olds are replaying what they witness in their daily life. I tell him that life is about loving one self and one another. I wish you all well as you learn to love and live.
  23. Lee Turner from Canada writes: For airing his faults, openly and honestly, to a lynchmob of anonymous, reactionary, sanctimonious 'holier than thous'shows a lot of courage on Mr Seely's part.

    Who among us is perfect? Who of you are a 'perfect' parent? K kennedy, your crap does indeed stink, don't act like it doesn't. If you took your head out, maybe you'd see you're far from perect your self. My father 'quit his responsibilities' long before my parents divorced, his addiction problem was destroying our family. And you want to know how I feel? I love my dad, he was a sick man at the time and has spent the rest of his life making up for it, giving up his responsibilities was the best thing he could have done in our situation.
  24. Bo Causer from Japan writes: Not everyone is a parent. For many it's only the reality of parenthood that makes this apparent, but then what? Mr. Seeley seems to have reached an arrangement which everyone in his family seems to be at peace with. It is not for any of us to judge that; families all have their own unique chemistry. For those who realize that being a parent is beyond their abilities AFTER a child is born, our society provides very little in the way of options.
    I live in a country (not Canada) where the man is expected to spend at least 12 hours a day, 6 days a week at work to provide (read pay) for his family, while never seeing them. My students (whom I love to pieces, and who are children) don't know anything about their fathers. The fathers that I have taught have by and large never had any interest or experience for needing patience with their children. I think this is sad, but for them it is normal. All child rearing is done by the mothers, even if they work full time. I'm a woman. I couldn't hack this kind of life, though I love living in this country and I love kids--when they go home to their parents at the end of the day. So many people want to judge others, but everyone is doing what they think is best.

    Canadians especially are fortunate in that both the mother and father can talk about and think about what their roles can and will be. Here, and in so many countries, those conversations just don't happen because the roles are dictated by society. You can't choose when you don't know there are options. And that leads to a whole lot more domestic violence, abuse and unhappiness than when you can have an open conversation about what is best for you and those whose lives you enter into. So judge Mr. Seeley if you will, and enjoy the freedom to make that judgement. Only in Canada and perhaps a handful of other countries is this even a possibility.
  25. Ocean Lover from Canada writes: Your honestly is refreshing. I cringed, though, in reading about how you treated your child before you were divorced. It seems that you feel good about playing a secondary role in her life and it also seems that you and the child's mother have something that works. I'm not going to throw you a parade but good for you for finding a solution that appears to work for all involved. That does not seem to be an easy feat for many couples.
  26. dick brown from missy, Canada writes: Lee...courage is a man who raises his children....not an essay writer.
  27. Chrissy Simon from Canada writes: I thought this was one of the saddest essays I've read. I'm glad Mr. Seeley's little girl has a mother who is willing to step up to the plate be a responsible parent. What would have happened to this child if her mother had also decided it's easier being a part-time parent?
  28. A person from Toronto, Canada writes:

    I think this guy is a terrible parent. His daughter will do quite well with only limited exposure to his immaturity and awful parenting instincts.
  29. Tim W. from Vancouver, Canada writes: Bo Causer,

    By your logic, women shouldn't complain about being discriminated against because most of the rest of the world does it. We shouldn't have rallied against slavery because most of the rest of the world participated in it.

    You want to justify Mr Seeley being a bad parent because most of the rest of the world's dads are.

    No, not everyone is a parent, but Mr Seeley is, whether he likes it or not. Mr Seeley wanted his freedom over his responsibility, and he justified it by claiming that he's better that way. Too bad his wife didn't have the same choice. Maybe she just realized that she needs to act like a parent.
  30. One Voice from Canada writes: 'This man thought hard about what was best for his daughter and made the hardest decision he will ever have to make.'

    So sad, to bad like all the men and women who divorce didn't think what was best when it counted the most. Relationship's whether between husband and wife, children or friends requires work and commitment. You actually have to choose to do the things that build a relationship and it will cost you your precious time. To few people are willing to go down this road because thier lives revolve around themselves. Society has been driven to the 'it's all about me' mentality. The hard decision is to give of yourself for the benefit of others. As a husband and father I have learned it is not about me but my wifes and childrens happiness and needs. Am I perfect, not by a long shot, yet i am always working to better myself for the benefit I can be to others. My joy is my family not the things of this world that distract you tho in themselves in there rightfull place there is nothing wrong with things.

    I that hope someday people will recognize the value of a husband and wife in the mutual raising of healthy children. Of course that can only begin with healthy husband and wife relationships first.
  31. Samantha ramesar from toronto, Canada writes: He seems like a thoughtful man. Only his daughter can say if he's a good father.

    All the rest of you - stop passing judgement on someone you hardly know. Go out there and give examples of your own interactions with your kids or loved ones. Then be brave enough to lay it bare for total strangers to read.

    I dare you.
  32. dick brown from missy, Canada writes: to elaborate?
  33. Tim W. from Vancouver, Canada writes: Samantha ramesar: 'Go out there and give examples of your own interactions with your kids or loved ones. Then be brave enough to lay it bare for total strangers to read.'

    I quit the only job I ever enjoyed when my oldest was born in order to stay home with her. I don't let them watch television because it's better for them, even though it would be easier for me to plunk them in front of it. I make sure they eat healthy all the time, even though it would be easier to give them something processed. I buy them organic milk, fruit and vegetables, even though it costs more. I make sure I'm there to take them to school and pick them up every day. I make sure I listen to them, even when I'm busy. I get up in the night with them when I need to. I try and be an example to my children and never go by the adage, do as I say, not as I do. I take an interest in everything they do. I know the names of all their friends, and know the parents of all their friends. I know what they like and don't like.

    Sometimes, I lose patience with them and raise my voice. Sometimes, I get annoyed when they bother me and I'm trying to do something. Sometimes I enjoy getting away from them and having some me time, however rare that is.

    Justifying giving up responsibility (while heaping it on your ex-wife) by listing the things you don't think you do well as a parent doesn't mean I'm going to praise you. Mr Seeley thinks he's being selfless when he is not. I'm not going to give him kudos because he telling us why.
  34. Interest from the West from Canada writes: It's amazing how people can rationalize their self-absorbed behavior. This man (I say that loosely) lives a block away and doesn't see his young daughter every day? He basically put the entire parenting load on his ex-wife and then pats himself on the back for realizing he's a completely useless tool. No effort required to grow up and change, just dump the whole load on her mother. He's very lucky his ex-wife is a saint, how else can you describe someone who basically has put up with his crap for years for the sake of her daughters well-being. I deliberately say HER daughter, as he has abrogated his responsibilities and now plays the role of the fun uncle who can see her at HIS convenience and send her home to her parent when he gets bored or it gets too difficult.

    Of course he has a great relationship with his daughter now. It's due to the actions of his ex-wife and her understanding that her daughter needs at least the appearance of 2 parents to nuture her well-being. His daughter is too young and probably is not aware of her custody arrangements. His parents can thank the stars that at least he married right - to bad his ex-wife hadn't.
  35. kevin o'connor from Canada writes: This seems a very self indulgent, self congratulatory article. Maybe he's a wonderful man and father I don't know, but the way he's shaped his argument to fit his interests and circumstances gives me the willies.... and a palpable sense of dishonesty about this essay.
  36. Ben Gisby from Calgary, Canada writes: You get out what you put in.

    His actions imply he's not interested in a very engaging (by my standards) relationship with his daughter. The details he provides are ridden with submissive 'let the wife be my daughter's true parent relationship', but there is a contradiction in the deep-seeded guilt he constantly feels. So he himself seems to know down deep that he's not living up to what he thinks someone should be as a father.

    Given the burden he sees 'child discipline' as and the abusive tendencies of intimidation and verbal abuse it's probably best for everyone involved that he maintain the distance he's found is comfortable for him. Reading this makes me feel fortunate that I put in much more effort to keeping my family socially healthy than he has, so I expect to get much more out of my family than he will. Again, you get out what you put in.
  37. Patrick The Christian Warrior from Canada writes: I am willing to predict that when she looks back years from now, she'll be able to see her relationship with her father in a positive light, which might not have been the case had the separation not happened. >>> Mr. Seeley, for crying out loud, you are an absent father. Your daughterís resentment over your absenteeism will pour unto you when she became a broken adult and you will feel her bitterness and her wrath in your old age. I guess this is not your fault because your father didnít provide you a good role model either. So, this is how it is. When a child reaches a level of maturity, usually around the age of 8, both boy/girl grows beyond the need of a motherís nurture; they seek an authority figure to follow, usually the father. From that point forward, your daughter will worship you like a hero; every word spoken from your lips, everything you do or to others, are considered absolute and they will copy you regardless of right or wrong. You have only 4-5 years of coaching, to set them on the right path before becoming a teenager. Once became a teenager, they wanted to try out their independence with your coaching in the real world, you role here will be reduced to counsellor only. Meaning, they will observe you and only come to you if they want your counsel, your uninvited rants/nags will only fall onto death ears. Hopefully, with good coaching/counselling in a childís growing years will create a young, happy, and productive adult, and become a good instrument for the LORD and the world. But by being an absent father, you will surely drink the bitterness in your old age for what you have sowed today. Hopefully, itís not too late. Have a good discussion with your ex and examine possible ways how you can become more involved.
  38. boozle canada from Ottawa, Canada writes: Makes me want to get the story from the wife's perspective... or the daughter's (in 10 years).

    If you consciously realize that you are being a bad parent... why not try harder?
  39. Interest from the West from Canada writes: boozle canada: That takes work and this guy's already shown that he's just not that into her.
  40. An Opinion from Canada writes: I wonder what the forum responses would have been if the author had been a woman and she chose to be a part-time mother? Also, it would be interesting to know what the ex-wife's opinion is on this.

    Frankly, the author seems to have been uninterested in the self-sacrifice and patience to be a fully committed father from the beginning. Sad, but true for some men (including some I know).
  41. Peter Stern from Toronto, Canada writes: While this father did what he thought was right, I will never be like him.

    Note that I'm separated and I have two kids... and I have no problem with tears when the kids are alone with me.
  42. An Opinion from Canada writes: Should have read - 'Sad, but true for some men AND women (including some I know).'
  43. Cut The Crap from Canada writes: This guy gave up trying.

    When I lived with my ex I could have described myself in similar ways in the first years. I came to see how my son's mother was a notorious gatekeeper on everything to do with our son. I did not have an honest legitimate relationship with my son when we lived together because she dictated everything, how it was done, when it was done.

    We separater before he was three, and did everything she could do to continue to dictate the minutae of my relationship with my son. I had to completely break away from her, but in the end I got share custody, and the best possible relationship with my son (who is now 10) that I could imagine.

    This guy sounds to me like he has accepted the role dictated to him from the mother since day one. He resented the mother for controlling him. That's probably why he and his daughter developed such a tense and strained relationship.

    I think this is a sad case, but maybe in future years his daughter will reach out to her father and his side of the family.
  44. Jen Smith from United Kingdom writes: Let's look at the facts here- You emotionally abused your daughter because you didn't know how to be a parent. You didn't do this for her sake, you did it for yourself. You're selfish and disgusting. I hope she never speaks to to you again, because no one deserves a parent like you. Rot in hell.
  45. dick brown from missy, Canada writes: Jen...awesome...u go girl! :-)
  46. margaret frances from Toronto, Canada writes: I also felt, when I read this, that it sounded mostly like a control issue with his wife. But instead of addressing it and trying to resolve it with his wife, which an adult would do, he turned his daughter into his scapegoat. Cowardly, childish, and pathetic. I don't have to wonder too hard what his relationships with the other women in his life are like.

    I too feel his daughter is better off with minimal involvement with him. She may not hate him when she's older, but she WILL figure out he's not the kind of person who is worthy of respect.
  47. D Adam from Cambridge, Canada writes: I'm not entirely convinced the author gave up custody because he felt it was best for his daughter. It would seem he found parenting to be a difficult and frustrating job (which it often is) and used the separation from his wife as a excuse to relieve himself of the pressure. This is obviously speculation on my part and I hope for the sake of the child that I'm wrong.

    What I can say for sure is that you would have to abduct me, take me to another continent and chain me to a wall to keep me from seeing my daughter's beautiful smile each and every morning. And no job in the world would have pried me from her and her mother's side that week in hospital after her birth.
  48. Sue W from Canada writes: The man has the guts to at least admit it. Some people just refuse to face reality that they too would be better parents on a 'part-time' basis, or not being parents at all. Unfornately it's too late to turn back the clock once the kids have arrived.
  49. Cut The Crap from Canada writes: The guy deserves neither praise nor condemnation. Men, and fathers in particular, are under attack from every angle today. It should come as no surprise that some give it up. I don't think I'd have the energy to go through this again.

    It is dead easy for a mother to interfere with a father's relationship in the home, and through divorce. In fact, it is almost encouraged. It is a terrible time in history, in North America, to be a father. That is a disgrace to humanity, not to the father's who have the will beaten out of them.

    If I had not left my marriage when my son was very young I may well have ended up like the guy in this story. Perhaps I was fortunate that my ex was an utter tyrant in that it forced me to make the break.

    After a year or so by myself I was amazed at how wonderful it was to finally get a chance to be a father; a chance to create and build my own relationship with my son.

    In fact I didn't feel like a father until I was on my own. I would never under-estimate an abusive women's ability to destroy a man.
  50. w b from Canada writes: Wow..

    As a father who is going through a divorce and doing and spending everything i have to ensure I see my children this article really makes me mad.

    Why is it even written? This just blows my mind. For all those who read his own lawyer pointed out...This is not normal. This guy is messed.

    Thank you to the globe and mail for making my fight even harder...
  51. Bird Shop on Broadway from Canada writes: Me, me, me, me, me. That entire story was about himself, not his daughter. How he felt. Why it was good for him. And he thinks he's a good parent now.
  52. Suburban Sisyphus from Canada writes: Interesting strategy to becoming a "better" father: divorce, relinquish all parenting responsibility to the mother, and spend considerably less time with one's child; and then congratulate oneself for doing so.

    I should try a similar approach to become a better employee at work: cut my work load from 40 hrs/week to 5 hrs/week and have my co-worker make up for it. I'll be less stressed, easier to work with, and therefore a much better co-worker.
  53. D Mores from GTA, Canada writes: I'm not surprised at the quick judgments the posters here have of the writer. If they knew more, I don't think they would be as quick to criticize the dad, because these posters themselves have likely committed transgressions--different, but real nonetheless--as parents.

    We live in glass houses, yet we still throw stones.
  54. Charlie Delta from Canada writes: I support the writer's decision even if it was not initially made for the right reason.

    I think all the posts here have to do with treating the problem rather than preventing it. It should not be our god given right to have children. There should be a professional exam - no different from technical or trades jobs. Those who don't pass, are not allowed to be parents and thus should reduce some of these post-divorce reflections. I can't understand why people on low incomes or welfare often have more children than people with financial stability. Another example of parents who don't put their children's future first.
  55. Mike Dauphinee from Canada writes: Denis Pakkala from St. Catharines, Canada wrote: What is the purpose of this article?
    There are so many Canadian Fathers who want to be fully involved parents and not just a wallet and an occaisional visitor.
    This is an insult to all of the Canadian Fathers fighting for equality and the rights of their Children to have equal access to both parents.
    As a extremely involved"partime father"(Not By choice, THANK YOU TO THE CANADIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM). I am disgustedby the article and the postings on this site accepting and reasoning with a person who out right admits to being "neglectful" and then instead of stepping up and rectifying his faults and mistakes like an ADULT, he choose to forfeit on a large part of his responsibilities, therin choosing himself first.
    It is an insult to fathers who work hard to be involved and break the chains of a discriminating society who refuse to recognize that children are better off with equal time with both parents. That is what thinking of the child means. The children want both parents.
    People like Mr. Seeley helpthe cause of the people and systems that move to push fathers from real involment.
    Mr Seeley if you and people who feel like you want to be QUITTERS then do it in private away from the rest of us.
  56. Sally Hemmings from United States writes: Men need to ask themselves this: If the kid's MOTHER behaved the same way as I do, would the kid get the care he or she needs to become a healthy adult? If the answer is no, then you're a jerk who isn't doing your share. That's all there is to it.

    The author should be aware of the numerous studies that have shown strong relationships between child IQ and paternal involvement. As far as I can tell from what he has written here, he is a selfish jerk, and a loser, who is demonstrating the self-absorption of an adolescent. No wonder he got divorced. I feel sorry for his ex-family.
  57. Sally Hemmings from United States writes: PS: Bo Causer, maybe the situation you're describing is at the heart of Japan's rapidly, dangerously, declining birth rate? If I was born into such a social system that works to divide the family against itself to such a degree I'd take my ovaries and go home as well. Did you know that there wasn't one private battered women's shelter in Tokyo until the 2000's? You're right we should all be thankful that we live in countries that allow people to have far greater choice in how we form our families and when and why, but the author emotionally abandoned his family, the same way Japanese men do, by not participating in a meaningful way. It's still not ok even if it is evidence of "freedom". I'm sure his ex wife and daughter don't feel any freer because of his choice.
  58. Fred Garvin MP from Canada writes: Jen Smith from United Kingdom writes: Let's look at the facts here- You emotionally abused your daughter because you didn't know how to be a parent. You didn't do this for her sake, you did it for yourself. You're selfish and disgusting. I hope she never speaks to to you again, because no one deserves a parent like you. Rot in hell.


    I suspect that one of the main reasons that Mr. Seeley did what he did was because his ex-wife had an attitude very similar to your own. That would certainly be a lose-lose situation. Get a life lady.
  59. Georgia An from Canada writes: We all wish life was black and white. There are a lot of important nuances in Mr. Seeley's article. Did he wish to participate more when his child was born and found it difficult to interfere with the mom-baby bonding? As a mom, I try to think of ways in which my husband can form an early bond with the children. Bottle feeding a baby once or twice a day with dad is not a bad thing for example. Luckily my husband wants to participate and shoulders a lot of the childcare.

    I have to say though that I cringed when I read an earlier poster describe his ex- spouse as a controlling gate keeper for the child and I wonder if I've been guilty of that sin a few times. As a weak defense, I will tell you that I have had several nurses and doctors inform me that as a mother, I must indeed act as a gate-keeper; keep the baby safe, warm, well fed etc etc. No one has said those words to my husband. There are certainly conflicting messages sent out to moms and dads. The magic is in trying to find the right balance and wanting your children to form a healthy bond with both parents.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, the relationship between the parents is often the foundation for the child-parent issues and I try to keep that in mind every day with my spouse and I admit I am not always successful. We don't know the underlying issues in Seeley's relationship break-down. Quite often both people have responsibility for the state of the relationship. The sleep deprivation, worry and amount of work that goes into raising young children can wear people down and bring out their worst traits.
    I remember listening to a church sermon where the minister stated that couples most often came in for counseling once their children were born. As newly-weds, my husband and I looked at each other like that was the silliest thing we had heard. Who would need counseling once their precious and adorable children were born?!
  60. K Wilde from United States writes: You remind me of my father. When I was a little girl he spent more time scaring me than parenting. As I got older and he lost his "scare factor" I started ignoring him as much as he ignored me when I needed a parent.

    We haven't spoken in 10 years.

    Hope you're looking forward to it.
  61. Kath Halloran from Canada writes: Mr. Seeley is not a better parent part-time. What Mr. Seeley is, in fact, is a phrase that would probably not make it past the moderators. He is also not a parent - he is a misogynist bully that needs to seriously look at what so threatened him about being father to a female child that he needed to systematically berate, belittle and terrorize a child. And that is the tragedy - even without Mr. Seeley in her life, his daughter will still grow up to wonder what it was about her that her father disliked so much that he would treat her that way. And when that day comes, and it will, I hope someone passes her this essay so that she can, I hope, understand that her father's unspeakably selfish, childish cowardice in the face of parenthood was not her fault.
  62. Mike Murphy from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada writes: I find it interesting people are calling him honest, doing the right thing et al. Heck Justice Brownstone would love him as he's Brownstones kind of parent.

    Notwithstanding all that the author is a lazy parent and didn't measure up. Its plain, its simple, its true. I would be embarrassed to tell people how lazy I was. Perhaps his daughter will read this some day and wonder if he really did love her. Where is the passion a parent should have for the child. It sounds like he sulked because of the bond formed between mom and daughter and gave up early on.

    Yes he clearly did the right thing in giving up custody but he does a disservice to other dads who try as best they can to stay in their children's lives sometimes spending tens of thousands of dollars. I'd call him indifferent to parenting and very selfish. He wasn't thinking of his daughter he was thinking of himself. It permeates the column.

    Lets get a presumption of equal shared parenting upon divorce for those of us who want to be involved in our children's lives each and every day just like we were before the ex ran off.
  63. Michael Coffey from Nolalu, Canada writes: The content is well thought out and I think the guy who read it has a really nice voice. The next time I want to send an angry e-mail I want that guy to narrate it for me so I can send the .wav file instead and the person receiving it may not be as angry.
    For those who choose to "send the negative waves" you need to smell the roses a bit. You are probably the same people who discriminate against people on a racial or sexual basis. Whats right for one person may not always be right for another. What it really comes down, not only in Mr. Seeleys case, but for everyone and everything is ....... "Is everyone happy". In his case I think his family can say "yes". Can you say the same.....? Judging from some of the content above some of you may have some work to do....
  64. Mike Murphy from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada writes: Michael Coffey from Nolalu, Canada writes: The content is well thought out and I think the guy who read it has a really nice voice. The next time I want to send an angry e-mail I want that guy to narrate it for me so I can send the .wav file instead and the person receiving it may not be as angry.
    For those who choose to "send the negative waves" you need to smell the roses a bit. You are probably the same people who discriminate against people on a racial or sexual basis. Whats right for one person may not always be right for another.
    So you think the easthetics are nice and they assuage your feelings of warm and fuzziness. Not too mention yoiu are also a pop pyschologistit finding that people who thinks this guy was a lousy parent to start with are also racist and take your pick) 1. Mysogonisticic 2.) patriarchal 3) Homophobic 4:) All of the above.,

    Thank you kindly for your insights. Do you have a degree in psychology and do you take on new customers who might be able to use your wonderful insights into "being happy". You do set a low bar for happiness don't you but Justice Brownstone would most assuredly commend you if you showed up in his court as a very fine fellow willing to make everyone happy by giving up your right to be a dad.

    It is in the best interest of the child to know one of their parent's doesn't want to be a real parent isn't it.

    I think we can all agree this guy did the right thing but that doesn't mean he deserves congratulations. He has very clearly shown his capabilities as a parent and they are lacking.
  65. BC Philosopher from Canada writes: The article is a thoughful take on a hard choice a man made. From the description of what was going on he agonizes over it but hopes it was the right choice, and honestly it sounds like maybe it is. For a great many of you commenters you are pushing your psychological damage onto this mans situation. Your burdens, your hatreds, and your bitterness. Marriage and divorce cannot be painted with one brush each situation is different and must be understood that there is one answer for each situation. Many of you have flung such hatred at this poor man that you should stand back and look down at your feet in shame, it is disgusting the level of bile being spilled here. He outright acknowledges that he was a bad parent and that he gave custody to the mother because he knew he was a bad parent. He is less there now but honestly he wasn't there before and I can tell you as the child of a divorce it is far better to have less interactions but positive ones than it is to have lots of crappy ones. The worst naturally being rare crappy ones. This man sounds to have done what was wisest for himself and for the child. As she gets older he will need to take a bigger role in her life as she will need the male role model, this is 100% true but we cannot judge the man based on perceptions of what has not even happened yet. My father was rarely ever there for me growing up less so the older I got. He wasn't there because his new wife made it difficult and he took the easy route and bowed to it. Now I am an adult with a strained relationship with my own father, a man I share so many traits with that we should be so much closer. But unlike him I will be there for my children some day no matter what. Many other posters put it right, so many of you preach and decry him and call him a slacker an absent dad and a bad parent. He made the best decision for his daughter he was not capable of being a good full time parent. Better a good part time than an abusive full time.
  66. Mike Murphy from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada writes: @BC Philosopher from Canada writes:

    What you and others are missing completely from this article is this guy has "blown" the most important job he will ever have in the world. To be a parent. Be as dismissive of it as you wish. Pat him on the back like a child and say "there, there."

    He is an adult. He has choices. He could try and be a good parent or he could be a visitor in his child's life. He can turn that around any day he wants because he is an adult with free will. Those of us who want to be in our children's lives, and cannot be, do not suffer this kind of foolishness easily. If he is lazy now what makes you think he will be any better later. Is he taking the easy road for himself and doing his daughter a disservice. You bet. You can be an apologist all you want but I still scratch my head over why a grown man would publicize to the world how big a failure he is as a dad. Is this the new way for lazy parents to bare their souls and seek solace from those of the same type. Pity the children...
  67. BC Philosopher from Canada writes: Mike I am not missing anything I had an absent father, my father made the choice to not be a big part of my life, and the part he played was poor at best. Believe me I know this point to a degree well beyond what you might imagine, don't presume so much on your soap box. I would have killed for a father whose role in my life was positive even if moderate, and living on the same block as the kid, mine lived a days drive away from me. It is not an all or nothing game, would it be better if he could be a full time positive parent for his child? 100% better I completely agree, but at least his role is positive and not negative. Apologist? you are ridiculous, only fools and children work in absolutes those of us with any intelligence and understanding as to how the real world and how hard it is on all of us realizes all things are shades of grey. I am not saying that he is doing all he could, no I wish he'd do more, he should do more, but at least what he is doing is positive. I know kids whose parents were toxic and around 100% of the time and I can tell you that is not a good role either. While I can see there is a story to you and something that makes you extra passionate about it, you can have an open mind instead of raging into the darkness against the demons that oppress you. If you want to be there 100% for your children I applaud you because when I have children I will demand no less from myself. My father was not there for me and when he was it was often toxic, I would have been overjoyed to have what this young girl has if her dad is at least around and a loving presence when he is. Perhaps you need to get over your own rage and suffering and acknowledge that other people suffer too and that sometimes even a small comfort can help with large pains.
  68. Mike Murphy from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada writes: @BC Philosopher from Canada writes:

    You mistake passion for rage. You are trying to see good in people and that is commendable. I see failure to live up to the responsibilities this person took on as a dad. Given I have spent thousands of dollars, and lost years of my life pursuing the parenthood I lost to the systemically dysfunctional and biased family court I am not objective and do not apologize for it. I will not stop trying to be that loving parent to my children until I have no breath because they are the precious fruit of two parents - not one. Life is too short to waste precious time in being mediocre to your progeny. If i were younger perhaps I would be more tolerant. I respect your views and will agree to disagree. I wish you the best.
  69. BC Philosopher from Canada writes: I have not mistaken anything that is entirely what I was insinuating, I am saddened to hear that your tale has not ended well for you. Perhaps one can hope in time that it will. I am happy you aknowledged that this is not a matter of right or wrong but viewpoints, I choose to see benefit in a medium ground even if it isn't the success others might want becauze it represents progress forward. More the shame as you and I share the same ideal.

    Best of fortune to you in your struggle, I hope in the end you win the right to be the farther you desire to be.
  70. Jessica Clarks from VancouverMontreal, Canada writes: It's pretty clear the author is trying to deal with his own guilt, through rationalizations he justifies to himself, by saying that he chose the best situation for his daughter -- no, he chose to opt out on trying to really bond with her and own up to his parenting responsibilities, as it's much easier being a "buffet-style parent" as one reader mentioned above instead of doing the unglamourous and unfun tasks involved in full parenting, including if necessary working on building and repairing a difficult relationship with a child.

    That said, I am very impressed with the author's openness and candor regarding his lack of joy and eagerness in parenting and difficulty bonding and liking his daughter (as one can love someone but do they truly enjoy or "like" the person?). I think in this respect, he's broken a taboo many parents -- female and male alike -- are afraid of discussing, and I think this is at heart what is making so many people upset and uncomfortable.
  71. John M. from Vancouver, Canada writes: Ugh, it's amazing how many commenters feel the need to make excuses for Mr. Seeley. If he were a woman, no doubt the comments would be much more critical, but instead half the comments are praising his honesty and even saying he's a great parent for selflessly leaving his marriage.

    I'm not a moralist, so I couldn't care less about the divorce, but this is a man who openly admitted that he scorned his daughter for missing her mother. He's a terrible parent and you shouldn't defend him at all.
  72. Patrick The Christian Warrior from Canada writes: BC Philosopher wrote: "...only fools and children work in absolutes those of us with any intelligence and understanding as to how the real world and how hard it is on all of us realizes all things are shades of grey." >>> I'm sadden by your up-bringing, but only secular fools would create "shades of grey" to justify their wrongs because of their laziness/greed/lust/self-interest/etc. Children are not properties of parents but rather, are gifts of God handed over to parents for temporary stewardship for 18 to 21 years only. Parents are in charge of taking good care of God's property by providing love/care/training for their children to become fine instruments for the LORD, children are to be turn-over to God when they become adult-children, to become part of God's mighty army. God's role for a father; head of the family, having the image of God for the children, setting a moral compass for the children, teaching them right from wrong, there are no greys on morals only black and white, a provider and a protector of the family. To renegade from one's role as a father, is a sin against God, which God will surely take vengeance for the child one day. The definition of a man is not defined by; his bulging muscles, or a good athlete, or an intelligent geek, or someone focused on academic pursuits. It is defined by his maturity and the strength of his will to take up his calling/responsibilities before God. It's not easy to be a good father, you have to suck-in your pride at work and constantly learn new survival skills in order to become a good provider and a good role model for your children. So, a message to all fathers; "man up, suck it up, be a man.".
  73. A C from Paris, France writes: Gimme a break.

    All of the commentors writing "think of the children first" make me want to vomit, I've more than had it with this self righteous clap.
    This excuse is the lever used to pry children from fathers to begin with, and then extort exhorbitant amounts of money from them. Purportedly for the benefit of the children but in reality for the benefit of ....(expletives deleted)... who call themselves mothers, but who are really thinking first about their personal standard of living.

    This legalised slavery is practised on men for the vast majority. As opposed to mothers, fathers have to prove themselves to be vastly superior to mothers in Western societies to even hope to gain custody. As if fathers who would also make great primary care givers DON'T think of the child first? It is such a loaded statement I have no respect for anyone who throws it out, usually against men who dare attempt to assert a right to custody.
  74. A C from Paris, France writes: Patrick save it for your Sunday morning crowd, your repetitive sermons are just boring.

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