BY ANDREAS BUTLER
There are plenty of dads out there, but not everyone is a father.
I have been a single father for the past seven years. My son, Andreas Butler Jr., is 8 years old, and I have had legal custody of him for some time now due to certain circumstances at the time that made it the best situation for him.
As for my child’s mother, she is still around and lives nearby. She spends time with him and does for him. We have a pretty good relationship and she often calls me her best friend.
No need for ‘hero cookies’
To a certain extent, I know what single mothers go through and have gone through.
I grew up without my male parent around and didn’t want that for my child.
I also grew up in a female-dominated family. I had a few friends whose fathers treated me like their own son and gave me fatherly advice.
Single fathers don’t get the attention and respect that single mothers do.
I know some single fathers. Some are doing the best that they can and some others need to get their priorities straight like some single mothers.
I think that I speak for most of us when I say that we don’t want “hero cookies.’’
We know that we are doing what we are supposed to do. We want to take care of our children.
We just want people to know that we are doing it too, especially those single mothers who complain about how hard it is. We know it’s hard.
It takes balance
It’s difficult to make it in the world on your own and it’s even more difficult to make it when you are responsible for the well being of another person like a child or children.
Things are different for single fathers. We are expected to be breadwinners and make things happen as men. We have to have income some way or another. Much more is expected of us.
Balancing everything out is a challenge. You have to provide for your child, spend time with them, work, and advance in a career and take care of a home.
I have made every sacrifice possible for my child to have a good life.
I moved back to Daytona, which eliminated the need of a babysitter since I have plenty of family here.
Do what you have to do
My first job after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Radio/Television Broadcast Journalism was as a janitor/custodian at Bethune-Cookman University. I actually had that job twice.
I have worked numerous other jobs – even odd-hour jobs.
We live in public housing and, yes, I get a little food assistance.
I do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, pay the bills, buy the clothes and everything else.
I try to keep him involved in activities. I have him involved in sports. I also coach baseball myself.
It’s challenging to try to introduce him to different things to keep his mind expanded so he doesn’t succumb to his surroundings or get caught up with the wrong things being important, especially what is portrayed in popular culture.
Education is important
Pushing a child in education is also difficult as well. I make sure he does his homework and I am the one who takes him to school and picks him up every day.
Dating is challenging because every man wants the companionship of a woman but its difficult finding the right one to be around your child.
Also, as a single father you have to find the balance of being tough on your child and showing love and compassion.
As important as motherhood
Fathers are needed just as much as mothers. We play an important role in the development and well-being of a child. Fathers teach boys how to be men, a strong work ethic and responsibility. We also affect the self-esteem of our daughters.
We show them how they are supposed to be loved and treated by men by how we treat them and our female companions. This has a great effect on them when they grow up and date. Most of the women that I have come by who are the most screwed up don’t have a father or father figure or the one that they had are not or wasn’t worth a damn.
My advice to fathers is do all that you can. Bust your butt. Be there. Yes, you may have to do jobs that you don’t want to do. You may have to live where and how you don’t want to live.
Don’t do anything that will jeopardize your freedom or you and your child’s well-being (sell drugs and other illegal activity). What you do affects your child and what they become. It’s on you. Your child is your responsibility.
One time for all those fathers out there being fathers! Here is a tribute to you! Happy Father’s Day!