Featured Father, September 2008

Member Name: lespaulgb

Tell us about how you became a single dad.
My relationship with my daughters mum ended shortly after Jessica was born. I was always involved with Jessica, including during the pregnancy, and when it became clear that mum could not cope with parenthood I took over Jessicas' care, eventually being awarded full custody and parental responsibility.

Tell us about your family.
I have one child, Jessica, and my parents and brother live nearby.

Share a story about a memory involving your children.
I have lots of happy memories; one of my favourites is taking Jessica to the park, where she would chase squirrels and squeal with excitement when she found one.

What traditions have you created in your family that you could share with us?
I don't have any traditions as such, but I do try to make quality time for Jessica every day.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced (or are facing) as a single father?
Being stereotyped, and some peoples surprise that I have been as involved in Jessicas' life as I have; like with potty training, making feeds, etc.

What encouraging advice do you have for other single fathers or soon-to-be single fathers?
Never lose sight of your child(ren); do everything that you can for them and to be there for them and embrace and learn from the challenges that come with being dad.

What else would you like to share?
Being a father has been a positive learning curve which I am eternally grateful for.

Describe the basic challenges you see in your country ( England ) for single fathers.
Being a responsible father, whether you are single or not, is often ignored. There are also social challenges which are unique to being a father.

Do you think there is a difference in the support in England versus the support in the U.S (for single parents in general and single fathers specifically) ?
Society is generally more accepting of single mums at present. That said, I have encountered a lot of vocal support for men who step up to the table and are there for their children.

What the heck is Wallace saying? (For those not in the know, Wallace and Gromit simply rock.)
Wallace and Gromit are a U.K. animated comedy series. Wallace is an inventor and Gromit is a dog. Being a Southerner, I have problems with Wallaces' Northern accent sometimes, but I'm sure it involves cheese.

Is the culture in the U.K. open, closed or about the same as you suppose it might be here in the U.S. (in regards to how single fathers are viewed) ?
It's fairly closed at present. There are single fathers, but we seem to be left to get on with it in terms of support.

Age of child considered, how do you plan to answer questions in regard to you and mom?
I have answered questions about why she lives with me, but due to her very young age, I have to be more guarded about what I say at the moment.

As the days go by, do you notice the perception of the problem being more and more noticed by the little one?
Not at present, she seems to be quite accepting of her situation, although this may change.

Obviously being ' P.C.' is the best way to approach it when you must; how honest is too honest, when it comes time to discuss reality and have you seen that opinion change over the course of time.

I have always said that I will be honest with Jessica, but certain issues about how she came to be living with me full time are best left until she is older. As yet, I see no reason to be anything but honest with Jessica.ver Jessicas' care, eventually being awarded full custody and parental responsibility.