Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Don't let the title fool you, this article is not what you think and it's not going to be popular. Allow me to start out by saying, Mother's are definitely appreciated, and this correspondence is not applicable to all single mom's. 

What prompted the article writer to speak on this topic was based on the plethora of single mothers who boast about their roles as individual parents. They talk as if they deserve some type of credit for the responsibilities that are inherent with being a parent. The fact that you happen to be a single parent is neither here nor there.

I chose not to wish anyone a Happy Mother's Day yesterday, for two reasons:


(1) Both my biological and adopted Mom's have transitioned, and...

(2) Mother's Day is highly overrated and this article will explain why this is MY OPINION. Like it or not, I really don't give a rats patootie.

A little background information that brought me to this point. My older brother and I were adopted at the ages of 4 and 5 years. We were adopted by family members who were biologically, our Great Aunt and Uncle. We made the trip from Oakland, CA to Dallas, TX in 1964.

My adopted Mom and Dad were devout Christians so me and 'Kent' would go to church religiously (pardon the pun), four times per week. Twice on Sunday - Sunday School/Church Services, then return at six o'clock for BTU (Baptist Training Union). Monday was youth meeting - organized by a lady named Mrs. Mooring (mean as a goddam snake, but a 'good Christian woman'), who also was the director of our Easter and Christmas plays; bungle or forget one of your lines in rehearsal, she would verbally abuse and scream at you.
But after the Play, she would get nothing but kudos from church members. "Oh sister Mooring, you're such a saint, what a blessing you are to these children." To tell the truth, we were afraid of her, plain and simple!

Thursday was choir rehearsal and neither Kent or myself could sing one note. We basically lip-synced; we were the Milli Vanilli of the late 60's and early 70's. The choir director never bothered to ask us to sing a solo because our response would have been, "are you serious?" "You really want me to sing a solo? You and I both know, that's not going to end well." I sang like an African-American Alfalfa (character on the Little Rascals - although he thought he could sing, I knew that I could not) and my brother was no better.

In church, four times per week - Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church - led by a bonafide pedophile. I mention the 'Reverend' Johnny K. Bryant Sr. by name because he has long since been deceased and these are not accusations, this is the TRUTH. 'Pastor' Bryant never bothered me or Kent because my parents were extremely protective, and like most adults in the church, they knew this man was living foul.

Finally, after nearly 20 years of molesting little boys, one parent found out what he did to his son and nearly beat Rev. Bryant to death. That's when the good Christian folk finally forced him to resign. No criminal charges, just leave. Unfortunately, no parent dared even write an anonymous letter to law enforcement. In the 21st century, this type of behavior still exist in many churches across the globe.


Having been born in Oakland, I was always a diehard Raiders fan, starting between 4 and 6 years of age. I mention this because, it was my love for the Oakland Raiders coupled with my mother's fundamentalist religious beliefs, that got me a one-way ticket back to the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, in 1976, before my 15th birthdate.

One Sunday evening, the Raiders were playing the late game on NBC. BTU started at 6pm and I was in the kitchen, stalling, putting my shoes on very slow, trying to catch the end of the Raiders' game. My mother knew that I was stalling as she kept yelling for me to "get up to that church!" As if it were going somewhere. My response was, "I'm getting ready."


Finally, she stormed into the room (the back door was in the kitchen) and forced me to leave. I suppose I made the mistake of storming out the backdoor. My mom followed me out the door, she grabbed my coat and I snatched away from her and proceeded to walk up to the church.

After arriving back home, a couple hours later, my father took me to DFW Airport and put me on a plane headed to Oakland, CA to live with my biological mom (whom I didn't even know). I would return to Dallas one year later. My one-year stay in the Bay Area turned out to be part of my sojourn because it marked the beginning of my awakening. For the first time in my life, I started to read; I started to do major research pertaining to the origins of Christianity. The rest is a story for another day and in a soon-to-be-released book.

The primary reason Mother's Day is overrated is partly because of the aforementioned, but more so because I had the profound pleasure of raising my daughter and son, as a single parent from 3 and 4 years of age, they are now, 21 and 22 years (the mother did seek custody, she's not unfit, two years after our divorce and custody, she relocated to another state).

For 15 years, I received $220 (total for both) per month in Child Support (and some months we didn't get anything). If the shoe were on the other foot, if I had been the non-custodial parent, I would have paid quadruple that amount. I never raised her child support, never wanted to, and if she fell behind, she didn't have to worry about going to jail. To the mother of my children's credit, she did start paying more consistently after she married her current husband (who is now going around telling people that my daughter is his daughter). Also, to their credit, they chipped in financially for High School expenses and is assisting financially with the expenses of college.

My former AT&T co-workers would often ask, "Barry, how are the kids doing?" "They are doing great!" All of my co-workers knew that I was a single parent and were aware of how dedicated I was and will always be toward my kids. They would sometimes reply, "that's great they are doing well, but don't forget, you need that 'ME' time." I would respond, "I treasure every moment with my children and never want to be away from them.. if I need this so-called 'me-time' I can just go to my room or they can go to their rooms." I thoroughly enjoyed going to the Pixar movies with my kids, even enjoyed the 'Chuck E. Cheese' experience.

The only difficult times when raising my children as a single dad was when I was low on cash; when I wondered how I would pay this bill or that bill, especially after I left AT&T after 24 years. The reason I took a package in 2005 was so I could take my kids to school, go up to the school when necessary, and pick them up from school every day. I enjoyed this and never saw it as a "chore" or something I should be applauded for. I would eventually find legitimate opportunities to work virtual office.

If you are a dedicated parent, love your children unconditionally, and love being a parent... being a single parent is not difficult at all. I fixed my daughter's hair, I cooked, cleaned, assisted with homework, teacher conferences, extra-curricular school activities, doctor's appointments, while still managing to workout 3-4 times per week (as I'd often workout on my lunch break and on weekends) and never missed a televised Oakland Raiders game (see http://www.oaklandraidersblog.com/).

In August 2006 (kids were 10 and 11 years old), I managed to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Behavioral Science. In addition, to date, I have submitted over 3000 articles on the Internet (under the names 'taskeinc', 'workhomehunion', and my given name). I do not mention these things for a pat on the back. These issues are broached to highlight the self-aggrandizement that many single-mothers get caught up in. To be brutally honest, I'm tired of hearing female parents talk about how "great" they are because of their single mother status.

Over the years, every time a woman has tried to compliment me on being a single dad, I've always rejected the compliment.

The reason I despise such a comment is because first of all, my son and daughter are my children, they are my responsibility. Therefore, I'm supposed to take care of them. When they would respond, "you're right, you just don't see that many men 'stepping up to the plate'. Well, the reason for that (in most cases, not all) is because the judicial deck is stacked against any man trying to gain custody of his kids. Not to mention, some women do every thing they can to keep the father away unless he's bringing a check. Sure, there are many amicable divorces and custody issues, but my experience with the Father's Resource Center and Families First (snapshot of attached article) sheds a much different light on the difficulties that many Fathers face when battling for custody of his children.

So if you're a female and you didn't hear from me on Mother's Day (I'm sure you could give a flying flip), this article has told you why!