It's time men did the mothering of kids after divorce

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
If more women dared consider parenting an equal responsibility, our children would have better fathers, the writer says.
If more women dared consider parenting an equal responsibility, our children would have better fathers, the writer says.
Image: georgerudy / 123rf

A friend and I had a few hours of idling in each other's company a few days ago.

Our random mid-week companionship was induced by being broke and sober and the inclination to resolve matters of national importance through verbal combat with each other.

While our rants hardly ever arrive at workable solutions, we always resolve that all the country needs is a therapy session.

On this occasion we found ourselves discussing the matter of divorce and its implications for womenfolk - particularly divorces between spouses with children.

Noticeably, men tend to always have a "clean start" after divorce. They don't only divorce the wife, but are freed from the children as well.

They refer to photos and phone calls when they reminisce about their families. This, while the ex-wife is living with the kids and hardly finding an hour to go on a date and move on with her life.

Women have remained slaves to their maternal instincts and insist on fighting tooth and nail through a divorce to retain the kids.

Then they sit on benches in court fighting for an increase of the maintenance every passing year.

Then they fight again for the father to be present in his children's lives and spend time with them.

If the women took time to listen to me and my friend, of course they would reward themselves with some little freedoms after a divorce.

They would take the liberty of asking the courts to grant custody of the children to the father. Let him go queue at Panyaza's office and fight for space at the nearest good school.

The men should be calling the school transport malume to ask why he didn't pick up little Tumelo in the morning. Then figure out what to do with a child who didn't go to school on a Tuesday.

Honestly, if women reconsidered their position they would take time off after divorce to rebuild their lives.

Of course, they will visit the kids every possible Saturday and buy them toys and take photos with them.

But on other days their fathers can deal with the third lost school shoes in the year and figure out why the kid came back wearing some other kid's shirt.

Let the fathers whose accounting prowess justify a monthly maintenance of R2,500 for two kids put it into practice themselves while you attend therapy to deal with your failed marriage.

The men can handle conversations with their mothers on the use of enemas on the kids.

Women should no longer be held hostage by their desperation to be seen as good parents.

These men insist that the kids take their surnames anyway, so let them keep their Mthembu, Mofokeng and Chawe spawn.

Let them wake up in the middle of the night and whoosh the kids from their nightmares - then call them and tell them exactly how you want your kids to be raised!

Okay, I know that women would literally think that leaving their children to be raised by their father after divorce would be tantamount to abandonment.

But I still say: if more women dared consider parenting an equal responsibility, our children would have better fathers.

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