Mother May I? Not just a game

Cassidy McKnight, Staff Writer

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember a game my friends and I used to play called “Mother May I?” The rules were simple, the “mother” directs her “children” to take a certain number of hops, skips or steps toward her. Each “child” is required to ask, “Mother May I?” before moving. If they fail to ask the question, then they must walk back to the start. The first one to reach “mother” wins. But the “mother” has all the power. She can control and decide every move made in the game. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that there is a grown-up version of this game. It is a version where mothers manipulate their children’s fathers to do what they want in order to see the children that they helped create. Much like the game, the mother controls every move the father and children make.

Even if a judge has granted joint custody to a set of parents, many fathers are not treated as true equals. The majority must be prepared to be at the mercy of what the child’s mother is willing to share with them, from school activities to doctor appointments. Some mothers have even created loopholes in the legal system. For example, a father may have the legal right to attend doctor appointments and school events, but the mother is not “actually” required to tell the dad when and where the events are scheduled. To be a part of big things going on in his child/children’s lives, the father must be willing to, in a sense, abide by the mother’s rules to earn his children.

Primary custody is normally granted to the mother the majority of the time in the family court system. Fathers are often accused of being lazy or abusive in a custody battle just to make the mother look like the better-suited parent. Despite what the mother says, most dads are loving and desperately trying to grasp a sliver of a relationship with their children, and, more often than not, that relationship is often reduced to nothing more than a babysitter. Dads treated like this can only pray that the mother may see that they are trying to be a good father. It’s a horrible part in this real-life version of “Mother May I?” where a father has to live with what the mother allows him to do, or fight for his time with his children in a biased family court system.

Although all the previous listed issues are serious, this issue is the most hurtful of the court system decisions; because every single scenario and event cannot possibly be mapped out by judges and lawyers, the father is still at the mercy of the mother. Several fathers have spoken out on social media about how their children’s mothers manipulate or misinterpret the court papers to withhold the children from them in these situations, such as taking a weekend away for her own plans with the children or not allowing a soldier returning from duty extra time with his children.

I’m writing about this because it isn’t talked about enough in the new feminist America. I write this because out there is a child begging to see their daddy, or a dad crying himself to sleep because he feels like he has let his child down. I write this because it takes two to make a child. I want to encourage fathers to keep fighting. You are not alone, people hear you. You have a right to spend time with your child. Mothers, try to be considerate. You don’t ever want your child to look at you with hate in their eyes because they asked, “Mother, may I?” and you said, “No.”