Unconventional is How I Roll

Source: J. Reed

Nine years ago I made the ultimate unconventional choice and asked my bi-polar wife to move out and let me raise our five-year-old daughter by myself.  It was a big decision but I also knew it was the right decision.  Situations come up that make me consider  second guessing the decision, but I don’t.

For instance, I didn’t second guess my decision any of the times I stood outside the Costco ladies room waiting for my six-, seven- or eight-year-old daughter to come out, nor any of the times I had to politely ask a female employee to go in and look for a short redhead.

I didn’t like it when my daughter, then seven, got her head stuck in a turtleneck while in a K-Mart dressing room and the employee told me that my daughter’s mom should be the one bringing her shopping. Dads like me, who have made the unconventional decision to raise a child alone, don’t like that at all.

I did regret it for a few brief moments as I took my daughter shopping for her first bra, and I’m sure there will be similar moments when she discusses purchasing bathing suits.  All in all, though, I’m good with the choice I made.

I’m proud of the high school freshman I lovingly refer to as Drama Queen, and I will never for a moment (other than the aforementioned ones) regret that unconventional decision.

That unconventional choice is the best choice I ever made.  Like every parent, I have my critics, but I can honestly tell them that I’m happy with playing both mom and dad, and that unconventional decisions can be the best decisions of all. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Circle of Moms.

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J.R. Reed

Follow the adventures of a full-time single dad as he attempts to raise a 14-year-old daughter without giving her too many stories to relay to her future therapist. J.R. is occasionally witty, partially charming and uniquely entertaining.

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Comments (9)
  • Jess - commented on Jul 8, 2012

    The person WITH the illness has to WANT help. That is the thing you guys are missing. Maybe she didn't care or didn't want help at all. You can't judge that choice from one sentence.

  • Leah - commented on Jun 25, 2012

    From a child who had a manic depressive schizo father...way to go! It's tough being a kid with a critically sick parent...my Mom saved us when he had to go.

  • Valerie - commented on Jun 10, 2012

    Wondering does she have any contact with her mom and have you explain her mother's illness?

  • Rachael - commented on May 13, 2012

    IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU MADE THE FIRST MISTAKE WHEN YOU TOLD YOUR WIFE TO LEAVE, AND THEN RAISE YOUR BABY GIRL IN A FAMILY W/O A MOTHER AT ALL. WE PROMISE GOD WHEN WE MARRY, COMMON-LAW OR HOWEVER, TO LOVE EACHOTHER IN SISKNESS AND IN HEALTH. BI POLOR IS VERY FIXABLE. SO, I GUESS WHAT I WANT TO SAY IS, WHY LEAVE HER ALONE WHENYOU SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN HER THE HELP SHE NEEDED?

  • Tessa - commented on May 8, 2012

    I truly hope your daughter doesn't share bi-polar tendencies and think you asked mom to leave instead of tried to help with treatments. Being someone who is bi-polar and has a handle on things, that seems a little offensive. Perhaps there were other, real reasons the relationship wasn't working - but the post makes it seem like a bi-polar person is not capable of being a parent. I still have big respect for someone who will do what needs to be done to take care of his children. I am just saying that the way the post was worded was sort of giving that impression.

  • Stephanie - commented on May 6, 2012

    Sometimes the best thing two people can do for their child is split up... if it is constant heartache and stress that isn't a good environment. Dad You've done a great job by being there and supporting her. And that is what really matters!

  • Laura - commented on May 6, 2012

    thank you for sharing! from a mom or a dad, the most important thing for a child is to live in an environment of love, and you most obviously LOVE your little girl! bless you for loving her and putting her first...if only more dads could prioritize this way. you are an inspiration, and you've most definitely done the best thing! she is a lucky girl.

  • Amanda - commented on May 6, 2012

    more power to ya if a mom can y cant a dad, i give u alot of props, sometimes i feel my husband does a better job with my daughter than i do but he has alot of questions in the process

  • Anna - commented on May 2, 2012

    In the circumstances, you have done the right thing and don't let anyone tell you any different. Being a single parent is a very difficult job and we all have dealt with critics. When the other parent has a mental illness, it can become difficult for the children and sometimes traumatic (especially when they do not think they have a problem). You did what you had to do. Be proud you have given her the love and support she needs.