So, what's it like for a homeless dad? How does it differ from being a homeless mom? I asked for a topic on Twitter. I like doing that because it keeps me sharp! There are plenty of good people on Twitter who are helping the homeless I have learned.
When I grew up I learned that hard work and supporting your family was what makes you a man. So, that's all I did. However, I was far from a good dad when it came to my kids. How can you be when all you ever do is work? I should have known it would be that way. I learned it from my step-dad (I consider him my dad). Its all he ever did. He was in the military. He worked all the time. If he wasn't working - I'm not sure where he was - but it wasn't with me or my brothers. I'd like to say he wasn't cheating on my mom. He just needed "his time". I also believe that to be true. I have it on pretty good authority he learned his great work ethics and absent dad mannerisms from his own dad. Growing up I saw (or should have seen) this pattern. A good dad I am not! I provider for my kids - I was!
So, there I was, strolling my way through life, supporting my kids, their mom and myself! Doing a good job of it too, I would say! Except for the 'not-saving-my-money-better part. Then, I lost it all! I mean I lost EVERYTHING. It didn't take long either. Just a few months and then, there I was, all by myself in a empty house, with no lights and only a few bucks. I was smart and sent my kids with their mother. She had a place to go to and my kids were safe there. I thank God for that. At the time however, I didn't thank God. No, I was MMMMMAAAAADDDD!. I yelled "Why me! What did I ever do? Why do I deserve this??" Funny how the first person a non-believer blames is God. It must be one of His jokes because where was I next? I was in church!
Let me ask you something: If you were driving down the street and you saw that you had an opportunity to give either a man with child or a woman with child money, who would you give it to? If it was me I'd have to give it to the woman. Why? Because (and I'm very, VERY sorry for saying this) the woman is deemed the weaker of the two and less likely to survive the streets. Therefore, she needs more help. I BELIEVE, this is how SOCIETY thinks also.
I feel foolish for even writing that (I'm still going to post it). But that's how I think most men were meant to act. And also, I believe it's how society wants us to respond. I think even though a woman knows that's simply not a true statement, she would still feel somewhat the same way and respond the same way. I think if I was handing the man money and my mom was there she would slap me, and it would be well deserved! The man is looked at to be the more street strong. It isn't even that a woman can't make it on the streets (she can). Its that the man can handle the "suffer" part better. The man can endure the hard times better. Society put this in our brains.
Does the child in this matter even matter? I don't think so!
Now, there are some stipulations (of course). Like, if that woman is a prostitute or a junky, then a woman is damn near hated. The kid should be with the dad and he gets mad respect if he is any bit a decent dad. If the man is the junky (or prostitute, for that matter) then the mother is simply thought of as absent, I suppose (really don't have a thought on that one, that thought really never occured to me. I wonder why?).
Which is harder? The homeless mom with a kid or the homeless dad with the kid? I think it depends on how you look at it. I think because of the way society seems to be (the blabber above) its the woman that has the less struggle being homeless. No one wants to see a woman with her kids on the streets. However, that's physical help. She's going to get more help with housing, shelter support, state support, and even "person to person" support. Now, that's not to say she will not feel it mentally. I'm not saying that at all. Every homeless person feels it mentally - man or woman - it does not matter.
Regarding the homeless man with the kid, I think the first thing he is told after telling someone he is homeless with a kid is to give the kid up to the state or surrender his right to the mother. Physically, I think the man would also get less help, because again, he is simply expected to make it through the "suffer" part better. Mentally I think the man takes it harder too.
as for me, when I went homeless it was like I died. All of a sudden I wasn't what I had always been: The provider. It was what I did. It was what I was good at. Actually, it was the only thing I was good at. When I couldn't be that anymore I felt like a bum. I felt I was looked at by fellow men as a bum. I felt like women looked at me as a bum (for that one I still do. What woman wants a man that is homeless? Well, that's another post.) I was raised to be the one thing I could no longer be. I wasn't a man anymore. It didn't even matter why! For me I had a mental beat down. Society crushed me, for not being able to do what society told me I had to do in the first place.
Well, I can say this: I have learned at least one thing through being homeless. My kids still love me. For them, my working all the time wasn't even a problem (they seem to understand that a man works). For them it was about the time I did spend with them and how I spent that time. I was never good on that part. I spent time with them, don't get me wrong. I just didn't know how to do it in a connecting way with them. Well, I have a lot to learn as far as that goes. I swore, 1 trillion times, that when this mess ends, things would be different between us. I hope I can live up to that. Today, I hope I can live up to my kids.
As for society, on the matter of a homeless man and a woman with kids. It's all a mess. Once again, I believe it all comes from the "marketing of homelessness". To me, the problem is that when I give the woman with a kid money it would be because I made that choice in the first place. I had to decide. I would ask myself "who needs the help more" and chose the woman because to me it seems to be more (I almost want to say "human") "socially fitting". What I should really ask myself is "how can I help these two homeless people" or something along those lines. I should never consider the sex of the homeless individual in the first place.
Now, for the women out there that are ticked off at me - Please understand, I DO NOT think being homeless is easy for you in any way. If you are a woman on the streets and you have your kid with you trying to do right, I commend you! You don't need my respect, but you have it! I know its not easy. I'll tell you the truth here, too. Honestly: women are probably the more street smart. The more likely to survive. And that is because they are women. Women are smart and true survivors. I have personally learned several things from women in the streets. Gosh, I can't even think of the amount of stories I have heard about a man leaving a woman and kid to the streets to fend for herself. I wasn't that man! I had to let my kids go!
So, please understand that these are just my opinions. This is how I believe people in general feel when they see a woman or a man with a kid on the streets. Please don't be mad at me!
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