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I Have A Crappy Dad – But I’m Okay!

I used to be someone who hated the idea of getting married. I have been through too many divorces (my own and those of my parents) to feel like marriage was something I ever wanted to be a part of again. My experience with marriages and other serious relationships had me feeling like I needed to be able to cut ties and get out of a bad situation at a moments notice. I’m not the sort of girl who has trouble cutting losses and letting go.

I guess I have my dad to thank for that. But you know what? It’s okay. Because even though I have a crappy dad…I’m okay!

sisters in the rain

It sounds cold. I’ve been told more than once that I am a bit of an ice queen. Maybe I’m just naturally like that, or maybe it’s because waiting for hours in the Montana snow for your dad to pick you and your little sister up after school freezes your heart a little bit. I used to usher my sister underneath some pine trees when the teachers would lock up the school so they wouldn’t see us waiting three hours after school for our dad to pick us up AGAIN. This went on until we moved across the country when I was a teenager.

Which is a good thing, because nine times out of ten he never showed up.  Move over, Elsa.

Do you know what happened when he didn’t show up? I would hike up my little snow pants and haul my little sister home on foot, promising snacks and when that didn’t work, bullying her into walking through the cold. We would show up banging on the door until my mom answered. I would stand there and watch the realization come over her face changing from shock to anger. An experience I only understand the full gravity of now that I am a mother myself.

My mom is a champion. She worked her butt off and showed me what it takes to push yourself when you haven’t got any fight left. I watched her claw her way out of every bad scenario we went through, carrying us with her. She wasn’t perfect, but I’m proud of the woman I am today and I have her to thank for that.

I could go on and on about how often my dad slept all day and forgot about picking us up on the few times a year he would actually plan to see us. I could rehash a million memories of all the shitty things he did (that I’m sure he has a million excuses for) but I won’t. I feel like there are enough women (and men) who know how it feels to be let down repeatedly by a parent.

I want to talk about that rootless feeling every kid with no support has, that they never realize isn’t normal until something (or someone) solid grabs your hand and pulls you in to what real love is supposed to feel like. I want to talk about how hard it is to reverse the damage that is done to your soul when someone who is supposed to care about you more than anything in the world, doesn’t. I want to talk about how they expect you to follow rules, and get good grades, and share your things, but they can never put you first. I want to talk about how every time they tell you they love you, you hear an unspoken “but I love myself more.”

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Last year my boyfriend’s dad, my kids’ grandfather, James, got sick right around the same time my sister went on a trip to see my Dad. We thought it was a heart attack. Every hour was gut-wrenching. My boyfriend’s family is my family. His mom and I go shopping together whenever we can. His dad and I laugh at the same inappropriate jokes. It’s easy to love them for the same reasons it’s easy to love their son. I cherish the bond I have with them the same way I cherish the one I have with my mom.

I was sitting there with my sister waiting to hear news of how James is doing. She was waiting with me (even though she was supposed to be packing for her trip up to see my dad) when an anger I haven’t felt in years just flooded over me. When did my dad’s excuses start working on me again? How is it fair that my single-mom sister was spending the last little bit of money she had to fly up to see my dad when it would be just as easy and less expensive for him to come here? How was it fair that James, who calls me just to chat on his way home from work, who drops everything to help us when we need it, is in the hospital, when my own dad can’t be bothered to dial a few numbers to call his kids, let alone make time to see them?

I decided then and there that I was going to take a page from the book of my eight-year-old self and not keep forgiving my dad, that I wasn’t going to keep putting in effort he wasn’t putting in. That I’m not going to let myself be heartbroken anymore. Because when your boyfriend’s dad finds the time to call you and tell you that he loves you from a hospital bed, no excuse will ever be good enough.

When every man your Mom was with after she divorced him as made a place for you in their lives and hearts. No excuse is good enough.

So this is for the women (and men) who don’t have dads.

You need to understand that their failures are their failures, not yours. You need to understand that it’s okay to say “No, I can’t forgive you when you won’t change.” You need to know that having a dad is great, but you’ll be just fine if you can’t rely on the one you have. It’s okay to disassociate yourself from someone who only causes you heartache. It’s okay to put yourself first.

It’s okay to not want to get married when you’ve seen so much turmoil come from it. It’s okay to change your mind when you finally realize that you would love nothing more than to have the same last name as the man you love, and the amazing people who raised him.

It’s okay to tell your boyfriend to ask your mom’s permission to propose.

And you can be damn sure it’s okay to ask your mom to walk you down the aisle.

Because you know what? My dad might be crappy but I have SO many other people in my life who love me no matter what. And even if I recognize now that I can’t depend on my birth father, I am so Very grateful for the other men in my life whom I know I can depend on – no matter what.

This is just my story and my feelings. I know some people who have crappy moms, or no parents at all. If you feel comfortable, leave me a comment down below and share how you cope.

sisters grown up


Sunday 23rd of July 2017

Thank you for saying all the things that have been bottled up inside me for years. My dad left us multiple times and my mother worked 3 jobs to support us at times. At times I feel bad that my kids do not know their real grandfather but at the same time, I don't want them to see all the pain we still go through with his crazy antics. Although I can never share stories of how great my dad was like many of my friends, I can share that my husband is the best dad I could ever want for my two children.


Friday 21st of July 2017

Yes I totally agree with all your feelings here. My siblings try to tell me to forgive my dad and let go of all that but I don't want to. I don't need someone in my life who cares only about himself and will only talk to me if I'm making my life revolve around him. And one day if I have kids I don't want them to have to be let down by their 'pop'. My step dad is my father as far as I'm concerned he has been there for me through thick and thin since I was 4 and never expects anything in return.


Wednesday 1st of March 2017

Yet another woman with the misguided belief that only dads are this way. Surprise buttercup! Mom's can be this way too! There are tons of kids who're raised by single fathers and mothers they see once ever 3-5 years!


Wednesday 1st of March 2017

Did you not read all the way to the end? She stated in the last paragraph that she knows there are people with crappy mothers too or no parents at all. She's writing from HER experience. In HER experience it was HER father who was crappy. Don't be a jerk calling her misguided "buttercup"! What an ass you are!

Tuesday 28th of February 2017

Thank you for this. It is honest and powerful and reminds me that despite the disappointment I feel from my dad, I too, am ok.


Tuesday 28th of February 2017

Hey, I totally agree with this. I had no father growing up, he wasn't there. I then had a step father who was no better. He was mentally abusive and an alcoholic that my mom put first. His daughter and I were a month apart and at first hated eachother but then realized he was the thing we didn't like. When I became an teen mom I moved out and started a life of my own. He would still try to meddle with my life with my ex and me about our daughter until one day I cut him out completely. He never met my other children, never called on holidays, didn't talk at all. He was put in the hospital after a bad car accident and later passed away. I had the chance to say good bye and I didn't take that chance. Something inside me said he was going to get better. He didn't get better and I never got to say good bye. It hurts but at the same time I feel stronger because I stood my ground against someone who was never there for me and was supposed to be. I do miss the father figure however I have an amazing father in law who is my dad. I have also since started talking to my biological father some.