Last month, after our June issue came out, I received an email:
I read your stories in the June 2014 issue of L.A. Parent about Hero Dads. Thank you for the coverage on Fathers. I have always believed that Dads get the shaft when it comes to celebrating their significance in the family construct. This believe is based sadly on fact. Money wise, much more is spent to celebrate Mother’s Day than Father’s Day – a numerical fact.
Also, thank you for the coverage on the conventional as well as unconventional roles fathers are playing. As a single father in Los Angeles County, life has proven anywhere from tolerable to miserable. The courts are extremely punitive and unrelenting in punishing fathers regardless of circumstances.
If possible, an article on single parents (both mothers and fathers) would be useful for those struggling via the current Family Law system.
Thanks again for the coverage.
A grateful Dad,
This email delighted me for several reasons:
- I almost never hear from readers. Most of the email and calls I receive are from publicists.
- This reader is a dad! Our readers tend to be moms, but I know there are plenty of dads out there, too, and I’m always trying to keep them in mind as we put together the magazine and website.
- In addition to his kind words about our coverage (always puts a smile on my face to find out that someone likes what we do), Mr. Torres sent along a story idea.
According to kidsdata.org, a nonprofit that collects health data on kids across the country, more than 21 percent of the families in L.A. County are headed up by a single mom, and more than 4 percent by a single dad. That’s about a quarter of the families with only one parent in residence.
I’ve spent only tiny amounts of time as a single mother, which for me meant holding the house together while my husband went on a business trip. I can’t even imagine what it is like to live that life on a daily basis. How tough to shoulder all the parenting decisions solo, be the only one there to guide and comfort your child, celebrate her or his milestones, supervise homework, make and enforce all the rules – oh, yes, and provide the financial support.
Adding court battles to the mix would certainly be heart wrenching for anyone.
When I wrote Mr. Torres back and asked for permission to publish his letter here, he added: “My biggest concern as a single parent (Dad) are the results that come from using the courts to address parental issues which can and often do have disastrous, if not life threatening consequences for children.” Frightening, and possibly an enlightening and helpful story idea.
So, what do you say, moms and dads of L.A.? Are you a single parent? Have you been to Family Court? What experiences have you had, and what advice do you have for parents in the same situation? Write to me (Christina.Elston@LAParent.com) or leave a comment here. You might be helping us start a conversation and tell a story that will help other parents like you.