We recently had a spike in followers on the FTD page, gaining about 1,000 per day over the last week and a half. I wanted to make sure you understood exactly what you were following, and sharing about who I was and who I am today. Sorry for any grammatical errors, I’m writing this on a whim.
Hi. My name is Jon and three years ago I decided to start a blog called Full-Time Daddy – mainly because I already owned the fulltimedaddy.com domain and I’m a cheapskate – but primarily to share my personal experiences as a single dad. Before the decision to write, the original domain pointed to a file directory where I would upload photos of my then-infant daughter, Genesis, so family could download and print as they wished. This is another form of being a cheapskate, avoiding the printing and mailing costs. This was 2003. Facebook didn’t exist yet. All that stuff now sits in a Dropbox folder and FTD is a personal blog. HuffPost asks me to contribute periodically but most of my stuff is here ranging from online dating to kids using curse words to breakups to playing Hide-n-Seek at Target.
During my time as a new dad, I was awarded full custody of Genesis with reasonable visitation to her mother, mostly every other weekend. As a 21-year old kid myself, I had the typical ambitions of bars, stripclubs, and casinos to waste my life in but it changed, effortlessly, thank God. Many people, including strangers, would commend me for my “stepping up” as a dad and being there for my daughter but it felt strange to accept. To receive a compliment for something that felt natural to me didn’t make sense. I had no inner resistance to this new life situation, nor did I have the feeling I was doing something extraordinary. I was just me being me, and me being a dad.
I had remained single for most of the first three years of her life but then found someone to marry, someone that, to this day, I have a high amount of respect for – my ex-wife – who is also a wonderful mom to my youngest daughter, Olive. We had what you’d call a short-term marriage, and the failure of it had much to do with the defects of my own character. I was not a good husband. I was a great dad, and I sucked at that at times too, but when it came to any hope of creating a union between us, I truly had the incapacity to be honest with myself; by default, I was unable to be honest with her.
If you’re good at math, you can now see that I’ve got two baby mommas. If you’re good at subtraction, in 2009, I lost custody of Genesis when she was about 7 1/2 years old, and was ordered to be supervised during my visitations with Olive. The doctors called it a chemical imbalance, saying that certain receptors and brain stuff was misfiring and I went haywire. The psychiatrist said I needed to be on 12-15 pills a day to fix this imbalance. My therapist said that it was due to the stresses created of the divorce I was going through. No children were harmed during my manic episode and the reason I was admitted to Mary K. Shell Mental Health was because the phone operator said I couldn’t just check myself in – that I needed to be a threat to myself or another. Manic Me knew she meant I needed to utter the words, “I’m going to kill myself,” in order to get to where I wanted (or maybe needed) to go. I didn’t mean it but it was said. It was done.
Five days later, I was released. The impact I had made was like doing a cannonball at the bottom of a Port-a-Potty. I felt disgusted in myself and ashamed. Guilt had overridden me like a blanket of death. Hopped up on pills, pills, and more pills, my soul started drifting away and I’d spend the next year showering maybe once a week, wearing the same hoodie and sweats, watching Price Is Right, Family Feud, and soap operas – even Bo Brady had Hope, I had none. As weeks went by and medications settled in, I soon found myself unable to generate any emotion, not even sadness or depression. I refer to these days as my zombie apocalypse. I didn’t care, and I didn’t care to care. I was nothing. Dad was definitely not the same Dad.
Eventually, I scrapped the medicine management regimen that would eventually have me on triple the amount of medications covering multiple prescription pads. I called my mom, making sure at least one person knew that Jon isn’t on his meds. Over the next month, and then the next, my soul started coming back. I could feel the motivation to work again, to feel life again – not as others thought it should be for me. I was even able to achieve an erection – seriously TMI – but yea, powerful shit I was on. I got a job, I became involved with friends again, and I stopped going to the grocery store right before they closed so no one would see me. Guilt and shame stuck around but it felt oddly better than feeling nothing at all; I’d still have to deal with it. The best part, Dad was back; Dad was present; Dad had entered the building.
Now, a couple years into being a weekend dad, testimony was made against me during a child custody dispute that was completely false. The exact claim was that I was always late and that I regularly missed weekend visitations. Both were far from the truth but I failed in keeping any record of it. This is why I created GenesisCCM.com, a free child custody web app for single, separated or divorcing parents; empowering them to easily track pick-up, drop-off, expense, communication and frequency of contact records. In October of last year, we customized a version of my app for a family law firm in New York, and now we’re all over the United States personalizing apps so that family law attorneys can help their clients keep a solid history of involvement – and it makes the attorney’s job easier. You can get more info here if you want to pass it along: CustodyApp.com
Anyway, FullTimeDaddy.com is my soapbox for my experience, strength, and hope as a single parent, and the Full-Time Daddy Facebook page is a place I like to have fun. If you’re a new fan, welcome, I hope you keep coming back (you can always choose to Follow the page). If you’ve been around for some time, thank you is an understatement; I owe you a hug. Thanks for sticking around and I am grateful for your engagement.
Many of you know that I try to be as responsive as possible with your comments but it’s impossible to see them all – actually it’s possible but I’m too much of a cheapskate to hire someone to help me out. Anyway, you’re always welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a burning desire to reach out, or if you’re a family law attorney that wants to kick some ass by doing something very few attorneys are doing right now. And even though I’m here because I’m not all there, I look forward to sharing my crazy stories and honesty along the way; it’s the best therapy I’ve found yet – and it’s free!