Labor Of Love

I have an idea for a new reality series. It’s called “Labor Of Love.” It will chronicle the lives of men who want to “have it all.”

This show will follow men in their thirties who fight and scrape their way to corporate success and have a great time on the New York City dating scene. The problem is they don’t find suitable women who they feel they can marry and settle down with. They use dating apps to meet all kinds of women. They sometimes find it even easier to just hang out and meet women face to face at bars, nightclubs and out in the general public. They are confident, mature, interesting, well-read, bright, thoughtful, adventurous men but can’t seem to meet “the one!”

Well, what do they do? They feel that since they aren’t getting any younger, they decide to stay single. The twist is that they want to raise a child on their own. They look for women who will either be the one who will give birth to ther child, through insemination, or they will adopt a beautiful baby on their own.

These men will finally be able to raise a family. They will also continue to date from time to time if they choose to – just for the fun of it! They don’t see the need to get married or have anyone move in with them. They got this! They feel empowered knowing there is support for single parents, especially these single dads.

It seems as if our society has noticed how men’s dreams have evolved over time from the one-time ideal of having a good job, a big house, a nice relationship and then kids. Often having a family is part of this dream, but for more and more men, it’s a good job, the big house and not the other two. Settling down and having kids used to be the natural progression, but for those who have completed the first two of the four-step dream, maybe it’s just some fun on the side and raising kids on their own. Maybe this is the path for the modern man!

This show will explore this phenomenon deeper and see what life is like for men who want to “have it all.”

Sounds interesting doesn’t it? Or does it sound alarming?

Well, what if the show was about a woman making these decisions? The exact same scenario, but not a single man?

Well, there is actually is one. It’s called Labor Of Love.  It’s about women making this really ill-informed choice. What do you feel people’s reaction would be to a man choosing this exact same path as opposed to a woman? I have a feeling there would be more than a few raised eyebrows if the show was the way I described above.

There is a world of information about children being raised in a single parent home. It’s rarely a wise choice for the child, the parent and society. Why would anyone find a show about choosing single parenthood worth producing?

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald.

He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.

Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

 

Fighting For “Equality”

I sincerely hope those who fight for gender equality will take their fight down to the courthouse steps – the steps of Family Courts all across America. Fight for men who are blindsided by unilateral divorce and truly want to be fathers to their children.

If you have been inside of any family court, you know equality is a dirty word. If you are a father, and have tried to deal with family court judges, you know what I mean.

There is an incredible amount of gender bias in the halls of these places and it needs to be put to rest. Neither parent deserves to be with the children of a couple more than the other. The blatant inequality that is on display should be addressed in a manner as vigorously as activists seem to do with issues like child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and poverty. In fact, it is all related.

The removal of the father from the home directly contributes to poverty, which in turn, can lead to instances of child and domestic abuse. The splitting of the home into two creates separate sets of expenses and often leads to financial hardship for both the mother and father. The long-lasting effects are far-reaching and incredibly devastating for many communities, especially ones that are without the means to work out their custody issues in a more rational, less emotional manner.

Family court is in no way the arena to find the best solution for families and children. Family court judges are certainly not looking out for the best interest of the children. If it were, the judges would find a way to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents.

Children need both their mother and father. It appears family court does not see that as a viable solution. They envision the father leaving, and paying the mother according arbitrary guidelines that are not related to the specific case in front of them. They also relegate the father to visitor status – a visitor to his own children – every other weekend.

Never good.

 

 

Slow Down!

What a different way of life.

Berkeley is unique in many ways. I had to deprogram myself and relax into a a slower and more reasonable pace of life while I lived there this summer and fall.

I learned that in Berkeley, pedestrians actually do have the right of way. What that means is that if a driver sees a pedestrian put one foot on the ground in an attempt to cross the street, they must stop driving and allow the passenger to cross the street. If not, they can get fined.

I saw many instances where people would just start walking out into the street and cars stopped cold. It wasn’t like they screeched to a halt, since no one drives too crazy. They just slowed down and let people pass in front of them.

There were times when I would get close to a corner and all traffic would stop. I would wave to have the vehicles move past me but they insisted I go across in front of them. As I crossed, I would wave my hand to gesture “thank you” like I do in the Big Apple, but they were just doing what they normally do and waited for me to cross the road patiently.

There were times when I felt frustrated with the pace of things. When the traffic was at a standstill at a few corners, I felt they would be better off with stoplights. But people just took turns and everything worked out the way it was supposed to.

it was sooooo laid back. People in Northern CA seem like they try to avoid stress as much as they can. I prefer that way of life.

When I got back to NYC, it seemed as if it’s the exact opposite.

I’m glad I found my new home- California! I love it there.

Don’t Touch My “Fro”


My little man has grown out his “fro” as he calls it. I ain’t mad at him.

He has worked on this over the past four months. Maybe he is ready to take a knee, play for the 49ers, be part of the resistance or just be the coolest son this father could ever want.

I say stay out of politricks son, it’s a trap!! Grow up to become a free thinker and just be yourself lil’ man.

I’m happy to be back in the city to be a father to my kids. I miss little things like this.

Remote Parent

 

I tasted a bit of the life of a father who is cut off from his kids. I’ve been away from my kids since July 9th of this year. The last time I saw them was in the middle of August, and that was only for about five hours.

It is the beginning of November as of the writing of this post.

My separation was voluntary. I accepted a short term job offer on the other side of the country with the expectation that making this sacrifice now will lead to longer term employment down the road. As it stands now, I have no idea if this was the right move. What I do know is that I’ll never choose to be away from my kids for this long again.

Never again.

The father who has fewer options and is separated from his kids due to a vindictive mother and/or the family court system has it worse than I do. My pain is self inflicted. I can only imagine how awful it is to know that the court system forced them away from their own flesh and blood.

It truly is a miserable experience being away from my children. I do not recommend being apart from your kids for work reasons for long. It’s just not worth the money most of the time.

I know for a fact that my children need me to be there for them. I’m missing out on months of their school year. I’m missing out on seeing them transition to new schools, meeting their new friends, new teachers, and new experiences. I can’t answer the questions they might have, address their concerns about schoolwork, engage with them regarding their thoughts about current events. I’m not able to fully engage because I’m not there. Being on the phone and speaking to them is one thing, connecting through video chat is another. Being face to face is a whole other ballgame.

It’s important for fathers to be present in a child’s every day life. They need our guidance, perspective and protection. The post-divorce model of “every other weekend” dad just doesn’t cut it. It is incredibly inadequate and doesn’t provide the necessary balance a child needs in their formative years.

Attempts at remote parenting are futile. Trying to stay close by chatting on the phone is similar to having a long distance relationship. It might work for some, but just imagine if you could only see your partner every other weekend? How close do you think you could actually be in the long run? Would you want a husband or wife if you could only see them this way for 18 years?

I’m glad I have the option of being away from my kids and not being forcibly removed. I won’t make this decision ever again. Most divorced fathers don’t get this opportunity. The feeling of powerlessness is overwhelming at times. Not being able to have a physical as well as spiritual connection is demoralizing and dispiriting.

I’m no longer choosing the remote parent model. I’m sticking close to my kids and watching them grow up up close.

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald. He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.
Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

I Miss My Kids

 

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One thing I learned from being away from my kids since July 9th is that I’ll NEVER AGAIN take chances on future success.

Never again. NE-VER!

My days of “hoping things will work out” ended as of right now. I won’t do anything with the hope that things will get better in some unspecified time and place. No more investment now for the unknown future.

The “spec” days are for young folk, not for me.

It’s time for some stability, big payouts and living the next 49 years in the least stressful way as humanly possible.

I love my family more than anything and will be making every move, from now on, with them in mind. My mental and long-term physical health will also be front and center.

Maybe it’s just me, but as cool as things may seem on the surface, some things are just not worth it in the long term. With each passing day, I’m figuring out what really matters to me.

These two matter.

Fatherhood matters.

Raising two people who are going to be the next generation of citizens matters.

It’s time to get back to NYC and be the father I want to be…and have always been.

Nov 7th…I’ll see them again and I’m never leaving them.

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald.

He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.

Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

Too Little-Too Late

I woke up a few days ago to a tweet from Paul Elam linking an article on his site “A voice For Men.” It was called A Father’s Lament.

I have been reading A Voice For Men for years. I stopped over the past few because I haven’t found the information useful at this point in my life. It was certainly helpful right after my divorce because I saw there was a whole community of men who felt very similarly as I did about the family court system. I wasn’t into the bashing they tended to do with feminism and women in general at times, but I certainly understood where the hatred of feminism came from.

My views have changed since I started reading the publication in 2011, but some things remain the same.

I see way too many articles like mine still being published. The one I mentioned above sounds similar to so many other stories fathers have of getting kicked out of their home along with the trials and tribulations they endure afterward. I wrote an article called Why I REFUSE To Pay Child Support. The original is HERE. If you want to read the comments on the one published on their site, click HERE.

The issues with regard to custody, family court, “visitation,” women’s groups, hopelessness, despair, anger and frustration still persist. It seems as if the same tales get published year after year on sites like A voice For Men and very little has improved with fathers and divorce stories. I know the laws are changing in a few states so that the presumption of shared parenting is the starting line, but far too often, fathers wind up losing the race in the matrimonial marathon.

Why do men think that everything will work itself out? Why do men wait until it’s too late for advice with regard to divorce? Why don’t fathers search for information that will help them BEFORE they get run over by their future ex-wives? I continuously ask that question and get frustrated to hear excuse after excuse from people. They probably think “oh, she won’t do anything crazy.” Men might also think that bad things won’t happen to them or maybe they are truly afraid of their wives. I feel it is laziness, lack of drive, and fear of failure.

Well, let me tell you, this can be a cruel harsh world that we live in. Don’t be surprised when that lovely bride you married 7 years ago is now a totally different person. That beautiful woman is now uglier than you could ever imagine. That sweet woman is now a thorn in your side that won’t go away for 15-21 years…all because you were not asserting your rights to be a father to your children and you left everything up to your attorney and some magical force in the sky. Nope. That ain’t gonna work.

I get really tired of reading stories of men getting thrown out of the house THEY pay for, arrested in front of their kids, made to look powerless in front of a family they led the day before, and torn to pieces financially with the help of the state. It’s beyond infuriating.

When are we going to learn? When are we as fathers going to take advice from those who have already been through this and learn from their mistakes. I sure did. I was well prepared before I was even served. If I were to go back and do things over again, I would have served my ex instead of waiting for her to pull the trigger. Yeah, it’s time to be as assertive as we were when we were trying to court the women we were with. What’s up with the passivity?

Times have changed, I’ve changed, and the laws have changed. The resistance to step up and assert ourselves hasn’t. Too many fathers wind up playing catch  up and have to pick up the  pieces instead of being the one in charge of the wrecking ball.

Please, reach out to me, anyone in these organizations here or talk to any other divorced father if you feel your marriage is on the rocks. Belive me, your wife has already done it.

Be proactive. Stop being reactive. By the time you get served, it is often too little too late.

 

Clayton Craddock is a stay-at-home father of two children in New York City. He has a B.B.A from Howard University’s School of Business and is also a 17 year veteran of the fast paced New York City music scene. He has played drums in a number of hit Broadway musicals including “tick…tick…BOOM, Memphis the Musical and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with Audra McDonald. He has worked on other musicals; Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Bare, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q and is currently the drummer in a new Broadway bound musical titled Ain’t Too Proud.
Clayton has written for A Voice For Men, The Good Men Project and is writing a memoir about fatherhood.

How do you spell dad? It goes L-O-V-E

Waking up at the crack of dawn sucks. It just does. Well, it does for me.

I’ve never been a morning person. I never will be. I like to get up at about 9 or 10AM. Well, that’s just not the life I’ve chosen to live.

You see, I get up so early for a reason.

I usually arrive home from work at 11PM. I’m totally wired and wide awake. I eventually wind down so I can get to sleep at around 1AM. My alarm goes off in the morning, but I snooze for a few more minutes before I jump out of bed. I try to shake the cobwebs out of my brain and think of where I parked my car so I can go pick up my kids.

I drive over to my ex-wife’s house and get my kids at 7:15AM. We spend about 45 minutes to an hour getting to school. There are mornings where we just listen to the radio. We sometimes laugh about stories from the previous day or if we see something silly on the way. When a serious event happens in our country, we might have a brief thought provoking discussion. When I see the opportunity, I let my kids know about some cold hard truths about growing up in America. They soak it all up like sponges. In the end, I have that special time with just me and my kids. It’s time well spent.

I get the balance of my sleep some time during the day by taking naps if I’m not working. I ain’t afraid to admit, I LOVE naps. Later in the day, I pick them up from school and we spend the afternoon together at my place until I bring them to their mom’s house after I cook them dinner.

It’s exhausting, but totally worth every hour I miss of sleep during the night.

Why do I do this to myself? Well, I asked this question every morning when I got out of bed to get my kids. As soon as I think of why I do what I do, I think of how much I love my kids.

I love them. I really do.

After 15 years of fatherhood, nothing has changed. I’ve been there since the beginning. I’m glad I saw every little step my kids have taken over the years and witnessed every little development along the way. Our time is very limited on this planet and I am making sure I spend as much of it as I possibly can with my kids before they are adults and off on their own.

I wasn’t going to allow any silly “family court” system to keep me away from this. I’ll lose all kinds of sleep but I won’t lose out on being a father. That’s just not going to happen. I made sure of that.

Fathers….

We love our kids as much as mothers. We care too. We want to be there as much as we can even though we may be tired, working long hours, traveling, busting our ass to get a promotion or more money or any other thing that might keep us temporarily separate.

Dads…

We are not the babysitter. We are the guidance the protection, the focus, the spiritual uplift, the support system, the provider, the backbone, the rock, the stability, the L-O-V-E.

I heard about this artist and song a while ago after chatting with a colleague of mine named Felton Offard on Facebook. (he’s an amazing guitarists by the way). He hipped me to this guy Sho Baraka. Sho has a great new album out called ” The Narrative.”

I think this is right on point:

I learned that love ain’t based on performance
Make a mistake and I will love you in the morning
I see life in my children’s eyes
And when I’m wrong I’ll be the first to apologize
Peace to all my fathers who are working through their flaws
Fulfilling their duties and they don’t do it for applause
It’s true, any fool with a tool can reproduce
But a father is that dude that’ll see it through
Forget the stereotypes lets be clear
There are good men out there we are here

……………..

How do you spell dad?
It goes L-O-V-E
How do you spell dad?
It goes L-O-V-E
How do you spell dad?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TZxuDQZyOQ

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

 

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday October 11, 2017 that it will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for older girls using the organization’s same curriculum.

What is the point of having girls in the boy scouts? I have no idea other than pandering to a very small minority of people who feel boys and girls are exactly the same and should always be in the same groups no matter what. Must we be reminded again that boys and girls are different?

I wish all human beings could raise a son and a daughter. I would love to see the people who feel every human is the same in every way recoil in horror as they watch their son behave differently than their daughter. I would love to watch their faces as they give a doll to their toddler son to play with but shriek as he rips the head off and looks inside the carcass to see how the doll was made.

It’s been long established that the male brain is different than the female brain. We learn differently and we see the world differently. That does not mean either is better, it is just different.

Some people seem to believe, for some bizarre reason that we are all equal. We aren’t. This horrible idea of having the girls in the Boy Scouts is a silly attempt to force the issue that we are all equal and should not have spaces where one sex bonds and has activities together. Men don’t always want to be around girls/women. We just don’t. Men and boys like to bond in our own ways just like women and girls do.

It is important  to have single sex groups from time to time. It facilitates a different type of bonding, competition and nurturing. One of the biggest advantage kids can receive from single-sex social groups is a chance to experience life outside the boundaries of ubiquitous gender dynamics.

When girls don’t have to worry about the thoughts of how they will perform when they’re with boys, girls are more likely to explore the depths of their own potential. Girls also get opportunities that are harder to find in organizations where boys make up the majority of participants. When girls and young women are in the position to hold all leadership roles, they learn how to succeed on their own terms. When there is an all female led environment, it means many more of the participants in the group are more likely to volunteer for, and be called upon to take leadership positions because there aren’t any males to compete with. From a very young age, young girls are attuned to incorrect stereotypes that cast men as more intelligent and capable than women. Single sex organizations caters to this need and address issues in ways co-ed ones might not.

That’s one of the many, many benefits of women’s colleges. The same applies to HBCU’s. Not having to stress out about racial issues being thrown at you daily creates an enhanced learning experience for people like me.

The Girl Scouts sounded like they were somewhat disturbed about this too.

“We learned about this through different channels but never directly from BSA leadership. We’ve had competitors come and go and this is yet another competitor. We’re disappointed in the way BSA handled this,” Lisa Margosian, Chief Customer Officer for Girl Scouts, told BuzzFeed reporter Tasneem Nashrulla in a statement.

“We’ve enjoyed a strong relationship and partnership with them over the years and we’re disappointed that the BSA didn’t discuss this with us to say ‘we’re having trouble with our membership.’ This is a direct response to boost their declining membership,” Margosian continued. At this point we’re just about reminding people that we have an expertise in serving girls that the Boy Scouts just don’t have,” Margosian continued in the statement.

Some have pointed out the problem has more to do with the Girl Scouts not having a high award similar to the Eagle Award. The Boy Scouts have the Eagle and the Girl Scouts have the Gold Award.

The reality is that the Girl Scout Gold Award is harder to get than the Eagle Award. There are more requirements to receive it and the girls have to earn it without help from others.  Why isn’t it more prestigious? That is a question the Girl Scouts need to address. Maybe it’s a marketing problem? I have no idea.

The Girl Scouts offer many of the same activities the Boy Scouts do, and to their credit, the Boy Scouts has programs that are open to both sexes.

I don’t see what the problem was. The Girls have their own organization as well as the boys. Are there any place or institution left where it is still safe and acceptable to be a boy, or raise one?

What if we get rid of fraternities and sororities. No more organizations like the Freemasons for men, no more gyms like Curves or Lucille Roberts. No more products made specifically for women. The Olympics? Men and Women compete equally from now on. There will no longer be organizations for women at all. N.O.W. will be N.O.E. (National Organization for Everyone.  Feminism will be humanism. No more women’s colleges. Wellesley will no longer be a school for women. They will be accepting all males who want to apply. Morehouse? A college for black men? No longer. White women will be applying now. Is this the genderless society we want?

It seems as if people are bending over backwards to try to please people. I’m not in the people pleasing business when it comes to my kids. I already know that boys and girls are different, have different needs, learn and play differently. I’m not sucking up to the left to include my daughter in every event or activity my son is in just for some notion of equality.

This was a really bad idea and I hope there is enough backlash to reverse this short sighted decision.