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.

 

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

Single Fatherhood in New York City

Back in 2012, I completed an interview for a Columbia University graduate student of journalism named Acacia Squires. She found me through a post I made on a website about single parenthood and thought I would be a good person to talk with about my experiences being a single father in New York City.

I want to share my story.

Some people call it the “pay up or shut up” model; that’s when fathers pay for child support and alimony after divorce, but loose custody of their children. In modern law, parents’ gender shouldn’t matter, only the child’s welfare is important, but research shows that judge’s bias can lead to unequal treatment in the courtroom. In the first of this three part series on single fatherhood, we look at the story of one Manhattan dad and his fight for his children after divorce.