This blog began in another format in 2006 as a safe space for single moms to open up. It easily could have turned into a male-bashing ring. Thank goodness it didn’t. Sure, we’re known to go off on our exes once in a while — because parenting solo can be tough — but the single dads who stop by here regularly know that we’re civil and kind (right guys?).
I’m always on the look out for fathers who write emotionally about parenting. One of those dads is Robert Rummel-Hudson, who blogs about raising his daughter Schuyler — who, at 18 months, wasn’t speaking, which sent her concerned parents running from from doctor to doctor to find out why. (“Bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria” is an extremely rare neurological disorder caused by a malformation of the brain.)
Disclaimer: Robert is a married dad who lives in Texas. In one of those chances of fate, I got the chance to meet Robert in person when my trip to NYC overlapped with his book launch party for Schuyler’s Monster. I love his book, which is about so much more than dealing with a child’s disability.
Also, perhaps ironically, because Robert was swamped with fans at the party, I spent a chunk of the evening chatting with Laid Off Dad. I’d read his blog off and on — he’s another example of a devoted married dad — but when I told him that I blog about dating as a single mom, he confessed, in confidence, that he and his wife were having a rough time. This week, Laid Off Dad announced on his blog that they’re getting a divorce.
But I digress. You’re probably wondering why in the world I’ve invited a married dad to be on a blog called Single Mom Seeking.
What surprised me most about Schuyler’s Monster is how openly and honestly Robert writes about being in a relationship when the going get tough. I wanted to know how he held it all together when it seemed like Schuyler wasn’t getting better.
“I think it was fear in part that helped me keep it together,” Robert says. “That’s not a very inspirational answer, I know, but there it is.”
“No matter how frustrating or overwhelming things get, no matter how much you feel like it’s too much for you at any given moment, when you’re a parent, there’s always that little person there depending on you. I think it was always the fear of failing Schuyler that kept me on track. The thought of screwing up the one thing in my life that I COULDN’T screw up motivated me to always find some part of myself that was going to function well enough to take care of her.”
“It’s funny, I knew that chapter would get a lot of attention, just because of the scandal factor, but the thing that has surprised me is how many people have responded to it sympathetically,” Robert says.
“People recognize their own issues with fidelity and depression, and I’ve gotten very little actual judgment as a result of putting it out there. In the end, I felt like I was giving voice to what a lot of us go through, even though that wasn’t what I set out to do.”
I also wanted to know how Robert kept his head high — and still does.
“The thing that kept me going more than anything was Schuyler, really,” Robert says.
“Through her whole life, through all the tests and all the challenges, she never gave in to any sort of despair. She was and remains the most positive person I know, and so when I stumble and when I think I’m not the right father for the job and all that, she just quietly charges forward. And that gives me some direction, like she’s holding the lantern in the dark. That sounds goofy, but it’s true.”
While you’re at it, please give Robert a little shout at his blog.
Photo of Robert and his daughter, Schuyler
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