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Why I Forgave $38,750 in Child Support: Revaluing Fathers This Father’s Day.

As we celebrate the fathers and father figures who have impacted our lives, let’s also think about championing fatherhood. Not just as a holiday to buy ties and tools, but also as an opportunity to redefine and revalue fathering as important work. Last year, I made the apparently very controversial decision to forgive $38,750 amount of my ex husband’s child support arrears. Read why below in my piece on NYTimes.com, and let me know what you think..

But too often, fathers are seen as accessory parents or bumbling second rate caretakers. On the other side, our society only defines fathers as deadbeat or not, solely by financial contribution. And we lump the unwilling to pay and the unable to pay in the same prison-bound barrel, regardless of what other meaningful contributions that father may make to the child’s welfare.

Here’s my story:

Earlier this year, I spent three hours sitting on a hard, wooden bench in the Queens County Family Court, waiting for a judge to approve my petition to forgive $38,750 in child support arrears from my ex-husband.

The judge said, “Well this is a rare one,” then asked me several times if I was aware of what I was doing and if I had received legal counsel. When I told my single mom friends, they looked at me as if I had committed an act of treason. “Child support is all we have!” one friend exclaimed.

Is it?

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An Open Letter to LeBron James: Does Father Anger Motivate You or Destroy You?

By Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director, Fathers Incorporated Hello Beloved Brother, My name is Kenneth Braswell, executive director of Fathers Incorporated. My work for the last 23 years has been in business and not-for-profit leadership on behalf of vulnerable communities and Black men and boys. Today, I read with pain, excitement, angst, horror, delight, fear, concern [...]

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Beyond Father’s Day: 5 Great Tips for Single Dads For the Rest of the Year

You’ve probably seen enough on Father’s Day and gift buying, so we’re also focused on beyond Father’s Day and offering single dads great tips for managing fatherhood all year round.

 Mark Peters, Founder and CEO of DressMeDaddy.com shares these five suggestions to support newly single dads as they embark on their co-parenting journey.

1.      Spend the time you have with your kids doing things!

Spend the time you have with your kids doing things. You may not be a husband anymore, but you are still a father. Be present with your kids and actively engage them. When you interact with your kids, you build a relationship. Play games, read books, cook, play sports, go fishing, do projects around the house…whatever it is, create memories finding things you have to do together. (Peters also advises creating a “no phone zone” to maximize time between dad and child).

 

2.      Don’t let your anger and frustration with your ex define and dominate the time that should be devoted to your children.

Focus on what you can control and quickly develop a mental picture of what you want it to look like in the future!  There are so many emotions associated with divorce – anger, resentment, disappointment, relief – it is easy to let them get in the way, especially in your relationship with your kids. When your kids look back on this time of their life what do you want them to say about you?  This is your time with them.  Create a memory worth remembering. The rewards will be amazing.  Make sure your kids feel safe, secure, loved and important.

 

3.  Prioritize your life!

Create a list of all of the important things in your life (including professional, financial and personal) to create balance. State everything in detail and then stick to that list. (Peters states his daughter ranked number one on his list no matter what came after).

 

4.      Stay busy! Continue doing things you enjoy!

Take up a hobby if need be: Reading, developing a new business opportunity, working out, catching up with old friends, investing, gardening, etc. are all great ways to keep yourself actively engaged.

 

5.      Talk to someone. Seek counseling if it will help improve your well- being.

 

Although many newly single dads may have spent numerous hours in therapy with their ex-wives to no avail, this may still be a great time to find a trusted counselor and figure out what you did wrong in the relationship. In order for you to improve your own life, you must figure out what internal changes you must make.

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Pres. Obama’s FATHERHOOD BUZZ Hits Barbershops Nationwide this Father’s Day Weekend! Join the Nat’l Responsible Fatherhood Movement!!

By Michelle Russell Just in time for Father’s Day, Barbershops across the country will be participating in Fatherhood Buzz, an initiative created to allow dads to connect with local resources to help build strong families. Fatherhood Buzz was created by The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, and its primary focus is to promote fatherhood in the [...]

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New Film Celebrates Black Marriage. Check Out “You Saved Me”

  Celebrate black love and marriage and buy "You Saved Me," the follow-up release to the hit documentary "Happily Ever After–A Positive View of Black Marriage,"  from the founders of Blackandmarriedwithkids.com. Get yours now!  

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Daddy Talk: Doing My Daughter’s Hair

My wasband can’t seem to get it right. We wondered how other dads were faring in doing their daughter’s hair. The answers were tangled and knotted!

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It’s Black Fathers Week: My Special Message to Single Moms

It’s Black Fathers Week in several cities across the country. And to celebrate the many, many strong, positive Black dads out there doing their thang, we’re giving away, FREE!!, our popular “Strong Black Father Under Construction” tee shirt every day to the first 10 people who post a comment to this blog every day until [...]

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