Mr. Mom Is On The Rise
Number of Single Fathers IncreasingGAINESVILLE, Florida
Bill Van Sickle Shares His Story
Thursday, March 18,1999 - 08:58 PM ET
When Bill Van Sickle and his wife divorced a few years ago, he didn't want to lose his son Russell. So he did what a growing number of men are doing all over America. He pushed for custody, simply because he's Russell's father, CBS News Correspondent Bernard Goldberg reports.
In the process, Van Sickle became part of a profound change taking place in America, a dramatic jump in the number of single fathers raising children, which has increased up to 25 percent in just the last three years.
"I just couldn't imagine my life without him. It's the only thing that makes the rest of my life make any sense," Van Sickle said.
This is not the kind of thing we would have heard 20 years ago, a generation ago.
"I think guys were pretty much trained to think that their job was to be the wallet. Their job was to be the breadwinner, and you could raise your kids by proxy and that was OK," Van Sickle said.
But times are changing. The day we visited Van Sickle at his home in Gainesville, Florida, he played host to a kind of support group which is called the Single and Custodial Fathers Network.
Just as society has said women weren't capable of doing certain things, there's also been a bias against men when it comes to raising children.
But it's not only divorced dads who are adding to the growing number of single fathers. We've all heard about single women, who say they couldn't find Mr. Right and that their biological clocks were ticking, so they adopted a child. Well, it's deja vu all over again, but this time, it's single men who can't find Ms. Right, and now they're adopting children.
"I didn't think I could find the right woman. I had tried to find the right woman, and wasn't successful at it," said Ron Herold, a single father.
So Herold, who lives in Virginia, did what so many women had done. He adopted two children.
While most experts agree ideally kids are better off with two parents, the fact is that it is not an Ozzie and Harriet America anymore, it's more like Unmarried with Children. Today, one of every three kids in our country lives with a single parent. And as more and more women decided to work outside the house, more and more men decided it was OK to raise the kids, alone if necessary, and do just what women have always done.
Everybody knows it's not easy being a mother. Just ask these fathers.
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