Barbara Kay: Dads are parents, too

Poor, poor, poor Gwen Stefani. The Hollywood star split from her rocker husband Gavin Rossdale in 2015. But that’s not why we must pity her. After all, Stefani’s marriage lasted longer than those of most of her peers.

No, the reason Stefani feels she has a claim on our sympathy is that she discovered, to her horror, that when couples split up, their children – in this case Kingston, 10, Zuma, 7, and Apollo, 2 — don’t usually continue to spend 100 per cent of their time with their mothers. Children have these — ah, what do you call them? Oh yes — fathers. And Stefani’s kids are now spending a lot of time with Rossdale. Stefani finds this outcome flummoxing: “It was so insane because not only did my family break up, but then my kids are taken away like half the time, so that was really like, ‘What?! What did I do?’ ”

The linguistic tropes Stefani has employed here tell a cultural story of “mom privilege.”

  • Michael Onoo

    Men are often punished in a divorce but taking kids from their father is worse.

    • The laws are terribly one sided, well their application certainly is.

      • ismiselemeas

        I’ve had personal experience with this issue. I represented myself against my ex, via her lawyer in family court. She was doing everything to stop me having any contact with my kids. The long and the short of it is that the single greatest reason most dad’s end up with the short end of the stick is because they don’t stand up for their rights, they don’t contest, they don’t understand the system and they’re sick of the hassle (read: waste of money). The lawyer I retained earlier gave me his personal copy of the family Law Act and told me to read it and self rep. it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got to know the system, saw it for what it was, used it and bested it. I was commended in court by the judge for my preparation, reports and demeanour. I ended up with joint custody, carved child support by 95%, full contact, zero court costs and a whole heap besides, this despite my ex moving to the far end of the province and being beyond belligerent. To top it off I gained great satisfaction telling my ex’s lawyer, in the corridor outside the court room and in front of a lot of her colleagues to go fuck herself. I then went to her office and dumped all the required documents on the floor in front of her secretary after getting her to sign the affidavit for delivery. Not being bound by lawyer to lawyer conduct can be very liberating.

  • But remember, we should all be guided by actors and pop stars, for they are wise. Did you know that Kate Hudson* has written a poem? About BLM and stuff. Here it is (via Mahound’s Paradise):
    Shot in the Dark

    When the silver drops who wins
    Shot in the dark
    Haven’t we seen this story for too long
    Haven’t we lived this scene centuries long
    Haven’t we tired of too many wrongs
    When does it end
    When does one see
    I am you and you are me
    We live together intrinsically spiritually realistically
    And yet we continue to separate, abominate, hate and
    I need to believe
    To hope
    To reach for faith
    That we as humans can create the space
    Where change can be embraced.
    Love is the lesson
    But how do we teach when shot in the dark
    Scared with guns drawn
    How do we teach when one has never felt love as a spark
    Violence on violence has never made change
    Only headlines to read and families that grieve
    Violence on violence makes us fall to our knees
    Question our faith
    Shake our heads in disbelief
    But believe it now for this anger is real
    We know cause we see it rise
    Like oxygen to fire it ignites a raging burning storm
    Angry until sadness appears
    Angry until we fall into tears
    we can’t hold this weight for too long
    It infects our souls and then fear wins the debate.
    We can’t let that win
    It destroys and discriminates
    We can’t let fear rule
    For then we are too responsible for a world too cruel
    Fear is who takes a shot in the dark
    And we must stop sitting back and watching this silver drop

    *This one:

    • Exile1981

      Thats horrible, her poetry atinks.

      • Justin St.Denis

        Most “poetry” does, because most “poetry” these days is not poetry.
        Try picking up a volume by Leonard Cohen or Carl Sandburg and discover what real poetry actually is. Ms. Hudson should stick to acting.

        • Exile1981

          I like Cohen; never read sandburg… I’ll give it a try. Thanks

  • This is relevant. The comments are heartbreaking.

    • There is nothing cool about depending on welfare or not having a stable home.

    • El Martyachi
      • A few years ago I was in a car with my cousin, her husband, and their young teenage boys for a couple of hours in Edmonton. Their choice of radio station was tormenting me (adults should not listen to crappy pop music in the car: this is when you play good music at your brats until they learn to like it. It’s your car, you don’t have to listen to Justin Bieber, ffs), but overall, I could have wept, if I were still capable of weeping in any situation that doesn’t involve a dead cat. These four people actually talked to each other. About their days. Hockey practice, I dunno. They were like… part of each other’s lives? And they liked each other? And they weren’t terrified?

        And my parents never technically got divorced, even. But there’s much to be said for raising your kids without selfish insanity. Gavin is right.

        • El Martyachi

          I feel ya. Really.

  • WalterBannon

    It was so insane because not only did my family break up, but then my kids are taken away like half the time, so that was really like, ‘What?! What did I do?’

    Ms Stefani be well served to ask the same question from her ex husbands perspective.

    • V10_Rob

      It’s all about you, isn’t it Gwen? What did YOU do? What did YOUR KIDS do to deserve losing half their parents?

  • Only a silly, selfish person would think that way.

    Divorce is bad for kids. This has to be said. I’ve seen it. It’s terrible.

    • WalterBannon

      A close friend is trapped in a loveless marriage just because he does not want to give his children a repeat of his childhood in a one parent family.

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        That my parents divorced when I was a kid colours everything.
        My wife and I have both done some stupid things over the years that I would have thought were worth fighting about if we didn’t have kids.
        I never want my kids to go through what I went through.

      • As I said, I’ve seen some things that were just horrible.

  • xavier

    To be fair it appears she caught him in an affair with the nanny.also he was touring too much
    This to me suggest that working couples need to discuss who’ll stay home with the kids. In the case of Gwen she could’ve done the occasional music festival compose TV , video game and movie songs while the ex-husband could’ve limited his touring to a month or 2

    In any case one of the negative aspects of divorce is to free dad’s from their responsibilities with respect to the kids. So Perhaps society should reevaluate no fault divorce and take a look at ways of salvaging marriages

    • Alain

      So he was a different man when they married? No, I doubt it. As one of my grandmothers used to tell us – don’t confuse lust with love, especially when picking a spouse.

      • xavier


        Excellent point. But I avoid as much as possible celebrity shenanigans. It’s the latest opium of the masses

        • Alain

          I am the same and am always amazed how many people believe they actually have something important to say on any issue. They are an extremely dysfunctional group in general.