A group of people at a kickball event pose for the camera, smiling

OPINION: Fatherhood Is a Journey to Be Celebrated

by Cortez Charles

In my experience, the journey into fatherhood isn’t celebrated the way it often is for mothers. In a lot of cases, mothers get together with friends and family and have exciting gender reveals and immaculate baby showers. There is a wave of support and excitement around new moms. For expecting fathers, in a lot of cases, it’s the exact opposite. The news is often met with negativity and an obscene amount of pressure to provide, to love, and to protect, as those are viewed as key aspects of being a “man.” But now, it’s being a man and a father, and that puts a lot of pressure on men entering fatherhood, often without community offering them the additional support that they need.

So, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge all of that. To all the fathers out there who have made the necessary sacrifices to be present and involved in the lives of their children, I want you to know that you are appreciated, and you’re absolutely necessary. For me, this led to being co-founder of the Fatherhood Accountability Movement (FAM), which was created to help heal and restore the family dynamic, and normalize being intentional about fostering a village to raise our children. FAM gives us a space as fathers, and as men, to come together to connect with one another and discuss ways to normalize things like celebrating the moment of entering into fatherhood. You may not have an elegant baby shower, but you will be showered with love, and you will have the support you need to feel prepared as you enter into your journey of fatherhood. And we do this because the role of the father is extremely important.

Our roles as fathers are pivotal to not only our kids, but to our families as a whole. Having a father in the home has positive impacts on the mental health and well-being of our children. We need positive and affirming male figures in our households, supporting the structure of the home and providing crucial guidance to our children in coordination with the mothers. 

Cortez Charles and Deandra Charles pose for a professional photo, with Deandra leaning on Cortez's shoulder
Cortez Charles and his wife, Deandra Charles, who leads the work of the Matriarch Accountability Movement. (Photo: Cortez Charles)

I also want to shout-out the brothers who are stepping up and stepping in and becoming father figures for children who are not biologically theirs. By stepping up to do what’s right, these brothers have a massive positive impact on families. It’s imperative that we fully understand that you come into this world with a mother and a father, and regardless of what the dynamic of their relationship is, you had a mom and a dad, and there’s no way that you can replace them. And if that dynamic is broken, we must try to restore it. 

This is why the Fatherhood Accountability Movement is so important. Because we’re going to be the ones to hold our brothers accountable. We’re going to be the ones to hold our sisters accountable. Because you can’t do one without the other. I believe that with consistency, maintaining a presence, and being intentional in providing the platform for parents to be able to come to chop it up about the different struggles and the different celebrations of our journeys in parenthood, we can get to the root of a lot of issues. There are a lot of families going through a lot of tough things right now, and coming together in community to support each other can ease the burden so many families are facing.

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The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the contributors on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Emerald or official policies of the Emerald.

Cortez Charles is co-founder of the Fatherhood Accountability Movement (FAM). FAM, in partnership with the Matriarch Accountability Movement (led by his wife, Deandra Charles), aims to build healthy relationships within families using a holistic approach. FAM hosts meetings every third Saturday of the month and provides resources for families including household supplies, one-on-one mentoring, group check-ins, youth programs, and support for domestic violence survivors.

📸 Featured Image: Cortez Charles and other FAM members at the FAM Father’s Day kickball event at Rancho Bernardo Community Center.

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