Why Did Daddy Leave Us?


“Mommy, why did Daddy leave us?”

I feel my heart breaking as I look into her big brown eyes, looking up at me, tears brimming to the edges but not yet spilling over; eyes wide with the hope that maybe, just maybe this time, my answer will be different.

“I love you. I am so sorry that daddy made a choice that hurt us when he left, but this was not your fault. He is not a bad person, he just made a bad choice that hurt a lot of people and I am really sorry that it hurt you. I love you. I love you more than any daddy ever will because I will always love you the most!”

That’s what I said, but what I wanted to say, what was rolling around in my brain and filling up my heart in ways that hurt so much I was sure my heart might actually explode, sounded more like this;

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“Daddy left us because he is selfish. He left because he never should have had kids in the first place. I wish every day that he could see the damage that he has done to you, the damage that he has done to our family. He is a horrible excuse for a human being, he is a waste of working organs, I hope we never see him again, and quite frankly we are all better off now that he is gone.”

But really, what do you say to the wide eyes brimming with tears that are looking up to you? What do you say to a child who carries half the DNA of a person that causes your heart the daily battle of learning to forgive?

You assure her that she is loved. No matter how much you want to, no matter how deep the anger runs, you do not talk poorly about him. You assure her that the person that gave her half of her DNA is not a bad person; that she does not have evil in her. You acknowledge that she is hurting, you acknowledge that what happened is causing her pain, she just wants to be heard.

You be honest, that you don’t have all the answers; that you wish you could make things better, but that you can’t. You let her know that it is ok to be upset and that you will always be there when she wants to talk. You remind her, on a near constant basis of how wonderful she is, reinforcing that her father did not walk away from her because of anything that she did.

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You tell her the most honest and powerful truth that you have; that to the ends of the earth, to the sky and beyond, that you love her, and that you will spend the rest of your life loving her enough for the one that is missing. You assure her that you will never leave her because every minute you get to spend with her is a blessing.

The daddy may have left, but thankfully when he did, he left the best part of him behind.

Related post: An Open Apology To My Kids On The Subject Of My Divorce

About the writer

Eden Strong is a single mother of two young kids. Eden lives her life almost entirely devoid of most social graces, yet has somehow managed to avoid being weeded out by nature. Functional enough to be worth hiring and dysfunctional enough to make her funny, Eden is a regular contributor to many different sites such as Lifetime Moms, XOJane, Catster and Dogster. When she isn't writing to supplement all the money that she doesn't make at her job as the founder of a nonprofit that serves abused women, she can be found speaking what's left of her mind on her blog, It Is Not My Shame to Bear. You can also follow her on Facebook.


Children first 5 months ago

I love you, I love your article, I love your take on the whole situation of when a parent leaves, as I can read between the lines and know the fundamental frustration is not about a husband leaving YOU, but about leaving his family and and overwhelming feeling of always wanting to put the child’s needs before your own. “The stench of narcissism” I will use that to move forward, and to all the ‘dads’ who bask in the glow of their narcissism, who just couldn’t live ‘that way’ anymore, that is all.

xxX_COOL_MOM_XxxXxxxxxxxXXXXxxxxxxxxXXX 8 months ago

YEh Hy FuCkeng Leaft
BY Kkcids with down syndrome

Darrell 1 year ago

a child who carries half the DNA of a person………….just wanted to add my two cents on this statement. A child, in fact, carries ALL the DNA of BOTH parents……contrary to popular belief, a parent is half their child, not a child half their parent. The result of of the genetic coagulation of both parents UNIVERSE results in a completely unique Universe that carries with it the entire collective hopes and dreams of the parent lucky enough to be a part of watching that UNIVERSE grow out of what was created when two UNIVERSES came together…..all children are sacred and this guy sounds like he’s missing out on a lot. Sorry he had to be an idiot. I really just wanted to make the clarification on the DNA part.

John 1 year ago

Maybe mom made false allegation of domestic violence and he is being alienated from his children. Don’t say these vindictive moms don’t exist.

Sarah 2 years ago

I hate that I can relate to this right now. Its been a month since he walked out on us and has made little effort to stay in contact. I do my best to keep my words kind even when there are so many unkind words in my head. I know that as hard as it is for me it is harder for them and its my job to make it easier and for them to know how much they are loved and we will get through this as long as the three of us stick together.

Eddie 2 years ago

Maybe sometimes dad’s leave because him and the mother just simply can not get along, and it’s actually what’s best for the child. Leaving is not automatically abandonment. Maybe the father gets treated like a big fat piece of shit because the mother feels so shitty about herself for whatever her own insecurities are. Maybe the father did the right the right thing and loved everyone from a distance instead of staying in an unhealthy relationship and allowing the child to be raised by people who can not get along. Everyone has their own reasons for leaving, and as long as your there for your child no matter what than who cares why the dad left.

Eddie 2 years ago


Natalie 2 years ago

This article really touched me and is pretty much exactly what I tell my daughter. I’ve been asked why I don’t tell her what an absolute arse he is. It’s not my place and no child’s head should be filled with such poison. I don’t paint him as a knight in shining armour nor do I paint him as a villain. She’s getting older and can form her own opinions. In the meantime I continue to tell her pretty much what the article says.

Yes I think he is a vile human being. He’s a liar and a coward and that is the worst kind of man. He’s certainly not the role model a daughter deserves. I don’t need to bad mouth him. It’s enough knowing it’s his guilt to bear and I hope the minuscule part of him that has a shred of decency left is wracked with guilt.

For those who justify a man (or woman) leaving because of a bad relationship. You are all just as bad. If things are so bad then by all means leave the relationship or marriage but there is no excuse for leaving a child behind. If your justification is that the other person is so awful then how can you justify leaving a child to cope with it alone?

No my relationship with her father wasn’t working out but we could certainly have remained civil enough to co-parent. He was just too weak to do that and used the relationship breakdown as an excuse.

I don’t care if I had to sell my soul to the devil himself. I’d NEVER leave my child behind. You’d have to prise her from my cold dead hands first. She knows and always will know that my love for her is immeasurable

Andrea Simpson 2 years ago

Been down this road.

Phyllis Goldie 2 years ago

Just read the entire contents and So do not agree!

Dani 2 years ago

I just read the first two posts on your blog. Woman, you are made of steel. You have a new follower. Thank you for putting that out there.

    Eden Strong 2 years ago

    Aw thanks Dani :) I look forward to seeing you there!!

Dani 2 years ago

I needed this today. I’m mid-breakup with my son’s father and feel like an utter failure for choosing someone who puts alcohol first to be the daddy for my child. He loves my son, there’s no doubt about it, but his drinking has ended the love we had. I just have to succeed at making sure that my baby never, ever feels that anything he did could have changed who his father is.

Cheryl Jones 2 years ago

This lady is writing about her own personal matters, how to deal with the hurt her child has without saying things filling her child with more hate because her little girl is confused and hurt, I think as far as HER case goes that she is doing the right thing, those of you who have gone through this with a significant other male or female, deeply sorry about your anger and hurt. No one should have to go through this and not one of you could have known your spouse/significant other would do such a thing. You didn’t make a bad decision.

Jerry Thomas 2 years ago

Some people need to read between the lines

Robin 2 years ago

Everyone needs to go right away to Eden’s blog to read the backstory of her life and her marriage. Especially those who are questioning whether she had anything to do with her husband leaving or whether she is doing the right thing by not outwardly blaming the father.

Not that you need me sticking up for you, Eden, but wow. I cried reading about your life. I think you are amazing, and I love this post. You are raising your children with such strength and dignity.

    Eden Strong 2 years ago

    Aw thanks Robin :) It’s definitely been a crazy life (I’m the author). I appreciate that you took the time to head over to my blog and see why I’ve come to feel the way that I have. Thank you!!

Heather C Lind 2 years ago

:-(…it makes me so sad.

DontBlameTheKids 2 years ago

Heartbreaking. My situation is ridiculously close to this, but not quite as bad. Please don’t tell your child you love her more. He might come back into her life someday (mine did).

Lizz Schulz 2 years ago

It’s a two way street. Mom’s do this too:-(

Jeff Duncan 2 years ago

What should mom tell the tearful child when she is the one who cheated and broke up the marriage yet still has the kids…..kind of hard to tell the kids your the reason for their pain and dysfunctional family. Too often the truth gets twisted or reality gets watered down and the parent who no longer lives in the house becomes the villian. Not every man is the a$$ and not every woman deserves to have the kids and make up the story…

Citlali Shifu 2 years ago

Unfortunately, sometimes, its hard to make ” dad ” look good .. When you kick him out because another girl comes harassing you at your home and dad violently attacks mom in front of them .. You really can’t say anything good at that point .. You can’t say anything at all .. ~ ^v^

Kate 2 years ago

My ex has told the boys he is “leaving” but not made any effort to move out, yet he already has his new girlfriend but is waiting for her divorce to come through before moving in with her and his new family. It takes two to make a relationship work, so if one would rather run off and find another person than try and compromise and deal with issues then there is no hope. I try and deal with the “where’s daddy” questions sensibly, when he has spent the night at her house but resent having to lie for him as he is refusing to admit he has replaced mummy with someone else (who is currently perfect) as he doesn’t want the boys to think he is replacing them with her kids. Despite me not bad mouthing him he unfortunately has no problem pointing out my “faults” in front of the boys.

Heather Pearson 2 years ago

When my ex left me and my 4 beautiful children so many people said he could have figured it out before he had so many kids. I told them that he gave me 4 beautiful gifts and I wouldn’t have it any other way..

Mindy Cottrill Graul 2 years ago

Made me cry..

Amy Hossack 2 years ago

Try explaining why mom left….

Lori Jilk 2 years ago

To me the most important is that I let her know we are a team and I will always be there for her……love her endlessly…..not everyone leaves

Becky Newton 2 years ago

“You assure her that the person that gave her half of her DNA is not a bad person; that she does not have evil in her”: The most important thought in this article.

Allison Warenik-Queenan 2 years ago


Chump Lady 2 years ago

He is a bad person. That’s the sucktacular thing about this situation. You have to gaslight your own kid. If you go with the “he’s a good person” narrative, your child has to do the mental gymnastics of reconciling love with abandonment. If you go with the he’s a bad person narrative, you’re alienating the other (missing, idiotic, selfish) parent.

I lived this and I think the only way to play it is how you played it — you tell your kid YOU are WORTHY. This jerk is no measure of your worth. What he did is a measure of him. Love shows up.

You be the sane parent, and you don’t try to explain the unexplainable. You just hug and comfort and do your parenting job.

    Michelle 2 years ago

    My ex hasn’t seen thr kids in 3 years he lives local and works 2 miles from my house. My 13 yo knows the truth and has del quite well.my 7 yo asks questions so I just tell her he’s not making good choices right now. That’s a fact lol

Hayley 2 years ago

I recently had a similar question from my kids “why don’t we have a Daddy”
I handled it similarly, telling them how much they were loved etc.
That’s all you can do, I know in my heart they are so much better off now.
H x

Kristen Hebert 2 years ago

So True!!!!

Krystal 2 years ago

The BEST thing my mom did was not say anything negative about our dad. She always said when we were old enough we would know the truth and have our own opinions of him, and we did. I respect/love her soo much more for that because God knows it had to be hard.

Mallori 2 years ago

I get asked this question by my daughter atleast twice a week. It is heart breaking and I do always wish I had a better answer :( this article is awesome… It’s as if my own thoughts flew on the paper!

Julie Morgan Domena 2 years ago

He was not always nice, and he was not very discreet, and his mess eventually showed up at our door, and called our house repeatedly, and upset my daughters. Add to that, that he’s made no decent effort to be a part of their lives since then, it pretty much guaranteed that the girls (now women), would decide for themselves, regardless of what I say, or don’t say, and I don’t see a point in sugar coating things.

Amber Nicole 2 years ago

So sad! I’m so very sorry to all you women dealing with this.

Teri Clarke 2 years ago

But how long do you sugar coat it? My x hasn’t seen our son in 4 yrs, calls often enough to remind him he has a father and doesn’t keep a job to pay child support. Assidiot

Lara Shannon Camacho 2 years ago

This is spot on.My job is to luv my kids thru the turmoil and make sure they feel secure and loved at all times. Sadly they will see the truth on their own eventually. Thank you for this beautifully written reminder that sadly this is happening all too often and I am not alone.

    Hayley 2 years ago

    I found it pretty spot on too. Sad but true and as long as you have the kids best interests at heart and make them feel loved it’s all we can do :)

    Eden Strong 2 years ago

    You unfortunately are not alone :( Glad you liked the piece. Your kids are lucky to be loved so unconditionally :)

Reese Nicolette Rodriguez 2 years ago

It’s not always the father’s fault. Sometimes the mother won’t allow the father to be part of the child’s life. Lies are told to the child & the father just looks like a deadbeat. Not fair. My boyfriend wants to be involved in his kid’s life, but she makes it impossible.

    Michelle 2 years ago

    That is very true but I think this particular article describes a different situation. This one describes one in which dad up and leaves mom AND THE KIDS.

Darci Turnquist 2 years ago

Very well said. :)

Amanda Brockman 2 years ago

there is no easy way of saying it. with out the child feeling unwanted and unloved. unless daddy mysteriously died. my mom took the blame for my conception and bio leaving. 1 night drunk stand with a co worker. as I got older I can discern my,own truth. and it6 0simply came down to I was not the child he wanted. but his son’s from another relationship. and I was a product of a mistake.

Jamie 2 years ago

My ex is in prison…I have to help my daughter sort that out and sometimes it’s really hard not to say her dad is a loser that only cares about himself…sucks

Amy Van Gelder Brown 2 years ago

So powerful. I will always speak highly of my children’s father, he was a great husband and a great father for almost 10 years, then he got lost and confused and scared and ran away to another family, it’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but my kids deserve to still idolize him, they are still young, but they are also old enough to grow up and be able to put the pieces together of what he did, they won’t need any help from me, and me “helping” them will do nothing but hurt them in the long run.

Allison Hailey 2 years ago

I am so happy yet saddened about this article. My son deals with that question a lot and it is hard not to spew about how terrible his father is when you see how hurt he is :/ and unlike some kids, he has an incredible father figure and i have a great partner now he just feel like a part is missing still. but it is nice to know we arent a lone

Amanda DeLamatre Shelnutt 2 years ago

I was one of these children, and my Mom always said “Because he wasn’t ready yet to be the Daddy you deserve.” Years later she met that guy, and I have a wonderful Father whom I love very, very much.

Samantha Shay Epstein 2 years ago

I was the kid in the story. My father left me before my 4th birthday. My sister was only 11 months. He wanted to be a rock star! My mom did a pretty good job not turning him into the bad guy in our eyes. They were high school sweethearts and she loved him very much. The void he left was irreplaceable and I made him out to be so much more than he actually was. The best thing that ever happened is when I flew to the Keys to meet him when I was 22 years old. It was a reality check that gave me the closure I needed to move on.

Cozbi Castillo 2 years ago

Love love love this!!! She took the words right out of my mouth!!!! Such a powerful piece for single parents!! #youcantmakesomeonebewhotheydontwannabe

Eleanor Richards 2 years ago

In defense of dads, sometimes it’s the mom who leaves, and daddies step up and take care of the kids. Sometimes, just sometimes, dads are the heroes and not the villians. What sucks the most is that dads get such a bad rap that when moms do leave, it must be our fault, and not hers. So yeah, sounds hard, but it’s worse when your mother abandons you.

Tan 2 years ago

Waahhhhh! This is me with my kids right now! We separated a week ago!!!!

Melinda Rowland McLeod 2 years ago

Every day I am thankful for the abilitity to love my children more than my opposite of love of the situation.

Jennifer Abelhouzen 2 years ago

I have been in this situation and it was easier to blame the ex than it was to take responsibility for my part in the split. Eventually, for me to move forward in a positive and productive way , I had to own my part. Relationships are never one sided. We owe it to our children and ourselves to be accountable for our short comings and find acceptance with where our choices have led us.

Cheryl McNeely 2 years ago

There’s two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth. Mom’s truth is often different from dad’s truth because each of them have different perspective. :/

Cheryl Hennesey 2 years ago

“The daddy may have left, but thankfully when he did, he left the best part of him behind.” Powerful.

Emily Hannon Hecei 2 years ago

I was with my ex husband for 12 years. Most of it horrible. But I can’t blame him 100%. I knew what I was getting into. I knew he couldn’t handle adult responsibility. It takes two to make a relationship, and two to fail at it.

Kristina Hammer 2 years ago

Dani Lawless, I thought this might help or at least help you see you’re not alone!

Heather McCormack Byrd 2 years ago

Very wise. Kiddos first, that mothering at it’s finest!

Amanda Adams 2 years ago

A battle fought daily with no winners.

Paige Jax 2 years ago

I didn’t read the post. It hits too close to home. I used to always tell my son that he just doesn’t know how to be a daddy right now.
I was fine. His hurt broke my heart.

Tracy Taylor Rothe 2 years ago

Very powerful, thanks for this one.

Karie Bennett 2 years ago

Sadly I’ve been in this very similar situation with my own daughter. As much as I want to tell her the truth about what a horrible person he is and the horrible things he has done and still does i don’t. I know how it feels to hear someone bash the hell out of your dad. My parents were divorced before I ever knew they were married. And for years my mom couldn’t speak his name without spitting nails. I always felt if they hate him so much and I’m half of him how can you not hate me? But I figure tigers don’t change their stripes and in time she will see his true colors as well but it will be her choice.

    mexihime 2 years ago

    I’ve said that about my own son. I could never hate his father because my son is half his father and I love my son more than anything. I could say “I hate my ex” and half the time I could possibly mean it. But in reality I never could.

Heather White Clark 2 years ago

My son is one of these kids. He’s 13, autistic, bright, intelligent, caring, way too tender hearted and has NOT ONCE met his birth father. Why? The Ex didn’t want to be a part of us. He didn’t mind making the baby but being around for the heavy lifting and the hard work was too much for him. To all the mothers who do the job of 2 parents, my admiration is yours and I have been there. There are many parents who are better parents when they aren’t together. Regardless of what one’s feelings are to the ex, be as awesome as you can to the little one.

Dryndi Archer 2 years ago

Love this!

Michelle Sneed Schmitt 2 years ago

Powerful. My dad left us 35 years ago and my mom still hates him, and resents me because I am a reminder of him.

Lisa Kiddey 2 years ago

Boy, I know this all too well…

annab 2 years ago

This article means a lot to me. My former husband left on out beautiful daughters birthday a few years ago. He has/had a drug problem and I known that one day I’ll have to tell my girl the truth but right now I just say “daddy chose a different life style from us. ” Its the best I can do right now.

Gina 2 years ago

Sometimes daddies leave because the environment for their child is better without both parents together. Remember it takes 2 people to argue. This does not mean daddy doesn’t love his child or that he is selfish. It’s more of a selfless act to realize that mommy and daddy are better a part then together.

    momto4 2 years ago

    I don’t think she means he ‘left’ as in he filed for divorce, she means he ‘left’, completely left. That’s not selfless. That’s cowardly and inexcusable. If the marriage fails, so be it. There’s no excuse to abandon your children.

Melissa Maldonado 2 years ago

I sure did need to read this.

Allyson Bradley 2 years ago

Eddie Hernandez, You should love your children more than you hate your ex. If he left not only mommy but the kids as well I am pretty sure that make HIM the @$$ hole.

K Jeffrey Staebell 2 years ago

Maybe it’s because mommy and daddy both have blue eyes?

Emily Hannon Hecei 2 years ago

Moms need to take responsibility too. We failed to choose a partner wisely.

    Nicole Coiner 2 years ago

    Very true.

    Dawn Marie 2 years ago

    Some people let you see what they want you to see. And, some people lie. If a man chooses not to see his child, he is the only one at fault.

Heather C Lind 2 years ago

I wanted to say the same thing to my kids. I didn’t. They still chose to go live with him when they were teens. THAT broke my heart.

Linda 2 years ago

Seriously? That’s your take on it? How about a real daddy (who gave a damn) would NOT give up, no matter what

Cassie Miller 2 years ago


Emily Baker 2 years ago

I know so many mothers that need to read this! They choose to fill their child’s head with hate instead. It’s just sad.

    michelle 2 years ago

    Yes alot of mothers do that but i think this article is describing a different situation in which the dad just leaves of his own free will and CHOOSES not to see the child.

Eddie Hernandez 2 years ago

Maybe mom was an @$$ hole?

    Krista Lueders 2 years ago

    lol, funny, and so true sometimes.

    Jamie 2 years ago

    While that is true sometimes, it’s not a reason to leave the child

      M. Fisher 2 years ago

      Are you saying that is wrong for a woman to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship, but the man should stick around for the children?

        Dawn Marie 2 years ago

        what a thing to say. If the father hates the mother, that’s a good excuse to abandon his child?

          xXlegitboi69Xx 11 months ago

          u r suuc if u thhnk tht my dad left me n i crid eritiem n it scurd me so muck tht i ped me shirt

          xxyoufgt69xx 11 months ago

          legit boi you mack mah dey somtns i wlly ned som insprantions ad you di it

    ames 2 years ago

    Thank you, SIR, for your incredible insight (go mansplain elsewhere, jesus)

    Tara 2 years ago

    I think the only asshole here is the one you see in the mirror.

    Hannah 2 years ago

    This is so sad. Why would you say something like this? Was your heart broken by your father too? I am sorry you feel the need to hurt other people with your finger-pointing. It must be hard to look in the mirror with that much hate in your head. Everyone can be awful from time to time. The reason divorce is so high is because people can be terrible. And they take it out on their kids. I hope that this gives you motivation to be a better person. If you need help for being such a prick, (or maybe this is the first you are hearing of it?) I would suggest counseling. We are all a-holes, but it is not your job to point it out. Especially after this article.

Sara Lowery-Martin 2 years ago


Laura Capler Pagac 2 years ago

This breaks my heart.

Melissa Maldonado 2 years ago


    James_Cameron. (not isis) 11 months ago

    Alluha Akbar.

Jamie-Lynn 2 years ago

That last line got me.

    happy slap time 11 months ago

    this is how babis are made wit rove and yumy smex

      pooo pooo mcgy 11 months ago

      happy slapy fapy should be his name becrause he rikes popstickles up his cahoter hah im going to go sweep up my peepee stain bye by hhehe?”:{}_+)(*7^%$#@! thats my rael name


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