Laura bush michelle obama and husbands
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My husband, a child of divorce, texted me after hearing Michelle Obama compare the Trump presidency to spending time with a divorced dad: "I had many great times with my dad; but they weren't always fun, and I never got sick."

Obama announced at a London event to a room full of laughter, "We come from a broken family. We're a teenager. ... Sometimes, you spend weekends with divorced dad. That feels like it's fun, but then, you get sick."

Obama just over-generalized divorced dads as frivolous parents who put their own selfish desires above their children's health. Not only is that a malicious lie, implicit in the statement is the assumption that mothers, not fathers, are the "real" parents who meet children's needs.

If women are so great at responding to children's needs, why have mothers fled their homes en masse and left their children in the care of hired help? If women are so great at responding to children's needs, why do they divorce perfectly good husbands in spades, thus severing their children's relationship with Dad? If women are so great at responding to children's needs, why do they salute single motherhood as empowering? If women are so great at responding to children's needs, why do so many use their kids as leverage after divorce and squeeze Dad out of their kids' lives?

My father was a divorced dad prior to marrying my mother, and he paid dearly for divorcing a woman who stopped having sex with him and who kicked him in the groin, causing him to lose a testicle. He spent the subsequent 10 years doing everything he could to see his children, while his ex-wife did everything she could to keep them apart.

Then, there's my friend Mark, who finally divorced his mentally ill wife after years of trying to keep his family together for his kids' sake. When it became dangerous (I know: It's shocking that women can be dangerous), he filed for divorce. To this day, when Mark's kids are with their mother, she is the Disney Mom who skips town and leaves her kids to fend for themselves. When she is home, she lets the kids do whatever they want. They definitely get sick as a result - emotionally sick.

It's only when Mark's kids are with their dad, who always makes sure he's home when it's his turn to have them, that his kids feel secure: "Most of the dads I know already feel punched in the gut because you don't feel like you have any rights in the courtroom if you have testicles. Obama's comment just fueled that flame."

Mark's 23-year-old son concurs: "Obama's assumption is rooted in the idea that all divorced fathers are undisciplined and self-interested. My relationship with my father has actually strengthened over time, as I've come to realize the hard decisions he's made have positively affected me throughout my development as a teenager/young adult."

Then, there's James, a male colleague of mine, whose ex-wife has used the family court system so spectacularly that James currently only sees his kids for 15 minutes per week, as his ex has turned their kids against him. "In the first trial, for a period of three years, I was accused of sexually abusing my children. In my second trial, the kids were given vastly expanded visitation with me, almost to the point of equal parenting. Then, the alienation ramped up significantly. Today, my oldest will barely speak to me."

Anyone who thinks "Disney Dad" is the norm, as Obama implied, should think again. There's a well-kept secret that few have the courage to admit: There are many terrible mothers, and there are countless stellar fathers. Neither sex has the lock on goodness. I know that goes against the popular narrative of women good/men bad, but there it is.

In response to Obama's comments, Patrick Coleman of Fatherly wrote at Yahoo that "most modern divorced fathers understand that stability, consistency, and normalcy are key to their children continuing to thrive after a divorce."

That's true, but it's misleading to use the term "modern." My father, who was born in 1922, knew his children needed these things and tried in vain to make it happen. I would argue that fathers, more so than mothers, are so keenly aware of their children's needs they're willing to stay married even when they're unhappy just so their children can have exactly that: stability, consistency, and normalcy.

After all, it is women, not men, who instigate 70% of divorces. It is women, then, who are willing to throw their kids under the bus for the sake of their own desires.

So remind me again, Michelle Obama: How is it that mothers know better?
About the Author

Suzanne Venker (@SuzanneVenker) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is an author, columnist, and relationship coach known as "The Feminist Fixer." Her newest book, "WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts," will be published in October 2019. Suzanne's website is