Often times, when we look at someone’s behavior in a relationship we rarely link it back to their childhood. Did they have both parents in the home? Did they witness a loving relationship? All of these factors will affect how someone interacts with the opposite sex. During Melanated Father’s of America’s Interview with Sacramento, CA mother Sabrina Winton it was obvious she wasn’t going to let her past dictate her future. We had the opportunity to discuss her relationship with her father, what she learned about men, and the importance of the black father in our community.
Ok, Sabrina. Tell us about your childhood?
So, I was an only child and my mom raised me. My dad lived in Southern California and we lived in Sacramento. They went back and forth for a while, then they finally got a divorce. I always use to stay with my mom, it was difficult. I remember going to see my father in SoCal on special occasions and stuff like that. I always wondered what it would be like to live with my dad.
Was there ever a time when you were able to live with your dad or just spend a lot of time with him?
No. That’s how our relationship was throughout my entire youth. I remember a story that comes to my mind when I think about going to visit my father. He took me to a barber shop and he cut my hair into an afro like I was a boy. So, I knew that he wasn’t used to having me around him. But he was trying you know? There’s a really funny picture that was taken of me with some tie-dye pants on and my little Afro, I looked just like a boy. (laughs)
What’s your relationship like with your father today?
Well, he passed away 4 years ago. I wasn’t able to be there when he passed away, my step-brother kept me informed of what was going on with the situation. I wasn’t able to see him until I actually went to the funeral.
I’m sorry to hear that. Losing a parent is a difficult situation to go through. Before he passed away were you able to speak to him about some of the issues you had with him as a child?
Not really. My dad was an educator, so he was active in the community. He dealt with a lot of other people besides me. I always longed for a better relationship with him, but I understood the man that he was. Maybe he couldn’t communicate the way that he needed to communicate with me, I’m not sure.
How did your relationship with your father shape your view of men?
It affected me so much, I didn’t know what I was looking for. I didn’t know how a relationship between a man and a woman should be. What I saw between my mom and dad was a lot of arguing, you know? They were really distant from each other. So, I think when it was time for me to look for a man I was confused. I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. I’m 50 years old now and I’ve probably been in three relationships in my life and they’ve all been long-term. I’ve always tried to look for someone that would treat me good.
Based on the relationships you have been in so far. What have you learned?
I’m stronger than I actually thought I could be. Recently leaving out of a relationship that I was in for 7 years. I’ve been single for a year now and I didn’t realize I was as powerful as I am. In the relationship I was very submissive, I thought that was the way that I needed to be. Ultimately that relationship didn’t work out. I was thinking back about that situation and maybe I was too submissive. Maybe I wasn’t strong enough, you know? What I’ve learned about the men that I’ve been with is this: You can give them everything they need but for some reason, they still feel the grass is greener on the other side. That’s based on the men that I’ve dealt with. I can’t say all men are like that but the ones that I’ve dealt with have been. So, you can be there for him, you can remain submissive, you can take care of them financially, physically, and emotionally. For me, it seems like even with doing all that it just wasn’t enough.
Ok, so let’s talk a little about your kids. How many kids do you have?
I have 4 children. I have three daughters and one son.
You mentioned you have one son. How is his relationship with his father?
You know, I’ve never denied my children of seeing their dad even when we weren’t together. I’ve always let them develop the relationship they needed to. My son is a very independent individual now, he is career-focused. He doesn’t ask anyone for anything, he’s just that man. I never thought he would be that way because I was raising them kind of by myself because their dad would pop in and out. I never denied him of a relationship with his father. He’s never been to jail, and I only mention that because statistics would say based on his situation that he probably would have gone to jail or been a gang banger, but he hasn’t.
So, when your kids were growing up. You and their father weren’t together, but was he still there for them??
You know, he was kind of in and out. All my children definitely have the same father though. I let them figure out what type of individual he is on their own. Now that they’re older they distance themselves from him a little because he’s not everything that they would like him to be, but that’s still pops you know? I thought it was important to let them figure that out.
Ok, I respect that. It definitely does not help when you paint a negative picture of the father. What do you think the role of the black father is in our community?
You know, if you had some issues and done some things wrong in the past but you’re trying to change your life, it’s never too late. Just be a good example of what a black man should be for our black children and our black boys. A lot of the kids are either locked up or in gangs. My kids were raised in a neighborhood called Oak Park, that was known for drugs and violence. My kids knew all those dudes out there, they were good dudes. If you’re a black man that has been to prison, come out and show the young people that that’s not the way you need to go. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, it may be slow money but at least you’ll be able to build character and have a future. So, it’s important to stay focused and do what you need to do.
Now, we talked about your father and your experiences with men. being that you have three daughters. How do you see them conducting themselves in relationships with men?
They are three very different individuals, who have gone down three separate paths. The older one is hard as nails, she doesn’t take anything from her man. There is no gray area for her, is just black or white. My second daughter, she’s kind of all over the place. As far as choosing a mate, she hasn’t decided exactly what she’s looking for. My youngest daughter is solid, you know? She has someone that has been in her life for a long time now.
Last question. If you can give advice to a young man or woman in our community about parenting and the difficulties of relationships. What would it be?
Take your time to make sure you pick the proper mate to have a child with. You’re going to be connected to that person for many years. I know it’s hard to predict the future but it’s still important to take your time, you know? If you’re going to have a child especially if you’re female, you must be able to take care of your child even if the father isn’t around. Get an education so you can be able to stand on your own two feet. It’s hard not having the father around. I feel like, why not just wait a little bit longer? Don’t do it when you’re in your teens. In my opinion, some people aren’t even meant to have children so that should be taken into consideration before you have kids also. Every woman doesn’t have to have a child, you should slow down and focus on building your Empire before you build a family.
Ok, Sabrina. Thank you so much for sharing with Melanated Fathers of America today!!! Your input was appreciated!!!