Whether you’re about to become a single dad or have been one for quite some time, there are some realities that you should know about the life of a single parent. Although it’s not all doom and gloom, there are still some important things you need to be aware of to stay strong and happy during your single fatherhood journey!
Why Being a Single Dad is Hard
The fatherhood process can be difficult and stressful. However, there is also something deep within us that motivates us to do our best. There are times when where you are tempted to give in. You can challenge yourself to search for hidden blessings. There’s a lot that comes with being a single dad and you never stop learning with kids. The rollercoaster of emotions that comes with being raised by a single father is incredible, but let’s first look at three major reasons why being a single dad is so hard.
You carry more weight, especially after divorce
It doesn't matter if your role is sole caregiver to your children or part of a co-parenting arrangement, fatherhood is a challenge and places additional burdens on you. Your children need you continually and you are also juggling work, school deadlines, and possibly dating. When your days are getting longer and you're exhausted your kids seem to need you more than ever before. Being the foundation for the family is more of a burden than a blessing most times. Where is the joy in this? Consider the thought of carrying your children onto your back.
This is a significant amount of weight, yet you'll remember it in fond memories. When you're in these situations the weight isn't visible. Dads have a wonderful opportunity to be a parent and to also help their kids find their way in life and shoulder their own burdens. This lets kids know in the sense that whatever challenges they confront in life, Dad is right there beside them.
Things get dumped onto you
Everyone gets their share of unplanned events that can be unpleasant or even stressful. Cars die. Appliances malfunction. The boss picks you to work on an additional project. The work gets bigger and, when you're not careful the stress could have a major impact on your parenting. Before this happens, ensure you have safeguards put in place, such as a solid support system that you can rely on, knowing how to find the appropriate community resources, and having the ability to talk about your own struggles with the children maturely.
And then there are those occasions when dropping things on you brings laughter and smiles. Consider the water fights your children have in the backyard, or at the beach. It is possible to have wet sand poured into my hair. Rogers said, "Play is the work of childhood." Alongside helping your children build healthy emotional and social abilities, throwing water on you will create lifetime memories you’ll come to cherish.
You are taken to new levels
Being a father is not easy, however, the struggle to overcome adversity is empowering and can help build our character. We might be unable to learn from the way we handled a parenting chance. We take note of our mistakes, change the way we handle them when necessary, and then approach the same issue differently next time.
What happens next? We're better parents through the process. Based on your child's age and kind of interests, think about exploring new levels with them. Build a tree-house or climb a wall of rock or take a rope course. Discuss how you can overcome all obstacles. This will help equip your children with the grit and problem-solving skills they'll require throughout their lives. Also, the satisfaction of doing something with your kid is a great moment to look back on.
- The responsibilities can be crushing, but that's not all there is to being a single dad
- Parenting and dating can work
- As a single father who's dating don't keep your kids in the dark
- Being a single dad is hard, neglecting yourself makes it harder.
Lies You Need to Reject as a Single Dad
Whether your single fatherhood started after divorce or by a conscious choice to remain single, you’ll still have the single parent tag as long as you’re in your kid’s life. This tag comes with a couple of stereotypes and some of them can be draining emotionally and mentally, especially when it comes to dating. You keep wondering if anyone wants to date a single father while searching for how to be a better dad.
"Nobody wants to date a single dad"
If you've met every lady, and asked them whether they would like to be with you and they all said no, then you're correct. However, you haven't had the pleasure of meeting a lot of women out there. You haven't even met 1% of them so you can’t tell who has an interest in being with you or not. The narrative of struggling in the dating scene as a single dad is not true. While you will meet a couple of ladies that might not want to be with a single father, it’s not always the case. The truth is that the fact that you're currently engaged or not isn't a determining factor in whether ladies are out there who would like to have an intimate relationship with you.
"I'll never get a lady of my standards"
Only a time traveler can be certain about the above statement. The science says it's impossible to know today everything you'll learn in the final years of your journey. As a matter of fact, being a single dad is rarely a hindrance to getting a lady that meets your standard. You might feel that way today and a couple of days later you have a date with a lady that can’t wait to meet your kid(s).
"Staying single for as long as you want is a bad idea."
The loneliness that comes after divorce or separation can make being single for a while feel terrible. While you don’t have to be single forever, you also don’t have to rush into anything to escape loneliness. It’s okay to be single for as long as you want. You just have to keep in mind that whether or not your previous relationship worked out, you can still thrive with someone else. You also have a role to play in your kid(s) life and the world regardless of marital status.
"I'm unattractive and can’t keep a partner"
When you start having doubts about how to be a good dad, remember that it is a normal feeling at the early stages of single parenthood. However, that’s not where it stops. You might also start feeling less attractive when the emotional turmoil of separation or loss of a partner starts to hit. All of these could make you feel like there’s something wrong with you. It takes time and effort, but after a while, you’ll feel better knowing you have your kids beside you.
5 Approaches to Handle Common Single Dad Problems
Here are a couple of common problems single dads face and how to tackle them.
Problem 1: Disorder
In reality, without an adult around to take accountability, it's not hard for routines to fall off. The sheer exhaustion of managing all on your own or the stress caused by the move of children between homes can make it difficult to keep a routine.
Answer: Being a sing dad is hard; establish a routine
Research has shown that placing kids on a rountine affects their development positively. Home with routines can provide the stability and security that teenagers and kids need. Create routines for the morning, after-school hours, and bedtime to reduce the chance of disarray.
Problem 2: Standing firm on a "No"
Sometimes, you might not want to be the villain again, especially in the midst of being exhausted by the burden of deciding all things and all of the parenting.
Answer: Go ahead and be the villain
As a single dad, you need to do a lot of digging to make sure that each "no" and "yes" is made clear. Following the rules you've set and the decisions, you've made help your child understand the rules and create a safe home.
Problem 3: Grieving Children
Children who live with a single parent have to deal with the grief of separation, divorce, or even death.
Answer: Be attentive and shower love
Allow your kid(s) to talk about their feelings. Engage them in conversations that enable them to communicate. It's impossible to fix your child's sadness, but you can be there for them, be a loving father, and offer them a safe space. Seeing a movie or reading a book with them or simply knowing when to give them some space will help them open up to you. Also, be sure to allow your children to go through their feelings of grief in the new ways they occur.
Problem 4: Missing a Role Model
Being a single dad is hard but that’s your experience and not your kids, so you can’t expect them to fully understand. So, as much as you try to offer your best, you cannot be their dad and their mom. Your kids will miss and need their mom, especially if you have a daughter and that’s fine.
Answer: Find mentors who are female
It's vital to have women with integrity who can talk to your kids as they grow into young women and men. Find opportunities for your children to be surrounded by secure female mentors such as their moms' friends, relatives, or any other women that can positively impact them – a woman they can look up to. A female role model is more crucial when you have a daughther(s).
Problem: Overwhelming To-Do List
This might seem contradictory however the more occupied we are the more vital it is to actively make time for leisure. With all the things to be done it's easy to get your head down and do it all, so always make time to relax.
Answer: Create time to have fun
Particularly if you're sole parenting, you should make time for having fun with your children. It could be as easy as putting jokes in the lunchbox of your kid's food container or putting the pause button for an afternoon of surprise. Laughter is the most effective remedy. That said, whether or not you have a group of friends you spend your time with, you should consider joining a single father support group. You should also consider dating again.
What to Expect when Dating as a Single Dad?
Whatever age your children are, going out for dates is likely to be fraught with problems. Your date can go in any direction, so here are some tips to ensure that you don't get burned at the dad side of the issue. Whatever way you look at it, dating as a single father can be difficult and there's not a simple solution. You can keep in mind these five tips for single dads looking to start dating.
Keep secrets from your children
Inform your children about what's happening in a simple way. If telling your children the truth about the things you're doing is too overwhelming for them at the moment, it's probably not the best time to get started on dating. Dishonesty is not the best method to address difficult situations with your kids.
Make sure your children are aware of school evening curfews
The routine of family life is crucial even in the best of circumstances. Parenting is the primary responsibility. If you're a single dad it's more crucial to ensure that your children have some stability within their routine.
Don't allow overnight guests at their home
Don't be an untruth. It's not a good idea to let your teenager's date go on for the whole night therefore don't add more confusion to a moral code that's still being established.
Children get easily embarrassed; practice discretion
Kissing? Holding hands? Familiarity? Children are extremely sensitive when it comes to watching relationships. Of course, it all is contingent on the situation with their mother. If in doubt, you should err in the direction of discretion. This isn't just something we talk about inside of our homes. Be extra careful on social media too.
Hold yourself accountable through a friend or relative
The points listed above might help, as well as general knowledge however, nothing beats being held accountable by a trusted person. The importance of accountability is always a good thing however it's particularly helpful when you're trying to build new connections. It's not our nature to live life alone. Therefore, involve the community directly or indirectly.