Being a single dad has always been hard. It may not be talked about as often as single mothers are, but that does not make it any less difficult. This lack of awareness around single fatherhood almost makes it harder because there are not as many resources out there for single fathers. Despite the many difficulties, single fathers all over the world are raising wonderful kids.
What is a single father?
What exactly is a single father or single dad? Well, a single dad is a dad that is raising a kid or kids on his own. For whatever reason, the mother of the kid or kids is not in the picture anymore, not in their lives anymore, so it is only the dad that is taking care of them. This means that all of the child-raising, working, cooking, and cleaning is all on the dad instead of having a partner that is also working with them. In the United States, there are only about 2 million single fathers source: U.S. Census Bureau. This number is very small given that there are over 300 million people in the United States. A lack of awareness about single fatherhood, which is in part due to the small number of them, makes life as a single dad much harder than it has to be. This is also the reason that there are so many struggles in the life of a single dad even in 2022.
Who is a single dad?
Anyone can be a single dad. Well, anyone who considers themselves a male that is. A single dad can be someone you work with or someone you see at the gym all the time. Every time you go on a walk you could be walking past a single father. They might not be telling everyone they talk to that they are single dads, but chances are that you probably know at least one. When women say that they are single moms they often get some sympathy and people are, for the most part, understanding. But when a man says that he is a single dad, people often start judging them and asking questions about what happened to the mother figure. Because of this, they don’t tell as many people. A lot of people have probably met single dads without even realizing it.
Why is there a double standard?
Double standards are a common, everyday thing these days. Women are constantly dealing with them in their work life, in their personal life, and even in the way they dress. What a lot of people do not realize is that a single dad's life is full of double standards too. A big double standard is that when the kids are sick mom will take care of them while dad works. But when you are a single dad you have to take care of the sick kids, and a lot of people just do not seem to understand that. And this is just one of the many double standards out there. But why are there so many double standards surrounding single fatherhood? Well, it is because of society today. And it starts at a young age. Girls will get dolls to take care of while boys will get doctor sets and trucks. Women are expected to want to be a mom while men are expected to want to work and have fun for as long as possible. These double standards are so ingrained in us that it is not going to be an easy or quick process to get rid of them.
What do single father deal with?
When you are a single father raising kids by yourself, you have to deal with a lot. All of the household stuff is on you, which is also true for single mothers, there is a lot of pressure from your place of work, people are judging you and asking questions, and so much more. A lot of people do not realize just how much single fathers have to deal with because it’s not talked about that much. Single moms are normal to everyone, they have tons of resources and some options that single dads just do not have. For example, how many changing tables do you see in the men’s public bathroom? Women's restrooms always have them, but it is not a common feature in the men's room. Here are some of the things that single fathers have to struggle with:
- Pressure from work
- Judgment from people
- Bathroom etiquette
- Mental health struggles
- Limited resources
- Difficulties with dating
- There is a lack of awareness surrounding single dads and because of this, they have fewer options than single moms do.
- Single dads have to deal with double standards put in place since childhood every day of their lives.
- Anyone can be a single dad, so they do not tell everyone that they are single dads because people judge them.
Pressure from work
Today, society expects men to be the breadwinner, to bring home the money and focus on furthering their careers while the wife stays at home with the kids, especially when they are young. Of course, this isn’t always true because many families with two parents both have jobs today. However, these views about the mom being home with the kids have a negative impact on single dads in the workforce. It’s kind of expected that men are supposed to work hard and further their careers even after they have started a family. They will work and the mom will stay home with the kids. However, when you are a single dad work isn’t always your top priority. When a kid is sick or hurt or when something has happened at school, it’s kind of expected that mom will handle things. If it’s a single dad though, he is the one who has to take time off to take care of the kids not to mention impact on their personal life, dating and hobbies. This can negatively impact their career because people won’t think they are not dedicated enough to get promotions and raises. Single dads might not be able to work overtime because they have to stay with their kids, which many employers may not understand.
Judgement from people problem
When you’re a single father raising a kid or kids on your own, a lot of people are going to be judging you. Everyone judges other people, it’s literally something that every person does. But single dads have to deal with it actually being spoken to them. Everything that you do with your kids, every decision you make, someone will be judging you for it. This article source: Huffpost.com mentions that people judge single dads even just because they are raising their child by themselves. And it’s everyone, not just a few people. Your child’s teacher, your neighbor, literally everyone has opinions about everything that single dads do. People will even ask single dads about the mom and why she isn’t there and what happened to the relationship and judge them because of that. Some people verbalize these thoughts while others will stay silent, but it is something that single fathers will always have to struggle with.
As mentioned above, dealing with public bathrooms when you are a single dad is always a struggle with young kids. When the kid or kids are still wearing diapers, the changing table situation comes up. Very few public bathrooms have diaper changing tables in the men's room. This obviously presents a problem because it means that the kid has to lay on the ground in a public restroom. Public bathrooms are gross at the best of times and disgusting at the worst. The struggle with public bathrooms is present even when you have elementary school-aged kids, specifically girls. It is hard for single dads to figure out if they should force their daughters to go into the men's room that doesn’t have a lot of stalls, let them go into the women's room by themselves, or go into the women's room with them. Obviously, there is no easy or right answer, which is why single dads struggle with this every time they go out. Some places offer gender-neutral bathrooms or family bathrooms, but there are not as many of these places around as you would think.
As kids get older they want to have their friends over for sleepovers. They want to have their friends sleep in their rooms with them and watch movies and just have fun. However, single dads struggle to make sleepovers actually happen. Other parents tend to not want to let their kids sleep at someone else's house if there is not a mom there. It may be that moms are thought of as more kind and caring if something were to happen and dads are not often thought of as being that way, it may be that parents are worried about what the dads will do to the kids without a mom there and feel uncomfortable about it. Whatever it is, it causes the children of single dads to miss out on a big aspect of their childhood. Going over to a friends house is always fun, but there is something different about having someone over to your house. Since there is a lot of judging and stigmatizing around every aspect of single fathers, getting sleepovers to actually happen for your kids is a very big struggle.
We found few single dads blogs on the internet. If you follow those blogs it would give you an idea of how they organize their life, dating, childcare and work-life balance.
- This one is popular and interesting. Ben's blog
- Single dad from San Diego that is raising two boys. Charles' blog
- Single dad James that not only has a blog but writes books. James' home page
Mental health struggles
Mental health is a huge struggle for many people all over the world, whether single parents or not. It is something that not a lot of people talk about but a lot of people deal with. But not everyone actually does deal with it properly. This website source: offspringmagazine.com says that even though single dads deal with the same stress and struggles that single moms do, they do not often take care of their mental health. Single dads have so much going on, between work, taking care of the kids, and doing all of the normal household duties, they are very stressed and anxious. They also might not know how to fit it into their already busy schedule. And this is totally normal and understandable. Men in general do not often seek help for their mental health, so when you add in the lack of time single dads have, you can imagine how few actually seek help. There is also a lot of stigma around mental health so not many single dads want to deal with that on top of already being judged just because they are raising their kids by themselves.
There are tons of resources out there for single moms. There are lots of studies, a lot of magazines and online articles, and lots of places to get help. Resources are a struggle for single dads to even find because there are very few and they are not easy to find. Single dads don’t often get counseling or speak with professionals so there isn’t a lot of information to gather. Also, since single fatherhood is not talked about nearly as much as single motherhood is, there is a lack of awareness around the entire subject. This lack of awareness means that there aren’t as many people out there trying to help them. Single dads go through the same things that single moms do when it comes to raising their children and making sure that money is coming in. But the resources for them are not the same at all. There aren’t magazines for single dads that are dedicated to raising the perfect kid or giving tips and tricks or places where they can find resources at. Since there is so little awareness about single dads out in the world, there aren’t many recourses for them either.