50 Things to Know About Being a Single Dad

50 Things to Know About Being a Single Dad

“Have patience with all things, but, first of all, with yourself.” – Saint Francis De Sales

A herd of cattle scatters across an open field. A lone cowboy struggles to regain order. Four horses are tied to a man’s extremities with rope. They threaten to pull each limb of his body in different directions. The manliest of men, rugged and revered, sheds tears of sympathy; and, shows mercy and grace.

Where might you find these things? If you were a participant on the gameshow, $100,000 Pyramid, your answer may be these are things you will find in an old western movie. I would say these are the experiences of single dad.

Raising children can be like herding cattle; or, like being stretched in different directions by four stallions. When I first became a single father, I had those moments when I stood, silently screaming, “Help!” However, the pleas were to no avail. I am here to remind you those teary-eyed moments are the reasons we endure. I will not show up at your doorstep, like a teammate coming to your rescue; but, I will share what I have learned.

1.  Do Not Take Things Personal

One day, a nice, old couple will stop you at Walmart and tell your daughter what a great job her mom did fixing her hair. The feeling of insult will creep into your brain. Just take a deep breath, stick your chest out, and grin when your pride and joy boasts about her hair being styled by her daddy.

Society’s perception is that men and women each have their assigned parenting role. They are not wrong. No one should be parenting alone. There is a reason children have a mother and a father. People will always think men are out of their league raising children without a mother to help.

I was still married when I was approached at Wendy’s restaurant. Believe it or not, I was praised for carrying my baby in her car seat. “So nice to see a dad doing something,” she said. If only she could see me now, her mind would be blown.

2.  You Can Do It

Go ahead; repeat the title of this tip out loud with your best Rob Schneider impression. I tried not to be repetitive. If you have read any article about being a single dad, you have been told…”You can do it!” In case this is your first, and only, how to on this subject, I do want you to know, the statement is true.

You are alone; but, not the only one in your position. Many men have successfully raised children without the presence of a mother. You can be the next to be crowned with this accomplishment.

3.  Acknowledge Your Situation

You may be a single father due to divorce; or, your kids’ mother may have passed away. Everyone has a different situation. Little ones respond positively when they know you can relate to how they are feeling. Recognize the importance of having a mother. The family will become closer when the kids realize you are experiencing the loss together.

Maybe you feel, justifiably, they are ‘better off’ without their mother. That notion is irrelevant. They miss their mom. A shoulder to cry on and a comforting arm are indescribably important.

4.  Speak Favorably About Women

I am specifically addressing the scorned, ex-husbands that are rearing children who were given to them by their new arch rival. Let go of the past. Remember, children are half their father, and half their mother. By disparaging their other half, you belittle part of their personality.

Another thing I have personally strived for is to build up the opposite sex. I want my daughters to be proud and confident to be women; and, my son to be respectful of women.

5. Listen

Explaining how they feel or what they want is complicated for children because they do not have the ability to describe things. This is caused by the lack of vocabulary and understanding. They do, however, KNOW what they want and need. One of the hardest things we have to do is interpret their responses.

 

6. Do Not Over Compensate

As a prideful person, I avoided asking for help. I exhausted myself and struggled to do a lot. If someone offers to be there for you and relieve some of the burden, accept the assistance. In most cases, I did not have someone available. If that is the case, tolerate the idea some events or activities will not be participation options for this family. Substitutions will always be available.

Read all 50 Things to Know About Being a Single Dad in the book.

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