Dads are so important to the health and well-being of their children, and if you’re a single dad, you’ve got a special challenge.
One of the biggest challenges is acceptance. People aren’t used to single fathers being fully active in their kids’ lives. In the past, dads spent their time at work making money for the family, while moms worked on the health and happiness of the kids. So when families split, dads often lost custody or were unable to have jobs that were flexible enough to spend time with their young ones. Fortunately, that has changed. Fathers are seen as important to their children’s lives as mothers, and dads are regularly taking time off for their children.
But there are still some who assume that if you’re a dad, you’re not an active participant. Overcoming that stereotype is an uphill battle. But the only way you can make it over that hill is by living the life you want to live with your children.
What is the most important thing to you in this world?
Your kids, of course. The only people you have to prove anything to is them. As a single parent, you have to be there for them all the time. You are in charge of their food, sleep, homework, health, and emotional well-being. Sitting in front of the TV while the kids watch cartoons is not quality time. While it’s okay to do sometimes, you should focus on helping your kids bond with you and each other.
Still, nobody can do it alone, and it takes a village. Work on building up support. Lean on your family and friends so that when things get too stressful and exhausting, like when kids are having regular meltdowns or are sick, you have someone to help you. That might be your parents, siblings, or friends, but you need to cultivate those relationships in the meantime. That way, when issues arise, you’ll have some support. Trade off care with another family member, or have your kids do regular sleepovers with their cousins at your house and theirs. Plus, it helps to have supportive people in your life to bounce ideas off of or to vent to when you’re having trouble with one of your kids.
Money is often a struggle for single parents, especially soon after a divorce. You go from a two-income household to a single-income household. Work on getting your financial house in order so that you can support yourself and your kids. Start with a budget. There are several apps online that can help you manage your finances quite well.
Remember that your mental health needs care, too. Stress is probably the biggest issue facing single fathers, but anxiety and depression can easily become an issue. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing. If you don’t take care of your mental health, how can you take care of your children? Caring for your mental health helps you excel as a parent.
In the end, providing love and stability for your children is your most important task. When they are adults, they’ll look back and remember that you were there for them and made their health and happiness a priority. Savor the times that you have with your children because they grow up too fast.
About the Author:
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. He aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood. Check out his website DadSolo.com