Facing the Challenges of Being a Single Dad

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This week’s blog post comes from Daniel at dadsolo.com.  Daniel is a single father and has created dadsolo.com to give resources, experience, tips and more for single dads and parents.  Please be sure to check out his site! 

When you think of a single parent, you typically think of a young single woman working two jobs while struggling to raise two or three children. But single fathers in the world experience challenges as well. Today, single fatherhood is becoming increasingly common. Whether through divorce, the death of a spouse or having children without being married, many men are becoming single parents. They just don’t get as much attention as single moms. If you’re a single dad, here are some tips to help you overcome any challenges that life throws your way:

Find a Support Network

Single parents often feel alone. After all, they’re solely responsible for a mind-boggling array of tasks. As the only parent in the home, single parents must do all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry and a host of other chores. But that’s not all. Single parents take care of the kids when they’re sick, help with homework, shuttle the kids to soccer practice, and attend parent-teacher conferences.

When you’re a single dad, you may feel isolated even more than a single mom. You may be the only dad at the PTA meeting or sitting in the lobby of the ballet school. When you take your kids to the park, you may share a bench with mothers watching their own children play.

For this reason, single dads should reach out to other single fathers in the community. Connecting with other fathers going it alone can help you feel less isolated. Dads in your area may be able to provide you with advice or encouragement when you doubt your abilities to parent your children without a partner.

Just because you’re a single parent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept help with typical responsibilities. Family members and close friends can help with babysitting, chauffeuring kids to afterschool activities, and staying with children when they are too sick to go to school.

Realize You’re Not Perfect

Everyone makes mistakes–including single fathers. Realizing that you’re not perfect will help you have a sense of humor when things don’t go exactly as planned. If you aren’t a gourmet cook, that’s okay. As long as you’re cooking healthy meals, it doesn’t matter if they consist of simple ingredients. And if you’re not great at doing your five-year-old daughter’s hair, keep practicing. Watch online video hair tutorials. Ask a close friend or family member to give you tips on styling your little one’s hair. Kids don’t expect you to be the perfect parent. They just need to be aware of your love for them.

Get the Kids to Help

Teach your children how to help out around the house so that you aren’t so overwhelmed by the chores of daily life. This shows your children the importance of working together and demonstrating responsibility. And when they learn to pitch in with the housework, they develop empathy for you and appreciate all of the work you do for the family.

Taking Care of Yourself

As the primary caregiver, you’re always in danger of forgetting to take care of yourself. Daily anxieties of work and taking care of your children can take a toll on your mental health. But as mental health specialists point out, “It’s important to learn small ways to face that stress head-on and reduce it no matter where you are, because having effective coping mechanisms handy will allow you to get through even the most challenging times. You can use your new skills to immediately start feeling better, and to prevent the emergence of chronic mental health problems.”

Being a single father can bring you various challenges. As the only parent in the home, you are responsible for it all. It’s a delicate balance of career and childcare that isn’t easy to achieve. If you are a single father, it’s important to reach out to others for assistance. Connecting with other single dads in the community as well as receiving support from family and friends will help you juggle a myriad of responsibilities while still maintaining a positive outlook.

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