Is the single dad explained in 140 characters or less? In an Instagram/Facebook/Twitter world we all seem to want to boil things down to hashtags and emojis.
Parenting ain’t that!!!
Even more than that, being a single dad is hard to sum up in a brief social media post (I think that is why single people LOVE social media so much).
So is this less than 140 characters…
Being a single dad is very much a “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of deal. That is probably because you rarely have the time to master anything!
(It’s actually 154!)
So with that being said, let’s dive in deeper and get to the essence of being a single dad with some great (?) single dad tips.
What does it mean to be a single dad?
As a single dad, you are everything!
- The Dad
- The Mom
- The Healer
- The Task Master
- The Best Friend
- The shoulder to cry on
- The one the kids look to for guidance, strength, and stability
The biggest problem?
Often your kids just do not have enough life experience to understand what that all means or what effect it has on YOU.
So, as with all things in life, you need to strike the balance. Believe me, easier said than done when life is not a DVR that has Pause and Rewind buttons.
So obviously being a single dad cannot be boiled down into 140 characters. What I can do is offer you some single dad tips and tidbits that I found to be very helpful in charting the sometimes rocky and exhilarating course of being a single dad.
This may sound incredibly sexist but one of the biggest challenges of being a single dad is that I think women by nature just tend to have more patience with kids. Now, of course, there’s nothing scientific about that, it is simply my perception of watching moms interact with their kids.
So how do you as a single dad incorporate all the aspects of a dual-parent household by yourself in your parenting? Here is the top spot of my single dad tips list:
The 140 character answer is, you don’t! Nor should you try.
You cannot be anything you are naturally not, but you can work on things that you struggle with. For example some of the things I struggle with:
- Finding time for me (adult stuff)
- Sticking to routines for the kids
I am sure you have your own things. Don’t beat yourself up about things you struggle at. This is what takes up the next spot on my single dad tips list:
See your shortcomings as an opportunity to improve yourself AND your parenting skills.
So let me give you some short tidbits (probably more than 140 characters apiece, sorry) about the life of the single dad.
A single dad explained: try a little patience
Both of my kids love to ask questions. They ask a lot of questions! It can be tough to keep answering why the sun is yellow or why dogs do not talk. Breathe!!!
Embrace the fact that they are inquisitive. Embrace the fact that they want to learn more. If you are running on mental fumes, simply ask them to give you a little time. One of my surefire tricks that is part of my single dad tips tool bag:
- When they ask you a question, say “hmmmm, I’m not sure, give me a few minutes to think about that.”
A little cunning I know, but any port in a storm. Try to avoid showing any frustration. Believe me, I am guilty of this all the time, but I keep trying.
Don’t feel guilty about doing “adult” things
I think as a parent you always feel a twinge of guilt when you do something WITHOUT your kids. Sometimes you find yourself yearning to do anything that does not involve cartoons or playdates. Then you do that, and you miss your kids (awwwwwww).
But one of my most important single dad tips is to go do those things. Now maybe you have a schedule where you split time with the kids with the other parent and you can do your “adult” things only when the kids are there. Do not let that stop you from doing “adult” things you really want to do.
The best part to me is that it teaches your kids they can survive without you for a couple of hours. Even more, they may actually enjoy spending time at a friend’s house or with a babysitter where they can probably get away with a lot more than they do with you!
The single dad explained by sticking to the routines!!
There are plenty of things I want my kids to do on a daily basis. Examples are:
- Pick up and put all their toys away
- Read to them every night
- Sitting them at their desks to work on their schoolwork nightly (my kids are 6 and 4 so this is mainly writing and reading)
So it gets to be late, I’m dead tired, and well….we skip some things. Another one of my single dad tips…..DONT!!! Not only are they learning so much from routines like this, but the routines also give them a sense of comfort and stability.
The more they venture out into the unknown of the exciting and scary world around them, the more they will love the stability you provide (even if they grumble about it sometimes).
Here are a couple of “quirks” and “observations” from my single dad tips collection
Married women, especially moms, are wary of you
Now, this may just be a bit of paranoia on my part, but I cannot help feeling this way. I sometimes get the sense that they think their husband might see you doing just fine on your own and get curious about their own situation.
There is nothing scientific about this theory, of course, it is just something I have felt in my dealings with these ladies.
You may get “looks”
Again, nothing scientific here, but when I go out with the kids I often get a look like “should you really be taking care of these kids by yourself”? Once again this may come from the belief that moms are better parents or they need to be involved all the time….or maybe I am just paranoid!!
The flip side??? I actually had a couple lean out the window of their car as they drove by as I was dropping my youngest at school and say “great job dad” with huge smiles on their faces. Is being a “good dad” so uncommon? I am not a sociologist so I am in no way equipped to hazard a guess…..but it felt nice to get praised for being a (good?) dad.
Summing up my single dad tips
Parenting is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. I think being a single parent takes that to the Nth degree. If you are the ONLY parent (the other parent is out of the picture for whatever reason), well, that is a lot. Hopefully, some of these single dad tips can help you on your journey.
Maintain your patience, stick to routines, find time for yourself and LOVE the journey.