The Joys and Pains of being a Solo Father

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Single parenting presents its own set of complicated factors. While Attn.com points out that, “Nearly 10 percent of households are headed by single dads, a major increase since 1960, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report,” there is little to no awareness of the challenges that single fathers face. Here are just a few of the issues many single dads have to tackle everyday and how you can overcome them.

The Stigma

Western society tends to perceive the role of fatherhood in terms of lacking the care-giving gene. As a result, there are many situations that may present themselves leaving you feeling inadequate as a parent. For example, other parents may not feel comfortable letting their children sleep over if a mother is not present. There are also inefficiencies concerning public bathrooms and the lack of changing tables in men’s rooms.

Additionally, most men are not up to date on doing their daughters hair or helping her through the various stages of development. However, you can work to break these barriers by educating yourself online and through parenting books as well as communicating openly and honestly with other adults.

A New Family Dynamic

Depending on the situation that led you to singledom, your children may be reeling from a lot of turbulent change and could act out in turn. Instead of feeding an emotionally charged environment, create a stable and secure home life for them and yourself. Make a schedule and stick to a routine. Do even the most mundane household chores together and use it as a time to listen and understand their fears and anxieties while sharing your own. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and discipline when necessary. Even in this challenging time, you can come together as a family and learn from one another.

Lack of Support

Parenting isn’t necessarily easy with a partner, let alone without one. For single dads, there are usually fewer resources available than for single mothers. However, that shouldn’t stop you from finding or forming a support group in your area. Reach out to someone you know who has gone through the same thing, whether it’s a single mom or dad. Just opening up a dialogue about parenting will help you feel less alone and more empowered within your role.

You’re just one person, so it’s important that you know your limit. Instead of feeling guilty that you can’t do everything, hire the help you need. It can be exhausting and nearly impossible to properly juggle one’s work responsibilities, a personal life and your child’s well-being alone. By hiring transportation,  cleaning, or meal service, you might be able to better balance everything and focus on what’s most important.

Mental Health

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. In order to take care of your kids and really be present for them, you need to make time to replenish yourself. Rather than suppressing your emotions, it’s imperative that you find healthy coping techniques to release them and blow off steam, as letting thoughts fester could negatively impact your overall health. The Huffington Post recommends that you “do one thing each day that gives you joy — and tell your kids why you do it, and why it makes you happy.” Chances are they will pick up on your example and make good choices as well.

Lastly, consider meeting with a therapist regularly to help you gain more insight. Most importantly, spend quality time with your kids and create lasting memories. You’ll soon learn how rewarding it is to watch your children flourish before your eyes.

Daniel Sherwin

We must have heard and read about the struggles of single mothers. It’s very heartening to see single dads doing their best for their children too. Daniel Sherwin runs DadSolo.com.

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21 comments on “The Joys and Pains of being a Solo Father”

  1. Taslyn Russell Reply

    I have a real respect for single parents I’m use to single mums but I think there is not enough content or awareness about Dads that are doing it alone. I love my mum for all the love and sacrifice and I have no doubt that your child will feel the same. Your doing a fantastic job. Love love loved this post!

  2. Elizabeth Reply

    Being a single parent is one of the most difficult jobs there is. It’s not just dads who don’t know about hair though (I’m useless at doing my daughters hair, lol!), and thankfully changing rooms are often in disabled toilets now (mixed gender with more room).

  3. AlwaysCarryOn.com Reply

    It’s so refreshing to read a post about single parenthood that is from the fathers perspective. There are so many posts from single mothers, but not many about single dads unfortunately 🙁 x

  4. itsnadianelson Reply

    You rarely hear about any advice for single dads, even though there are more single fathers out there than we hear about. I commend them. No matter whether they are a single father/mom, it can be tough raising kids. You provided some very good tips.

  5. ladysworldoffashion Reply

    I think it is difficult for both parents when kids have only one person who is responsible for them. Here I think its also important to have great grandparents and aunts.

  6. rashimital Reply

    Single Mother or Single Father, it is tough for both of them, loads tougher for the latter. Our society is such that it will always judge everyone, no matter who the person is and what are their circumstances. I salute to single dads and even stay-at-home-dads surviving in our society with their head held high. If one is string within they will shine out. 🙂

  7. alisonrost Reply

    I agree with you very much on this. Often, society looks down on single dads because they think that fathers are incapable of providing care of their children, when in reality, they definitely can handle the job.

  8. AB's mom Reply

    “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” This spoke to me more than many many self help blog posts that I read. Love your perspective! Keep writing

  9. Preet@thevelvetlife Reply

    Parenting is so hard when you are together as a couple, I can imagine how hard it could be when alone, whether a mother or father. I appreciate this post to raise awareness amongst the society about how challenging it is for a solo father to raise kids.

  10. Elizabeth O Reply

    I admire anyone who brings up a child solo, it is seriously challenging but it sounds like you are doing an incredible job. 🙂

  11. Emily Leary Reply

    Single parenthood can seem daunting sometimes. I love your suggestion about finding or forming a support group in your area. It’s important for single mums and dads to make friends and share their experiences, thoughts and feelings”

  12. Indu Indra Reply

    “We must have heard and read about the struggles of single mothers. It’s very heartening to see single dads doing their best for their children too” these lines express lot about your post. I immensely liked reading and admire all great efforts done by single dads.

  13. Amanda Reply

    As someone who was raised by a single mother for the first 6 years of my life, I can certainly appreciate the hard work single parents have to put into the household. As for the stigma, I have hope that we can get past this as we have gotten past previous stigmas. Unfortunately it may just be small steps for now.

  14. Stephanie JNote Reply

    Maybe that is the stigma but in my household, I had one of the best, caring and loving fathers on the planet who was always there and I am so blessed to have him in my life.

  15. Corinne and Kirsty Reply

    Solo father or solo mother, I think it is as complicated. Parenting is so hard when you are too so imagine when you are one! Raising awareness can only help understand better!

  16. Ithfifi Williams / IthinityBeauty Reply

    I’ve always had huge admiration for those single mummies and daddies, I can’t imagine it to be easy but it is very inspiring and I think the child can still have a wonderful up bringing regardless. It must take a lot of love and strength <3

  17. kumamonjeng Reply

    It is so true to be able to look after others – the young kids, we need to care about our needs first and taking care of our mental health is very vital. If our partner help, I guess things will make it easier and every parent has the role to play and should share the responsibility.

  18. Chelsea Elizabeth Reply

    Such a true post which I’m sure many can relate to. People always talk about single mothers, I think it’s great that awareness is now out there for single fathers too. It doesn’t matter which gender you are, being a single parent is always going to be challenging. Single parents are rock stars, nothing but admiration for you. My mum was a single parent when I was growing up and I’ve seen her struggle many times. Hats off to you

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