Over the past several years, the number of single dads who have gained sole custody of their children is getting higher. No longer is a custody case an automatic victory for the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. Family lawyers are getting better at giving men a fair fighting chance in court.
With the increase in the number of single dads today, it is surprising that there is still a lack of resources designed to help men raise their children alone. There are many articles, blogs, books, discussions, and podcasts about single moms, but very seldom will you encounter materials discussing the woes and struggles of single fathers.
Parenting is tough. Imagine doing it solo. You might have certain expectations, and sometimes they might be spot-on, but other unexpected things will surprise you along the way. Here are a few of those things.
Folks who don’t know your situation will always give your ex credit for something.
Whether it’s folks attributing your kids’ intelligence to their mom or thinking that your ex chose your kids’ wardrobe, people tend to give credit to the lady and not to you.
People will never run out of things to say about raising your kids all by yourself.
People will talk. They will have an opinion and sometimes, unfortunately, judge you for being in your situation without knowing the facts. It’s okay. You don’t need to prove anything to them. What matters is what your children think and say about you.
People will give you funny looks when you’re silly with your kids in public.
Well, it’s not really an unexpected thing, but, yes, if you play with your kids and act silly at the grocery, park, or restaurant, you will draw stares from people. It’s either they find it cute and adorable or weird, depending on your level of silliness. Keep being silly anyway. As long as your kids are enjoying, you’re good.
It’s okay to break down and cry.
One of the things most men don’t want people to see in them is vulnerability and weakness. Whether you lose your wife to divorce or death or you just broke up with the mother of your children, you will still suffer from the loss of a loved one. It’s okay to be emotional and to let it out. It takes a strong man to acknowledge that he is not that strong after all. Humility is one of man’s greatest strengths.
Divorce might suck, but you might end up becoming a better parent.
Split custody allows you to rise and become a better parent than you can ever be if you weren’t divorced. You tend to be more patient, caring, and loving with your children whenever they’re around, something that many fathers in intact families tend to take for granted.
Exhaustion is your new normal.
Between your responsibilities at work, at home, and with your children, rest become foreign concepts, far-fetched ideas, and mere fantasies.
No matter how hard you try, you will never be regarded as a superhero parent.
No matter what you do, no matter how awesome a dad you think you are, people will never refer to you as a superhero. That title belongs to single moms.
Your social life will take a back seat to your responsibilities.
With all the things that you do to give your children a decent home and a comfortable life, you will not have enough time to socialize, let alone go on dates. Your schedule is always packed that when you do have one of those serendipitous moments that you have some free time, you would rather spend it in bed fast asleep.
Doing everything solo sucks, to say the least.
As if taking care of yourself isn’t hard enough, you also need to take care of your children and your home, too.
You become a nervous wreck when your kids are with your ex.
Maybe you’re used to being there always for your ex and your kids when you guys were still a family. You can’t stop thinking about your children’s safety when they’re not with you. As the man of the house, it falls to you to protect your family, and whenever the kids are with your ex, you get anxious and feel bad because you’re not there physically if something bad happens.
Single-parenting will be the toughest job you will ever have in your entire lifetime.
We’ve pretty much established this fact. It is never easy to parent with someone. It’s a lot tougher to do it on your own. The amount of energy you put in for your children far exceeds what you give in the workplace.
But it is also the most rewarding and fulfilling job you’ll ever have in your lifetime.
Regardless of the challenges, the pains, and the heartaches, there is still no other job that comes close to being a dad. That is one job that no one in this world is fit to do except you. You are irreplaceable. And being a father to your children will be your greatest calling and accomplishment in life.
Parenting is never easy, whether you do it with someone or by yourself. Just keep doing your best for the sake of your children and be the best dad in the world for them. Hats off to you, sir!