What does it mean to be a single dad?
To me it meant freedom. How can that be you say? It was easy… Not having to put up with an argumentative ex and having the two kids and I make all the decisions were so easy. To me, it meant that we did what we wanted to do and we decided what when and how.
It meant that life was busy… It meant that life was now fun once more. Even though I was going through a divorce, we were now separated. There were no more lies, backpedalling and it also meant that the kids ate healthier. I took it upon myself to make life better. Our lives would be fun, fair, inclusive and above all, we would be a family.
I didn’t cut the kids off from their mom. She came as far as the driveway and was not allowed on the property.
Different challenges that come with being a single dad.
The challenges came from other areas. The kids were kept in the loop and were always told the truth. Mom’s drinking and driving charges, the divorce and eventually her decision to return to Indonesia.
While all this took time, understanding and quite a bit of explanation at times it was all in the open. The challenge came from juggling several things at once. Cooking, laundry, dinner and lunches were to be done and prepared by me.
I made it a point to now have frozen dinners. I made it a point to not have crap food in the house. I cooked fresh meals with vegetables and experimented a whole lot. I cooked with the kids and even shopped with the kids. We decided what we wanted to eat. We shopped accordingly and cooked meals we agreed to eat.
Being a single dad to me meant one thing. Doing what the family decided to do. This included weekend plans, movies, sleepovers and other plans.
How to be a successful single dad?
While this is a broad question, my answer is simple. Make it all about the kids. We made all the decisions together and we had fun doing it. We ate dinner, and we spent quality time together. It was all about the kids and not about the individual.
To me, this accomplished several things. The kids and I didn’t have any unwanted or unexpected surprises. We were a team. We decided on vacations and evening plans. Walks, basketball, bike riding or skateboarding.
Because of the age gap between the two kids, my daughter had more grown-up plans. Sleepovers and more time away because of her friends. She would need to go out and get picked up later from a friend’s house or the movies.
For me, this left so much more time with my son. We became closer and closer and eventually grew to be more than just father and son. We never argued or fought and this to me is the single best advice.
Do not fight and argue with the kids. There is no point in huge arguments and yelling or screaming. Yes, it did happen, especially with my daughter. Her experimentation with weed and alcohol came at the age of 13-14 and we had arguments over all this. While both kids missed their mom at times, we didn’t miss the heated arguments and fights.
The takeaway was, to not have them. Keep things all about the family. Keep things positive and be inclusive.
Conclusion: We all have different situations that we find ourselves in and this is a blog post on how this single dad has managed his situation. Things were not always smooth, but heck, they could have been so much worse.
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