“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth… not going all the way, and not starting.” Budda.
I never planned to raise my children alone. A huge part of my challenge was the adjustment of going from a family living together with both parents shouldering the responsibilities to doing it on my own. From my experience the way most seem to handle it is by putting their own wants and needs aside and immersing themselves in their children. While this seems selfless, if you deprive yourself of the self-care and time to yourself that you need as a human, it will eventually have a negative effect on the family as a whole.
Allowing children to be part of the household and do their part is the best way of engaging them, making them part of this new life and future that you are building. It is important to reinvent yourself and rediscover who you are and the person you want to become. At the same time you must make time to have a life outside of your job and children. There are many different things you can do and it depends on you as an individual. For me I like to swim, it allows me time to think and process things and the bonus is I cannot be disturbed. I also have a dog and more times then not I am left to walk her but it gets me out and if one of the kids join me its a perfect opportunity to have their full attention and learn more about what they are getting up to.
The very first thing I did when I moved into my house with my children was sit down and be honest with them. Everyone matters and have contributions, roles, rights and responsibilities within the house. I was and still am acutely aware that each of my daughters need individual attention, something difficult to deliver when you are a single parent but important to the development of your relationship with each child. I do my best to spend regular quality time with each child. I like to think we have some fun together and make every moment count. I try to do things that the two of us enjoy doing together.
My rule to myself is never to lie to my girls, be honest and not sugar coat things so they become overprotected. I love my girls and treat them with respect, I am always upfront and being the only male in a house of young ladies I try to answer their concerns to the best of my ability. The times I am stuck I can lean on some very good and understanding female friends for advice.
Role models do not have to physically live in the house with you to have an impact on your child’s life. I have been lucky to surround myself with some true friends. My girls always come first and I have never been to proud to reach out for help. Early on I realised I am not a super dad, but I did want to survive. A balanced and relaxed lifestyle is paramount to keeping me positive and balanced. Not always achieved but when the status quo is maintained the results are impressive and my family are on the right path for their future and development. This is when Single Parenting becomes one of the most rewarding activities and could be a blessing in disguise to my own personal development as a parent. There is nothing like the shared moments with my kids, even if they are challenging, and especially because they are so rewarding. There is a true value in being a connected, hands-on, pro-active Dad interested in the life of my children. As a single parent, they will be looking to me and up at, for answers, guidance, security .
Being a single Dad is hard work, but the bond and connection I am developing with my girls is priceless and so rewarding.
Although life is no game and can throw up some curve balls at us, but we get through it together.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” —Jane Howard