It’s occurred to me that the basic premise of being a single Dad, transcends the boundaries of typical and special needs. In other words, being a single Dad is tough, regardless of circumstance.
Let me inject my little disclaimer here because I don’t want to offend anyone. This post deals with being a single Dad and the challenges I experience. Single Mom’s are a sacred thing and I would never dream of taking away from all they do. This post simply focuses on being a single Dad. You Mom’s out there totally rule and I have the utmost respect for you. 💜
I talk all the time about being a single parent but I never really talk about being a single Dad. I guess I didn’t occur to me that was any distinctive differences but the truth is, there’s a lot to talk and it can’t be done in one post.
When I became a single Dad, about 18 months ago, my entire life changed, as did my world. (See my origin story here)..
My situation is such that I’m raising my kids alone, aside from brief visits with their Mom every other Friday night or dinners every other Wednesday night. That’s a tremendous amount of responsibility for me.
I have to manage the entire house. Things like schedules, medications, appointments, school, cooking, cleaning, shoping, working, laundry, homework, helping with bad dreams, sad memories, making sure the tooth fairy doesn’t forget to visit and chauffeuring the boys everywhere they need to go.
As a Dad, taking care of my kids comes naturally.
Things like compassion, unconditional love and support are the things that come easily, at least for me. Unfortunately, there’s more to raising kids than that.
My kids can’t wear compassion to school. They need clothes and that means someone has to take them shopping for clothes and as the single Dad of record, that someone is me. Wrangling my kids and taking them to the store is nothing new for me. I can do that with my eyes closed but shopping for clothes is not so easy.
I can’t just eyeball my kids and a pair of pants on the rack and assume they’re compatible. Kids need clothes that actually fit and that means knowing things like sizes.
I’ll admit to having very little knowledge of what size clothes my kids wore prior to becoming a single Dad. Sizes are so confusing and don’t always seem to make sense. Even if I know my sons waistline, I still need to know his inseam because otherwise, his pants could be either too long or too short.
Even when I figure all that out, I have to cope with not being able to find pants with the correct waistline and corresponding length. I mean WTF???? Why is this so complicated?
If I find the correct size and they fit around the waist, the legs are either too long or not long enough. Sometimes I just want to scream, especially when I see them go through the knees of the last pair of pants they have that fit them, because that means I have to actually replace them.. The pants that is, not my kids. lol
This Dad has found himself in a position where two of his three kids need new pants and I’ve not been excited about taking on this task.
Thankfully, this single Dad also has a Mom who’s willing to use her invaluable maternal knowledge to help me outfit my kids with new pants that actually fit. That means no guessing and no tape measures… ☺
The point I’m trying to make is that when you become a single Dad, your job description gets a massive overhaul.
I’ve had to learn many things for the first time and it’s not as easy at it may sound.
There’s a reason Mom’s are so important. Speaking for myself, I’m fumbling through everything but I’m slowly starting to get it. I’m learning. It’s taking lots of practice and patience (on both my part and on the part my kids) but this single Dad has come a long way.
I make a mean school lunch and while I still don’t see a need to separate the clothes before throwing them in the wash, they do get washed. They don’t always get put away and we can sometimes live out of a laundry basket but baby steps… ☺
I’m slowly finding my way and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. The universe hasn’t imploded and my kids still love me, so I must be doing something right. Right?
Everyday is like live TV, in the sense that you only get one take to get it right the first time. It means that mistakes and missteps will have an impact because some bells can’t be unrung.
That being said, anyone expecting perfection is going to be sorely disappointed because life is a work in progress and so is being a single Dad.