No one said parenting would be easy. Despite its rewards, it can be stressful and scary. Being responsible for the education and well-being of another person is a huge task. But what if you’re a single parent? This complicates the job even more. After all, you’re the only person in charge of cooking meals, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, paying for clothing, and a hundred other things required by a parent. While most people think of women when they talk about single parents, the world has single dads, too. In fact, Making Lemonade reports that single fathers are part of a growing population seeking support and guidance. If you’re a single dad, here are some tips to help you through the challenges thrown your way.
When you look around, it may feel like you’re the only single father out there. But you’re not alone. Single dads are becoming more and more common as men step up to the plate and take care of their kids on their own. If you’re a new single dad, find other single dads who can provide you with support and advice. Other fathers who are raising children on their own possess a unique insight on life as a single dad. They may be able to offer support that other people can’t give. How do you find these other single fathers? Parents.com suggests you ask your local community center, synagogue, or church to start a single fathers’ support group.
Lean on close family and friends. There’s no shame in asking for help. You may feel uncomfortable trying to tame your daughter’s natural curly hair. Reach out to women in your family or female friends who can provide you a crash course on hair care. If you’re a lousy cook, ask someone to give you some cooking lessons. Need to go on some errands, but you can’t take the kids with you? Ask family and close friends if they can babysit once in awhile.
Since you’re the only parent in the home, it can be challenging to work all day and then return home in the evening to take care of children. If possible, talk with your boss to see if you can come in a few hours earlier so you can leave earlier to pick up your kids from school. According to The Good Men Project, it’s also a good idea to talk with your boss about the possibility of working from home a few days a week. Let your boss know that you’re a single parent. Who knows? He or she may be more willing to provide you with some flexible work options.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
When you are the only parent in the home, it’s easy to let your mental health fall by the wayside. It seems like there’s no time for yourself because you’re too busy caring for your children’s needs. You’re the one that shuttles kids to doctor appointments and after-school activities. You take care of them when they’re sick and do a million other things to care for your children. At times, it can be overwhelming to juggle all of the responsibilities.
It’s important to find time for yourself. Whether it’s working out at the gym, going to a movie, or simply reading a book, finding some alone time is crucial for 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.
Being a single dad isn’t easy, but reaching out to others can help you receive the support you need to care for your children. Joining a single-dad support group and relying on family and friends can provide you with the tools you need to handle single parenthood. Caring for your mental health by taking time for yourself is also key to being a successful parent. If you’re a single dad, realize that you’re not alone. And remember that although parenting is tough, the rewards far outweigh the challenges.