How You Can Overcome the Trials of Being a Single Father
Being a single father is not a simple task. There are highs, lows, and everything in between. 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. You may not have asked for this role, but it's yours. Your children need you to do what is best for not only them, but also for yourself.
You will get through everything
Every single father feels this at some point. You may repeatedly feel that you can't do it alone, or be afraid that you'll damage your child somehow. Becoming a father doesn't provide you with the tools you need to raise a kid. It may be difficult to overcome panic when things go awry. Your patience, both with your child and with yourself, will be stretched so thin you'll swear it will break. You need to tell yourself that you'll get through it.
This may be hard at first, but the more you get past the hard situations, from being perpetually late to leave in the morning to larger troubles, you are going to eventually learn that you and your child will get through everything.
Ask for help
You may have been raised to be self-reliant, but, as a father, you are going to need help. If you have a daughter, you may not be equipped with the knowledge she needs to deal with certain changes in her life. She may not feel comfortable talking about some things no matter how close you are. Learn how to ask others, such as women who you trust to help with these matters. Even if you have a son, or if your daughter does feel comfortable enough to have that talk with you, there will be times when you simply don't know, you need a break or you just can't do everything at once.
Ask for help from those around you. Ask your parents for advice, if you can. Find other single dads, and you may be able to develop the support network you've been seeking. If your neighbors or friends have children, ask them for solutions, for play-dates, or even to just get a cup of coffee and talk about the troubles of parenting.
And though it may be difficult at first, it will be worth it in the end.
You aren’t alone
It's sad, but it's true. People may not realize how hard it is to be a single father. There are specific difficulties that come with parenting alone as a dad, that even single mothers won't understand. Work may ask too much of you, expect you to be able to drop everything for them. Your friends may not understand why you can't go out the way you used to. Finances will be tighter. You also can't expect your children to understand what you're going through, nor can you expect them to thank you for how hard you work for them.
It isn't a child's job to gratify the parent, as hard as that may be to accept. It's the child's job to be as supported and taken care of as possible. It isn't their place to feel guilty over existing, which may be the result of them being made aware just how difficult things are for you. You will have to learn how to find the approval and validation you seek in yourself. You aren't alone, however.
The most important thing is to remember the love you have for your child, even when angry. You are in this together, and they will love and look up to you. You can be the parent they need. Just remember, you don't have to do it alone.
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Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.