When I was deciding to become a single dad I first went to Google to search for the struggles that would come with the territory. When the entire first page of results came back – all about moms – I said, “What about me?” That’s not to say that single moms don’t deserve all the credit and praise for raising kids but I felt “Wait-is this normal, what I want to do?” Sometimes dads are overlooked and nowhere is this more apparent than when trying to change Nanette in the mens’ bathroom- “Um, hello, where’s the changing table?” So, I’ve come up with a few key issues I’ve faced and how I avoided losing my mind.
Three issues and how to overcome them
- Glares and judgments.
People look at me like I’m doing something wrong. Sometimes, I get the “stink eye” for being a single guy with a baby. Especially when she was younger, people would look at me like, “Is this guy all alone with a baby?” Stop, breathe, relax, smile and pay no mind to other people.
It’s hard to keep your physical and mental well being in check when you are spending all your time looking after someone else. You will make sacrifices – but you can’t be a good father if you don’t look after yourself as well. Put down the fast food, get rest, and find other dad’s going through the same issues. Talk about your feelings and emotions. Share your stresses and anxieties with friends that you trust. Believe me, it doesn’t help to go through this all alone.
- Work-life balance.
As a dad who works, I knew I had to change how I manage my daily life. I couldn’t just work late into the evenings, even if I had a deadline. You will need to find a new work-life balance that makes time for your job, your family, as well as yourself. When you are with your kid, I suggest you put away your phone, turn off your email notification and give your focus and attention to what is right in front of you. The little moments will make all the difference in the world.
The times they are a’ changin’
According to Statistics Canada, 15.5 percent of children aged 24 and under were living with a male lone parent in 1996, and that number increased to 20.1 percent in 2011. Since 2001, the number of children living with a single dad grew 34.1 per cent compared to those living with a single mom, a group that grew by 4.8 percent. Slowly but surely, you will see more solo dads out there and we should be there for one another. I can’t wait to see you in your element with your newborn!