Parenthood is the most rewarding path an adult human being can walk, but it’s also one of the scariest; beset on all sides with self-doubt, insecurity, money worries and the ever present nagging feeling that somehow you could and should be doing more for your child. Parenthood is a tough road to navigate even when you have a partner with you to share the responsibility. When you’re on your own, however, it can be all the more stressful and logistically complex.
What’s more, for single Dads the problem is compounded by the fact that men can often feel as though they need to shoulder the weight of the world alone. They cast themselves in the role of protector and provider and assume themselves to be infinitely string. While International Men’s Day has been and gone, there are some home truths that all single Dads need to hear…
You’re one parent, not two! Know your limits
It’s wonderful that you’ve risen to the challenge of parenthood with such aplomb, but even though you may no longer have the support of a co-parent, you are still just one parent and not two. Even if your child’s mother is no longer in the picture, it’s essential that you resist the urge to replace her. To do so would be to shackle yourself to an impossible ideal.
No man, however, dedicated can be a mother and a father. All you can do is be the best father that you can be.
You may feel alone, but you’re far from it
The life of a single parent can be lonely at times. But the fact that you may occasionally feel lonely should not make you believe that you are alone. You still have family, friends and professional support. Whether you need someone to lend you father’s rights help or simply someone to help out with the household chores while you navigate the twin paths of work and parenting, there is a plethora of support out there. But you have to make that difficult first step and ask for it.
It’s okay to be wrong… So long as you admit it
There’s a common misconception that as a single Dad you need to be infallible. You should be able to answer every homework question your kid asks with Wikipedia accuracy in seconds and be an unwavering flag of morality and knowledge for your child… But let’s face it, you’re only human. Throughout the course of your parenting journey, you will give the wrong answers, you will make mistakes and you will inevitably stumble at the odd hurdle. And that’s absolutely fine… So long as you admit when you’re wrong. It’s only when we gloss over our failings and claim to be unfailingly correct that the more toxic brand of masculinity can set in.
You’re doing a great job!
Finally, all that remains to be said is that you’re doing an excellent job. You’re finding the time for quality interactions with your child while ascending the career ladder and trying to develop your own identity outside of your professional and parental roles. That’s a difficult tightrope walk to pull off and you’re doing it wonderfully! Keep up the magnificent work.