Dear Single Dads,
I remember years ago the first single, custodial dad I met. When I learned he was the custodial parent, I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was wow, what was so bad about his ex that the judge awarded him custody of their children. Yes, I was one of those people, the ones who thought the only way a dad would be awarded custody was if the mom was a homeless drug addicted derelict.
To every single dad who has earned the privilege of raising their children, every single dad who has chosen the life of extraordinary sacrifice and makes his children a high priority in his life, I am grateful.
To all the non-custodial single dads who make a difference in their children’s lives, you have my utmost respect. Those dads who financially support their children above and beyond the court ordered child support, those dads who choose to be with their children as mush as humanly possible (above and beyond the court ordered visitation), those dads who recognize children need both parents and decide they will respect the mother of their children, you amaze me.
Those dads who have to make the most difficult choice of all and voluntarily surrender custody of their children because, whatever the circumstances are, you have decided they are better off with their mother, you amaze me.
When I see dads doing their daughters’ hair, blogging about talking to their daughters about their first menstrual cycle, teaching their boys how to cook, helping their children grow into successful independent adults, my heart swells up and I want to shout from the mountaintops that you are amazing. I know from experience how many fathers choose to skip the difficult things, you are not one of those fathers.
Here a few things to remember:
You are not alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is an entire world of people out there, single parents especially. If you are confused, tired frustrated ask for help. Many people have family members who will help. If you attend church there is probably a group there that will help. It’s difficult to ask for help, however people won’t know you need it unless you ask. Sometimes I am completely inadequate as I try to parent my boys, there are things they need to know and I as a woman just don’t know these things. I ask others for help, scout masters, leaders, friends, whomever. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Your children will flourish. Feed them, water them, give them some fertilizer called love and your children will flourish. Be patient and kind, remember the golden rule but don’t overthink things too much. No matter what is happening today, it will pass, it will improve and you are the key.
Pick your battles. Short shorts aren’t going to ruin her life, a pink and blue Mohawk won’t ruin his. Let them express their individuality. Love them for who they are. Kids are supposed to make immature, irresponsible decisions. Our job is to guide them to more responsible, more mature decisions. It honestly is important to remember we were their age once and we weren’t perfect either.
Lastly remember that you are enough. You can do this, even on the days you are completely overwhelmed.
Thank you for being awesome.