Since June 2017, I have been a single father. I was married five years and went through a long drawn out separation. I’m still healing and adjusting to my new normal. I enjoyed being a husband and I’m not made for single life but I have to heal and enjoy singleness at this time.
When co-parenting, Women may feel like the lines of being a loving father and having an ex reunion is imminent. That expectation is wrong. Also, when you see a man with his children alone do not assume it’s “his time with the kids.” I can’t tell you how many times people treat me like an inept second choice to a full-time parent. Men can raise children too, and many are not just weekend visitors. We have the ability to be great single parents too.
I’m 36 years old and a professional law enforcement officer. I have two amazing kids, a son (6) and a daughter (4). I quickly learned there is no Father manual. God has given me the tools to succeed. My job is to just keep trying and loving. I do my best, and If I had to choose areas to improve in, it would be communication, patience, and quality time. My children are young so I have to remind myself they have only been on this planet a short time. I might have to repeat and go over instructions a few more times, say pick this up, put that down, don’t do that, do this, and as a single parent you can lose patience after a while. I realize I need to be more patient with myself and them in understanding of their development. They are just babies when I take a step back and realize they are doing their best just like I am. I not only have to be patient with them, but patient with myself.
Time is my greatest challenge. Being everything my son and daughter need requires a lot of time. Profession and personal things arise but my focus is being their Father and developing them. I play an important role in their life and I don’t take it lightly. I try to spend time daily showing and telling them they are loved, special, and that they are already great. Watching them grow and mature is a reward as a father and it’s good to see myself in them but my greatest reward is watching them develop into their own. Both have style and personality and I love that about them. Speaking of style, my daughter’s hair was definitely a learning experience. My go-to style is the ponytail. Her hair is soft and easy to manage with styling gel and a hairbrush brush. If I’m running out of time I’m going with the Angela Davis Afro. It’s easily recognizable when Daddy does her hair. I believe it takes a team, like the old adage “it takes a village.” I can’t teach a little girl to be a woman by myself. There are experiences that she will go through that only another woman can prepare her for. I can raise her, train her, prepare her as much as I can but one day anatomically, physically, emotionally, psychologically, things will change. She will mature into a woman and she will need a woman to mentor her on the way. My role will always remain as her Father but she will need a woman to navigate certain future experiences. It’s the same for women with a young boy becoming a man.
My advice to single fathers is that TIME is key, be PRESENT, and develop their communication skills early. No baby- talk, but have real conversations about real people, places and things. Also pray with them and always show love.