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Dads play a critical role in the life of children of all ages, and your chance to show your love to your kids is now. But we know that single parenting, and in particularly, single fathering, is not easy. You have demands from all areas of your life — work, parents, health, money — and you have to keep it all together for your kids.
Just remember that lesser men than you have accomplished great things in the lives of their children. You can do this, and you can do it well. Here are some tips from True Fatherhood to help you navigate this important area of your life:
Keep your mind healthy
Whether you’ve recently become a single dad or have been one for the life of your child, staying on top of your mental health can be challenging — but it’s so important. Your mental health directly affects your children and their mental health, so you must get help if you need it. As mental wellness experts note, “It’s important to learn small ways to face that stress head-on and reduce it no matter where you are, because having effective coping mechanisms handy will allow you to get through even the most challenging times. You can use your new skills to immediately start feeling better, and to prevent the emergence of chronic mental health problems.”
Take your kids places
Weekends can be relaxing just staying at home and playing video games or watching football. But when you’re with your kids, they deserve some fun, too. Take them to things that they would enjoy, such as amusement parks, swimming, a zoo or an arcade. Spending quality time with your kids is important. But you don’t always have to go to high-adventure, high-cost activities. Consider going fishing, to a library, the park or a movie. Don’t forget to include a vacation, too, when the time is right. When you get your kids for an entire week, take them somewhere fun. If you don’t want to go by yourself, team up with other parents for a trip to the beach or theme park. Great times and great memory-making await.
Get an online calendar system, and if possible, share it with your child’s other parent. This way, you will always know when the kids are to be with you, when they’re at school and extracurricular events, and more. Plus, the calendar makes for easier communication with the other parent, especially if you have difficulty speaking with him or her otherwise. Just check your calendar, and you’ll automatically know when to be somewhere. Most systems also allow you to post to-do lists and reminders for yourself that sync with your smartphone.
Yes, you want your limited time with your children to be happy-fun time, but you can’t always be their friend. You have to spend your parenting time being a parent to them, too. It’s easy to allow the other parent to handle all of the hard stuff, but it doesn’t do your children any favors. The kids might be mad at you for a while, but later in life, they’ll realize you made tough decisions for their benefit.
Rethink your finances
If money is tight, it might be time for a change. One smart solution is to pick up a sideline. Becoming a freelancer, whether you offer a product or service, can provide the flexibility parenthood requires, plus the income you desperately need.
You can get started by engaging a job platform, but make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Register your new venture with your state so you don’t get into trouble with Uncle Sam! For the sake of financial security, many people opt for creating an LLC. Not only does it protect personal assets, it’s easy and inexpensive to establish when you enroll through an online service.
Enjoy the ride
Nobody ever said parenting is easy, and it’s especially hard when you don’t have someone else to fall back on for support. But the joy and love you get from and give to your children is worth it. When the kids are driving you crazy and won’t stop fighting in the back seat or throwing toys across the living room, take a moment to breathe and remember that you love them, and that one day you’ll miss the chaos.
Just remember that the most important gift you can give your children is your love and support, so they will always know they can count on you. All the rest will fall into place.
Written by Daniel Sherwin