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Parenting may not be the hardest job in the world, but being a single parent surely must be near the top of the list. Caring for children without someone to share the load and help make difficult parenting decisions is a burden for most people, made more difficult by the fact that you’re helping kids recover from the stress of divorce or separation.
For single dads, there’s the challenge of being both father and mother to your children and overcoming the conviction, held by many, that men simply aren’t nurturing enough. If you’re a single dad, you know how hard it can be to nurture while you’re trying to keep up with demands at work and run a safe and loving household.
Single dads are just as likely as single mothers to suffer mental health problems, but they’re less likely to seek help. This is a problem that affects everyone in the family. And it’s noteworthy because the support of family and friends can help single fathers cope with some of the stressors that make it hard to maintain physical and emotional wellbeing and be an effective parent. As a single caregiver, it’s very important to be proactive when it comes to your own health. Below, we will discuss essential tips to help you navigate single fatherhood in a healthier way.
The stress of your situation can strain you physically, mentally and emotionally. You might not even notice it. Some days are better than others, but the cumulative effect of trying to make it work for you and your children will definitely take a toll. Every now and then, you need some time alone to exercise, meditate, shop, channel surf, or whatever you find restorative. See if a family member or friend is willing to stay with your kids every week, even if it’s only for two or three hours. When you give yourself regular alone time, you’re actually helping to increase your child’s emotional health, since they can see that you are working on your happiness.
Some fathers actively work to establish a support network from among neighbors, work colleagues, friends and relatives. This is important because it can help you when things are hard at home. It’s also worthwhile to try finding a support group for single fathers who can help you understand the ramifications of your new role as moral guide, good listener, disciplinarian, and breadwinner.
Sometimes, single dads think they’re being responsible parents by working a lot of hours and making as much money as possible. But your physical presence is even more important to your children.You’re a source of comfort and reassurance they may not be able to get from anyone else. Try to make time every day, even if it’s only for an hour or so, to spend with your children. Have dinner together, help them do homework, read a book, play an educational game or watch your favorite TV show together. It will mean a lot to your kids, especially at a time when they may be feeling scared and insecure. If it’s too hard to make time for family, ask your employer if you can set up a schedule that allows you to come in and leave a bit early so you and your children can spend time together.
So we know that single fathers often struggle balancing work and spending as much time with their kids as they would like. This doesn’t have to be the status quo. If you’re in a position to make some changes, why not branch out on your own, either through a side gig or even your own business? Entrepreneurship is becoming more popular these days, and this path could lead to a brighter future and more time with your family.
Setting yourself up to succeed by creating an official business plan and forming a corporation in the early days is key. The latter will protect your business from legal liabilities and grant you certain stock advantages. Taking yourself seriously as an entrepreneur from the beginning will be a smart choice that can be dividends down the road.
As a single father, you need to be engaged and involved in your children’s lives. To that end, seek out anything that helps strengthen your relationship with your kids. That includes building a support network that can help you stay emotionally well-adjusted and physically healthy. It also means making the time with your kids count, and even finding creative ways to generate income. With these tips in mind, you can stop feeling adrift and start feeling better about being the great dad you are.
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