Divorce/Separation is the worst. Not being able to be around your kids all of the time is heart wrenchingly painful. However, in this post, I’m not going to (try to not) focus as much on the negatives of single parenting, but highlight the parts of being a single dad that I love. However, remember that my kids are with my 24/7 so my situation is a bit different than others.
I feel so extremely blessed with my life. I get to be around my kids all of the time. People are constantly asking me if I need a break or would I enjoy having them away from me on the weekends. I guess that would be nice on occasion, like 2 nights a month. But in all honesty, I freaking love being around my kids. It’s why I love being a single dad. I get to be with them all the time. Let me break down why I love it.
"It's gonna be a great post, today!"
First off, This may sounds strange upon first reading but I'm ultra grateful that I'm a single dad and not a single mom because*soapbox alert* I talk about this a lot, but single dads seriously do have it WAY easier than single moms. Is that fair or right? Absolutely not. It’s simply the world we live in. I couldn’t imagine being a single mom in this day and age. For me as a full time single dad, I feel like people view me and the kids as a fun commodity to look at or observe. Hahaha. While unfortunately full time single moms are just accepted in our culture as a “normal thing”. For example, when I show up somewhere and my kids are looking semi-feral and in mismatched clothes, I can feel other parents go “Awe… look he’s trying his best. Those kids are so cute. Look at their little mismatched clothes” I’m not in this for sympathy, I’m just trying my best. However, I feel like if a single mom showed up to the exact same event with kids looking the exact same manner, some people might think “Look at those kids. She really needs to take better care of them.” It’s the exact situation, I just feel as a parent (especially of younger children), women are held to such an insanely high standard in our society. So all this being said, single moms are my freaking heroes. Both single dads and single moms are just trying their best, but moms just have so much more parenting pressure. They are still responsible for balancing money, cleaning, etc. (just like single dads), but when it comes to pressures to have perfectly groomed, dressed well-behaved, polite, and involved children, they get judged so much more harshly than men. So in response to this. Single moms are doing both roles (mom and dad) just like single dads. Pouring into both roles can be exhausting. I mean freaking Geez-Louise, our society is going to have to cut them some slack somewhere. *end of soapbox*
Next, being a dad is fun. It’s not just blanket forts and burping contests with the kids, but if a dad is doing it right, those are both important elements of successful fathering ;) hahaha.
Seriously, having the kids with me is the funnest thing ever. I get to learn so much about them. All their individual little quirks, strengths, desires, annoyances, everything!! It's like being fully submersed in their lives and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I mean seriously is it possible to find a group of cooler kids than these!!!
This was on a day they came to work with me. For important it was a "dress yourself" day :D
Being a dad also comes with big responsibilities. Generally, in a co-parent home, I believe these tend to come from two places: 1) Listening to mom about where the kids are emotionally, physically, etc. Moms are just generally so much more empathetic and involved day to day (again, especially with young kids). They are the experts in my opinion, no doubt. Basically, trusting her enough as far as parenting to know what’s best. 2) Decisions of more of a big picture type. Not that I think women are and should be any less involved in decision making at all, I just mean I think a man should protect, guide, and most take responsibility for his family. So that means the buck stops with him. So mostly, it’s just a responsibility thing. Ok. I kind of got off track. My point is that being a single dad means I need to encompass both of these roles. Kids need firm boundaries but also room to explore. A sense of whimsy and wonder but also a steady and reliable parent. Kids need fun and unexpected nonsense, but also routines and schedules. Since it’s just me doing all of this, it was crazy uncomfortable and awkward at first. I felt like a piece of hard clay being squeezed through a playdoh spaghetti maker. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fit the mold of both me and Crissy combined. In my head, I needed to be this for my kids. By our late twenties, we are generally pretty set in who we are and why we do the things we do. Thankfully, my life took a crazy, turn by giving me a few horrific years and dumping a crazy amount of responsibility solely in my lap. However, I soon learned what a blessing I was given. I didn’t need to be “Seth and Crissy” to my kids. I just needed to be “Seth” and the best version of me ever. God radically altered my life. My personality changed, my empathy level increased, my positivity went up, my stress level went down, my general outlook on life improved. It’s all because I was given the job title of “Single Dad”. That’s my second reason I love it so much, it formed me into the person I’ve always wanted to be, but was too stubborn and set in my ways to let that happen. Being in a single father position I was forced to let God stretch and kneed me, so I could be pliable and fit whatever mold I needed to be in, whatever the stage of life I might find myself.
Finally, I know this sounds selfish, but I love the freedom it provides. If my kids want to wear something weird to school or bring a (rescued from the highway) turtle to the store in a cardboard box while we shop, well… I love being able to say “yes” without having to run it by another adult.
"People are going to LOVE this turtle."
Since I’m around them all the time, I can kind of encourage whatever special traits I see in them. It’s no debating on whether Stevie should take dance classes or art lessons. I just make my choice, and we do it. Mostly, I can raise them as weird as I want. I love weirdness. I absolutely adore it. Normalcy is so boring to me. I love having free reign over the amount of weirdness allowed in my house. I know kids have to learn to function in society, but they are kids only once. If they want to go play with ketchup in the tub, well I don’t really care. Pretty much, I encourage any kind of strange idea they have. They want to invent slime to help their hair grow faster? Sure. They want to eat a cricket? Sure. Want dad to act super fun at someone's house and let people paint his face? Sure.
Instead of limiting and banning specific activities/things, my kids just know a few basic rules: 1) Be kind 2) Don’t hurt yourself or anyone else 3) Don’t make too big of a mess 4) Clean up after said mess 5) Eat vegetables every day 6) Respect yours and other people’s bodies and feelings 7) If you barf, do it anywhere but the carpet or bed. That’s pretty much it. If what you want to do, meets those criteria, go for it! For instance, at Stevie’s 8th birthday party, it was raining so instead of cancelling the piñata. I had the idea for an indoor piñata. Based on the faces of every mom in attendance, I’m sure if I were married, I would have gotten the “don’t even think about it” look. Fortunately for me and the kids, I’m not, so I can do things my way. So you can bet your butt we had an indoor piñata, and that junk was hysterical and fun.
To quote a mom that was in attendance:
"It was risky to fairly safe"
I mean in reality, it’s ultra tough at times. Another helping hand and encourager would be nice, but I’m just so in love with my life currently that God is going to have to knock me on my butt with a woman that I feel just clicks. Right now though, I can’t think of a single thing better than taking my kids to the park, just them and me. Receiving 100% of their corny jokes, hilarious stories, heart talks, and hugs. It just can’t be beat.
I wanted to end this post with one of my favorite little “Megowisms”, but I couldn’t decide between two. That means I will just post them both. Aaaahhhhh… personal freedom. :D
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,