What to Expect as a Single Father
Being a parent is nothing less than a full-time job. Being a single parent is even more demanding, and it can be difficult raising a child without the support of a partner. It’s common to hear about single moms and their journeys in raising their children. It’s even more rare to hear of single fathers and the challenges they face every day. Not only do single fathers face the trials of single parenting, but they also experience a social stigma of incompetence; “Can he do it alone?”.
Single fathers can be made from circumstance such as divorce, and some are made by choice, such as through surrogacy. The latter is becoming more popular as men are taking the initiative to fulfill the need of raising an offspring without having to wait for the ideal partner to come along. It’s important to understand the desire to become a father is important, and the investment in this journey continues well past the process and price of adoption or surrogacy.
Single father households are on the rise, and while it is becoming more common to encounter fathers raising children on their own, there are still challenges single fathers experience. There are books upon books, and even movies like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” offering advice to new parents, but far fewer address the growing phenomenon of single fatherhood.
There are many milestones parents reach with their children as they’re growing and plenty of references of how to deal with new circumstances. Fatherhood is an increasingly realistic and enticing option, and with its progressive accessibility there are many things you can expect when raising a child as a single father.
You Will Feel Overwhelmed
No, not “may”. Will. And that’s totally okay. It’s 100 percent understandable to feel like you can’t balance work and social life. It will take practice, but more importantly, trial and error. Having a supportive community around can help you deal with the various stresses that accompany parenthood. You’ll want to provide your child with everything he or she desires, but it’s not possible. It’s okay to realize there are things not within your capabilities, but that does not make you a bad parent.
There will be an overpowering feeling that you can’t handle everything a child brings. Parents experience this for a period of time, even those in parent-duos. This feeling will subside with time when you create a routine, allowing you to achieve your full parenting capabilities, optimizing your time with your child and other responsibilities.
You May Worry You’re Not Doing a Good Job
Don’t. You are doing an amazing job. Every parenting circumstance is different and you are doing everything you can to provide a comfortable life for your child. You should be proud of everything you are doing to make your child’s life amazing and you should be proud of yourself.
Single parents often worry that they aren’t able to provide everything a two-parent household provides children. Well-raised children have come from varying households with varying circumstances. Your experience is not any less important or fulfilling as any other.
If you feel you’re not giving your child the best life experiences he or she could have, don’t be afraid to ask for reinforcement, support, or encouragement from your support system. You’ll hear tons of tips and tricks that worked for others that you can apply to yourself to feel as best you can.
You May Face Judgement or Criticism
Being a single father can sometimes come with judgement or criticism about the methods you are using to raise your child. Your process of becoming a father has been especially thought through. There is nothing spontaneous about you having become a single father and since there has been so much time invested in the opportunity, don’t let the judgement or criticism of others affect your learning experiences during fatherhood.
In a worst-case scenario, your parenthood may even be questioned by parents unfamiliar with single-fathers. Prejudices may be placed on you because of your circumstances. It will be up to you to be a modern-day Rosa Parks, paving the way for the acceptance of future single fathers.
Don’t let any critiques, parenting or personal, impair your parenting style, especially if the methods you’re using are working for you. Many parents, especially new parents, will often hear opposing opinions about different techniques while raising a child. Face naysayers with a proud demeanor. Continue with what works for you, your child, and your lifestyle. There is no proven method to raising a good person, so do what’s best according to what you’ve learned.
You’ll Be the “Everything Parent”
There is no “good cop, bad cop” scenario when you’re a single parent. You’ll have to deal with all the ups and downs on your own. You’ll have to deal with the tantrums, tears, smiles, and hugs. You’ll be frying the bacon, braiding the hair, ironing the clothes, cheering on at games, and offering sympathy at a failed test.
You will be the disciplinarian and the easy-going, let’s-have-fun parent. You will wear every single hat that parents are required to wear and your child will both love you with the full adoration a child can offer, and hate you with all the might they can muster. It will be exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. You will need to offer your child balance and in the process, you’ll learn what works best for you and your child.
It is the Hardest Job You Will Ever Love Doing
It will be challenging and lonely, but it will also be incredibly rewarding. You will establish a bond few parents experience. You will be your child’s everything and she will be your’s. You will be their superhero. You will be, always, number one.
Raising a child is one of the most difficult tasks any person can take on, and you’ve chosen to do it on your own. We commend your enthusiasm and continued success in raising your child. It is with one hundred percent certainty that your son or daughter will appreciate everything you have gone through providing them with the best life you’re capable of giving.
Being a parent will exceed your expectations. Fatherhood will come more naturally than you expect, and you will forever love hearing your child utter the word “Daddy.”