By Daniel Sherwin from Dadsole: No Sleepovers for Daughters (And Other Single Dad Problems)
The challenges of parenting are many. But for single parents, and especially single dads, there are issues that go beyond those faced by men lucky enough to enjoy tag team parenting. Here, we will cover just a few of the lesser-known trials and tribulations associated with rearing children as an XY member of the population.
Parents are more reluctant to allow sleepovers for unsupervised play dates. Single fathers are looked upon with an unfair amount of suspicion when it comes to unsupervised play time with their own children. ATTN: points out that a missing mum is often reason enough for other parents to keep their children at home.
Determining which lavatory to use. Going to the loo with a daughter is difficult for many fathers not wishing to disturb the delicate balance of the washroom. But, unfortunately, many public spaces often fail to install amenities for diaper changes in male-only facilities.
Men are not typically raised to nurture and empathize. If you look at any nuclear home across the globe, chances are, the wife is the one attending emotional wounds, bandaging physical ones, and being a shoulder upon which to cry when life gets tough. Because of this, boys are taught to be tough and to ignore seemingly minor emotional issues. This results is men who find it difficult to empathize with the daily plight of primary or secondary school-age children.
Fashion is more difficult. Single fathers of a little girl often have it worst of all when it’s time to upgrade her wardrobe. While it seems small and insignificant, many fathers face anxiety when it’s time to buy clothing or, worse, help with hairstyles. Yannick Vicente brought this issue to light in a series of cartoons drawn based on his experiences as a single father.
Spending time with children is difficult. While most fathers acclimate easily to the paternal role of breadwinner, single fathers must do this and more. This often results in working extra hours to compensate for things the father perceives is missing from his children’s lives.
Each of these issues alone is typically not of great concern. However, compounded, these and other problems faced by single parents can amptly affect the father’s mental health. And, according to Psychology Today, a father’s mental health plays a significant role in his children’s development, including their social skills and cognitive growth.
As more and more men take on primary parenting roles, it becomes apparent that mental health must become a priority to ensure that anxiety, depression, and other deep-seeded issues don’t interfere with the job at hand. For single fathers, overcoming the challenges of parenthood starts with making good choices that have a positive impact on their mental health. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Make physical health a priority by eating well, exercising, and practicing self-care each day.
Avoid the temptation to use drugs and alcohol as an escape.
Make “me time” a priority by taking on a hobby that can be enjoyed sans children.
Learn to handle stress and anxiety through coping mechanisms such as meditation, yoga, or exercise.
Ask for support from friends and family for help with daily activities.
Befriend other single fathers in the area.
DrugRehab.org explains, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.”
For single dads, the easiest thing to do is to simply ignore the issues; the right thing is to acknowledge them so they don’t become all-consuming and detrimental to parenting abilities.
Writtenby: Daniel Sherwin from Dadsole an online support