We felt this month it was important to hear from a Single Dad on what its like, their fears, challenges and tips on how to move on in todays world.
A bit about you and how long have you been a single dad?
I’ve been a single dad for nearly two years. I was previously with my partner for 16 years, married with two kids a 7 & 10yr old and I have them every second week from Friday to Friday.
I am a busy entrepreneur with three companies and doing this routine has been great, as I have learned new skills. In a normal family unit you each take on specific roles. I was the primary breadwinner and she looked after kids schooling and healthcare. Now I feel I am a better father as I have been forced to understand more about my children and be informed about what my kids needs are.
What have been some of the accomplishment being a single dad?
I feel like I’m a much better father. I make a conscious effort to make a special effort to diarise time with my children regardless of how busy things can get. Every night between 6-7pm we sit together for dinner and I drive the kids to school daily (a 40minute drive) and I use that time in the morning to have quality time with the kids. They usually request songs and we take turns having a sing-a-long and chat about the day ahead and what challenges are going to be faced.
Single parents have to be in both mum and dad’s role for their children.
How did you manage that?
The kids can talk their mum at any time so I don’t feel I’m a mum in a traditional way I do however feel that I have now learned to be a better nurturer and my ex partner is a better disciplinary parent.
I have hired an Au Pair (live in nanny) to assist with the mundane jobs like housekeeping and prepare the kids breakfast and school lunches so I get to spend more quality time with my kids.
What was the scariest moment being a Single Dad?
My issue was more of a psychological one. I wasn’t scared about being a single dad, I was scared about having a failed marriage. My dad left when I was 1 year old so I didn’t want to be like my dad. I refused to leave my marriage however my partner decided this for me. When it happened it was quite devastating that I had failed in one of my own goals of having a successful marriage. I have been heavily involved in youth programs and my kids were out of nappies so having them was never the issue.
I feel a bit guilty in saying this but separating and sharing the kids is way better than a marriage. I can prioritise my needs and what I want to do now.
What’s the best advice you ever received being a Single Dad?
Have more fun! I was the rock star and the authoritarian. The kids would run and greet me at the door and I would spend a little bit of time with them and the only other time I would intervene was when I had to be the authoritarian. You cant be 100% authoritarian all the time because there is no balance and the kids hate it. You need to have more fun for balance. Life is way more fun now when you have fun with your kids!
What should every Single dad know about his kids?
You need to know how they feel about the whole relationship and have an open discussion with them. My son took the break-up pretty hard and started acting up at school. Once we talked about it all things improved (he even offered to fix it all). Your kids sometimes have a level of intelligence and understanding you never expect. Make sure you check-in with your kids regularly.
If you could do it all over again, how would you have done it differently?
I wouldn’t have got married so young! I was 21yrs old and in the army and our lifestyle changed when I became an entrepreneur. My wife signed up to be an army wife so things were difficult as being a business owner there are no guarantees.
What matters most in my life is…
My priorities are:
#1 My own HEALTH both mental and cardio or you will have a breakdown. If you fall over you will be the worst father, partner and business owner and can’t be there for your children. Respect & listen to your body if you’re stressed, short tempered and lacking energy
#2 My KIDS and their needs are being provided for
#3 all the other stuff in life
What’s your dating life like as a single dad?
Thanks to a background in marketing and sales it was easy to understand that my profile was branding and like a landing page for a website to go straight for my target market. What women want is a great guy and someone who wants to settle down and that’s not what I want right now so that would be the main challenge however I make sure that I attract the right audience.
I have tried various dating platforms and found RSVP was a great balance to have some great company, have some fun and hang with someone. I find dating women with kids is great, as we both understand the priorities.
3 big tips for single dad trying to get back out there
- Get an Au Pair so you have a babysitter while on a date 8pm drinks are best on a first date.
- Kids are all asleep and you don’t have to worry about the pressure of dinner .
- Give a girl at least 3 months to see her true colors
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