Being a single dad certainly has its challenges. Without a doubt, many of these challenges are extremely difficult and stressful; after all, most dads never thought that they would end up in a divorce or a separation that would put them in the single dad category.
Whether by choice or circumstances, here are 9 single dad challenges no one ever told you about that you might want to pay attention to.
And while many of these challenges may overlap with any single parent regardless of gender, specific struggles are exclusively unique to single dads.
- Time management is critical.
- Preventing burnout is a 24/7 concern.
- Say goodbye (primarily) to your social life.
- Emotional supports are lacking.
- Securing affordable childcare is a struggle.
- Ongoing stigmatization.
- Your dating life will probably suck.
- Financial Struggles are a reality for most.
- Domestic responsibilities.
Time Management Is Key
regardless of what you do for a living, time management is an essential ingredient to any single dad looking to maximize their parental skills.
I have spoken with many men that time management is a skill set to improve on.
Indeed, when raising your little one, your time management must be up to par.
On any given day, you may face overdue school assignments, extracurricular activities, and work obligations that bleed into your time at home after hours.
Indeed, we single dads could undoubtedly take a lesson or two from moms who naturally excel in this area.
Preventing burnout is a 24/7 concern
continuing from the need for impeccable time management skills, the ability to avoid burnout for many single dads is a wide-spread concern that I feel compelled to add a section to this area.
As perfectionists, many men want everything to flow naturally with their effort in any given task. And when things don’t go according to plan, many men become frustrated and quick-to-anger.
As regrettable as this is, and if a single dad will succeed in raising children on their own, they must get things in check and prevent burnout.
As difficult as this may sound, single dads should try and expand their interests to include working out and proper nutrition instead of watching TV and drinking beer.
This is not to say that all dads sit around and drink beer; however, a large segment of guys do enjoy this and think that it’s an effective time management strategy.
There’s no doubt that childcare is overly expensive, and But at $700 to $1500 a month, it’s just not feasible for many single parents. Often, family and friends help, but they’re not always available, making scheduling school and work very difficult.
Say Goodbye (Mostly) To Your Social Life
Most single dads will reluctantly admit that their social life has pretty much tanked since they assumed the responsibilities as a single dad.
Whether by choice or design, being a single dad means that there are things that you may have loved to do with your mates that you can no longer afford to do if being a quality dad is on your radar.
If, for example, you used to go out with your friends and binge drink until 6 am, that particular outing is not compatible with single fatherhood – especially when you have a child who relies on you for all their basic needs.
Naturally, certain friends may not end up being compatible with your current lifestyle. However, I found that I was able to make new friends in the same position.
Moreover, there is so much responsibility for raising a child you will not even have time to remorse about your past life when fatherhood was just a fleeting fantasy.
Emotional Supports Are Often Lacking
In contrast to the support many single mothers have in place, there are very few social and emotional support programs geared towards single fathers.
In any geographical location in most parts of the world, there are thousands of support networks for single moms at any given time.
In contrast, however, social support networks for single dads are woefully lacking.
It’s not to say that there are no support networks in place for us guys; it’s just that the ones that are in place have a dreadful waiting period that is frustrating to navigate around.
Although we are moving towards an equal-based society here in the west, we have a long way to go before true equality can be fair and equitable.
Securing Affordable Childcare Is A Struggle
Another constant struggle is the ability to afford good childcare.
We guys tend to want to work and provide for our loved ones, and despite the challenges we face with children and time management, there is an increased pressure to work long hours as we cope with our financial responsibilities.
A great example of this is comparing both men and women who happen to be single parents. And let’s take it a step further and assume that both individuals work at the same workplace.
It is reasonable to point out that if they share the same boss, they will be more lenient toward the single mom concerning time off requests and a modified work schedule around childcare.
This practice is unfair and needs to be stopped immediately.
Regrettably, there is enormous stigmatization that exists with single dads in North America and most parts of the world; even in liberal-run countries like Sweden, single dads find it increasingly challenging to navigate untruth stereotypes.
Perhaps the most common example of this is when it comes to dating.
It’s not to say that single moms don’t face any barriers. However, single dads are somehow seen as morally deficient or perverted because they raise a child independently.
Sadly, one of the first questions that come to mind is, “what did you do wrong where she left you?
Another even more devastating stereotype is that single dads are child molesters. This stigmatization has absolutely no merit or basis to it and should be admonished immediately.
Your Dating Life May Suck
If you are not married, the chances are that you enjoy a great date from time-to-time. After all, one of the things in a man’s life is his mojo.
However, most single dads I had spoken with claim that it could be challenging to find a date by a woman who remains non-judgemental.
You would think that it would be the complete opposite – that women would find single dads worthy of dating due to their commitment to raising a child by themselves.
Sadly, this is simply not the case.
I suspect that deep down, many of them feel that single dads are not masculine enough, while another segment of women don’t want the complications and only want to commit to men who can provide them with children of their own.
Whatever the reason, dating, for the most part, remains challenging for the vast majority of single dads.
Financial Struggles Are A Reality For Most Single Dads
Although men and women share many similarities, however, there is more pressure on them to do more and perform better when it comes to financial responsibilities.
Despite society moving towards a more equality-based society, the burden of earning more money and paying a more significant portion of the bills remains a sad reality.
Even in child support cases, many women refuse to pay child support, and if the case eventually goes before the courts, judges are more lenient toward women than men.
Of course, I would never proclaim this to be true in ALL cases; however, the vast majority of judges are men and may sympathize with females. This old-school thinking puts men at a disadvantage.
Domestic Challenges & Responsibilities
it’s no secret that men and housework often do not go in tandem with one another. Call me sexist, but I do believe that women, on the whole, are more successful at maintaining a clean and tidy household.
Indeed, not to say that some men are an exception. And this is not to say that men cannot learn the skills required to be a single parent. However, I think it is more difficult for them to engrain this skillset.
Domestic responsibilities may take a back seat to other priorities if you compound the financial burden that forces men to work more days and longer hours.
Being a single dad is difficult, however, as a single dad there are many more strikes against you making the responsibility that much more challenging.
Moreover, if you think long enough I’m sure you could probably come up with 9 single dad challenges that are not already mentioned.
Every year, more men are assuming their rights and responsibilities as a dad even if it means they have to go it alone.
My post is not meant to discourage you from single fatherhood, however, by recognizing the bumps and barriers we face only then can we empower ourselves to do what is morally right and good for the sake of ourselves and our children.
Are you a single dad facing challenges? If so I would love to hear from you. And if there is a challenge I have not mentioned please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.