#WeTheParents – On How To Juggle Responsibilities In The Circus Act Of Single Parenting
Stuck in our gender stereotypes and societal dogma, have we ignored the urge of the man to be a parent and nurturer? Parenting trends and ideologies across the world have placed the role of mothers and fathers into pre-constructed boxes, pushing parents to work tirelessly to fit those roles. While single parent surrogacy, single motherhood are buzzwords in modern day parenting conversations in India, there are only a handful of stories of single fathers that have made it to the public domain.
Today, the imperative role of a father in his child’s life is gathering steam – #sharetheload, #myfatherillustrations, #selfiewithdaughter, highlighting that fathers are parents too, and at most times, good ones.
Single fathers are breaking taboos worldwide just like single mothers have been for a while now. Daniel Shwerin aka Daddy Solo is one such father. Raising his girl (9) and boy (6), Daniel shares how he works creatively to cope with the everyday challenges of single parenting.
Dealing With Guilt
Almost every parent feels a tug of guilt for everything they feel they’re not doing, and it’s even more the case with single parents. They feel guilty for not having enough time to spend with the kids. They feel guilty for not having enough money to give them the things they want. And the list goes on. The best way to combat these feelings is to focus on the things you do have and the things you are doing right and to realize it’s probably way more adequate than you realize. Did you know that recent studies show that the amount of time parents spend with their children doesn’t significantly affect a child’s well-being? Give yourself a break!
Making the Most of the Time You Do Have
Sometimes having less time to spend with your children makes you more mindful of the time you do have. And that’s not a bad thing. According to The Washington Post, quality time trumps quantity time in almost every situation. So, when you do have time to spend with your children, try to keep it separate from work time. Set aside an hour or two of your evening to have meals and conversations with them without taking phone calls or checking emails.
Dealing With Chaos
You suddenly find yourself juggling schedules, recitals, homework and meals all by yourself with no one to tag team. There are certainly people you can hire to help out with certain things, but if your budget has been suddenly cut in half, there may be less money for things like this. Instead, you may have to get creative in scheduling and be ruthless with unnecessary activities. Getting organized is key, but some other helpful tips for trimming a heavy schedule are:
- Set scheduling boundaries – For example, no activities after 6 pm. Single parent guilt sometimes gets the best of us so that we are trying to make everyone happy. But the truth is that some things just have to go, especially during an adjustment period. Does your daughter really need the 7 p.m. playdate, or does she get enough interaction at school?
- Keep a family calendar – A large dry erase board might work best so that everyone in your home can see what is scheduled. Teach your children to respect and prioritize important activities.
- Schedule weekly planning sessions – Take at least an hour on Sunday evenings for your whole family to talk about their scheduling needs for the week.
- Keep a solid routine for your children – As much as possible, establish a regular routine for your children. According to Child Development Info, a routine helps children feel more secure and “allows them to think and feel more independently.”
It’s easy to get caught up in guilt and anxiety over the things you feel you should be doing with and for your children, but you have to learn to let some of that go. The fact is if you have been concerned that you are not doing enough, that means you care enough to try. And just knowing that means you’re probably doing everything you can. Give yourself a break and take care of yourself, too. Your children will be in better hands if you’re in peak mental and physical health.
Photo Credits : Unknown
Words By : Daniel Sherwin
Daniel Shwerin aka Daddy Solo is one such father. Raising his girl (9) and boy (6), Daniel shares how he works creatively to cope with the everyday challenges of single parenting.