I’m not a single dad.
The fact that I have to clarify that point means that I probably owe my wife an apology. I obviously don’t mention her enough in my writing.
That seems to be the only logical explanation for the emails I’ve received. Apparently I write as a champion for those going it alone.
While this isn’t necessarily my intention, there are few groups that deserve it more.
Besides the emails, the last couple of weeks have brought me a taste, albeit small, of being Mr. Mom.
Now, I admit that a few weekends alone with three little girls do not count as single parenting. But it does allow me to appreciate the gravity of being the only one “on call”…if only for a time.
What constitutes a challenge when you’re parenting as a couple is equivalent to wiping a snotty nose when you’re a one man show.
Take for instance the task of getting ready to leave the house. You have somewhere to be, at a specific time, with a specific purpose.
In the glory days you could roll out of bed, still wearing yesterday’s underwear, throw on some clothes and a hat, and you were out the door in 15 minutes.
Disgusting? Maybe. Efficient? Very!
As a single parent, this now means expending significant energy planning the night before. It means that your normal 15 minutes has now turned in to an hour. As a single dad, it means at least 4-5 trips around the house making sure that you haven’t forgotten that “one thing” that could save you from catastrophe.
Even those of us that have changed diapers and mopped up the urine trails of our pre-potty trained toddlers, cannot fully comprehend doing it alone. All day. Every day.
So when I hear of a dad like my friend Jim Higley, who has survived cancer, written a book, and is well on his way to becoming a syndicated columnist…all while being a single dad. I am reminded of just how lame I am for thinking of how hard I have it at times.
To be honest, I’ve got a pretty good gig. But take away my rock star wife and I fear that you would see a grown man cry…often.
A Couple Takeaways
You might ask yourself, “What should I do if I know a single dad” (or any single parent for that matter).
- Pray for them!
- Meet some practical needs. If they need yard work, do it. If they need a good meal, invite them over for dinner.
- Give them some alone time. When you see the bloodshot eyes and dark pockets underneath them…offer to take the kids for a while.
- Include them in some manly activities. There is nothing like some camping or a chest-thumping round at the shooting range to lighten a man’s load.
- Get them plugged in to the community. Getting a family in a position to build relationships can have immediate and long-term benefits.
- Plant a big wet kiss on your wife. Because your life would be so much harder without her!
Parenting is hard work. And it often goes without much recognition.
Multiply that by…well, about a billion, and you will have the task that lies ahead of a single dad.
So, let me be the first to raise my glass of lukewarm milk and say…single dads, I SALUTE YOU!