Home Everyday Life 45% parenting: a curse of the solo parent

45% parenting: a curse of the solo parent

by admin

Not blowing my own trumpet here, but I reckon I’m doing alright at this parenting gig. Which, I am starting to realise, is also becoming a problem.

Because I am doing alright.

I’m not able to crank out 100% Dad all the time and I am by no means even close to triple digits in the Mum department. At best I reckon I’m 45% Dad and 45% Mum, with the remaining 10% reserved for feeble attempts at sanity and a desperate struggle to hold onto some sense of self.

Which, yes, is understandable, I get it. By that doesn’t detract from the fact that as a solo parent, it is physically, mental and emotionally impossible to be all Dad or all Mum in one single situation.

And that blows why? Because kids don’t get that. They want the best of both worlds, all the time. Which is fair enough I guess, it is how the universe has built us. Kids need their Mum and Dad (or similar) in equal doses, the feminine and masculine, to help them learn and navigate this sometimes messed up world. And the selfish little bastards usually need them both at exactly the same time. Together.

And that is simply not possible coming from one person. There is a distinct lack of authority, authenticity and believability when you try to be both Jekyll and Hyde in the one conversation.

Which is really starting to hit home for me now, as I watch, with much trepidation, our little baby girl dancing with the devil that is the impending teenage years.

The moments where she needs the nurturing, sympathetic, relatable ear and thoughts from her Mum are increasing at an exponential rate. Try as I might, it seems nigh on impossible to take off my protective, defensive, problem solving Dad hat and even harder to squeak out words like “I understand” or “yes, you are right”. 😉

Likewise for Little Albs. So often do I realise nearly too late, that all he needs is a cuddle and some soothing words instead of lesson-teaching-toughen-them-up Dad monologues.

It really is a curse of the solo parent. I know there will be many who will have sage advice and tips and tricks, and more than likely alot that will disagree completely, but when all is said and done, there is physically only one of me; period. And it matters not the approach, angle or method. It only matters that I identify the correct hat to wear at precisely the right time. And that, my furry friends, is no easy task.

Of course this is yet another lovely little aspect to being a farmum / mumad (yes I just wrote that – family joke), that plays on your already overly guilty mind. At 2am naturally. Along with all the other things that you subconsciously question and internally debate about how you are managing to raise your children at all.

Yes I can surround myself with strong, nurturing women that can step into the breach when needed, of which I have many, but that is hardly ever practical. Apart from pre-planned situations, the moments they are most required are fleeting and instantaneous. And usually totally inconvenient for all.

So I’m afraid, in my opinion, there is nothing for it but one thing.

Self belief.

I have to believe that I am nurturing a relationship with my children that caters for this. That it is understood and accepted that we don’t have our ideal scenario. That this is ok and we will make it work. That we are a still a family, and that’s what counts.

This whole article isn’t to whine and moan about the challenges of being a solo Dad, in fact none of my articles are. I just know that if I am experiencing, thinking and feeling these things, then I am sure as shit not alone.

So to anyone else who is in a similar situation, I bow down and kiss your feet. And I want you to know that I am right there with you.

Now I’m taking my 10% and going to bed.

You. Fucking. Rockstar. ✌

Here's some other posts

38 comments

Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 12:43 pm

Pretty sure that was all meaningful but my bad for skipping to the end so I can have a sip of wine I love reading your posts … don’t know the full story of you losing your wife but you’re a dead set champion for doing what you do and then some by putting it on facey

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:48 am

Thanks!

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 12:45 pm

I read that and understood that completely… I raised children solo… I’m not going to throw advice at you… But tell you that your doing awesome… Maybe we should start a phone a friend kind of service where males /females can be on call for situations when kids need an ear to listen to..
Of course people that are screened security wise ….like an on call aunt or uncle…

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:48 am

Now that’s not such a bad idea 💡

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 2:08 am

Just A Dad …it would be great for those times when we are snowed under and the kids need an extra ear…

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 12:47 pm

Grace and Alby may sometimes find it hard to understand, but deep down they know and love you for who you are and what decisions you are making for your little Family…Anyhow you are already a step in front more than you realise…as you are acknowledging and taking stock of situations in front of you, whether it’s after the situation has passed or not, you are open to being more aware…Your’e doing AWESOME…Remember solo parent or not we all run with a little less in the tank at times…We are only human. You’ve got this 🙂 xx

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:49 am

Thanks Tania x

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 1:01 pm

You are doing just fine. My Brother and Sister in law were travelling from Bendigo to Geelong in 2001 on 14/9/2001 to see their new niece who was born 2/ 9/ 2001 my sister in law was driving and they had a head on with a drunk driver. She died instantly and my brother in law was in passenger seat and niece behind passenger seat walked away. The driver side of car gone. He has raised a girl with puberty and bought sanitary products etc. she is 25 now and a humble young lady.

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:49 am

There’s hope for me yet 😉

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 1:38 pm

You rock

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:50 am

Back at ya 😉

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 2:16 pm

You know what, even after you’ve played your natural role, just like with an apology, it’s okay to come back once you realise and deliver what you realise you should have. I am not a single mum, never have been. But we’re raising 5 kids, the output is something else. I’ve learnt sometimes we all have default behaviour – wired settings. We’re as much work as they are. Stuffing it up and trying is just as hard as figuring them out. It’s the way we communicate that suffers. Speak to your children the way you write (ok, dumb it down a bit ), and encourage and love them with what you bring here and you can’t go wrong. People are just born to be loved. I love your posts. You’re doing way better than okay

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:58 am

Excellent advice thanks 🙂

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 4:04 pm

Shane Miller

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 7:57 pm

From one solo parent to another.. you nailed it!
Keep on keepin on, your doing a great job! X

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 1:58 am

Cheers Mel x

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 7:59 pm

You are doing better then most dads , they wouldn’t have the balls to even attempt it … be proud of yourself

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:44 am

Thanks Milissa. But for every deadbeat Dad out there, there is another Dad who isn’t being allowed to be just that.

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 8:40 pm

You would be more of that 10% if you didn’t wonder and question your parenting. A fucking awesome parent asks questions like this! You’re doing great maybe just pull your village closer or expand

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:41 am

Thanks Karlee x

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Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 9:02 pm

As a single mum I get this all the time. It sux that other mums (and my children!) can’t understand I can’t always be the good guy. I have to set and enforce boundaries and I’d kill for someone to just have my back sometimes! I’m so grateful for the few male teachers in my kids lives to have that male influence on my chidren but it’s still not the same.

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:41 am

“Someone to have your back” – precisely. And someone to share the load.

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 3:55 am

I take my hats off to single dads !
Why you may ask is it differentbto single mums..well women seem to have “built in ” know how ..blokes arent quite the same unless they are really in touch with their feminine side !
I know numerous single dads that do a top job .
Go the dads !!

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:39 am

Both have different kinds of built in know how I reckon. But yeah I agree that it is harder for men to learn (or let their egos learn) the motherhood side of parenting than it is for mothers to pick up alot of fatherhood.

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 4:00 am

they may become stronger, wiser & more emotionally intelligent as a result of the course fate has played in your lives mate! Life can be like that. G

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:40 am

Totally agree mate. Am already seeing the signs of emotional intelligence in both of them. Cheers for the reminder.

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 4:50 am

Hey Marty most kids hate both their parents anyway & eventually when they stop hating you for ruining their life they’ll both look back & realise you did a fucking awesome job. Just do you x

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 6:40 am

Truer words never spoken Gin xxx

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 8:02 am

Last three words. Gold! X

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 10:30 am

Personal touch 😉

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Anonymous May 15, 2018 - 10:54 am

You are their world and from what I can work out… doing a damn good job

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Just A Dad May 15, 2018 - 10:12 pm

Thanks Di x

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Anonymous May 16, 2018 - 10:02 am

Chris I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you are doing an awesome job!! Never forget that.
In fact you’re doing better than some 2 parent families!

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Just A Dad May 16, 2018 - 10:03 am

Thanks Suz xo

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Anonymous May 17, 2018 - 8:46 am

Beautifully written.. I fly by the seat of my pants and try my best at the end of the day if our kids feel loved we are doing ok hang in there big daddy !!

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Just A Dad May 17, 2018 - 9:49 am

I agree Katrina! X

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Anonymous May 18, 2018 - 11:54 am

Awesome article : so proud of you and the way you’re making a difference – for your kids and in the wider community.

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Just A Dad May 18, 2018 - 12:05 pm

Jillian Martin thanks Mum x

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