The Trials of Single Parenting

By admin / February 11, 2008
By: James Walsh
Category: Divorce

How do you cope with being a father as well as mother to your child? Single parenting can be a daunting task and many people feel that the challenges posed by single parenthood are vastly different from those posed by shared parenthood.

What are the Challenges Faced by Single Fathers? What Can They Do to Make Their Lives Easier?

While it is very easy and natural for fathers to play the role of a strong father figure, it can be challenging to play the role of a nurturing mother as well. In a two-parent household, most of the fathers leave for work early in the morning and do not get to see their children till late evening. Therefore, they have little or no idea about the kind of work that goes into getting the kids ready for school, making their food, getting the children to do their homework, and putting them to bed.

Performing these tasks may not mean that you are done for the day. You may still need to do laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Most single custodial fathers are clueless when it comes to matters of the kitchen; they do not know how to set up a kitchen or to find the required cooking items when in need. Therefore, setting up the kitchen and becoming familiar with it can take a while.

Do you know what your children like to eat? Most custodial fathers admit that they never bothered asking this question to their children prior to the divorce because as long as the meals were served and the kids ate, they did not seem to notice. Well, if you are one of those fathers, your task can be very challenging. You will have to ensure that your children get the adequate nutrition while they get to eat their favourite food. Therefore, you have to balance nutrition with taste.

Since children are bound to go through an emotional time during and after divorce, they might not want to eat at all. You will have to ensure that you make your children feel mentally comfortable about the new living arrangements so that the emotional turmoil does not take a toll on their health.

If you are a non-custodial single father, your challenges will be very different. You will have to make sure that you meet your children as per your visitation schedule and get to know more about your children's lives. You may not have felt the need to talk to your children about their special events or their life in general when you were living with the children because children are very vocal about these things when in the house. However, once you take them to your new home, they may not talk about their lives so easily. Your challenge would be to make them feel comfortable in your new home and encourage them to talk about their lives and feelings.

What are the Challenges Faced by Single Mothers? What Can They Do to Make Their Lives Easier?

While it is very easy for mothers to adopt a caring and giving attitude, it becomes hard for some to be the disciplinarian in the house. Make sure that you set the ground rules in the very beginning and stick to these rules so that your children know that you mean business.

Single mothers find it hard to manage their finances after divorce because they may not have handled tasks such as bill-payment and rent-payment. In fact, it is common for women to leave their jobs to look after their family with little or no involvement in managing the finances of the house. If you were a homemaker prior to divorce, you will have to look for another job to ensure that your family's finances are taken care of.

Balancing work and home can be tricky. Most women do not know where their loyalties lie. While they want to spend more time with their children in this time of crisis, they also feel that financial security is essential to run a household and, consequently, try to work longer hours at work.

Most women are well-equipped mentally and physically to perform the daily household chores and manage children. Therefore, single mothers are better off in this respect than single fathers. However, most women have never done any kind of financial planning and, therefore, their knowledge in this area is limited. Your first task after getting a job should be to take up a basic financial planning course. Most of the companies organise such programs for their employees. There is also ample material available on the Internet for you to educate yourself on the subject.

If you feel you are spending too much time in commuting or your children's needs are suffering because of your long hours, you can opt for a work-from-home job or ask your employer if you can work from home a few days of the week.

James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. If you want to find out more about a solicitor managed divorce see

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