Today’s post is written by Daniel Sherwin, who blogs at DadSolo.com.
Fatherhood changes people. It transforms them and connects them to the world in a new way. There are moments of great joy, wonder, and pride, but they do not come easy. In exchange, your children will ask for your patience, wisdom, and love. However, we are all human, and life does not halt when we become parents. We must still work, pay bills, and stay healthy. These tasks become even more gargantuan when a father is raising his kids on his own.
You Are Not Alone
If you are a single father, remember that you aren’t alone. The number of single fathers heading households is on the rise. As reported by Live Science, single-father households are about eight percent of households with minor children. This means that men now lead about a quarter of all single-parent families.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Raising a child on your own is a major challenge. Don’t be afraid of using the resources in front of you. The Spruce suggests doing an online search for single-parent resources in your community. You might be surprised and find single-parent support groups in your area, local YMCA classes and resources, Big Brother and/or Big Sister programs, and even parent education classes. Many communities offer these types of classes that can provide a variety of support channels and get you meeting new people, talking to other parents, and collecting useful and important advice.
Embrace the Challenge
Remember time goes fast, and while the challenges might seem insurmountable at times, when you look back at your accomplishments as a parent, it’ll all be worth it. However, being there is an important part, and it’s important to achieve the optimal work-personal life balance. Try working with your employer in order to get a workable schedule that allows you time to be there for your children.
Care for Yourself
Although it is easy to forget or overlook, when you are not in good health, your child is in trouble too. Chances are you are not the best parent you can be if your health begins to suffer and if you allow anxiety and depression to take hold. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.
Sometimes it’s easier to neglect certain things, but it is not always the right choice for you and your overall mental health. Stress and depression are serious business. One way to combat it is through good nutrition and lifestyle.
With a schedule full to the brim, it might seem easier at times to stop by the local fast-food place and buy a cheap meal. In the long term, however, the price of this triples, not only in possible trips to the doctor, but in a lack of energy and decrease of overall health. Consider adding more veggies to your diet and cooking ahead for the week. For example, you could make a big pot of grains or rice to last a few days.
Don’t neglect your exercise. Remaining physically active is a great antidote to stress and depression. It’s been proven that an active lifestyle can not only prevent but cure bouts of depression and extreme stress.
Try to be conscious of your own joy and the activities that make you happy and help you blow off steam. Don’t neglect these. Maintaining a sense of self will help fortify your nerves and help you get through the tough times.
As Walter M. Schirra said, “You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.” That is to say, nobody is perfect, and life will have its way with everyone, bringing in unexpected twists and turns. Your mental health is imperative to maintaining your children’s strength. You are important in this equation, so don’t leave yourself out.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.
Photo Credit: Pixabay