By Josh Moore of Diaperdads.org
Single parents everywhere have it rough, and as much as we consider the plight of the single mom, single dads are often overlooked. What’s more, there are more single dads than there used to be. If you look at research conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of homes led by a single dad has increased dramatically, from 300,000 in 1960 to more than 2.6 million in 2011.
Since then, that number has continued to grow, as have the challenges single dads face. Oftentimes, dads are portrayed as being synonymous with a superhero, but sometimes you have an off day and your super powers just don’t seem to be working.
For those days when you can’t find your superhero cape, check out these tips to overcome some of the most common challenges associated with being a single dad.
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It should come as no surprise to you that raising one or more children comes with a pretty hefty price tag. While the happiness they bring is well worth it, that happiness doesn’t pay the bills or buy groceries. As a single dad, it is up to you to provide for your children, and it is a task that can seem daunting and downright impossible. This is where the principles we were taught or even painstakingly experienced come into play – setting a budget.
Keep in mind that creating a budget goes much further than simply setting a dollar amount to stick to. Take a look at the bills you have coming in each month and calculate how much of your paycheck will go toward each necessary expense, then determine how much you can feasibly spend each day without breaking the bank. Breaking it down into days rather than weeks might make reality a little harsher, but it will certainly help to keep you in check.
Time and Income
Providing for your children means both sufficient income and sufficient time. But if money is tight, how do you manage both? You might be surprised to learn that new businesses are popping up by leaps and bounds these days, and the climate is ripe for growth in many industries. And it might be the answer to both your time and money worries.
If you have considered the flexibility of an entrepreneurial venture, whether as a side gig or full-time, it might be time to dive in. Just make sure you lay the proper groundwork for your growth. Begin with a sound business plan, which helps hone in on goals and can even be useful for grants and loans. And register your business with your state. For the sake of protecting your assets, consider an LLC. Just like it sounds, an LLC (limited liability company) provides critical security in the event your business is sued (zenbusiness details the process involved). That peace of mind is a big plus in the parenting department!
Do you want to be the ultimate parent? Deep down, we all do. Why is it that we put so much pressure on ourselves? What with our own inherent need to be perfect and the expectations set forth by others, The Spruce points out that it can seem as though we are never living up to the standards being set.
Well, you’ve heard it before and you are about to hear it again – trying to be perfect is not only an unrealistic expectation, but an unhealthy one. Let go of this idea that you need to meet the cookie cutter standard, and instead do what is best for you and your kids. So what if every Wednesday is pizza night, or sometimes you use mouthwash as a replacement for teeth brushing to avoid the tantrum? It’s okay to put away the super hero cape and just be a parent. Chances are, parents everywhere are doing the same thing.
Being a single dad comes with obstacles, but there isn’t anything you can’t overcome. Put the superhero cape in the closet for a rainy day, and focus on meeting the challenges you face head on as a civilian navigating the world of single parenting one day at a time.
Josh Moore is founder of diaperdads.org. Parenting is often a learn-as-you-go experience, but it’s nice to have some backup when you truly feel like you have no clue what you’re doing. That’s when Josh decided to create the blog Diaper Dads to give all the dads out there the credit they deserve and some much needed advice when life seems consumed with diapers, fruit pouches, and tantrums.