Fellow single parents, ya know how you and your ex figure out some sort of parenting schedule with the kids and then hope you can rely on it and plan your life based on that? And how life itself always has a curve-ball ready to pitch? Yeah, that.
In fact, there are times I think that the most important criterion for success in life as a single parent isn’t being reliable, but being flexible. Reliable is super important and being “the rock”, the one person your children know has their back, attends their concerts and picks them up spot on time after school is obviously a critical element of their world. But it’s based on the idea that life itself is consistent, predictable and has an understandable rhythm.
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
You can try to force predictability into your world and sometimes it works pretty well, but I’m pretty sure that the Gods up on Mount Olympus watch us little humans trying to do this then laugh and say “here, try this twist on things” as they toss an obstacle our way.
In my world, it was almost 4 months ago now that my 12yo daughter — soon to be 13! — came to my house and stayed here full time. She’s still close with her Mom: it was external events that caused the change and at some point I hope we’ll go back to our week on/week off schedule. But it’s interesting to switch from half-time to full-time.
On the plus side, it’s clearly been great for my daughter K- who is calmer, easier and doing great both at school and socially since the transition. As she demonstrates in the cute photo below!
Me? Well, I miss my own life, if I can say that without sounding too entitled. In particular, I miss being able to head out for an evening and not worry about when I’d get home. As a film critic, it’s particularly tricky since film screenings are at night and often keep me out to 10pm or later.
As a result, I’ve had to dramatically rein in my screenings (though I did work it out so I could see Rogue One a week before it opened in the theaters. I have my limits!). It’s also completely nixed any social life — read “dating” — for the foreseeable future, but I’m rather relieved about that part.
I know that there are many single parents who are thinking “uhm, welcome to my world.” and a big hat tip to y’all. Parenting’s a tough job whether you’re doing it a few days/month or 24x7x365.
And flexibility. That’s the word of the month in my life. How about yours?
I am a divorced father of 3 kids. They are now 14, 12, 10, but I have been juggling them for 8 years. During the divorce I had to fight hard to get joint custody, but now my x-wife doesn’t do that much with them. She has a new job, younger boyfriend, and other distractions so the kids are with me most of the time. I never wanted to be divorced, and I didn’t want my kids to be latch-key so when things fell apart I threw myself into being there for them at every moment I could. I changed to a work from home job, and attended everything I could. I have went on a handful of dates, but nothing has been serious in the 8 years. I have devoted myself to parenting them, and I am proud of most of it. They can act entitled sometimes, and lately I have felt they don’t respect the lengths I have go to in supporting them, and making them feel supported and provided for. All three play sports, and I have a rigorous schedule/calendar that keeps me running all over to get them to everything on time. I spend tons of money on their activities, and I am in the stands cheering them on at every moment unless we have a conflicting time. My x-wife attends some of their events and leaves immediately afterward. She keeps them some nights, but she does less and less as each year passes. My perspective is that I brought them into this world, and I am obligated to attend to their needs until they become adults. I feel fine with my obligations, and I hope they feel loved and supported. They say they do and that’s great. I am not sure what my life will be when they move out, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
Great to hear a dad’s perspective, it always tend to be the mom’s who talk about kid’s and family issues. Thank you!