Every Dad is different. But, there’s one Dad type that’s like the quarterback of a football team. The single Dad.
I’m learning first hand just how hard it can be to raise a child, even with a partner. Doing it alone is a different beast altogether and takes the term “stepping up” to all new heights.
I figured, who better to give me the inside scoop into single “dad-hood” than my friend Mike. I’ve never talked to someone who takes this job more seriously.
He makes his son’s Halloween costumes from scratch, takes him away on trips, to baseball games, basketball games and even had a t-shirt made with his son’s name inside of the Harley Davidson logo. If there’s an outside the box, creative way to raise a kid, he’s thought of it.
(1) What’s the best thing about being a single Dad?
I love being able to raise my son on my own. There’s no conflict in the house, there’s no debate on what’s right or what’s wrong for him, there’s no “But mom said it would be okay”. It’s awesome to be able to raise him exactly how I want. Plus I don’t have to share the good night kisses and hugs with anyone!
(2) Dating. Is it harder or easier to get a date when a women finds out you’re a solo pops?
I’m not really into the dating scene (giving my son 100% of my time is my top priority), but on the rare occasion I do meet someone I like, I’ve found it’s tough to date anyone. There are two types of women out there … moms, and those without kids. Single moms understand the soccer practices, the bedtimes, the school concerts … while women without kids don’t always understand that you have a bigger responsibility. That said, they have much more freedom to hang out whenever you do have time, while single moms have much busier schedules. It’s tough either way.
(3) Dad Bod, heard of it? Do you fall into that category?
*looks down* Next question …
(4) I’ve seen you flex your Dad superpowers in the past. Tell me about what kinds of over the top ‘Dad of the Year’ worthy things you do.
Honestly, I think everything I do with my son isn’t “Dad of the Year” or “superpowers”. I think it’s just being a great dad, doing what a dad is supposed to be doing. Disney World, arts and crafts (like the Halloween costumes you’ve seen), many trips to Cleveland to see his favourite baseball team (go Indians), climbing the CN Tower … every weekend, we’ll go out and do something. Whether it be playing baseball, going to the Science Centre, movies, concerts, mini-golf, dog-sledding, bowling, Canada’s Wonderland, fishing, random adventures – we’re always out having some kind of fun. Just being together, no matter what we’re doing, is absolutely perfect.
(5) How do you balance work life and fathering? Is there a secret?
Yep, this is an easy one. Work always comes a distant, distant second to fathering. You’re raising your kid for 18 years until they’re on their own. Put work second, focus all of your energy on being there for your child. Raising them into the best possible adult always needs to come first and you should never let work get in the way of that. There’s time for your career after they move out, but you’ll never get those critical 18 years back.
(6) What should a single Dad never do?
Never let anything get in the way of your relationship or take away any time you have with your kid. Whether it be a woman, your job, money … nothing should ever interfere with raising your child. And if something does get in the way, it’s your duty to make it right as soon as possible.
(7) There’s one thing every Dad needs to have. What is it?
Love. You have to love your kid more than anything in the world. And you have to tell them that, multiple times a day. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them how special they are. Love them more than you could ever imagine was possible.
(8) What advice can you give other single Dad’s?
Although it can be tough at times, never give up. Be their father, as well as their best friend. You have to be both the father and the mother, so you need to play both roles – give them that love and extra kisses that the ‘stereotypical man’ doesn’t do, but are so desperately required. If the mother is still in his life, keep it that way – she’s very important to the child too. Don’t yell at them, yelling never solves anything – talk to them in a voice that they understand. Teach them how to be the best possible person they can be. Study with them, help them with their homework – praise them for their good grades, help them if the grades are low. Get involved in their interests – I’ve never liked soccer before, but now I’m the biggest fan because of him. Spend as much time together as you can and give them 100% of yourself always – don’t let anything get in the way of that. And love them. Love them like you’ve never loved anyone before. There’s bound to be many bumps along the way, but it’s your job alone to raise them and help them become an incredible adult, so do everything you can to ensure they turn out as best as they possibly can be.