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Whether you split your ex and custody into 50-50, parent your child full-time, or have other types of arrangements, becoming a single dad It’s not easy. But you do your best to manage it all yourself. It may seem cute and entertaining in movies and comedies, but in real life there are real struggles, real guilt, and real challenges that don’t go well in 30 minutes.

Four single dads who have navigated solo Parenting The world for years now shares some of their top tips for caring for your child And Your own sanity.

Plan ahead and stay consistent

“I used to look down on planning and day-to-day operations, but it was usually capricious,” says Ryan Ramborn, a sales representative in Tempe, Arizona. He has shared custody of his son’s 9 and 7 years old with his ex-wife since he divorced. 2017. “But when you are a single dad, you will dig yourself into such a big hole. My eldest son is autistic and autism Prosper with structure and schedule. But in reality, these really help the prosperity of all children. “

Lambourn makes the most of his time on the day his wife gives birth, focusing on cleaning the house and maintaining a basic house. Grocery shopping, And meal planning and preparation. “I really paid attention to making sure things were consistent. We go to the park on the same day and prepare dinner at the same time, rather than everything being unplanned. “

If your child divides time between households, do your best to work with other parents to develop similar rules and routines. “We were really looking for continuity, especially when the kids were young,” says San Francisco musician Michael Powell, who divorced in 2012 with his son and daughter. Toddler..

“We did our best to implement similar bedtime, television and sweets rules, and similar approaches to discipline. It’s always perfectly possible because different things happen at home. Not always, but we will do our best. “


When Todd Bensen, the association’s communications director, and his former partner broke up in 2011, his son was seven and his daughter was four. For the first four years, the couple used an underground apartment in a Nagaya, Washington, DC to arrange “nesting.” The house they previously rented out.

“The kids didn’t have to go back and forth between the two houses. They turned off which one lived in the apartment,” says Benzen. “I think the two of us agree that continuity was really beneficial to them at the age of when we parted.”

Trust your instinct

Pat Attenasio, a brand communications specialist living in Northern California, lost his wife to pulmonary embolism when his son Teddy was born in 2017.

“When we were expecting a son, my plan was like drafting a wife and understanding it as we progressed, but then I had to do it all. I did, “he says. “At first, people treated me like I didn’t know anything, but for the sake of fairness, I didn’t. But after all, I’m Teddy’s only parent, Four years later, I know him and his nuances better than any other person, but at first I didn’t trust my instincts and always respected the opinions of others. As a father I realized that I needed to be confident enough. It also affects my son. “

Communicate clearly

It’s important to be frank when you’re talking to your ex-partner about your child’s schedule, needs, or future plans. “No matter how hard the conversation is, just say exactly what you want,” says Lambourn. “Don’t hit the bushes or indirectly imply or say anything. If you need to hear and make sure you understand exactly, send an email or text, or Facebook Messenger You will receive a notification that the other person has seen it using something like. “

It is important to write things in writing if there are changes to your regular routine. “For example, my ex usually picks up my child at 5 pm on Sunday, but recently I changed her to pick up at 2 pm,” says Lambourn. “It’s still a new schedule for the past few weeks, but I sent a message on Saturday afternoon to remind me that the pick-up time is much ahead of schedule, not Sunday noon.”

“Details are important for successful coparenting,” Benzen agrees. “We need to understand these details correctly and make sure that we communicate openly and regularly about events that affect children’s lives.”


Build a support network

Trusting your own instincts does not mean that you can do it all yourself. When Attenasio’s wife died, his wife’s mother and twin sisters suggested that he and Teddy move from New York City to California. “My sister-in-law had two children and she helped me teach me the ropes. When she and my mother-in-law didn’t know what I was doing, It really became my village, “he says. “And I became the king of outsourcing. If I didn’t know how to do it, I learned to hire someone or ask someone to help me.”

Immediately after Powell and his wife divorced, his best friend also broke up with his girlfriend and was looking for a place to live, so he became a temporary resident. “He never worked hard with his kids, but if I needed to leave for a short time, at least there was another person there,” Powell says. “If I did a night gig, I prepared to sleep them before I left, then he watched the cartoon with them and put them to sleep. It was really helpful. He It was like an uncle to the children. “

In most cases RelationshipThere are more “social” partners who maintain and plan their family networks. If you weren’t that person, you might have to stretch yourself to get the support you need. “In our partnership, that was me,” says Benzen. “We had a close group of friends called the” book club “, and our kids are very close to their kids. They were the real network I call. He had to learn new skills because my ex wasn’t really wired that way. It really benefits you and your children for support and continuity. “

If possible, the support network should include your ex. For major life events like COVID-19 PandemicFor example, it confuses everything. It is important for children to work together to keep things normal.


Both Benzen and Powell were diagnosed with the virus. He had never been hospitalized, but Powell was seriously ill for six weeks and his children had to stay with his mother all the time. “It was scary to them, but she reassured them and prepared me to watch a movie at a Netflix party, so I was with them,” he says. ..

Benzen’s former partner also took over full-time parenting for the weeks he was ill. “I’m fortunate to have parents who have the flexibility, active participation, and the ability to welcome them for a few more weeks,” he says.

Avoid “dad” stereotypes

“When you are a single dad, you have to evolve into this kind of hybrid dad and mom. The key to me is to allow me to be truly vulnerable to my child. That was. I have to be alert and have this emotional support for my son, “says Attenasio.

“Dad’s stereotype is someone who does the basics-eating, cleaning, everyday. You can’t do anything else. But I’m in a hurry to take him. I learned it that day Day care I have a work phone and am thinking of selecting the checkbox. Looking at him, I realized that something was wrong. You have to stop, discard the schedule, and say, “What are you thinking?” What are you interested in today? And he usually tells me. You cannot always select the check box. “

take care of yourself

Whether you’re just divorced, separated, or just lost your partner, your instinct as a dad may just break through. But it’s not good for you or your child.

“In our lives, both my ex-wife and I have struggled. Addiction“Lambourn says. “When we split, I immediately thought of all the children and confirmed that they were being taken care of. But by analogy, I had to put on myself an oxygen mask first, and others. I wouldn’t be able to take care of that person, and it made its sacrifice in the following ways: depression And other things. To be a good father, I really had to focus on my own mental, physical and mental recovery. “

After his wife’s death, Athenacio felt he had to bow down and barrel everything through. “But I soon realized that it wasn’t working, Treatment To handle not only the loss of a wife, but the loss of the future that we never had. No matter what you are experiencing or how you became a single dad, there are professionals and free support groups that can help you get through the process. You tend to forget about yourself and be everything for your child, but to be the best parent you can, you need to straighten your head, and everyone needs help. .. “

WebMD features



Ryan Lambourn, Tempeh, Arizona.

Michael Powell, San Francisco, California.

Todd Bensen, Washington DC.

Pat Attenasio, San Carlos, California.

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