Whether you split custody with your ex by 50-50, give your children full time, or do some other type of arrangement, being a single father is not easy. But you try your best to complete it yourself. In movies and sitcoms it may sound cute or fun, but in real life, there are real conflicts, real guilt and real challenges that don’t neatly wrap up in half an hour.

Four single dad navigating solo parenting For a few years the world now shares some of their top tips for caring for their children And Your own purity

Plan ahead and be consistent

“I hated planning and routine and usually just kept whispering,” says Rep. Lambourne, a sales representative from Temp, Az, who shares custody of his sons, 9 and 7, with his ex-wife. Ever since they divorced 2017. “But when you’re a single father, you dig yourself into a big hole. My older son is autistic, and has children autism Structure and thrive with a schedule. But in fact, those are the things that really help all children. “

Lamborn spends most of his time on the days when his wife has children, who focus on household chores and basic housekeeping, grocery shopping, And meal planning and preparation. “I’ve really focused my attention on making sure things are consistent: We go to the park on the same day, we’ve prepared dinner at the same time, instead everything is haphazard.”

If your children spend time at home, then try to work with your parents and keep the same rules and routines for them. “Especially when our kids were younger, we were really looking for continuity,” San Francisco musician Michael Powell, who divorced in 2012 when he had a son and daughter toddlers.

He said, “We tried our best to apply the same approach to rules and discipline regarding common bedsheets, televisions and sweets. This is not always entirely possible because different houses have different things, but we do our best. “


When the association’s communications director Todd Bentsen and his former partner separated in 2011, his son was 7 years old and his daughter was 4. For the first four years, the couple made “nesting” arrangements using their basement apartments in Washington, DC, Row. The house, which he had previously rented.

“The children did not have to go back and forth between the two houses. We just stopped which one of us was staying in the apartment, ”says Bentsen. “I think we would both agree that continuity was really beneficial to them at the age when we were separated.”

trust your instincts

Pat Attenacio, a brand communications specialist who lives in Northern California, lost his wife to a pulmonary embolism when their son Teddy was born in 2017.

“When we were expecting our son, my plan was to draft and locate my wife as we went along, but then I had to do it all,” he says. “Initially, people treated me as if I didn’t know anything, which is to be fair, I didn’t. But at the end of the day, I’m Teddy’s only parent, and after 4 years, I’m her. And I know his nuances better than any other human being. However, initially, I did not trust my instincts and always defied other people’s opinions. I have felt that I have enough of myself as a father There is a need to be reassured, and it also beats my son. “

Communicate clearly

When you are talking with an ex-partner about your children’s schedule, needs, or future plans, it is important to be straightforward. “You can really say whatever you want, no matter how difficult the conversation,” says Lambourne. “Don’t hit around the bush or try to say or say something indirectly. Things you need to make sure they are heard or understood, send an email or a text, or someone like Facebook Messenger Use the thing where you have a notification that the person saw it. “

It is important to write things down when the normal routine changes. Says Lambourn, “For example, usually my ex used to pick up children at 5 pm Sunday, but we recently made a change so that he now picks them up at 2 pm.” “So for a couple of weeks, while it’s still a new schedule, I’m sending him a message on Saturday afternoon to remind him what the pickup time is instead of Sunday afternoon.”

“Co-observance is about the details successfully,” Bentsen agrees. “You have to make sure that you get those details right, and that you communicate openly and regularly what is going on that affects children’s lives.”


Create a support network

Trusting your own instincts does not mean that you can do all of this on your own. When Atancio’s wife died, his wife’s mother and twin sister suggested him to move from New York City to California. “My sister-in-law has two children of her own and she helped teach me the rope. He and my mother-in-law really became my village when I had no clue what I was doing, ”he says. “And I became the king of outsourcing. I have learned that if there is something that I do not know how to do, I will ask anyone to hire me or anyone to help me. “

Shortly after Powell and his wife divorced, a close friend of his had also split up with his girlfriend and was looking for a place to live, so she became a temporary housewife. “He never did a heavy lifting thing with the kids, but at least there was another person if I needed to leave,” says Pavel. “If I had an evening gig, I would get ready for bed before they left and then watch cartoons with them and put them to bed. It was really helpful. He was like an uncle to children. “

mostly Relationships, Is a more “social” partner who maintains and plans the family network. If you were not that person, you may have to stretch yourself to help. “In our partnership, that was me,” Bentson says. “We had a tight-knit group of friends that we called ours, the book club,” and our children are very close with their children. They have given me a real network to call. My ex wasn’t really wired that way, so he had to learn a new skill. This is actually beneficial for you and the children for support and continuity. “

If possible, your support network should include your ex. When a major life event like COVID-19 Universal epidemic, For example, throws everything into disarray, it is important to work together to keep things normal for your children.


Both Bentsen and Powell were detected with the virus. Although he was never hospitalized, Pavel was seriously ill for 6 weeks, and the children had to live with their mother the whole time. “It was scary for him, but he was good about reassuring them and setting things up so we could watch movies on the Netflix party so that I could be ‘with them.”

Bentson’s ex-partner also nursed the entire time during the weeks of becoming ill. “I am lucky that my children have a parent who is resilient and is ready for the extra weeks and they have”, he said.

Avoid the “Dad” Stereotype

“When you are a single dad, you have to grow into a hybrid dad and mom like this. It is important to me that I am allowing myself to be really insecure with my child. I must let my guard down and this emotional support for my son.

“The dad stereotype is the one who does nuts and bolts – eating, cleaning, all day stuff. You just can’t do anything, but it isn’t. But I have learned that on those days where I am running to get her Day care And I’ve got a work call and I’m thinking about checking the boxes, and I look at him and see that something is bothering him, I’ll have to stop and throw the schedule and say, ‘In your mind What is it? What is bothering you today? ‘And he usually tells me. You can’t always be about checking boxes. “

Take care of yourself

Whether you have just divorced or separated, or you have killed a partner, your instinct as a single father may be to just push. But this is not good for you or your children.

“In our lives, both my ex-wife and I have struggled with Addiction, Says Lambourn. “When we split up, I was immediately doing everything about the kids, make sure they were taken care of. But as the analogy goes, if you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you can do something else. Won’t be able to take care of it. I wasn’t doing that, and it had an impact as depression And other things. If I was going to be a good father, I really had to focus on my mental, physical and spiritual improvement. “

After his wife’s death, Atancio felt like he had to put his head and barrel through everything. “But I quickly realized that it wasn’t working, and started going Treatment To know not only the loss of my wife but the future loss. No matter what phase you are going through or how you have become a single father, there are professionals as well as free support groups who can help you get through that process. The inclination is to forget about yourself and be everything to your child, but if you are going to be the best parent, then you have to get your head straight and everyone will need help to do so. “

Webmd feature



Ryan Lambourne, Tempe, AZ.

Michael Powell, San Francisco, CA

Todd Bentsen, Washington, DC.

Pat Atancio, San Carlos, CA.

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