Morning / Afternoon / Evening All
I am a single father (I hate that term) for the last 18mths to a boy and girl under the age of six. I care for these two full time (ie: no shared arrangements ... I work a full time job as well) and have no family within about a 1,000km of us. I am very blessed to have a small number of very close friends who step into the breach and help where they can.
I guess I had a couple of questions that I'd appreciate some opinions on. Firstly, being the sole carer of the kids and working full time as a dad, I tend to find that a lot of people (in fact - in my experience most if not all) at school and daycare give me a very wide berth. For example, a child's birthday party that my 5yr old daughter is invited to. I turn up with both kids and I notice three distinct groups at the party. There are the 'society mums' (married mothers with the 'perfect life') who huddle together and talk about ... well to be honest I have no idea what they're talking about but as soon as I walk into the group and introduce myself to them they become quite odd (which is disappointing as I'd really like to get to know how they manage their families and how I can do things better for my kids). Usually I find they brush me off as some sort of leper ... not sure why as once upon a time I was socially acceptable.
The second group are the dads. Let's be honest, in most cases they do try a little bit and as long as the kids don't infringe too much on their lives and their standing game of golf on Saturday morning they are awesome parents. I can say this because I was once upon a time this kind of guy. Nowadays at said party these guys usually give me a wide berth as well.
The last group are the most confronting. These are the single (and at times quite damaged mothers) group. I don't say confronting in the sense of less than me in any way shape or form. I mean confronting in the sense that I look at these women and I then look at my daughter and realise once upon a time these women were little girls with hopes and dreams and somehow life (or a partner) managed to beat the stuffing out of them. I find myself talking more to this group than any other because they are the most accepting - but at the same time I am constantly on my guard with them as in some cases they are certifiable and I am really reluctant to open my life (and by proxy my children's lives to them).
I guess my point is this .... how do I find normal parents to ask questions of? I guess this is why I am here more than anything. Hopefully they are here. How do I learn what little girls do and think (I grew up with no sisters so I have no idea how to raise my daughter beyond making sure she knows she is loved and that there is nothing in this world that she couldn't do nor would I support her to do ... except for being a mercenary).
Anyway, bit of a rant ... hopefully I don't come across as a crazy parent. Just a bit of a lonely road when you're a single dad.
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03-08-2013 18:56 #1Junior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2013
A bit of an odd place
Last edited by Justkeepswimming; 03-08-2013 at 19:02.
03-08-2013 19:16 #2
There may be a dad's group in your area. The one where I am meets every Saturday morning at a park and they chat while the kids play.
Or you could get your kids to choose a few friends and invite them and their parents around one day. You might find that they (the parents) will be more interactive in your environment.
Otherwise, I have no idea... I'm still trying to work this whole parenting network thing out
03-08-2013 19:19 #3
I think its just a lonely road as a single parent tbh. Im a single mum to two young boys and while I have my parents close by, I have no friends here let alone friends with kids.
My saving grace in regard to being able to talk to other parents for opinions and advice is right here or a small group of online friends on facebook (and I'd be lost without them lol). Hopefully you find what you need here with us bubhubbers :-)
03-08-2013 19:19 #4
Honestly? I think you need to give people more of a chance. Its tough being a bit different, but if you go into social situations expecting the worst from people that's what you'll find. The way you describe each of those groups was pretty unflattering and I think unfair. Persevere and you will find the accepting mums, the doting dads, and the perfectly happy single mums. Maybe seek them out in smaller groups or one-on-one, any group is hard to break into and a bit wary of outsiders.
You say you have plenty of friends helping you out, do any of them have kids of their own?
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03-08-2013 19:31 #5
Define 'normal parent' that you're looking for?? Normal largely depends on the individual.
Your descriptions above seem widely generalised to be honest. Or maybe it's just the small circle of families involved at your DD's school? I mean I've never known of a group of Dads attending a birthday party like that anyway..so at least they were there!
I'm a single mum now to 2 young boys too, so I feel your concern. I wonder how I'm going to raise them appropriately and guide them in all things 'male'!
Have you looked up any single dad/parent groups on sites like MeetUp? I've got a new group in my area which has been wonderful, as my Mothers Group fizzed out really fast. It's free and worth looking in to?
03-08-2013 19:48 #6Junior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2013
Appreciate the comments all ... and I also accept that the 'generalisations' I used were potentially inflammatory ... they were not intended to be. The more people I meet the more I see that nobody really has the complete guide to parenting down pat.
I guess one piece of info I left off was that I am widowed (don't usually like leading with this as it usually leads to the pity etc and takes away from the core reason I ask questions which is to genuinely understand the viewpoints of people and learn from them). That potentially would be another reason for the leper treatment.
Anyway, that's beside the point. Thanks for the direction of 'MeetUp' I will look into it as whilst I feel in control of most aspects of this sole parent thing there are some really bizarre situations that come up and I'd be nice to have some people to bounce ideas off.
03-08-2013 20:04 #7
Hugs to you and your children. Losing their mother must have been very tough on all 3 of you, especially while they're so young. No pity, just full sympathy.
As wrong as it may be, I actually think that this would be the reason you feel ostracized at some social gatherings. So many people just don't know how to deal with death and anything related to it. Sad but it's reality.
Sometimes though, it can also be our own fears and insecurities that make us feel this way. I very unexpectantly became a single mum whilst pregnant with my second. I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, even though I'd done nothing wrong, and assumed everyone was/is judging me. It's not a nice feeling.
You're doing a wonderful job already, the fact you're reaching out for guidance on this site even shows you have your children's best interests at heart.
I hope you find some success with MeetUp and/or other organisations. Also try contacting your local council - mine has 'Dads groups' advertised.
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