Single Dads Must Find a Balance Too

Article originally published in

By Nancy Keny

Much attention has been focused on issues of single working Mothers. Similar acknowledgment has not been afforded single working Fathers facing similar issues and daily struggles.

There has been a Value shift from the last generation. More emphasis is being placed on men being more involved in their children’s lives. As such, balancing between career advancement and home is more difficult now more than ever, particularly for the growing number of single Fathers.

As a single Father, are you headed for a potential melt down or have you already arrived? Do you feel guilty when you are not with your children and guilty when you are because you are simultaneously working on a project , doing the laundry, homework, “cooking” dinner, thus giving nothing any real attention? Do you try to do it all?

Do you feel an underlying stereotype that men are far less capable of child care, that your abilities are not respected or acknowledged?

Integrating yourself into the role of a fully functioning parent versus a peripheral one can be daunting.

How do you create a game plan to restore sanity?

The first step is to write down exactly what your current responsibilities are. Think about the following areas and be very specific:

  • Kids-transportation issues, homework, spending time together, packing lunches, extra-curricular activities, friends, spiritual, doctor checkups, nutrition, clothing, field trips, etc.
  • Work-money, commute, unpredictable hours, travel, projects, etc.
  • Household-bills, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning (specific tasks), yard work, maintenance, etc.
  • Personal-health (diet and exercise), relationships, recreation, spiritual growth, etc.

Once you have your list of responsibilities, go through each one and decide how important each issue is and how you will deal with it.

1) You will do it yourself.

2) You will delegate it to children, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers (remember to reciprocate)

3) You will hire it out.

4) You will let it go-in the grand scheme, if it’s taking you away from your priorities, it’s not that important.

The next step is to efficiently manage your time and organize what is most important and what you will do yourself.

The most important organizational tool is your dayplanner. This is where the action in your life takes place. Keep only one. Include not only work appointments but your personal as well. Your coach can help you schedule your time in such a way as to keep you focused on spending it on your priorities.

Personal things to schedule include: Kids activities and sports, “fun” time with your kids, field trips, days off, special school activities. Knowing your child’s schedule will also keep you connected so time can be spent discussing and exploring their day and interests.

Don’t forget to schedule your own time for exercise, fun, sports…If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be of much good to others.

Part of your organizational plan involves creating a routine. As contrived and un-spontaneous as it may seem, routine is one of the keys to restoring everyone’s balance. When people, especially children, know what to expect and when, follow-through and cooperation is much more likely.

Having to be at 5 different activities at the same time interrupts routine and often leaves you and your child frazzled. Learning to pare down on the quantity of activities your children are involved with will help create more balance in everyone’s life. Have them choose one activity they can’t live without and focus on that.

The last step to creating more balance in your life is to create your own support system. Men have little difficulty networking professionally but when it comes to sharing parenting issues they may balk. Many men lack the connection, support and network system of friends and family to pointedly address various parenting issues, share resources and generate solutions to daily concerns.

Develop your own group of friends to share resources. Whether it’s carpooling the kids, hired help referrals, outings—whatever the need is.

Volunteer at a school event and get to know other parents of your children’s friends. They can be a valuable resource in a pinch.

Living your priorities and maintaining life balance is a daily process full of obstacles. What happens when all of the perfect planning and scheduling turns back into chaos?

That’s when you can count on your Personal Coach for support, encouragement, and help regrouping, refocusing, and getting back on track.