Not blowing my own trumpet here, but I reckon I’m doing alright at this parenting gig. Which, I am starting to realise, is also becoming a problem.
Because I am doing alright.
I’m not able to crank out 100% Dad all the time and I am by no means even close to triple digits in the Mum department. At best I reckon I’m 45% Dad and 45% Mum, with the remaining 10% reserved for feeble attempts at sanity and a desperate struggle to hold onto some sense of self.
Which, yes, is understandable, I get it. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that as a solo parent, it is physically, mentally and emotionally impossible to be all Dad or all Mum in one single situation.
And that blows why? Because kids don’t get that. They want the best of both worlds, all the time. Which is fair enough I guess, it is how the universe has built us. Kids need their Mum and Dad (or similar) in equal doses, the feminine and masculine, to help them learn and navigate this sometimes messed up world. And the selfish little bastards usually need them both at exactly the same time. Together.
And that is simply not possible coming from one person. There is a distinct lack of authority, authenticity and believability when you try to be both Jekyll and Hyde in the one conversation.
Which is really starting to hit home for me now, as I watch, with much trepidation, our little baby girl dancing with the devil that is the impending teenage years.
The moments where she needs the nurturing, sympathetic, relatable ear and thoughts from her Mum are increasing at an exponential rate. Try as I might, it seems nigh on impossible to take off my protective, defensive, problem solving Dad hat and even harder to squeak out words like “I understand” or “yes, you are right”. 😉
Likewise for Little Albs. So often do I realise nearly too late, that all he needs is a cuddle and some soothing words instead of lesson-teaching-toughen-them-up Dad monologues.
It really is a curse of the solo parent. I know there will be many who will have sage advice and tips and tricks, and more than likely alot that will disagree completely, but when all is said and done, there is physically only one of me; period. And it matters not the approach, angle or method. It only matters that I identify the correct hat to wear at precisely the right time. And that, my furry friends, is no easy task.
Of course this is yet another lovely little aspect to being a farmum / mumad (yes I just wrote that – family joke), that plays on your already overly guilty mind. At 2am naturally. Along with all the other things that you subconsciously question and internally debate about how you are managing to raise your children at all.
Yes I can surround myself with strong, nurturing women that can step into the breach when needed, of which I have many, but that is hardly ever practical. Apart from pre-planned situations, the moments they are most required are fleeting and instantaneous. And usually totally inconvenient for all.
So I’m afraid, in my opinion, there is nothing for it but one thing.
I have to believe that I am nurturing a relationship with my children that caters for this. That it is understood and accepted that we don’t have our ideal scenario. That this is ok and we will make it work. That we are a still a family, and that’s what counts.
This whole article isn’t to whine and moan about the challenges of being a solo Dad, in fact none of my articles are. I just know that if I am experiencing, thinking and feeling these things, then I am sure as shit not alone.
So to anyone else who is in a similar situation, I bow down and kiss your feet. And I want you to know that I am right there with you.
Now I’m taking my 10% and going to bed.
You. Fucking. Rockstar. ✌
To read more from Chris, visit Just A Dad