Some mothers think that they have to perfect mothers to their children. These mothers think they possess super powers to fix everything concerning their children. But parenting goes beyond achieving perfection.
Every mom wants to be supermom and to be able do it all – take care of the kids, work whether inside or outside the home, exercise, make delicious and healthy meals, and spend quality time with each child every day.
The problem is that more often than not, the day-to-day life of raising kids does not go as planned, and moms fall short of their own expectations.
The truth is kids don’t fit on spreadsheets. They are people with personalities and lots of drama, anyone who has a three or four-year-old knows what this means. Some days, they are teething, or tired, or just determined to undo whatever you think you are going to accomplish.
You will not be able to check off everything on your to-do list every day. The sooner you realize this, the better. Just because you can’t do it all, doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and give up trying to get anything done.
Make a list of all the things you absolutely have to do every day, but also include a thing or two that’s just for you whether that’s working out, reading or simply taking a shower.
Give yourself lots of grace and do what you need to do to survive whether that means letting your kids have a movie day, or letting your kids play doctor while you pretend to be the sick patient lying on the couch.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms. This comparison game is a dangerous trap though, especially when it comes to parenting. The truth is people parent differently because parents and children are different too. There is no one size fits all when it comes to parenting, so just do the best you can to raise your kids.
It’s so important to find other parents and friends whom you can call on when you need help. Don’t give up if you don’t find your people immediately. It takes time to find and make new friends, but it’s worth the effort when you find the right people – those friends who will drop everything if you need them. Those are the keepers.
It doesn’t make you less of a parent to admit that you need help. Our culture values self-reliance, but completely relying on yourself to meet all your needs and your kids’ needs is just asking for burnout.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Parenting is stressful and hard. You won’t be a perfect parent, and you will let your child down from time to time. You will probably even hurt their feelings. When this happens, don’t fall into the guilt trap. Apologize, give cuddles, and forgive yourself too.
Being a dad
Single fathers face challenges raising their children alone. Whether you are divorced, separated or a widowed dad, the challenges are very similar.
You don’t have to go through it alone. Single fathers shouldn’t neglect the importance of a female mentor in the lives of their daughters. For some dads, a grandmother, aunt or other family member can take that role.
For other dads, it is the mom of a friend his daughter’s age. But finding a strong and capable female role model is critical to your daughter’s success in growing up. Helping your daughter connect to this mentor is a step you need to take.
Communicate. Many men tend to take an “I must fix it” mentality in their lives and their relationships. They tend to listen long enough to identify the problem, and then they are off on the solution.
Your daughters usually don’t want you to fix their issues; they would rather you listen for understanding. Keeping the lines of communications open requires time, patience and a willingness to make it a priority.
Teach her to be a problem-solver. Sometimes, your daughter needs a little coaching in terms of problem-solving. Sitting with her and helping her think through an issue, develop alternatives and come to a conclusion tends to be counter-intuitive for some fathers.
But it is important to teach her how, and not to lean on you for solutions. Helping her develop good problem-solving skills will serve her well throughout her life.
Don’t rescue or over-protect. It is hard for men to learn to let their daughters struggle some with life’s problems and challenges.
If you overprotect her, your daughter will either rebel or become dependent, and neither of those outcomes is a positive. Allow some limited risks and she will learn confidence as she succeeds.
Be involved in her life. I think it is generally easier for dads to be involved with their sons’ lives than with the goings on in a daughter’s world. But as a single dad, your daughter needs to feel your support.
Attend her school contests, just like you would with your sons. Take her shopping occasionally. Be around the house when she has her friends around. Make opportunities to be together, and your relationship will grow.
Help her figure out guys and dating. Sometimes helping your daughter through the transition of puberty into adolescence can be a single dad’s greatest emotional challenge. You need to be up front and honest about these issues.
Help her understand why you are little nervous about her developing relationships with guys or about helping her understand what is happening to her body, emotions and hormones.
And recognize that some things will just be awkward. Relying on your trusted female mentor for some of these issues will be helpful.
It can be overwhelming to raise a daughter as a single dad, but it can be done. And if you are sensitive to your daughter and invest the time into your relationship, you will find great satisfaction in raising a great daughter.