As a single parent, one thing that takes a bit of getting used to is the dynamic of either always being ‘on’ or completely ‘off’. At times, you’ll be overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, bathing, and putting them to bed that you enter a machine-like state of autopilot and you don’t really get a chance to sit back and enjoy it. On other days, it’ll be deadly quiet and you’ll be left alone to your thoughts whilst you sweep.
This one is geographically dependent but probably applicable to those city based. If you have to drop off your child at swimming, soccer, ballet etc. typically one of the parents drops them at the door and other parent then goes off to find parking. If you’re doing it by yourself, you need to give yourselves a good 10-20 minutes buffer to get yourself parked up and get to the class. It seems obvious enough but when you’re working to a timeline, every minute counts.
The difficulty with being a single parent is that you don’t have the other parent to leverage when you need them to do something as simple as a last minute pick up or drop off because you unexpectedly have to work late. Many careers these days require some degree of flexibility in the week to travel interstate or even overseas – committing to these events on the spot is often difficult. I’ve found that it helps if you work for a forward thinking organisation sensitive to such scenarios as well as having a good support network.
For a single dad, looking after a girl (in particular) and figuring out what they should wear is a bit of a challenge. Although I have mastered them, my skills in hair brushing, washing, and hairstyling is quite basic. For most of my life I’ve worn jeans, simple black/grey T-shirts and any shampoo would do. Then all of a sudden you have to make a little girl presentable in a way you’ve developed no skills in. It does throw up some funny results.
There are usually a few hours in the afternoon when it’s nap time for your little one. What I’d love to be able to do is have someone looking after her whilst I get some groceries, hit the gym, meet some mates for a drink etc. When on your own, this time is spent in the house which limits what you can get done. But again, there’s usually enough cleaning to be done so it’s maybe not such a bad thing.