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The Single Dad’s Survival Guide

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The life of a single father can be tough. Single fathers face many challenges, including bias in the judicial system, work/life balance, financial struggles, and difficulty finding time for adult social interactions. Read on for advice from the Lily Miles blog on how to meet these challenges successfully.

Biased courts

Many people believe that courts in the United States and Europe remain biased against fathers. Judges may hold the opinion that men will put work ahead of their children or that men are not naturally as nurturing as women. Where this bias exists, men may have difficulty getting fair and equal custody of their children.

The Spruce has some good advice for how to navigate today’s courts successfully. Document your involvement in your child’s life, believe in your abilities as a parent, maintain good communication with the mother of your children, and hire a lawyer who truly believes that men should have equal access to their offspring.

Work and children

Balancing the needs of your job against your children’s needs can be tricky. It’s important to communicate to your work supervisor and co-workers that you are now a single father and that your children will come first. It’s not unreasonable for most employees to be given a set schedule so that they can schedule their children’s lives.

A flexible schedule, with the option to work at home in the afternoons or during certain days of the week, is ideal for single fathers. The experts at Parents.com offer some tips on how to approach your employer about getting a more flexible schedule. It pays to be an indispensable employee before you ask for favors. Read your employee handbook cover to cover and know what the policies are. Furthermore, ask others in the office if they’ve ever had flex time and how they went about getting it.

If working fewer than sixty hours a week turns out to be impossible at your current job, you may want to have an exit strategy. Network with and follow companies that prioritize work/life balance, especially for parents. Make sure your resume and Linkedin profile are up to date and reflect your interest in a company that places a high value on family and expects employees to put their families first.

The financial question

Many single parents struggle with money. If your budget is too tight, making more money is an obvious solution — but how? Consider starting a sideline. You can flex it to your schedule and do something you enjoy.

The internet makes it easy. Start by naming your business, choosing a business structure, and registering with your state. Many single parents who become entrepreneurs prefer an LLC for the protections it provides. Then, create a business plan — this will come in handy if you need funding — and plug in to a platform (think Rover, FlexJobs, TutorMe, Handy, etc.). You can top things off with your own website and/or social media outreach. In the space of about a day, you’ll be ready to roll.

Socialize wisely

There’s no doubt about it: The life of a single father is just as stressful as that of a single mom — possibly more so. At the same time, you need to maintain top physical, mental, and emotional health for the sake of your children. That means no excesses of alcohol, casual sex, or even binge sports watching.

It’s important that all your friendships and romantic interests support the lifestyle of a good single father. Friendships that revolve around drinking may need to be severed. Make a point of connecting with other parents and with those in your family — like your parents and siblings — who want you to succeed as a parent and will help you when you need someone to mind the kids.

And if you do need to socialize with kids in tow, make it easy on yourself! A portable diaper caddy takes the stress out of these outings because you’ll be better organized and equipped to handle your little ones’ whims. The Lily Miles shop has a collection of ones that are both functional and fashionable (yes, even for dads).

In conclusion, it may seem like the decks are stacked against single dads. Building up the right support system is critical. If you do that and achieve a good balance between work and child-rearing, you will succeed beautifully. Having the right tools on hand helps, too, so make sure to check out the Lily Miles shop!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Guest blog by Daniel Sherwin