According to a New York Times article, a single male heads 12.09% of families in the United States.
Not long ago, a male friend said he thought he was a better father as a single parent than when he was married. What prompted his comment was my question: “ Do you feel like you had better quality time with your children now or when you were married?” The question came up because I was thinking of my father and how little one-on-one time we had together. I felt like I never really knew him and vice versa.
When I was growing up my father was either at work or with the whole family, not just with me—just the two of us. He was totally engaged with my athletic endeavors but he was there with the other parents while I was out competing. It was not exactly a relationship-building time but that is not to say that he wasn’t interested in what I did.
I think most fathers of that day and age just didn’t know how to relate to their children the way they do now. They weren’t as involved as the mothers and they didn’t spend the time—they didn’t have the time (or maybe they didn’t take the time).
I watch my single stepson with his daughter and I’m envious of their relationship. When she’s with him he gets her up, makes her breakfast, they talk about what’s going on for the day, they do homework together, they read and they wrestle. They spend quality time together without distractions and you can tell they are really getting to know each other.
Divorce is a difficult time for all family members. Often the times leading up to the divorce are harder than the final outcome. If Dads would remember that while they may have different partners throughout life, their children are theirs forever and they have a unique opportunity to really get to know them.
Have a good week and I’ll talk to you soon.