The Single Dad

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

With yesterday being Father’s Day, I got to thinking about the single dad. I’m a single mom, and sometimes I feel like I have it rough.  But, I know a lot of single dads, and I can honestly say, being a single dad doesn’t seem like any big picnic. It’s hard! So, I want to validate the single dad and tell him how much the single mom really appreciates him, whether she admits it or not.

Here are 6 characteristics of the single dad. By the way, disclaimer: these are not true in every case, just generalizations from what I’ve seen.

1.    Single dads are often inexperienced to multi-tasking.

Let’s face it. Women are better at multi-tasking than men. We all know that. I’m by no means putting down men. Some men I know are smart, caring, loving, wonderful dads. But, when it comes to being able to clean the kitchen while on a conference call while having dinner on the stove, laundry in the machine and going through the mail, all at the same time, no one is better than mom. It’s just in our nature. I think getting all the “stuff” that has to be done under control takes time for the single dad.

2.    Single dads don’t get to “live with their kids.”

I don’t care what anyone says, or what kind of custody arrangement a divorced couple might have. Most of the time, the woman ends up staying in the house, and that’s where the kids “live.” I think single dads try to have as much time as they can with their kids, and most try to make a home for their kids at “dad’s house,” but because of work obligations, travel, kid schedules, etc. it’s easier a lot of the time for the kids just to stay at “mom’s.” Therefore, the single dad has a lot less nights where he can kiss his kids good-night.

3.    Single dads often feel left out of things.

As a single mom, I can recall times when I forgot to tell my ex about certain school events, and emailed him last minute, when I remembered. By the time he got the email, he was unable to attend because he had already booked a work appointment at that time. Hey, single dads, just fyi, we don’t do that on purpose. There are just so many flyers and emails that come from school and other kid activities, and it’s hard to keep track. Those all seem to go through the mom, so the only way the dad finds out is through her.  I would recommend to all divorced couples: give the school, teachers and extra curricular activities personnel both parent’s email addresses. Dad needs to be notified on his own.

4. Single dads can become insecure about parenting.

Before the divorce, mom might have done everything. So, when Dad becomes a single dad, no offense, but he’s clueless. He might never have had to worry about a meal for the kids, he might never have changed a diaper, he might never have cleaned the house. Now, he’s Mr. Mom. He has to be. He’s all they have when they are with him. And I know a lot of dads who were scared of that at first. But, like everything else, eventually dads get the hang of it. The good news, I think it becomes empowering to men when they realize they’re capable of doing anything Mom can do. That said, it takes time to get there and it isn’t easy.

5.    Single dads are working and trying to parent at the same time.

I know dads who get off a plane from a business trip, rush home, unpack and then run to pick up their kids. It’s not an easy life. They have to go from Mr. Corporate guy to Mr. Mom. The transition can be difficult, not to mention the emails and return phone calls they might have to make while trying to entertain their young kids.

6.    Single dads can’t be mom.

 Kids, especially young kids need their mommies at certain times. No one can put a band-aid on a skinned knee like Mom. No one knows how to make their lunch the way she does. And no one can give that hug like her when the child is hurt by name calling at school. Dads might get a feeling of hopelessness when they can’t calm their child down. Just remember, single dads can be great huggers, too!

I give a lot of credit to the single dad. And remember, single moms have their obstacles, too. But that’s a different blog entirely.

So, to all single moms, try for a minute to put aside your issues, any anger or resentment you have, any differences you ans your ex can’t get beyond, and just appreciate him as a single dad.  If you didn’t do it yesterday, send him a text or email saying you hope he had a nice Father’s Day!


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

7 Responses to “The Single Dad”

  1. Roger McEwan

    Hmmmmmm. They are generalisations and so they are probably accurate, generally. But to add some balance from a more hands on single dad….

    1. Human beings can’t multi-task and so maybe females are better at task switching but you get better at everything with practice.
    2. 50/50 care equals 50/50 nights. I have to pry my daughter (11) off me when I tuck her into bed! Not so much my son now (13) but we grunt in harmony.
    3. I guess this depends on how well you get on with your ex. We are excellent as if we forget things it is the children who suffer the consequences. Wasn’t always that way!
    4. Parents can be insecure about parenting but yep, nice to have another adult to be insecure with!
    5. I reckon many single mom’s are also working and parenting. I’m lucky as I run my own business so can prioritise kids events.
    6. Yeah maybe, probably but I don’t know. Okay yes. My feminine side is still pretty masculine!

    Nice post. Will follow along and check out your books. I’m trying to write one from the perspective of a single dad but see points 1 & 5….

    • Shannon

      Thank you for correcting point #5! Seriously! I am working and parenting – who else is going to take care of the kids from a financial perspective?! I am doing all the things my ex-husband used to do! I am amazing!

  2. Peter

    While it appears you are being sensitive and understanding of men….the reality is…”no offense… are clueless”

    About the only thing I agree with is” that MOST Dads don’t get to kiss their children good night”.
    I am one of many Dad’s who did not want or ask for the Divorce. I am now one of the many Dad’s who not only has to work twice as hard to make payments for two households but also only gets to see HIS children 30% of the time. The other 70% of the time…I don’t get to kiss them good night, or have them sit on my lap, or read them good night…….or…….
    It’s the Courts punishment for a crime I did not commit.
    For an extra bonus, we get to read articles from Women telling us how incompetent we are…but at least we still get to pay for dinner.

    No offense. But most women are clueless to how we MEN Feel.

  3. bill

    Honestly Jackie, so many misconceptions and generalization in this that I don’t even know where to start. But it will have to wait as I can’t possibly write something while the dishwasher is running, my meatloaf is baking in the oven and I have an edit rendering in Final Cut.


  4. Bill

    That said, there are some valuable insights in here, not the least of which is to ensure dad’s e-mail is shared with teachers as well as moms. Although … why wouldn’t you do that anyway. Why only if you’re divorced?This speaks to a greater misconception about today’s dad in general. Dad is not off in the shadows reading the newspaper while smoking his pipe at the end of the day anymore. Dad’s are as involved if not MORE involved than many moms. This is the one aspect of divorce that I find so frustrating. So many women only see things through their eyes and are almost threatened by the fact that dad can do more than just bounce junior on his knee or toss the football.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I totally agree with you. I can only write based on my own experiences and what I’ve seen. I will say that more and more, I meet very involved, loving, wonderful dads–many whom are better than the moms. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I actually wrote the post to celebrate dads. And by the way, your first comment is hilarious! 🙂


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