If only there was a step-by-step guide to navigating parenthood as a single dad, with how-to guides and pictures depicting every possible scenario you might come across. We’re talking no changing tables in the men’s restroom, grooming, and the dreaded sex talk. Being a single dad comes with its own set of personal challenges, but lucky for you, dads have joined together on a united front to offer tips and advice to get you through the most difficult scenarios. Check out these situations with tips to tackle each one.
Scenario 1: No diaper change in the men’s restroom
- Ask staff or employees where the best place to change a diaper is.
- Use the flat surface of your car or a bathroom counter.
- Utilize a changing room.
- Set up a makeshift changing table using a changing pad, or purchase an on-the-go version.
Scenario 2: Taking young daughter to the restroom
- Find a family restroom or one-at-a-time restroom.
- Before entering the restroom announce, "Dad coming in!"
- If the men’s restroom has stalls, accompany her there.
- If she is old enough to go on her own, stand outside the door to the restroom, poking in your head periodically to ask if she is okay.
Scenario 3: Sleepovers, particularly with daughters
- When it comes to your son’s sleepover, most parents won’t blink an eye, but the fact that you are a dad makes some parents hesitant when it involves your daughter’s slumber party.
- Invite children whose parents you know personally (most parents feel more comfortable if they’ve interacted with you and know who you are).
- Ask parents to stay and hang out for a bit to ease any worries.
- If it becomes a huge problem, ask a female family member to stay the night so your daughter can enjoy this fun rite of passage.
Scenario 4: Grooming and avoiding tears
- For boys, it doesn’t take much more than water, gel, and a comb to get his hair ready for the day, but girls are a different story.
- Make video tutorials your friend.
- Keep a spray bottle handy.
- Perfect the ponytail and other easy hairstyles.
Scenario 5: Addressing "the talk"
- Female puberty might be a foreign topic, so brush up before you start a conversation with your daughter.
- Even though you might think you are prepared, read up on male puberty too to avoid giving a blank stare when your son asks a difficult question.
- Make the conversation as normal as possible.
- Let your child direct how the convo goes.
Scenario 6: Dealing with the single-dad treatment at work
- Know your rights.
- Make your job work for you.
- Discuss flexible work options with your employer, as well as potential work from home hours.
- Understand all your childcare options.
Scenario 7: Navigating dating as a single dad
- If you are newly single, take some time to adjust to this new lifestyle before getting back into the dating game.
- Be open and honest with your kids.
- Avoid introducing your new partner until the relationship is serious, as children often get attached, leaving them upset and confused if the relationship ends.
- This is new territory, so it’s okay to feel confused and unsure. Take your time.
Being a single dad will be trying at times, and you will be sure to experience situations not discussed here. Remember, parenting is a journey and no one has all the answers. Think of it as a continuing learning process and enjoy the ride.