It's common knowledge that working parents find it hard to balance work and life responsibilities and according to Pew Research Cent Center study, close to 46 percent of fathers spend too little time with their children.
Fathers need time with their children in order to feel whole and full in their family relationships. Time spent with children is one of the most entertaining and enriching activities available to us. So, here are suggestive ideas seasoned single dads should perhaps rely on to balance work and life.
1.) Share your schedule with your boss and co-workers
It's also advisable to share your parenting plan, not only with your co-parent, but also with your boss and coworkers and ask them to approve ideal hours for you. Once the parenting plan is in place and running, make sure to stick to it from the beginning. If the boss says you need to be at a meeting outside of these hours, politely remind him the exact time you’re fully available. You can offer to get the meeting notes from a colleague or have another option prepared. Setting these limits early on helps everyone adjust to your timetable.
2.) Establish your identity as a busy dad known at work
To make your role as a father plain at work, look for opportunities to discuss about your children with colleagues. Feel free to share what they showed you on YouTube or even the struggles of parenting. When coworkers and supervisors get used to your parental responsibilities, the occasional work-from-home sick day or early departure due to a recital goes over more smoothly.
However, make sure you're not mistaken for a dad-the-martyr. Don’t seek for praise about being an involved dad. Single parenting men sometimes present themselves as long-suffering which angers colleagues and bosses. Be positive about your parenting duties, don’t be a hero for carrying them out.
3.) Find a new job when your parenting schedule can't work out while at work
It's very simple -- if your currently work schedule seriously clashes with your parenting duties and there's no way your bosses and coworkers can understand, then quit and get a job which fits.
In their book The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn and Flourish, pediatricians and long-time child advocates Drs. Berry Brazelton and Stanly Greenspan said there is the need for on-going, nurturing relationships. Adding that there's the need for limit-setting, structure and expectations. As well as the need for stable, supportive communities and cultural identity.
These require substantial time investment and discipline is exhausting, as any parent will tell you. So, setting up a reasonable discipline program is one of the best things you can do for a child.
This means that fathers determined to be an active presence in their children’s lives may consider down-sizing their job. Some fathers move from work as a partner in a busy law firm to being the in-house counsel at a smaller business. Teachers go to job sharing etc. It should be noted that there is no shame in letting others “get ahead” for a few years while you raise decent and happy human beings.
4. Get help
When the divorce first occurs, friends and family draw close asking if there’s anything they can do. Too many single fathers put on a brave face and say, “we’re going to do just fine on our own.” While this is a great message to send the children, keep in mind that many friends, relatives and even acquaintances, may want to play a larger role in your and your children’s lives. A little outside help does not indicate weakness. It shows you’re working to take care of your children’s needs in a responsible way.
If you don’t have friends and relatives close by and/or willing to pitch in, you will need to build your support community or get a trust worthy stay-in nanny! If you make your children a priority and are willing to shift your life around, you can find the right balance for you, and your kids.