Posts Tagged ‘Kids of Divorced parents’
Hello again. It has been 6 months since I have written a blog post on being a Successful Single Parent. During this time divorced moms and dads have asked me what I have been doing, what caused me to stop writing and sharing, just where in the heck I have been. At first I must admit, I was flattered by the fact that so many cared what I was up to and why I stopped writing. Many still listened to me and Colleen on our radio show as we shared a “She Said He Said” perspective on being a Single Parent; however, they noticed the lack of blog postings. I guess I could make up a lot of stuff as to why I haven’t been updating my blog, but the truth is I was lost in making a very important decision in my life.
About 3 months ago it finally it dawned on me that I had failed to define a Successful Single Dad, and by failing to do so, I had lost my focus as to what I was teaching and sharing. It was all about making me a successful entrepreneur, and less about making y’all a successful single parent. Once I figured this out, I still had to take care of myself, as I had let my body shape change shapes. When one’s stomach (don’t even try to pull the I wear a 34 because your pants are down around your housing group) measured belly button to belly button is bigger than your chest measured around your man boobs, my friend that just aint right. I was at a cross roads in my life as a Single Dad. I had to either Advance or Die. Harsh reality, but nonetheless the road I was traveling. What are the key things that above all else define a Successful Single Dad? That was my quest as I changed my diet and workout an hour + a day. What were the things I did right which made the biggest differences in my Kid’s lives? What were the 4 or 5 messages I could share that are guaranteed to make you a Successful Single Dad..for that matter a Successful Dad?
A Successful Single Dad is a man who loves his children more than he hates his Ex, who knows the life lessons he teaches his children will affect not only his kids but his grandkids, who makes his children the focus of his life (yes this means going to practice and games, Teacher Conferences, school functions, car washes/fund raisers, etc), but most importantly who teaches his children to be healthy and active through his diet and exercise.
In other words: Stop bitching about your Ex. Start loving her for being the Mother of your Children. Use her given name; don’t call her the Ex or the former Mrs _____. You don’t have to like her or the situation y’all are in. BUT you do have to raise your children as Co-Parents. Do you really want to teach your Kids that you can easily fall out of love with someone because they piss you off? Imagine what goes through their minds when you get upset and punish them. “Does Daddy talk bad about me to his friends like he does about Mommy?” “Does my daddy hate me like he hates my Mommy?”
Your Children will learn their best life lessons imitating your behavior. Make a big deal about having to call your Parents..guess who isn’t going to get a call when his Kids grow up. Always drink a beer or two when y’all go out or you and the Kids are at a party…guess whose Kids are going to think it is OK to drive after drinking when they are teenagers. Ignore your neighbors..guess whose Kids are going to grow up and always have issues in their neighborhoods. Smoke or do Drugs..guess whose Kids are going to be first in line to be cool like their Dad.
Quick look at the appointments you have scheduled between now and the end of the year. How many are work and your fun things vs your Kid’s activities? Do you know when your Child’s teacher conference is? Do you even know their teacher’s names? When was the last practice you sat through? When was the last game you went to even though it wasn’t your night to have the Children? When was the last time you called in sick to work because it was Columbus Day and school was out?
As for health and diet: You need to get up off your fat lazy ass and take your Kids outside and run their little rears into the ground. Challenge them to a game of horse, and love the night you finally lose. Put lights up outside and win World Series and Super Bowls and World Cup games with your kids. Teach them to chip and hack up the lawn. Race walk them around the block. Ride bikes, pull them in a wagon, and have them haul your old man body around in a wheel barrow. Fix healthy meals, plan healthy meals and shop together for the stuff that goes into those healthy meals.
You see my friends your choice is very simple. You can either Advance as a Successful Dad or you can Die at it. Throw some dirt over being a real Dad, and just do it your way. Blame the divorce and become a part time Dad. Lose the most important part of you to your own selfish wimpy whiny ways. I hope you decide to join me for an amazing journey of being a Successful Single Dad. Your Children deserve the best you have to offer. Don’t cheat them out of having the Best Dad in the World.
Now go do what you need to do to…
Make it a super day,
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
I thought that in light of today being Mother’s Day, I would let one of my “go-to” single Mom friends share some incredible advice. I have told y’all many times that I do not have all (many times my kids would argue any) the answers. Therefore, I am constantly asking Moms, Dads, Single Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, Coaches, etc for advice on best practices for raising kids. My friend Annamarie is one of those “go-to” friends. Here is some sage advice she shared with me.
“..this may not apply to all single parents but one of the BEST pieces of advice i got when i was going thru my divorce was from my sister’s friend dodi (who’d been there, done that…) who told me you don’t have to bad mouth your children’s father, nor do you need to tell them the (whole) truth if he’s not a role model father/husband/man, etc… your kids are intelligent and some day, they will grow up and come to their own conclusions about the man they call dad…it’s not about shielding them from the truth, it’s more about taking the higher road, not ‘gossiping’, not focusing on someone else’s shortfalls. Kids turn into adults and someday…man it seems forever sometimes when you’re biting your tongue…someday, down the road, your kid will look you in the eye and say something that makes you realize they know…they accept and they understand, and they figured it out themselves! It doesn’t really change anything for them – they still love this man for who he is to THEM…but hopefully they gain an understanding for the other parent’s decision”.
Did y’all notice that you have no clue what if anything her husband did to her way. We don’t know what was involved in breaking them up. We don’t know what her kids came to realize and share with their Mom. All we know is that while her kids were growing up, my friend was able to bite her tongue and not be mean towards her kid’s Dad. What an incredible gift of advice for those of us strong enough to accept it, Thank you Annamarie. Now go do what you have to do to….
Make it a super day,
The Second Sunday in May is and always will be designated as Mother’s Day. As a divorced single dad what exactly does “Mother’s Day” mean to you? Did your responsibility end when you separated or finalized your divorce? Do you get a green light to plan to be “away” that weekend? Do you just write it off as another made up Hallmark holiday? Do you deserve a gift because you are technically both Mom and Dad when your kids stay with you? Have you even given the Mother’s Day dilemma any thought?
My guess is that the majority of single dads can answer the questions above with 2 words, “Nothing” and “No”. My feeling is the majority of y’all need who think this way need to definitely get your own Mom’s some amazing gifts because you obviously haven’t grown up. It is time for you to stop being a hurt little boy who is not gonna acknowledge that nasty woman who you once were married to because she was mean to you. Y’all need to realize that it was you who put the seeds of celebrating Mother’s Day into play to begin with.
I have had 16 years to think about and struggle with “Mother’s Day”. The number of times I have just wanted to crawl under a rock and pretend it didn’t exist are too numerous to count. However, I realized that the day and the celebration of being a Mother, wasn’t going to go away no matter how much I wanted it to. Also, it wasn’t going to go away even though the celebration of Father’s Day wasn’t anything like what you insured happened on Mother’s Day.
I believe that single dads need to look at Mother’s day as an opportunity to honor their own Mom(s) as well as the Mom(s) of your children. The day has nothing to do with you and everything to do with her. It is what it is and will never change. The rules are different because Moms are involved. The weather is different in many locations (snow in the forecast this year on Mother’s Day in Buffalo) so picnics and bar-b-que may not be an option. It is a Day to honor Moms. So get off your lazy butt and make sure your kids honor their Mom. Note to Women reading my blog, Dad’s have feelings too so stop your selfish ways and help your kids honor their dads on Father’s Day.
So what to do? Volunteer to take the kids to any and all ball games that are stupidly scheduled for that day. Ask your kid’s mom if she wants to wake up with the kids or have them come over later in the day. Find a florist that you can establish a house account with and use them. Truth time, my Mother made me do this on one of her visits to Buffalo..thank you Mom this is definitely one of the greatest pearls you ever shared. I use Graser’s Florist and they can send flowers anywhere flowers can be sent. Make a trip to the Dollar Store the weekend before and buy your kid’s mom a card, while you are at it go ahead and buy cards for any of the “Moms” who help you out (Team Moms, car pool friends, neighbors whose house your kids play at, etc). Stop basing your “gift” on the “gift” you got last Father’s Day, it will never be equal, get over it. Sit you kids down and watch them sign the card for their Mom, address it, put a stamp on it and mail it. Make sure your kids call their mom if they are away at college or camp or anywhere else.
Celebrate the day the way it should be celebrated. After all even NASCAR takes that weekend off. Now go do what you need to do to…
Make it a super Mother’s Day,
A divorced single Mom friend of mine called me up the other day and surprised me with the topic of her call. She told me that “I was right” in what I said a few years ago. OK, I love to be right about something, but at my advanced age, I’ll be darned if I had a clue what she was talking about. I told her thanks for saying I was right, but could she please tell me what I was right about so I could do more of that what ever it was to be right. Her laughter at my cluelessness is still makes me smile.
It seems that a few years back we were talking about her kids and the changes she could expect as they grew older. Specifically, I imparted 2 bits of expert advice on the future. Number 1 was that when her 2nd and 3rd kids got old enough to drive she would go out of her way to make sure they got their license as soon as possible and where on the road asap. Number 2 was that her “perfect angel” youngest would one day make her eldest’s escapades seem angelic in comparison.
Yep folks I nailed those predictions. Not because I am a fortune teller, but because I have been there done that and survived to tell the stories. There are many more predictions I could make for that very reason. Been there done that survived to tell the stories is not something you just get as you grow older. It is a gift you earn as you parent your children through out their lives. I know the things my kids experienced, and I bet your kids will enjoy many of those same experiences.
2 very important sources of how I parented as a Single Dad came from listening to older kids and other parents of older kids. I heard the older kids through volunteering to be a Sunday school teacher. Amazing the stories you can learn as a “cool” adult teaching Sunday school. Additionally, when I met a Parent (single or married, male or female) I was always asking them what to expect or be prepared for next. I truly believe that one of the best ways to learn about the future is to talk with someone who has been there done that survived to tell the stories.
I urge you to find your Advice givers. Seek them out. Always get all sides of the situations input..kids, parents, teachers, coaches. Learn from their wisdom. Learn from their mistakes. Learn from their failures. Just learn all you can from where ever you can. I guarantee that entire knowledge base will payoff in amazing ways for you and your kids.
Now go do what you have to do to…
Make it a super day,
The Birthday Bagel
I must admit. When I first became a Single Dad, I was still honing my culinary skills. I had become somewhat proficient at grilling steak and hot dogs, could zap a baked potato, and mastered adding butter, salt, pepper to frozen veggies, BUT baking a cake or cupcakes..well that was beyond my ability to concentrate. With my youngest’s birthday approaching I needed to figure something out like yesterday.
While wandering the isles of the grocery store trying to figure out if I added fudge brownies to yellow cake and chocolate cake would that make it a 3 layer cake, I happened to see the most beautiful culinary site ever. Yes an almost perfectly round Bagel. This thing was awesome about 5 inches across, with a squished together center, and about an inch high. I knew immediately that if I added a singing candle my cake worries were over. Thus began the Birthday Bagel tradition. I must admit we have substituted English Muffins, Croissants, 6 or 7 pieces of bread pressed together with crusts cut off, and even jelly filled donut when Dad forgot the bagel. However, the tradition became one we shared over and over. On one’s birthday morning, they come down the stairs at Dad’s house to find their card, present and birthday bagel.
Make it a super day,