Single Dads have a bad reputation. Not a bad-boy, “Ooh, he’s so fine” kind of bad reputation. More like a T-bird up on cinder blocks, “Eeww” kind of bad reputation. Single dads face all sorts of societal taboos. To be a successful single dad in Virginia these days, make sure you are doing none of these. We have made this really easy — they are all yoga poses.
1. The Sphinx: You Don’t Have to Be Tough; Be Human
Do not be mysterious. It might have been cool, you in your Ray-Bans alone at the bar, silent and aloof when you were 22. But a single dad today needs to communicate to heal and to become balanced. Talk to your kids, yes, but also talk to professionals who can help you through the rough patches:
- Minister, rabbi, yogi, guru or priest
- Support groups
- Bartenders …
- Nightclub bouncers …
2. The Scale: Strike Balance with Your Kids
Too often new single dads tip the scale to one side, spoiling children and trying to be their kids’ best friend. Remember the scale, like a balance; keep balance in your life with your kids.
Do not allow them to run wild simply because you fear they will stop loving you. Kids of any age need structure and boundaries. They are not your friends; they are your children, and you have the responsibility to instruct them in being decent people.
As the National Fatherhood Initiative points out, however, you have to balance the instinct for rules with the power of hugs; you do have to set limits, but remember to listen when they need to talk; to be sympathetic in their defeats and exuberant in their victories.
3. Corpse: Wake Up and Start Living
In yoga, the savasana can be mistaken for a nap. It is called the corpse pose, too, for obvious reasons. It is to remind you that you cannot simply stop living, especially when you have kids to look after (whether every weekend, every other week, or just in the summer).
Make every minute count, say the experts at Everything For Dads. Do not have the kids over for visitation and then lie on the couch watching sports all weekend. Watch them grow, give them attention, do new and wondrous things with them. They are children but once, and you are privileged to be part of that time. Play with them. Live your life.
4. Lord of the Dance: Don’t Rush, but Don’t Deprive Yourself
Dating. Scary, and often considered taboo for single dads just getting over divorce. This yoga pose is a great way to announce your availability (or to prove you are sober) to the world. It says you will shed the taboo of hiding under a rock. You are the Lord of the Dance, and you are allowed to once again find love and happiness.
Follow all the well-worn advice: Wait until you are ready; do not rush into something you will regret; be prepared for a few false starts. Just remember, you deserve pampering, too.
Who better to offer genuine advice on re-entering the dating scene than eHarmony? They advise keeping the kids’ information strictly private, plus some other tips:
- Go slowly
- Introduce the special person and your kids only if you are serious
- Handle your own kids’ discipline yourself
- Practice what you preach, so your kids see appropriate behavior between the two of you
5. Warrior: Fight, but for the Right Things
Some single dads walk around with very large chips on their shoulders. They are at war with the world, but pitch their battles with their ex-wives, their own children, and others near to them.
Rid yourself of backfiring weapons. One weapon many dads use is money: withholding it as punishment, showering it as a reward. No less an authority than the Wall Street Journal cautions against this bad idea. Just as you cannot withhold spousal or child support as ordered by a Virginia court, you should not withhold money for your children when they are in your care.
Money is not designed to inflict pain or emotional revenge on either your kids or your ex-wife. You need not resurrect old battles of the past when you could be spending time — and money — on your children’s present.
6. Wild Thing: Get It Together – You’re a Father
Single dads have a reputation for thinking they’re unattached. They hang out at nightclubs, stay up all night, leave week-old pizza on the couch, and never clean the bathroom. Is that you? You are not a frat brother. You do not live in a frat house. You are someone’s dad.
A wide difference exists between being a playful and fun-loving dad and being a wild thing. You and your children need a clean, safe house to live in, even if the kids are only living there half the year.
For legal advice on child custody, child support, legal separation and divorce, call The Firm for Men at 757-383-9184, or contact our offices to speak to one of our attorneys. We’re the only family law firm in Virginia protecting men only, and we’re proud to serve all of Hampton Roads!