Being a dad is hard at the best of times. Being a part-time dad in some ways is worse. What do I mean by part-time dad? You know, the guy that sees the kids once or twice a week, or has them every other weekend. Let’s take a look at the ways you can boss the hand that fate dealt you.
Be a yes man
This does not mean that you have to be a total pushover but try and bear in mind that single mums have it hard. In your world, you have a couple of times a week where you are tied down and you have responsibilities. They have that almost all the time. So when they ask if you can help with childcare, don’t question it to find out if they are going on a date. Just say yes, you know if you can. After all, it is another excuse to spend time with your kid and isn’t that what being a great dad is all about?
Keep in contact
Just because you are only set to see them a couple of times a week that isn’t where your input has to end. Call them! If this can be a little awkward arrange set times to call them and be consistent. Yes, it is true that some mums may moan about the job you are doing, but only if you mess them around. Don’t give them any reason to berate you. And remember quality or quantity are equally good. An hour a week or 5 minutes every day, both work. Find out what works for you and your ex, and most importantly the kid.
One of the biggest bugbears I hear from single parents is that their ex messes them around with child support. Legally you are supposed to contribute, but there is the moral side to things too, Remember if you go through the child support agency that they take a chunk. Honesty and communication are key here. Let the mother know how much you can afford. If she is dubious let her see your earnings and a budget. Remember it is okay to have the odd night out. It isn’t cool to be downing champagne while your other half can hardly afford tap water.
Pay for shoes
And not just shoes but school trips and other incidentals. You may pay maintenance money but don’t you want your kid to be treated well? Even with your financial input that isn’t always possible. So help out where you can and remember if the mother has asked for help, often this is really hard for them to do. Do not rub their noses in it, just do it.
Perhaps you and your former partner separated due to infidelity or due to the fact you were bored. The reason is irrelevant. At one point you loved them enough to be intimate with them, to make a baby together. Whenever you have sex you are making that choice. So let the past pass. Even simple things like asking how their day was can make for a nicer atmosphere and remember how you treat them in front of your child is going to be a massive factor in how your child treats people in their adult life. Be the role model they deserve.
When you have the little ‘en don’t waste precious time on your phone. Be present. This does not mean spoiling them. It isn’t about how much money you spend. It’s about the quality of time. When they grow up they will reflect on the job you have done. They will understand why you and their mum aren’t together, show that in spite of that you always made an effort.