A Non-Single Single-Dad

So after promising to try not to leave too large a gap in-between posts, I had to leave a humungous gap!

I must apologise. Lots of things in my home life were coming to a head at the same time and I found myself simply unable to open the laptop and crack on.

Not a great start admittedly but onwards and upwards as they say!

In my previous post I touched briefly on the fact that despite being happily re-married, I still effectively class myself as a single dad.

Id like to try and delve a bit deeper into that point this week, as I know it can seem a bit of a strange method for some. OK yes I am a strange person however on this occasion at least, that is not the underlying reason.

As I mentioned in my first post, I have two daughters from a previous relationship, the first of which I had when I was just 19, a mere baby myself really. Not something I regret for one minute, but also not without its own set of problems.

I’ll go more in depth on having children so young in another post, as I feel that deserves a dedicated discussion of its own. (I can see myself saying that a lot over the course of these posts).

A mere two years later I was blessed with my second daughter.

Being both girls, they naturally tend to squabble quite a lot. Over the most ridiculous things too like who has the longest hair. Or one of the strangest; who has the biggest feet, something that ironically as they get older they would no doubt want the opposite, so they can still get away with paying children’s prices for shoes!

They certainly keep me on my toes!

When they were still very young, my relationship with their mum broke down, and I felt that I had no other option then to leave. The hardest decision I have ever had to make, and in a way, a life sentence for me in terms of the feeling of loss I have for them every time they are not in my care.

The adjustment period was difficult for everyone involved. I moved into a rented house on my own, which was very kindly funded by my then boss, as my stress and depression levels from the relationship were starting to affect my work, and ultimately his business. Although no longer in touch with that boss, due to recent redundancy, I will always be grateful for the new start which he helped build the foundations for.

We quickly settled into routine, and I was determined to fight on and make sure I was father to them, having them at mine every single day off of work, and actively having a decision making role in their care, upbringing, and education.

I’m not saying that my ex-partner always made it easy for me to stay involved, you have to work hard at it. I cringe when I hear people who don’t stay in their children’s lives make excuses like ‘she wouldn’t let me see them’ or ‘she made it difficult to see them’. With hard work there is a solution to every problem.

Fast forward to the present day. My kids are now ‘pre-teens’ (throwing a whole new set of challenges my way), and I own a home with my wife, who also has a daughter of very similar age to my two.

Again the routine had to evolve and move with the changes.

This brings me nicely onto the main topic of the post (finally I here you cry).

My ex partner and I both agreed that even if we eventually met other people, we wouldn’t do the whole ‘step-parent’ thing. I’m not knocking it of course, it works perfectly well for some people.

I think it was difficult for both of the new partners to understand our stance on this in the beginning, both my now wife and my ex partner’s partner (note to self; stop saying partner so much).

It works for us. Anything relating to to their care, upbringing, and schooling is strictly a parent thing in our setup. We try hard to make everything a joint decision (as it should be). School events, parents evenings, all these things we treat as parents only.

That may be difficult for some to come to terms with, but in a way, it has given the new partners the freedom to build relationships with my daughters more as ‘friends’, without the pressure of having to step in and and act as a parent. It gives it a different dynamic, and also provides a platform for the girls to be open with them and maybe confide things that they wouldn’t want to necessarily directly tell their parents.

The point that I am trying to make with this post is that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. Its about what works for you, and more importantly, what works for the children and gives them the best upbringing and quality of life.

Develop you own methods, create your own dynamics, build a structure that makes you happier as a parent, and makes your children happier and more fulfilled.

Don’t worry if your recently separated and your routine doesn’t develop overnight. It takes time. Its cheesy to say but wounds do heal.

Until next time…………..

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