Trying to date people who are not over their EX is like trying to have a romantic picnic on the hottest summer day in the middle of the woods. @#$!%^ All of these flies! I can’t enjoy myself. In more polite and nicer words (because no good Christian or Saint ever curses or thinks about it): I can’t enjoy YOU for the memories and conversations about your ex/exes flying around. If they are always on your mind I know I am not.
The Holidays can bring about depression and anxiety for single parents. I could say well, it’s not about the gifts but, what I should point out is it goes beyond the gifts as to why a single parent may experience some anxiety and depression.
A single parent may have struggled the entire year and the very thought of purchasing anything outside of the budget (or means) brings about a feeling of insufficiency. It may bring about thoughts of “If only there were two parents” and truth be told I have seen everything from a single parent sacrificing to get things (for Holidays and Birthdays) and then find themselves behind on bills, in a viscous cycle of debt to becoming extremely moody and bitter and the children begin to associate this time of the year with lack, shortage and insufficiency in the material sense. And as adults they let you know this is how they feel about the holidays and birthdays. Holidays and birthdays stunk as children therefore, they stink as adults.
When you are spending money to fill a void of not feeling like “the parent” it’s not about the children. It’s about YOU not feeling like you are enough as a parent. It may be competition with the other parent to show you can do as much as they can without them. And the truth is, I have seen single fathers on child support struggle financially and whether they admit it or not, they also become depressed or bitter during this time of the year because they too have to find extra money to buy things for their child/children. They too go into further debt during the holidays or birthdays. So there are many sides to a story.
Listen, single parents (fathers and mothers), you need to know your parenthood success is not built on gifts of the material things but are built on the gifts of love and time. It is built on the gifts of pouring into your children principals, values, morals that will last a lifetime while those toys and clothes will be a thing of the past in a week.
If you are not in the mood for the Holidays or Birthdays because of what you can’t buy then you are missing the entire point of these days. Re-evaluate the reason for the season and what it means to be thankful your child saw another birthday.
Keeping gifts and celebrations within reason creates children that are grateful when you provide extra and grateful when there is little or none because they know you love them and care for them and that is ALL that matters.
First, let me say I don’t generally use the term “baby mama” but here I used it to grab the attention of readers. This one is dedicated to the single fathers, divorced single fathers or however you became a single father is none of my business and this is a judgement free zone.
If you want to instantly decrease the drama of the child/children’s mother here is part one. Brace yourself:
- Stop sleeping with her. You are keeping a connection physically for you but, emotionally for her. If you are sleeping with her to see your kids or out of convenience I challenge you to grow up and find a better way to see your children such as petitioning the courts to get proper visitation rights and not giving up or giving excuses. If you are sleeping with her to keep her from sleeping with another man, I suggest you get over her and focus on your children.
- Stop leading her on. Maybe we will get back together next year, in the future, in out of space. Your leading her on is an indication you are still tied to her. I thought you said you were over her? Not.
- Stop parading a slew of women in her face. Why are you doing this anyway? Is that not petty? Another indication you are trying to hurt her for hurting you. It’s called spite. If you have a new woman say so or don’t say so. If you are now married then establish the line and make it all about your children.
- Put your child or children first but, let her know you are not the babysitter you are the father who does not mind watching your child/children on the days you are not scheduled. She doesn’t get to interrupt your plans for her plans every weekend so she can hit the club or the Quan ( a new dance craze). The moment you say no she has a problem but the moment you need to rearrange it’s a problem. Tell her if you have to be flexible then so does she and mean it. Either it’s going to be rigid or flexible with both parents.
Digest this and Part 2 will come later. My book Healing the Single Mother is available on amazon.com