Single parents have it hard. How on earth can you keep hold of who you are and make time for yourself as a single dad? It’s difficult, but it’s crucial to your self-identity, peace of mind, and your quality of life. If you are raising a child (or children) without a partner, you’re probably playing good cop and bad cop, with little to no breaks in between to re-energize.
Your children become your entire world, but it’s important to remember that you’re more than a parent. Your role as a parent is important, but you can’t forget that you’re a person, too. It’s time to dig yourself out of the ditch and carve out some time for yourself.
You can start by creating boundaries. Your bedroom should be seen as your escape, a sanctuary. It isn’t a communal room; it’s not the den. When you walk through those doors, you should be able to lock it behind you and take five minutes to breathe. This is a great starting point, especially if you have young children who don’t understand the concept of boundaries.
To get yourself started, consider using a digital clock. If your child knows numbers, then you can ask them not to disturb you before the digital clock reads <insert appropriate time to wake here>. It allows you to sleep peacefully, and maybe take a few minutes to yourself when you do wake up. It’s teaching your children three things – patience, kindness, and boundaries.
Staying on the same path, you can carve out time for yourself by hiding in plain sight. Of course, this will depend on how old your children are. The older they get, the easier it is to escape into your home for peace and quiet. Your backyard might just be the perfect place to slip away, read a book, enjoy a drink, or just be.
Babysitting services exist for a reason. If you don’t have family nearby who can help you pick up the slack, then put your money where your mouth is and hire a professional. It’s worth your time to hire a babysitter and get yourself out of the house. You might prefer to pay the babysitter to take the kids out so that you can relax at home.
Look for a family-friendly gym in your area. There are many with on-site childcare, which allows you to escape into the gym to get alone time and boost your fitness. In fact, many of these childcare offerings include a bit of fitness time for the kids.
Consider play dates with your kids with a family you enjoy spending time with. You can chat with the adults while the kids run free. There are lots of areas where there are child-friendly spaces where you can go and let them get lost in activity while you read a book or listen to podcasts.
Be Clever With Time
You know when your child goes for a nap or takes an extended trip to the bathroom? Learn to use that time wisely. You matter. It’s more than a cliché. If you learn to take time out for yourself, your children will benefit from it.