“Happy Mother’s Day – 12 May 2019”. A message I received from one of my friends. Apparently, it is still very uncommon in this day and age for men to be the primary caregivers for their children – ‘single dad’.
Well, I’m a ‘single dad’ of three beautiful souls. Being a father to them is certainly the best part of my life.
Even though it is thoroughly fulfilling, it actually takes a lot of work and on some days can be very taxing, especially trying to juggle being a parent to three kids, a demanding corporate career, somewhat of social life and trying to train for the odd Comrades Marathon. Add trying to figure out dating as a ‘single dad’ and boom, atomic chaos.
My day really is filled up by getting the kids to and from school, sports activities and work. Everything else tends to come after. This makes even the thought of dating or trying to date a nightmare. Too many things to consider, firstly will any potential baes be able to accept that I’m a ‘single dad’, will the kids (if it gets serious) accept the new bae and will she accept them, how will their relationship be, will I have the ‘required’ time or energy, will there been an understanding of the routine and demands from parenting and work? Guess if it’s worth it, we make the time…right? Well, so they say.
The fact that my mother is always on my case about remarrying doesn’t make things easier. At this stage, this looks completely unlikely. Add to the above one’s own requirements for potential partners and the response is: you are too demanding for a ‘single parent’ and should be more accommodating.
The mother will often retort: ‘I don’t know yati ke. You’ll be without a wife forever mntfwanami. Ncono ube ngu-Father uyoshumayela eKhatholika.’ I love her to bits and she means well, but trying to date as a ‘single dad’ is near impossible, especially if you are the primary caregiver, this is seen as an obstacle by most women whether they have children of their own or not. Firstly there is the issue of time constraints, when do you see each other and how often? There is also the dynamic of the ‘other parent’; how is your relationship, how is this managed – do they feature in day to day activities and to what extent? There is also the normal day to day pressures of time i.e planning dates needs to take into account, school sports, homework, weekends with kids etc – let’s not get into overnight visits. This makes it difficult to always be spontaneous. All of this for someone who doesn’t have to deal with parenting on a regular basis can be daunting no matter how good the intentions are, even more so to three kids. We haven’t even gotten to the demands of my career.
There is also the bit about figuring out what values you may have in respect of raising children. How does a partner coming into the picture change the day to day dynamics for everyone? What happens if there is a break up etc?
In addition to the daily struggles of dating, it also seems that meeting a compatible partner is also tricky. Compatible in terms of education, career, ambition. The more I go out the more I learn or am told I should just accept any woman that will accept that I have children. Wanting other things is a bit much, which seems a bit silly.
It seems there are more questions than answers. It would be interesting to find out what are the views of women on dating singles dads?