Category Archives: Blogs

A Parent Looks At 40

This post is overdue, because 40 started last year.  Try not to hold it against me; my brain really only became 40 in the last few months, so bear with me.

I began Single Dads for a couple of reasons.  One was to serve as a constant reminder what it was like to be a single dad with daughter, from the beginning, and the other was to have a first hand source of the thoughts, emotions, and trials of a single parent available for my daughter to read when she became old enough to view it.  For quite a while now, it’s done exactly that.  I believe, however, that this blog enters a new age, as tonight, I came to some realizations that I’m finally able to share is some intelligent way.

A long time ago I wrote a post called The Empty Room, about how I felt walking by my daughter’s empty room when she was away with her mother.  Grace’s room isn’t empty any more.   As I write, her room is filled with stuffed animals, music boxes given to her as gifts from me and her grandparents, Barbie dolls used and unused, woodland fairy and princess outfits, and the best children’s books (she loves Kitten’s First Full Moon – seems like I read it 3 times a week).  These aren’t the signs of an empty room, but a room filled with memories and love.

So finally I have realized, it wasn’t the room that was empty, it was, in fact, a metaphor for my emptiness.

Now, here I am: a self-aware, semi-actualized single dad, who, between running his daughter to dance class and movies, still hasn’t figured out how to find and spend quality time with other people with whom I have parenting in common.  Still having single friends without children who have to be tired of attempting to relate to my personal struggles, still woefully lacking in age appropriate play dates, still trying desperately to figure out what’s next for me.  That all is getting ready to change.

Now I know.  Now I know why that woman with the two young boys was so nice to me in line to see that kid’s movie.  Now I know why the singular mother is always so nice on the playground when we go.

I understand why I miss going to single “social events” less and less, and why like the Disney Channels more and more.

I get it.

I think it might be time to start filling up my own room.

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You Say It’s Her Birthday…

Haven’t written in a while, but there’s a lot going on.

Since I’ve been regularly writing on this page, just a few things have happened:

– A new president was both elected and inaugurated, who happens to be African-American, in the truest sense of the phrase,

– The economy has tanked,

– I put a freelancing gig on hold,

– I moved, and am getting ready to move again,

– Grace got a weird case of strep through the skin,

– My family discovered the lunacy of Facebook and Twitter (and some of the ultimate time wasters of all time),

– New jobs, new legacy,

– Read a heck of a lot of books (man, you have no idea how many, but to find out, look at my Library Thing stats and then consider how many books I’ve actually forgotten),

– And I’ve connected with several extremely successful bloggers, on sites such as Zen Habits (thanks, Leo!), Divorce 360, and others.

All of this means that this site is going to undergo a few changes.  I have a host of fresh new ideas, a lot of new organization and integration is going to take place, and, most importantly, I’m fresh, because I haven’t been writing a heck of a lot.  So I’m ready to come back into the fold.  I’d do a Hello World, but I’ve been here for quite a while already.  I’m going to grow this site and go to the basic reason that I started writing this in the first place: for my daughter.

But not this week, because two weeks from now, my daughter turns 5, which means that one and a half weeks from now, I will have having a series of gatherings and parties just for her, and involving friends and family.  Really, I’m just letting everyone know that I’m going to start writing again, even if I have no idea where on earth I’ll find the time.

Thanks for everyone’s support!  It’s good to be back.

Answering The Bitterness Question

There was a pretty funny post over at yoga72179 titled Are You A Bitter Baby’s Mama or A Wise Single Mom? Take This Quiz And Find Out.  Naturally, the post was aimed at single moms, but as a single dad, the temptation to read this post was too strong to ignore.  Oh, and what wisdom was posted therein!  An excerpt:

If you’re a single mom who’s been holding it down alone or simply dealing with a hard-to-take ex, it’s easy to get caught up in tit-for-tat dynamics. But theres a price we pay when we allow bitterness to seep in and engage in no-holds-barred power struggles. Even if the anger is justified and we believe the other person had it coming. What begins to happen is that same bitterness spirals into the other facets of our lives causing a domino effect. And sooner than you know it, it starts to dominate your thoughts, consume your conversations and pollute your spirit.

How true, how true.  I was talking just the other day to a person similarly situated as I, as a single parent trying to get by.  Fortunately, I’m in a position where my day job is in a skill type position, and I have the ability to work more doing part-time work and freelancing.  For many, this isn’t the case, and this person’s situation with their child isn’t so great at all.  But an interesting thing that they said is that it “simply takes too much effort” to be a bitter parent – and they’re right.  Being a bitter parent is a net loss.  It comes out to family, friends,

Being a bitter parent is a net loss.

acquaintances, the legal system (which is so pleasant to deal with already) and others.  It steals your spirit, when spirit is one of the qualities that you need the most when you are a single parent.

High stress due to infighting with the ex over child-related issues?  Exercise.

Can’t sleep because you’re always thinking about the next move?  Read.

Don’t want to talk to the ex?  Fine, but don’t avoid the issue.  Your kids are at stake.

Being positive is the best, and most effective, form of therapy.  Bitter parents raise bitter kids, which the exact opposite of the result you should be trying to achieve.  Remember that.

A Parenting Interview

No, no one interviewed me about being a great parent, although if someone wanted to, I’d extrapolate on a few parenting tips that I’ve learned, all the while thinking to myself that I really don’t know much of anything, am playing it all by ear, and simply trying to do the best that I can.  No, no one interviewed this single parent.

However, the author at Zen Habits was recently interviewed by ParentingWonder.com about his parenting skills, ideas, and how he has managed to help raising six children (gasp!) and keep everything together.  Here’s a quick excerpt:

5.    Every parent wants a happy, confident and successful kid. What’s the best way to achieve this?

Show that you care about what they do, help them become competent, give them confidence in their competence, support them, love them. There’s no one answer, but if you do these things, I think you’ll succeed.

Spoken like a true believer; you can sign me up for his newsletter.  If he can handle six, certainly I can handle one.  If you take nothing else from his interview but love and priorities, then I think your reading would be a successful interpretation indeed.

Grade Your Website

Over at How To Change The World, Guy Kawasaki (you know, the Mac guy) tossed out a post about a tool called Website Grader.  This free tool gives your website a SEO “grade”

I entered in this site’s information and was given, within minutes, a score and a few items where I can improve my site reach to my audience.

based on a few criteria that you enter into the site.  Being that I’m always interested in the reach that my website has, I entered in this site’s information and was given, within minutes, a score and a few items where I can improve my site reach to my audience. 

It would seem that I have a lot of room for search engine optimization improvement.  In other words, my scores were…lacking. I definitely will be working on that presently behind the scenes.  Successful networking is certainly something that I am all about these days.

How are you working on SEO? Feel free to email me, or drop me a note in the comments.

Teach Your Kids About Cash

Tuesday is Finance and Family Day over at Zen Habits, and yesterday they did not disappoint with the article 10 Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Money.

I’m only now learning habits that I wish I had when I was entering adulthood. I think I’m not alone here, but if I had these habits when I was young, I’d be pretty well off now.

Because of that, I plan to teach my kids about money, to give them the value of money, to teach them skills and habits that will get them off to a good start, and to have them learn by doing, and from my example.

As I’m late in learning some of these things myself, I’m also starting late in teaching my kids these habits and skills. However, it’s better late than never. What follows are some of the things I’m trying or have planned.

The included list is pretty decent and covers most of the basics.  I would argue that some topics do require their own category, however.  For instance:

College loans must be paid back.  In high school, it seems like a good idea to go to the best possible school that you can and if you have to take out loans to do it, well, fine.  After college is over and those loans start coming due, that thinking gets turned on it’s head.  Had I the opportunity to do it again, I would have spent four years at a less expensive university instead of two, and wouldn’t have had those loans to pay.

College loans have a cost.  You just don’t see it until later.

Relish the power of compound interest.  Smaller children might not get this, but a little bit now goes a LONG way later.  Money in that cute piggy bank that your child loves adds up in the hands of the proper account.  Compound interest will (hopefully) pay my child’s college tuition.  Teach them that early.

Credit cards, while ubiquitous, can be evil.  The credit card companies really start the credit carousel in college.  Credit cards are everywhere, and to do a lot of things, they are absolutely necessary.  They represent power – and with great power comes great responsibility.  Teach your children to recognize this, and realize that the iPod that they so desperately want but can’t afford without a credit card really is NOT AN IPOD THAT THEY CAN AFFORD. 

I’m sure that I can think of more examples, but those little tidbits come to mind.

Be A Star

534px-film_reelsvg.pngRandomly going through various sites, I happened on this site which might give you, the Dad, your big chance to be a movie star.

The Evolution of Dad is a documentary-in-progress about what it means to be a nurturing, involved, contemporary American father. The film will explore how fatherhood has evolved over time, what its impact has been on family and society; and lastly, how fatherhood will likely continue to evolve.

I found this via Hoboken 411.

Hoboken dads, this is your chance to tell the world how you feel and how you are without having to bare your soul on the Internet.

Denver dads, you’ll have to wait your chance.

Me, I have a website. That’s enough for me at the moment – not that I have time to do much else!