When I initially thought about parenthood and becoming a father I imagined it would look “normal”. I would meet a girl I would love said girl, we would get married and then I would have children with her totaling 2.5. I would buy a house and create memories there from burning dinner, disciplining my kids for sneaking in from a concert and holiday gatherings. Those ideas still swim in my mind somewhere but like fish they aren’t that easy to hold on to once I pull them out. The sea of life is often rough and unforgiving…so much so you can drown and forget what you were fishing for in the first place. You can be caught in a storm and exhaust your energy just trying not to drown.
Backstory: I became a father in none of the ways I described above; I was a college senior, with a girlfriend I really liked and I had no idea what a mortgage was. Fast forward 3 years, I learned what an adjustable ARM is, I am on rocky ground with said girl and I am in corporate America using nothing from my four years of college.
I am not even thinking about fish. I am just trying to steady my boat and plug holes that might cause me to go under.
Fast forward even more I am now a single father, again something I had never imagined for myself. I didn’t know if I was a statistic or not but I didn’t feel like one. My daughters became a huge part of my world but due to the relationship — or lack thereof — between their mother and I my moments with them became confined to Friday evenings starting at 6pm and ending on Sunday night at the same time.
I am a weekend dad.
And you know what? Its ok to be a weekend dad as long as your are consistent and try your best to be involved in everything you possibly can be for you children. Make sure you know when parent teacher night is. Ask them about their friends. Attend as many recitals, games and birthday parties as humanly possible (especially birthday parties, never miss those). It would be great if the other parent would inform you of every little thing your girl or boy does but that’s unrealistic. Stopping to give a play by play to someone else can become a chore on a long list of already daunting things a parent has to keep track off. Make the effort to involve yourself in your child’s life and find out as much as you can. If you cut down that chore your co-pilot will probably pick up the slack which, will keep you in and through the loop. Forgive yourself when you miss things because you WILL miss things.
I try not to miss anything. I want to be perfect. I try to never depended on my co-pilot.
I won’t go into my fatherhood ups and downs as they aren’t the important piece of my experience that I’d like to share. I won’t give my thoughts or outline my feelings on successful co-parenting; there are tons of books on that subject. I just know what my situation is and has been thus far and what works for it: independence. Working to make sure I have to rely on myself as much as possible for information regarding things happening with my children.
Being a weekend dad does not help this. Not one bit. Which is why I recruited a village……