Tips for Managing Life as a Single Dad

There are so many things in this world that you have to tackle on your own; it can be extremely challenging—but also rewarding—when fatherhood is one of them. Whether you’re solo parenting one child or five, being a single parent requires focus and insight, not only in your child’s life, but in your life, as well. 

When experiencing the inevitable stress from the challenges of being a single father, it’s easy to forgo your needs for those of your family. However, when you’re unhappy, it weighs on everyone. If you’re struggling to find balance as a single parent, Essentially A Mom offers these tips and techniques to help you succeed in jumping the mental and emotional hurdles of solo parenting.

Work/Life Balance

As a single father, your most important job is being a parent, but it’s not your only job. Whether it’s because your employer or career isn’t flexible or you’re facing financial hardships, one of the biggest challenges for single fathers is finding a work-life balance. Sometimes it seems as if you have to choose a paycheck over parenting. 

First and foremost, it’s essential that you have a strong support network to back you up during those moments when your job takes center stage. Family, friends and other single parents are all possible members of your support network. You can build this network at church, in community centers, or even in support groups. Second, fill your toolbox with easy low-cost or no-cost activities you can do so that finances don’t have to take priority over your kids. You can go on picnics to the park, camp on the weekends, visit museums and zoos, or take your kids to storytime at the library.

Work-life balance also means making time for yourself. Squeezing in fitness, hanging out with friends, and getting plenty of sleep can seem like unattainable goals. But even if you can only get to one of these a week, you’re going to make a significant positive outlook on a life that can often feel overwhelming and unsteady.

But What If Money Is a Problem?

Lots of single parents come to the conclusion that they need a second job. This is challenging when you’re juggling family obligations, though. As a solution, why not start your own business? You can pick when, what and how much you do, even how much you make.

Start with a smart business idea — something that solves a problem. For example, handyman skills are always in need, and guess what? You can sell your skills however you want these days. That might mean offering them through an online platform like, or it might mean creating a subscription vlog, demonstrating how-tos for new homeowners and such.

Whatever you decide, begin properly. Register your business with the state, perhaps as an LLC, which is simple through an online service. Then, think about marketing your venture. There are two failsafes these days: a website and social media. Bonus? These are low-cost avenues, since you can DIY both. At the end of the day, you might find this type of work allows you to be a more successful parent. 

Keep It Light

While your first instinct might be to confront the boy that pushed your daughter at the park, in reality, single dads have to keep a cool head. Many dads feel an urge to be problem-solvers, which can sometimes come off as being overprotective or even suffocating. What your kids really need is someone who will listen to their problems and cheer them up when life gets tough. Try not to judge too much—and that means watching your facial expressions—when they share with you, and, while it’s important to keep things light, don’t blow off their struggles or pain. Be a good listener and make sure they know you are a place they can come to for comfort.

It’s All About Perspective

Make fun a priority. In moments when you feel like it’s just one difficult thing after another, try to focus on the good that is happening in the cracks in between. If you can’t find the good, make it happen.  Take time to enjoy activities with your kids that bring you all together and get you laughing, especially if the past day or two has been emotionally or physically draining. There’s nothing like watching their faces light up to transform the roadblocks of being a single father into mere hiccups.

Parenting is already a challenging enough role but more so when you’re a single parent. When you take the time to look at the big picture, you’re in a better position to take care of yourself and your children. 

Article by Daniel Sherwin of

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