Single Fathers Who Support Their Children Without Any Reservations
SAN ANGELO,TX- Raising children as a single parent is never easy. It takes a motivated individual who can lead a household with the day-to-day duties of parenting, while also providing financial support through a full-time job.
According to a 2016 U.S.Census report, single mothers generally represent the majority of single parents. The report shows that out of 12 million single parent families in 2016, about 80 percent were single mothers (9,781,000 families), while single fathers represented 17 percent (2,033,000 families). Though single mothers represent the majority of single-parenting households, it’s important to account for single fathers who also run a household.
LIVE! spoke with two single fathers to get a better understanding of the challenges they face. Both parents preferred to remain anonymous for the sake of their children and families; therefore, LIVE! has changed their names for the purpose of the article.
In the first case, Bob provides for multiple children in his household. After divorcing from his wife, he saw his kids on alternating weekends.
His weekend began by picking up the kids from the mother’s house, and then going grocery shopping to buy all the necessities, including snacks, fruit and meals for the weekend. All of the preparation to maintain a clean house, on top of other duties, would have to be finished through the week with a full-time work schedule.
“I cooked all the time for [the kids],” Bob said. “We would eat and then I would get them prepped for the day; it’s something you just have to do.”
He noted that after the first two years of alternating weekend custody with his ex-wife, he received full custody of the children. After winning custody, Bob's children became a priority to him and he had to find a job that would give him flexible work hours. Thankfully, Bob soon found a job where he could decide his own hours, which allowed him to spend more time with his kids.
“I made sure to have a job were the employer understood my circumstances,” he explained. “If my kids were sick or needed anything, I knew I had their support with putting them first.”
Bob expressed how fortunate he was to find employers like this, as they were hard to find.
However, work can still be unpredictable. If Bob couldn’t get off work, he explained that he still had family members who could be available to help him with any immediate obligations.
“I was thankful to have help from my family during those stressful times,” he said.
Overall, having multiple children in one house can be financially straining. Bob explained that while transitioning into a single-parent household, he had to cut back on some luxuries to account for the new financial responsibility. Bob even had to trade in his pickup truck for a more economically reasonable car.
”You have to budget everything, from food, utilities to clothing,” he said.
Despite the hardships the kids had to endure during their parents' divorce, Bob mentioned the relationship with his kids is strong. Of course, "at the back of [my kids'] minds, they wanted us to get back together," Bob said, as "they miss their mother, but they also knew [the divorce] was for the best."
For Bob, he will do anything to help protect and support his kids.
"Every morning, I wake up and worry about my children," Bob said. "I can't give up; I keep going to make sure they are happy."
The second dad, James, is a father to a daughter whom he only sees on the weekends currently because of his job and school work. While he works on providing for his daughter financially and works to secure a future for them by getting a college education, his family helps care for his daughter. James' parents help him by getting his daughter to school during the work week and watching over her. James expressed his gratitude, saying, “Everyone involved is looking after her, and that takes a weight off my mind."
As James only has weekends together with his daughter, he actively seeks to be a part of her life. James constantly tells himself he works for her benefit. The time he spends away from her is challenging; however, he knows that in the end, the hardships will pay off.
“If I take care of myself financially, then I know she will be taken care of as well,” James said.
Motivating him through life's most challenging moments is the the love and support from his daughter. James is separated from his daughter’s mother, but knowing his child is looked after while he's away makes the transition easier. He said his daughter understands he is busy during the week, and it make the time they have together all the more special.
“I’m a phone call away, and I’m always ready to leave if she ever needs me,” James noted.
He said one key distinction in the relationship of father and daughter is wanting to be a role model.
“You want to be seen as their hero,” James said.
At the end of the week, he knows providing for her is a responsibility that he upholds without any doubt.
As a single dad who works throughout the week and is in the midst of pursuing a college education, many people have questioned his choices; however, he feels that, in the long run, his aspirations for a Ph.D. will open up more opportunities for his daughter.
“I’ve been able to network with people in my career, and this has also helped me grow as a person,” James said. “I believe these experiences have made me a better parent.”
Instead of working a job with limited opportunities to excel, James wanted to pursue a career he was passionate about.
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