There’s nothing particularly unusual or remarkable about my situation, I’m a single dad with two children. They live with me most of the time, and spend the rest of their time with their mother. So there’s probably many thousands of men in a similar situation to me. Well, I hope there is, otherwise my anonymous blogging won’t be very anonymous if I’m the only one in the country.
It’s not a bad situation though, I don’t want to give the impression everything is terrible and be a self-pitying moaner. There are plenty of good things with my life, and bringing up kids can provide much joy and satisfaction. Being single, even with the kids, can offer advantages over being in a relationship. To be honest, some adults take more effort to look after than children do.
My two children, I’ll call the TheGirl and TheBoy, to not only anonymise them, but give a hint to their respective genders. Apologies to anyone who has actually called their children TheGirl and TheBoy, but you’ve only got yourself to blame for using camel-case on a birth certificate. I avoided calling them just Girl and Boy to prevent you thinking I’m bringing up a flamboyant gender-bending 1980s national treasure.
They are both of primary school age, TheGirl being older then TheBoy. So they’re still of the age where teenage cynicism hasn’t yet developed, and they still have the joy of innocent curiosity. There’s nothing particular unusual or special about them either, they don’t have any behavioural or health issues, nor do they have any outstanding talents or abilities. They aren’t going to end up as Nobel prize winning scientists, World Cup winning footballers (not if they stick with their British nationality anyway!) or Grammy award winning musicians. But on the other hand they don’t look like they’ll end up on Crimewatch, Jeremy Kyle or leading UKIP.
So you may have guessed, I’m not a competitive parent. Yes, I want my kids to do as well as they can, but I also want them to lead a happy balanced life. I’m not too bothered what their contemporaries are doing, as long as they aren’t dragging themselves way behind everyone else. It’s always easy to get distracted by the outliers in a group of children. There’s always the one who can play a violin to virtuoso level at the age of 5, or the little lad who has already been given his personalised AMG Mercedes by a top Premier league football team who have just signed him up, even those he can’t drive for another 10 years. At the other end of the scale, there’s always the child in the class with challenging behaviour (or as they used to be called: a little shit) whose name always gets mentioned when some incident happens at school. My kids sit somewhere in the middle with the vast majority of other kids who are quite good at some things, less good at others and generally behave pretty well.
I won’t claim to be the perfect dad, as a combination of needing spend time working and having a lazy streak means I have to muddle and blag my way along somewhat. But I hope I’ve picked up a few useful things along with way which I’ll share and might be of use to you. While I’ll aim to be positive, I’m sure there are days when I just need a good old grump-filled rant.