On Fatherhood

Me with the Kids

One of the things that I haven’t blogged about before, but has been a part of my life for a while now, is that I am a single parent.  This development was not expected, as I’m sure it isn’t for any single parent, nor has it been particularly easy.  And while I will not be blogging about the circumstances that led to this situation, I do want to start writing about the joys and struggles of being a single dad.

Entering into the holiday season is just such a time that brings both joys and struggles to me and the kids.  In the midst of the stress of the usual weekly transitions, the time off of school (they have this entire week off) does bring the kids some relief.  Their stress level seems to be down, and they’re excited about the times with families of origin on both sides.

But it’s also confusing, especially being that my kids are young.  They haven’t really internalized the holiday schedule, and their sense of time is nothing like an adult’s.  So there are constants questions about where they will be when, and with whom.  And transitions on the holidays themselves are never easy.

I’m hoping that there are some other single parents out there who will chime in on these posts, give some suggestions, and share their stories.

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  • Drawn from the experiences of my life as a child and as a father with … complex … family relationships, I had one thought as I read the above. The constant questions are often their way of gaining a feeling that they have some sort of control in a difficult and confusing situation. If they know when they will be somewhere and with whom, they have some sense of order. They ask again and again not simply because they’ve forgotten (probably), but to validate the answer against the order they are constructing.

    Answer their questions on timing, scheduling, places, and people with as much of your attention as you can give each time. It’s part of their way of producing order in situations that are hard to process.

    Or at least, those are my memories from both sides. My youngest is a teenager now, so no warranties on the correctness of my memories.

  • I’m not a single parent, but grew up in the house of single mother. I wish more folks would share their stories of single parenting…it still seems taboo or something in the Church. I’m glad that, in your own way, you’re speaking into that void.

  • Kenton


    Thanks for sharing this. I’m sorry for both you and your kids that things are tough like this. I’ll keep everyone in my prayers. May God give you all his grace and peace, and may you especially feel it these next few weeks.

    You have a handsome set of kids, there.

  • I lived with my single dad for 4 years (before going to college).

    12 years after the fact, what strikes me now (being a dad) is that I had an experience of a father that a lot of kids from broken homes haven’t.

    Much love – Jeff

  • Tony,

    I would only suggest being as honest as you can about why mommy and daddy divorced, without going into detail. My parents divorced when I was nine, and they sheltered me from the reason. They were simply trying to protect me, which I get now. But in the absence of a clear reason, I did what most kids do, which is invent a reason for them. And it was the worst case scenario.

    When I was 25 my mom sat my sister and I down and told us the reason, which was infidelity. I can’t tell you the affect it had on me to hear the truth. I don’t blame my parents for not telling me, but I think we sometimes forget that the truth hurts in the beginning but it doesn’t create a false story.

    Much love in your journey Tony. My thoughts are with you.


  • Thank you for sharing your Experience Tony, i still havent reach the stage of being a dad our having a family, but i do love to learn from other people before it is my turn to become a dad….

  • Tony,

    Thanks for sharing. i am so sorry it can be difficult. May you and your kids have a fantastic holiday.


  • my heart breaks for your family as you go through this first season of holidays. wish i had some sage advice, but i don’t, and frankly i hope i never do. but i stand with ya brother. shalom

  • Dan

    I was a single father for only a few months, when my wife and I separated during a rough patch in our marriage. My kids were teenagers at the time. I can only extrapolate from my limited experience what your situation is like with younger children. All I can say is that I admire you more as a human being, and a follower of Jesus in what you have shared about your family life. God be with you this holiday season.

  • greetings from your “old” friend in Malaysia. Good to see you with the kids in the picture.

    Have not stopped praying for you, and the family.

  • Thanks for sharing this part of your life and your story, Tony. I hope other single parents will speak up and share from their experience as well. Shalom.