Support for Single Dads

Single dads have it tough.

I pull the tape gun across the top of a box, hearing the sharp sound of the tape peeling from the rest of the roll. Another box, one of many. This one is filled with my son’s baby pictures. I exhale and think back to the specific photo shoot. Thinking ourselves artistic, we took macro snapshots of my son and stretched them across canvas. The curvature of a tiny ear, his mouth with baby fuzz above his lip, a tuft of nascent hair on his head. We used to call him “Kiwi.”

I realize in this moment, I will soon become a statistic. The “we” will inevitably dissipate and I’ll join the sea of single dads. Before that though, there is this peculiar period of pulling two people apart who were once so enmeshed. Moving vans, paper trails, lawyers, memories. The moment my five-year-old son stands frozen at his bedroom doorway, seeing his room in boxes. Dividing calendar years into weeks-on and weeks-off. What will Christmas look like? Birthdays?

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My new role as a single dad would continue to feel uncomfortable, and things that were once simple would take on a new, stranger colour. I wanted to arrange playdates for my young son. But approaching married women when picking up my kid from school for this purpose felt clunky and unwelcome. Invites to parties became scarce. I had to adjust to a new kind of logistical communication with his mother. Clashing schedules. Trying to remember who had what. Meanwhile, the confusion on my child’s face was palpable, and I lacked the toddler verbiage to help him understand our new normal.

It took me three months of flying through different counselors until I eventually found one that gave me the tools I needed. And I used his array of coping mechanisms like the multi-tools in a Swiss Army Knife. His thoroughness and compassion mixed with his ability to disagree and question my thought processes was invaluable. When I leaned into my vulnerabilities, he enveloped me with kindness. I was grateful to employ these new tools, giving me more peace and clarity to figure out my life’s “whys?”. To discover what is meant to be a dad. To be a human.

I devoured family-style podcasts and self-development articles. I had lengthy, challenging conversations with myself. It was difficult to figure out how to exist as a single dad.

Support For Single Dads

My experience is far from unique. While my West Coast casual mentality likes to think the statistics are lower on this side of the country, I found that BC actually came in slightly higher for divorce rates at 39% of the population. Despite this whopping figure, I found that support and community for single men was sparse. After months of trying to find my new place in the world, I realized that I no longer wanted to go this alone. I needed an expanded community.

Since I struggled to find the support I was looking for, I endeavoured to create this myself. Luckily, I now find myself in a place where I have the time and ability to help change the status quo for men in a similar situation. Men who are looking to thrive in their new roles, with the ultimate goal of making huge strides in their kids’ lives. I know I don’t have the answers to a puzzle I myself am still putting together, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to share my story with others who have gone through a similar experience, and for them to share their stories with me.

A tribe works best when we uplift each other in our own journeys. We evolve through mutual understanding. I’m just a guy who supports some other guys going through it all, through ideas and collaboration. I’m at the start of exploring these new possibilities, and I know there is a need out there for dads struggling to find their place, their community, and just a little bit of support. This could be simply listening to your story and sitting in that space with you or figuring out ways I can offer some of the solutions that continue to help propel me forward.

Separation with kids involved can be scraggly, uncomfortable and precarious, but you’re not alone.

Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource