Itís been over half a year since I became a single parent and I canít help but reflect on some of the life lessons Iíve learned thus far. Iím sure there will be lots more ahead on the road, but for now I wanted to share these and listen to what others have learned:
1) Donít waste one single minute with your children! Like my wife, before dday, I was also taking my kids for granted. I just always assumed they would be there when I wanted to engage and quiet when I didnít. After dday I realized how fragile and precious time with my children is. All of sudden they arenít available to me all the time, meaning I maximize every single second I am with them. Not a minute has gone by during the last 6 months that I was not talking to them, reading to them, eating with them, playing with them, etc. I feel like a dad with a terminal illness and I canít waste any more time.
2) Get your sleep! I was a night owl before dday, sleeping odd hours, couldnít get up in the morning and letting all the work fall to my wife. Not possible any longer and since dday I have been in bed early at night and up at 630am. I heard a famous athlete talk about the critical nature of sleep and while parenting is not a professional sport, raising my three boys alone makes me think about that a lot! If I sleep I can do anything: Iím patience with them, I get ahead of their schoolwork, I plan fun activities, I read to them etc. If I donít sleep, the whole equation doesnít work.
3) Cook and then overcook! I had to learn how to cook which has become a great pleasure in my life but the key lesson for me is to overcook. Since Iím only with them half the time, I have to sort out what to do with myself for the other half the time. The solution? Leftovers! I overcook at all meals I make for them and stock up for when I am alone. This has proven a great solution for me eating healthier, staying out of restaurants and saving on the budget.
Other single parents, what are the best lessons youíve learned on the journey?