We would like to introduce another guest blogger, Daniel Sherwin from Dad Solo.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children, a 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son, in Portland, Oregon, USA. Daniel writes from a dads’ perspective about his experiences as a single parent and hopes to be an inspiration to other single parents.
A New Reality: Adjusting to the Challenges of Single Parenthood
Parents today face challenges that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Drugs, the cost of education, debt, and gun violence are enough to dissuade anyone from having children. Imagine those same problems multiplied times two for single parents who have to adjust to life without a helpmate or someone with whom to share difficult decisions about child rearing. Single parents have to help their children adjust to a new life without having mom or dad around. It’s no picnic for parents either. The adjustment is made harder for them because divorce or separation can be emotionally devastating and financially crippling. It’s no wonder that single parents suffer from inordinately high levels of depression and the looming fear that they’ll fail their kids.
The day-to-day family problems remain much the same, but the cost of providing for children can quickly overwhelm a single parent who’s struggling to make ends meet. In many cases, a single mom or dad needs to take on a second job just to keep food on the table and the lights on. Helping kids with homework, getting them to and from sports and other activities, and providing emotional support is a lot to deal with even for parents who can get by on one income.
Raising a child today costs an estimated quarter of a million dollars through age 18. Often, parents who think they have a good handle on the financial aspect of child rearing find themselves at an absolute loss in the wake of a divorce. Even if you’re a wizard at saving money and making do with less, there’s not much you can do when it’s just you, especially if the cost of your divorce has left you strapped. For people who just aren’t good at managing money, or whose ex-spouse handled the financial side of things, figuring out how to stretch a dollar can really ratchet up their stress level. And yet having to do it all yourself can force you to learn how to make it work (the Internet is an excellent source of information on how to be a better budgeter).
The legal factor
The ideal divorce scenario is for both parties to reach an amicable settlement and to cooperate in a friendly manner in the best interest of their kids. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t happen that way. If, as is often the case, child custody court doesn’t bring things to a swift conclusion, the relationship between parents, and between parents and children, can become very difficult. If there are extenuating circumstances involved, such as drug or alcohol abuse or charges of domestic violence to consider, the case may drag on for months with no resolution. The most lasting scar is the residual anger and ongoing emotional retribution that can go on for years and cause permanent psychological damage to the children. Family counseling can help make things better, but only if both parties are willing to try.
The new family dynamic that results from divorce or separation makes for a tough transitional period for everyone. If the kids are in the custody of a parent unaccustomed to being the disciplinarian, they may challenge mom or dad because this new role is inconsistent with the way things were before the divorce. As difficult as the situation might get, it’s important to maintain your authority. Consistency is the key; work to set a consistent, healthy routine for your child; keep your home as welcoming as possible and free from clutter; and, as much as possible, stay on top of things like homework and household chores.
Meeting the challenge of single parenthood takes a lot of courage and patience. It’s a new role for you, one you’ll have to grow into, just as your kids have to adapt to their new circumstances. Fortunately, children are resilient and usually adjust quickly even to the most difficult situations. Remember try to remain calm and try to understand that things will be difficult for a while.
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash.
As winter is approaching, we have spent some time gathering interesting facts, info and tips on how to get yourself prepared for winter for you and your baby. In this blog post, we have focused on info related to collecting the correct clothing for your baby to ensure you are fully prepared for the cold, chilly winter days. Enjoy!
In winter, the rule of thumb is to ensure that your baby has one more layer of clothing on than what you are wearing. If the weather is cold, it is best to dress your baby in layers so that you can remove a layer as needed. You do not want your baby overheating.
IMPORTANT: In your desire to keep your baby warm, it is vitally important that you do not overdress him/her. Your baby can easily sweat and lose fluids from sitting in a stuffy, hot room or because she’s wearing too many layers. Overheating can lead to dehydration! Please take note and watch out for these important signs showing that your baby is getting too hot:
- Damp hair
- Flushed cheeks
- A heat rash
- Rapid breathing
When it comes to shopping, it is important to buy outfits for your little one that are easy to put on and take off as you may have to change your baby’s clothes several times a day. You will definitely want to make nappy changes as easy as possible with one-piece baby grows, footed or non-footed leggings, cotton long sleeve vests or t-shirts and comfy tracksuit pants. Always select good quality, soft, cotton and comfortable clothing for your baby. Browse our range of winter baby clothing, click here.
Please remember these 8 important tips when selecting clothing for your baby for winter:
- Select long sleeve tops or t-shirt with an easy-to-open neckline, as most babies don't like having clothes pulled over their heads.
- Go for vests or baby grows with popper closure at the crotch so they don't ride up causing their tummy’s to be exposed.
- Keep your baby warm with a hoodie, jersey or jacket that zips or buttons down the front so that it is easy to put on and take off. If it’s extremely cold, a full onesie is perfect to ensure head-to-toe warmth.
- When it comes to socks, go for calf or knee length, as they are most likely to stay on. Ankle length socks may slip off easily, especially when your baby is wriggling, kicking or playing.
- You don't really need to buy shoes, unless your baby is walking – A few pairs of adorable and funky socks or booties will do the trick and keep your baby’s feet warm and cosy.
- Babies can lose a lot of heat through their heads, so always put a hat or beanie on your baby when going outside in winter. Choosing cute woolen or cotton beanies or hats are a great way to accessories and keep your baby’s head warm.
- When buying your baby clothes, consider buying one size bigger to avoid your baby growing out of them quickly.
- Bibs are a must! They are super practical, as they will protect your baby’s clothes from getting wet or dirty.
In conclusion, we want to highlight how important it is to use a gentle laundry detergent when washing your baby’s clothes. This will help keep the softness and quality of your baby's clothes in tact.
Are you expecting parents, new parents or experienced parents?
If so, this incredibly interesting article lists the top 25 different experiences one man went through after the birth of his first born. Written by Will Dalrymple, just after the birth of his first child, a baby girl called Kate.
It’s straight forward, honest and definitely worth a read... Enjoy!
1. At last, you're in control. For the first time in your life, you and your partner (and not your parents) organise your time and the baby's time. Now you're the parent in charge, and you decide where you go and what you do as a family.
2. Just joking. Actually, you're not in control - the baby is, and he or she will completely disregard your attempts to plan anything at all (so remember to tape any sport you want to watch because if you don't, the screams will start just as something interesting happens).
3. Your baby is unique - there's no way of knowing what she's going to be like, and what she will like or dislike. Sometimes it's scary not knowing what she wants, but this is your chance to be in the front row to witness someone who is new to the world.
4. During pregnancy, the baby can be anything - boy, girl, dark, fair, big, small - but when it comes, it won't be everything it could be. There's nothing wrong with grieving for the things that didn't turn out as you expected - it doesn't mean you love the child you do have any less.
5. I didn't think a new baby would be so fun to be around. We are constantly laughing about how completely unselfconscious babies are (no worries about straining to do a poo).
6. Carrying a baby takes at least one hand, so lose an arm or buy a carrier. I have had great success with a sling, which is secure, and leaves both hands free.
7. Your baby will change every single day, and anything new that she does is a revelation. Small things, but you'll bore your friends to distraction talking about them.
8. Love didn't come automatically the moment she was handed to me after the birth. Right now, cuddling, hugging and rocking my baby feels right, and my feelings for her have grown through physical contact.
9. Don't underestimate the effect the labour will have on you, as well as your partner. Thirty-six hours of contractions and then an emergency Caesarean wasn't part of our birth plan, and it took me a week to recover from the stress.
10. If you're wondering when you're going to have sex again, it's probably best not to make jokes about it in the early days - they will be met by stony silence.
11. You will delight in calling each other 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' (something everyone else will find revolting).
12. Your own parents need to grow into their role so give them time. And new parents don't stop being their parents children. If your mum wants to cook for you or do your washing, just enjoy it.
13. Take a 'babymoon'. We found that by limiting visitors during the first two weeks we could get used to our new lifestyle on our own, without the stress of entertaining.
14. Any kind of physical contact between you and your partner is off the menu if one of you is always holding the baby. And conversations are likely to be interrupted as the baby throws up all over both of you.
15. You may feel that you're living through one long day - newborns can't differentiate between day and night, and within days you won't be able to either. It also means that at 7.30pm you'll have to choose between sleep - as much of it as you can get before the baby wakes up again - and your more usual evening activities.
16. The tiredness is manageable, but during the day there are weak moments.
17. I cannot contemplate life without a washing machine or a dishwasher. Both seem much more important than travel systems, for example. Keeping the laundry bin empty and clean dishes in the cupboards helps maintain my sanity (and my wife's everlasting gratitude, or so she says).
18. You'll learn to eat with one hand, turn pages with your feet and fast forward the video with your nose. Luckily you only need one hand to pee (leaving the other free to cradle your asleep-at-last child).
19. Sort out your own toys before settling down with a baby you don't want to wake up. More than once I've been caught on the couch without the remote control and had to stare at the wall for three hours while she slept.
20. What do you do when a rested baby has a full stomach, a clean nappy, and is crying? Troubleshoot. Our baby seems to like the traffic noise, going outside, being rocked gently, and perhaps a little gentle classical music (for a while at least). I have also been known to sing to her. If something doesn't work, try something else. Don't be afraid to experiment - though it probably won't work, it won't hurt either.
21. Agree division of labour terms. Who gets up when the baby cries? Who does a 2am nappy change? You and your partner need to decide, but be realistic. You can't stay awake all night tending to a crying baby and then put in an eight-hour day at work, so if it's bad, you may need to sleep on the couch.
22. Forget minimalism - baby paraphernalia will overtake your house. Have you thought about where it's all going to go? (And yes, your partner's right, you do need it all - don't resist).
23. Returning to work after paternity leave can be a relief. I'd gladly take the low-level but predictable stress of work to the unpredictable stress of a baby.
24. As a first-time dad, it's normal not to have the faintest idea of how to care for your baby. Don't panic - within a week you'll look back and be amazed at how far you've come (and how good you are at changing nappies).
25. Friends with older babies have grown sentimental when seeing such a tiny infant. Now, at a month old, she looks around more and is awake for longer periods than she used to. Soon she will no longer be a newborn and will need me to look after her in different ways.
Article sourced here.