How to Adjust to Life as a Single Father

African father and son making pancakes
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Is there a more challenging transition for a man than to become a new single dad with children at home? If there is, I can't imagine it. Whether you lose your spouse and the mother of your kids to death or because of a divorce and/or abandonment, adjusting to the new reality of things is a major and life changing task.

Most newly single dads I know struggle to know where to start. What should be first on my list, and how do I even begin to get my arms around the rest?

Having talked to a number of single dads who have successfully negotiated this transition with their children, let me offer the following recommendations.


As adults, we have at least learned some coping mechanisms in our life to deal with change. Often, our children are totally unprepared for having a single dad as their primary caregiver. So as you help your children adjust, consider these suggestions.

How to Take Care of You as a New Single Father
Finding yourself a newly single dad can seem pretty overwhelming. There just seem to be a lot more things to balance now to keep the family organized and moving, and perhaps a lot less time for you. Check out some ideas from experienced single dads about taking care of you.

Organizing Tips for the Single Dad
One of the biggest challenges newly single dads tell me about is the need to establish new routines when the other adult at home is not there anymore.

 From finding ways to grocery shop and meal plan more efficiently to keeping chores at home straight, there is a lot of organizing to do and not as much help doing it.

Raising a Daughter as a Single Father
Many dads are intimidated by the idea of having to raise a daughter without a mother in the home.

 It is a challenge to be sure, but certainly doable when you focus on her specific needs, help her find good female role models and express love in ways she can receive it.

Surviving Life as a Newly Widowed Father
Single fatherhood is a difficult transition to be sure, but becoming a single father as a result of the death of your spouse is emotionally charged and has a significant series of challenges that we could never have anticipated.  Dealing with your own grief and loss while helping your children through theirs is not easy, and sometimes the impacts of it all are debilitating.  Learn how other widowed fathers have handled the transition and what you can do to help your own kids and yourself deal with the loss of your wife and their mom.

Hacks for Hated Household Chores
Someone asked me recently which household chore was the one I disliked the most.  For me, sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor is the toughest because it only looks good for a day and then all I notice is how bad it looks.

 Other dads hate cleaning bathrooms, cleaning out the refrigerator or getting hard water stains off the windows.  These hacks for commonly hated household chores can help you tackle the jobs you dislike and get them done more quickly and efficiently.

Dating Do's and Dont's for Divorced Dads
When you think you are ready to get back in the dating scene, you quickly realize that it is not the same world it was when you were dating the last time.  Add to that the fact that single dads have some advantages and disadvantages in the dating world, and the process gets complicated. Check out a few morsels of advice from other single dads about how to handle dating as a man with kids.