Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Single Dad Life Part 2

A Single Dads life is never dull or boring. Ed & I have a lot of fun together & he is now starting to learn that I am not able to give him 100% of my attention 100% of the time. This has probably been the biggest hurdle to overcome. As with all children, he just wants me to play with him all the time. It has taken a lot for him to learn that there are times when I have just got too much to do to spend all of my day playing. As A Single Dad, I also have the other challenges that other parents must face. I'm sure that most of you will be able to relate to some of them, so thought that it would be an idea to tell some of the solutions that I have found that work, and also how to do so on a budget.


Yeah, right, get the child to eat the healthy food & leave out the junk food. Good luck with that I hear you say. Hey, guess what, I'm starting to have some success. A balanced diet for the kid is the key. A little bit of everything in proportion. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of junk food, as long as they get plenty of the good foods. OK, this is just like we adults have, but the portions are smaller. Now, how to get them to eat the good stuff. I went to the local supermarket & found a simmer sauce. It is supposed to be used with a whole chicken, but I had an idea. I put some precooked rice on a plate with some vegetables & a little meat {use any meat to make it interesting, just make sure that you have already cooked the meat}. Now put 2 spoon fulls of the simmer sauce over the meal. Put the whole plate into the trusty microwave oven on a medium setting for a few minutes. Bingo! A meal that he likes, & he eats the vegetables because he likes the flavour of the simmer sauce. The sauces are available in a wide variety of flavours. Ed's favourite at the moment is the Honey & Garlic however he is also quite partial to the Apricot & Mild Mustard.

I do a lot of precooking. I find it gives me a lot more free time. I can cook some sausages & store them in airtight container in the fridge. All I do then is reheat in the microwave when I need them. Now I am not talking about cooking a lot of them, only 6 - 8 at a time. This gives us a few meals & allows us to add them to whatever we feel like eating. We have also had success with a tin of Spaghetti cooked & added some meat that I had cooked the previous evening when Ed was asleep. Now I am also aware that fresh vegetables are the best for us. I am also fully aware that any vegetables are way better than no vegetables. So I am a great believer in the frozen variety from the supermarket. I get the packs with the small diced bits, because they they seem to mix better with the other foods that we have, & I get less complaints. I use the Keep It Simple Stupid principle.

I also get Ed to "help me" make the desserts. This is always a big hit with him. We have a rule that is if you do not eat your dinner, you do not get dessert. He wants to eat the dessert that he made, so he eats all of his dinner. The desserts that we make are really simple. We tend to go for packet custard, or packet jelly {the gelatin powder mix, add water & place in fridge}. These can be made very tasty with the simple addition of some canned fruit salad, or even a few spoonfuls of yogurt. I did learn that you add the fruit salad to the jelly mix after it has set in the fridge. If you try to add prior, the natural syrup in the fruit will cause the jelly to not set correctly & all you have is a sloppy watery mix in a bowl. Ed & I usually make these after our lunch so that there is plenty of time for them to set before the evening meal.

Household Chores

A single parent still has household chores that need to be done. All the cleaning, washing dishes, washing clothing etc. I get Ed to help me with these chores. Sure, it does take a little more time to get them done with his help than it would if I did them alone, but it is good for him. He is occupied & doing something constructive rather than looking at the TV, and he also gains a feeling of self worth because I tell him that what he is doing is important. I let him know that he is clever to be able to do some of these things. He feels clever, important, and most of all, loved. I have taught him to put all his dirty clothing in the hamper & not on the floor of his room. I find that this helps him to develop a sense of responsibility.

Cleaning the floors of the house is always good fun. I give Ed a small broom {it is "his" broom} and he sweeps all the hard to get areas like down between the fridge & cupboard, around the stove etc. We then sweep it all up & start to mop the floor. Ed also has his own small mop {an old squeegee mop with cut down handle}. He does make a bit of a mess with this, but it is not really a problem because it is only soapy water & it will dry eventually. Cleaning the Bathroom is always left till the last. We do it that way so that when we have finished we just jump in the shower & all the dirt from the tub {and from us} goes down the drain.

Pick up the toys from the living room floor. Oh my god, I can almost hear the laughter from here. OK, there are going to be toys all over the floor in the middle of the day. You will step on them, you will trip over them, they will hurt your toes {I hate Lego}. Get over it. The kid needs to play. We have got our little system where he knows that as I am making the evening meal he is packing away the toys. Our routine is we have our evening meal, we have our bath, then shortly after, it is his bedtime. I have explained that any toys that are out after he goes to bed, they go in the bin. He has seen me place 2 toys in the bin, I have not had to do it again. It was very hard for me to do, but I did it & he learn a valuable lesson. I have several boxes in an area that we know as his. As long as all his toys are in or on the boxes & the shelf next to them, that is good enough. As I said in part 1, the rules will be different depending on the age of the kids.


Trying to get a small child to get good sleeping habits is not easy as a single parent. It can be done. There are a few things that you must keep in mind and be very aware of. Your child feels as if they have been deserted. It does not really matter what you say or do, they will be afraid that they will wake up & find that there one & only parent has now gone as well. They are very afraid that they will lose you too. This is the main reason that it is difficult for them to willingly go to bed without you there. It is a battle that only time will heal. With time I have taught Ed that I will always be there for him.

At bedtime we lie on his bed together & I read him a bedtime story. He is a fan of Whinny the Pooh, so it is usually one of those stories that gets read. Before the story we have a little chat about some of the things that happen during the day. We also discuss some of the things that we have planned for the next day. I know that some of this may sound strange, but he likes it because we are chatting about the things that we have done together. He knows that I like to have him around me. We then read the story & I sometimes have to answer a few questions that only a four year old boy can think of about a simple story. After the story I give him a hug, tell him he is a good boy & that dad loves him very much. I also tell him that his mother loves him lots as well. Hey, just because we are no longer together does not mean that I do not respect her relationship with my boy. Ed also feels better because he knows that he is loved by many people, even though they are not all in the same house together. I then kiss his cheek & get up off the bed & turn off the light saying goodnight as I do so.


There is just so much as a single dad that could be written about. I'm sure that any single parents reading this would agree that we all feel at times as if we could write a book, if we only had the time. I can only tell of my experiences & the things that I have learned. I do not try to be an expert in any way, shape or form. If, like me you are renting a property, or about to rent a property to live in, I have a few suggestions that will make life a lot easier.
Avoid carpet at all costs in the living areas. Carpet is a massive dirt trap and unless you get it professionally cleaned on a monthly basis normal weekly vacuuming just is not enough. Another downside is that you will need to pay a security bond when renting. There is nothing worse than having most of the security bond disappear due to the carpet cleaning costs when you need to move out. Try to find a place that has tiles or some other type of hard surface. It is easily cleaned and your costs are reduced a lot.
Have the child's room next to your room. He needs to know that you are only on the other side of the wall. If you have lots of rooms to choose from {lucky you} also keep in mind that a child's bladder is not as good as that of an adult, so put him closer to the things that he will need.
Buy a light sensitive night light. These are great & you just plug them in. These days they are usually LED's so give off a great light & consume next to no power. I have one in Eds room, one in the hall, & one in the bathroom.
A little boy needs to learn how to aim when going to the toilet. a method that I have used with great success is to use a ping pong ball. Draw a face with a permanent marker on the ball & put it in the toilet {do not worry, it will not flush down in your average toilet}, little boys love the challenge of trying to get the face. Problem solved, no more pee on the floor.
Above all, remember to have fun with your child. He/She does not really want you to spend a lot of money on them, they only want a lot of your time. They do not really care what you are doing together, just as long as you are doing something together.
If you have your own desktop computer, get a web cam {they are only a few bucks at most electronic stores}. Kids love to see a recording of themselves. You can then also chat with the cam to other friends that have a cam. Those friends have kids, the kids see each other and also chat. Yes, with Windows Live & with Yahoo you can do a video call. This means that it is like a phone conversation with the advantage that you can see each other.
Along a similar subject, it is worth having a look at Skype. This is a free program that you download & install. It gives you free phone calls from one p.c. to another that also has Skype. as it is all free, why would you not do it. Some people have said that they can do the same thing with Windows Live & Yahoo, & they are correct. However I have found that these providers get very busy & quite often the cam gets disconnected, Skype does not seem to have that problem. Me, I run all three of them.


I know that there is just so much more that I could write about here, but I'm suffering from the old "Where do I start & where do I stop."
Please feel most welcome to ask questions, give feedback, or offer suggestions.

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