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Category: Relationships

A New Normal: The Challenges of Being a Single Father

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Single moms and dads have more in common than you might think! Click To Tweet

This is a guest post by Daniel Sherwin of

Daniel has been a single dad to his daughter (9) and son (6) for three years, and valiantly admits that he doesn’t always know what the heck he’s doing – I am with you on that one Daniel!
Seeing every day as an adventure and a blessing has helped him through tough times and on his blog he shares the resources that has worked for him.

Men who suddenly find themselves as single parents face a hard, new reality that can make it difficult to be the father you want to be. If you were an active and engaged dad when married, you’re likely to find that quality time with your kids isn’t so easy to come by anymore.

When you’re married, you’re part of a natural parenting team. There was usually always someone to help share the burden when it all gets to be too much.

There’s the pressure of having to maintain a healthy home environment while being a supportive, loving father. And, just for good measure, single fathers often come up against the stigma that says men don’t make good single parents because nurturing doesn’t come naturally to them. It’s a tough scenario, and some men struggle to overcome the unique, new challenges they face.


Being both disciplinarian and supportive, sympathetic parent requires flexibility and the ability to listen. Your children may have a hard time accepting the situation if your wife took the lead where discipline was concerned. In many cases, dads feel guilty about a death, divorce or separation and may overcompensate by being too lenient when discipline is called for. In such a situation, showing tough love can be difficult, especially if your kids are still emotionally raw. Nevertheless, it’s important to stand your ground and be firm when needed. Remember that children need structure and a clear understanding of who’s in charge.


If you and your ex-spouse aren’t on good terms, chances are you can’t rely on moral support from her when it comes to the children. Dads who have a hard time with single parenthood often struggle because they have no support system, no one to share thoughts, feelings and frustrations with. Seek out friends and family when you need a sympathetic ear. If divorce has left you without many options, consider joining a support group for single fathers in your community, or on line.


Making ends meet is often a real challenge for single dads. You’re the sole breadwinner, which means you’re responsible for expenses you once shared with your ex. That can be a big hit to the wallet. If you’ve never had to budget before, you’ll have to learn now. Start by eliminating non-essentials like cable TV or eating out. It’ll be rough at first, but everyone will get used to the “new normal.”

Some single parents find it necessary to take on a second job, but that can become a problem if babysitters are hard to find, and when you start feeling run down. It’s important to take care of yourself so you can be an effective parent.


Try to mark out a little time for yourself each day just to relax and think. If possible, work in a little exercise during a lunch break, or after the kids are in bed. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, getting help and making good choices are paramount, for you and your children.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Being a single father takes some getting used to. It’s hard work, and you’ll make a mistake now and then. Be open to help and advice from those closest to you and take care not to neglect your physical and emotional needs.

Thank you Daniel for this great article! Seeing the single-parent life from a dad’s perspective has made my realise that we might have more in common that we think.

This has been a guest post by Daniel Sherwin of


5 Essential tips for a working single mom – Part 1 Priorities

5 Essential tips for a working single mom Click To Tweet

Preparing a healthy meal is always important for any mom, no matter your circumstances. We don’t always have the time to cook those meals and we have to find ways around it. If you have more time you can do meal prepping over weekends or you could look into a local meal delivering service.

Meal Delivery Services

I can recommend “Dinner 4 U by Lisa” in the Helderberg area, she provides healthy office lunches and dinners. New menus are uploaded weekly on her Facebook page, so make sure to check her out!


My second tip is a go-to one that I started when my daughter was still a toddler. I needed all the extra time I could get (who doesn’t?) and prepping multiple meals in one go was one way to do it. Use containers appropriate for freezing  and remember to put a description and date on the lid. You’ll thank me in 6 months’ time when you find a “Frozen Wonder” at the back of the freezer – you know, you ‘wonder’ what it might be? 🙂

This is not just for die hard weight lifters and super fit millennials out there. Preparing a few meals over a weekend when you have more time (hopefully), will definitely save your sanity on a school night when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook a healthy meal.

  • When you cook a batch of Bolognaise sauce, or something similar, double up and freeze smaller portions for later. Why not use this awesome local recipe from Knorr.

Knorr Bolognaise

  • Make sure you use lots of veggies and get creative in sneaking them into meals:
    • Add pureed carrot (jars of baby food) to any tomato based sauce for spaghetti or macaroni & cheese.
    • Add half a cup of pureed cauliflower to your cheese sauce for mac and cheese – I promise you, the taste is barely noticeable!
    • Add pureed spinach to any chocolate dessert – the cocoa will mask the taste and colour of the spinach.

What is your cooking tip for busy working moms?



Creating space for uncertainty

Persist in the face of doubts... Click To Tweet

Staying positive amid uncertainty is one of the hardest lessons I am learning. Letting go of worry is not my strong point, but a habit that I need to break. Being in control lets me feel calm and safe. And not knowing the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of my future make me uncomfortable.

How do I relax?



How do I create space for these feelings of uncertainty when they break over me like never-ending waves? Suffocating me. Taking my joy.


All I know is that I have to persist in the face of doubts. Just keeping on. Pushing through. Trusting that all will be well.

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Tension saps your energy…

What do you do to recharge your energy? Click To Tweet

tension creates fatigue

If you live with constant tension in your life, whether from work, relationships or health issues, it will really put a drain on your energy reserves. Finding ways to relax and recharge that works for you is essential.

Deep breathing, meditation, taking a walk in nature or along the beach, journalling or making your favourite beverage, are all things that work for me.

Most importantly I find that spending time alone, with no distractions does it for me.

What works for you?

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The day with my dad I will never forget

A while back I was contacted by a freelance writer to do an article about my dad. (*update: It’s finally out in Your Family (June 2013) magazine.) The photograph accompanying the article was taken in July 2012. My daughter and I visited my parents and brother and I decided that we needed some professional family photographs taken. 

My dad passed away on November 7, 2012. After being diagnosed with a type of Leukemia in December 2011, he spent a great deal of time in hospital undergoing chemotherapy. Unfortunately his body just wasn’t strong enough to cope with the negative effects of the chemo. He was always such a strong man, and probably one of the only people on this planet who ever understood me and completely had my back. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him dearly.

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Why do some friendship last?

Aren’t Fridays supposed to be relaxing? I suppose not, it’s the last day of the week and everyone is looking forward to the weekend, making plans and rushing to get everything ready. I have invited a few friends over for a BBQ on Saturday, and one of them is a friend from my ‘previous life’. It was very heart breaking for me see my friends struggle to deal with my divorce. People feel they have to pick sides, and most people find that too difficult to do, so they just ignore both of you. In my case, just one friend cared enough to support me; he didn’t pick sides and tried to see both of us separately. We have remained friends, for which I am very thankful. He is a reminder of that previous life, that it actually happened and that there were good memories too.

Now I have some new friends that are ‘mine’, I have ‘shared’ friends with my fiancée and I have a few ‘old’ ones. Sometimes it’s hard to feel yourself when everyone around you is a new friend. In the beginning of my new relationship its was difficult to relax at a BBQ, I found it hard to be myself when all I thought was ‘these people don’t KNOW me’. They all had shared stories and I felt like the newcomer, the intruder. Such high-school nonsense and this in my mid-thirties! I realised I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, it will take time and I need to nurture these relationships so that they can grow into something more. Well, they did grow and I am very excited to actually have friends now.

See, in my marriage I never felt like I was allowed to have friends. New people were always criticized and I eventually stopped trying to meet and make new friends. We moved around a lot so this was very isolating.

And then you get friendships that just work. You will not speak for a year, but when you do its like you spoke only yesterday! No issues, no hard feelings, just mutual understanding that no matter what, you will always be there for each other.

I am very fortunate to have one of those friends. We met when we were just 13 and even though there have been gaps of years that we lost contact, we picked it up again a few years ago, and we are as close as ever. She’s the one person I can share my deepest feelings with and she just gets me. She is also the only person that will be completely honest with me, without being hurtful. She rocks!

I will be going on a short holiday next week and we are flying up to see my parents. I haven’t seen my dad since January, he has been ill and you can read all about it here. I will also be visiting this friend of mine, her twin boys are turning 2 in July and I haven’t seen them since they were just babies.

Our lives have evolved and grown and so has our friendship, I think it’s really important to make time for these special relationships in our lives because they can be your safety net when things go wrong.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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How my daughter saved my life

June 2008. The month my life changed forever. My worst nightmare came true. My husband announced that he wanted some time to think about our marriage. He walked out the front door and came back a few days later, a complete stranger.

I couldn’t understand how my partner of 10 years, the father of my dear 13-month-old daughter could change overnight. Who was this person?

Months later I would wonder if it was me who had changed? I definitely know now that becoming a mother had made me a stronger person. Taking care of a helpless infant had changed me in so many ways I could never have dreamed of.  I realised that if I can be a mother – I can do anything. It was with this attitude that I managed to survive.

I was left with only two months rent on our home, no job, no income whatsoever, and no idea of what to do next. I was reeling from the shock. Looking into my daughters’ eyes and knowing that she needed me was the only thing that kept me going, helping me get up in the morning and trying everything in my power to get my life back on track. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was devastated. There was no ‘normal’ life to get back to. Every hope and dream that I have ever had was gone. Just gone. I felt empty and betrayed and lost. But she kept me grounded. Every time I would feel myself slipping, I would remind myself that she is there and that she needs me. I couldn’t indulge in self-pity or too many “Why, oh, why me?” pity-parties. There simply wasn’t time and room for it.


Our divorce took months to settle and at the end, I was the one standing in court. I remember leaving the building that day thinking that on your wedding day, your entire family is there, and everyone surrounds you with their love. But when you get divorced, you are all alone in front of a room full of strangers, telling a judge why your marriage ended. It seemed so cold and sterile. Just another day of business on the divorce roll for them. Later, sitting in my car I wondered: “So, this is the first day of the rest of my life? Yay.” Not.

It took a good 2 years for me to get back on my feet emotionally. To reconnect with myself and find the person I really was. The person that got lost in my marriage, and who I didn’t realise was missing until it was almost too late. The real me.

Who knew that such a devastating life-changing event could be the best thing that has happened to me, besides my dear daughter? I smile when I look back at it now. It turned out to be the start of my BETTER life! It has made me even stronger and more determined to lead a more fulfilled life. It also left me thinking: “If I can survive THAT, I can do anything!”

Just a couple of weeks old.


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