If you are about to begin your divorce process, one of the main worries you can have is with custody and how much time you will be spending with your kids. The good news for dads is that even though history has shown that moms have typically received more custody time than dads, that statistic is changing. The courts are recognizing that both the mother and the father should be granted the same amount of time when raising the children.
It has become increasingly accepted that shared parental duties will create a healthier and more fulfilling upbringing for the children. Once a divorce is finalized, you are not a part-time parent. Your amount of physical time may be changed with your children, but the emotional bonds you create as the father should still stay strong.
If you are concerned about being a parent post-divorce, just know that it is not that much different that when you were married. But you will probably need to adjust a few things since the dynamics will now have changed.
Make your place a home – If you move out of the marital home, your new place should be inviting and feel like a place the children should be, not a place they are visiting. The kids should have their own rooms with their own items in it. You can even let the kids pick out their own furniture and items for their room to make it feel more like their own. To give it a real sense of home, personal items from the kids should be displayed all around. It will also be best to not have to haul items from one home to the next every time the kids are with you. That may mean purchasing second items like video game machines, headphones and sports equipment.
Plan activities – One benefit of post-divorce parenting is you can make every visit an event. When married, it can be easy to just sit at home and keep letting the days tick by. But when you know you will be with the kids for an upcoming weekend, you can plan for more than them just sitting in their room by themselves. Outdoor excursions, fishing, hiking or attending a sporting event will not only make the kids excited to be with you, but this bonding will can create wonderful memories.
Be a good communicator – Hopefully the idea of being a communicator does not make you nervous. It does not mean that you need to open yourself up to the kids about feelings or constantly explaining your life to your ex who may want to know about the environment the children are living in. With the kids, it may be more important for you to be a better listener than a talker. Even if you have never used social media, you may want to give it a try since that is probably how your kids will communicate and is a great way to keep in touch when they are not with you. With your ex-spouse, regardless if the divorce was rough, you should keep the lines of communication open, so you can openly discuss the kids and how to work around logistics with parenting time.
If you are about to start your path to divorce and have concerns about what parenting as a dad looks like without a mom around, the good news is that it will probably not look too much different than it does now. One thing to remember is that your children want you to continue to be their dad and will enjoy spending time with you regardless of the situation.