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Parenthood is one of the most challenging jobs any adult could face, if not the hardest of them all. It’s really supposed to be a teamwork type of situation, but take one parent out of the equation and you’re left with the other having to carry the burden alone. We’ve all heard stories of single mothers, people do a whole lot of talking about them, good and bad. However, single dads are out there too, and it’s overwhelming for them as well.

A single father has to turn his Superman mode on; juggling work, personal relations, as well as prioritizing his kids before anything else. The heavy responsibility can leave you with an excruciating feeling of loneliness, which is where a supporting village should come in. A group of people you can rely on when things get too hectic, they can be family members, good friends, or fellow parents, all that matters is that they’re there in times of need.

Unfortunately, this village thing is quite tricky for most single fathers. Some are desperately trying to build such a network, others seem to think they’re on their own, village-less if you may, until they come down with a fever or one of their kids breaks a leg and people start showing up with cards and balloons. There are also those who live too far away from loved ones or are too invested in a hectic lifestyle that they’re too busy to nourish friendships.

Actually, there are many barriers standing between single fathers and finding their village, struggles they have to overcome in order to receive the much-needed support. We’ll be discussing some of them, how the absence of a village can affect single dads, and what can you do to break through those barriers and build your own village.

What gets in the way of Building a Parenting Village?

First up, we got the isolation factor. The majority of single fathers admit to living in an isolated state due to the lack of “guy” friends in similar situations. Therefore, they don’t feel like venting to someone who doesn’t share their everyday dilemmas or really understands what they’re going through. This really limits the social circle that they can lean on when the time comes.

Work is another huge hindrance when it comes to connecting with other people. Especially for single fathers, who sometimes bury themselves in work to make up for the absence of the mother. The lack of time really puts a strain on growing relationships with friends or family, after all, there are only so many hours in the day.

Making comparisons is also a rather negative block in the path of building a village. Looking around them, single dads may encounter other fathers who seem to have it all under control, especially portrayed on social media where everyone seems so secure with tons of supporters when in reality, they’re just as lost. This is a super unhealthy outlook on life because you don’t need to keep up with others, you only need to be the best version of yourself, the rest will eventually work itself out.

Moreover, let’s not forget how much courage it takes to actually reach out to other single fathers for support and a chance in having them as part of your village. Taking the risk of showing vulnerability is a huge fear for most fathers, with all the pressure of men having to be an emotional wall, that the thought of getting turned down usually makes them abort the whole mission.

Last but definitely not least, a large gap in age between you and a fellow single father or between both of your kids can make relating to each other quite hard as you’d be at different stages of life so your priorities probably won’t line up.

Typically, a number of these factors get mixed up and end up stopping single fathers from forming a parenting village, which can have devastating effects, taking a toll on their quality of life.

How can the Absence of a Village Affect a Single Father?

The absence of the village adds tremendous pressure on fathers, forcing them to attempt providing care and support which otherwise would be given by entire families. Consequently, the parent’s priorities will get disrupted with so many overwhelming decisions to make and conflicting demands to meet.

Without a village to fall back on, a lone father is bound to feel uncertain and anxious almost all the time as he lacks guidance and support, not knowing whether he is doing things right, always doubting and questioning his parenting methods. Imagine having no one to tell you “it’s all gonna be okay”, not very nice, is it?

The responsibility loads that are dumped on single fathers can actually make them feel disempowered, frantically running around trying to make ends meet which often translates into losing one’s self and forgetting what it’s like to be normal, with average capabilities and strength, not having to ” super” all the time.

Village-less, single fathers feel invisible yet judged, overlooked yet so much is expected from them. So, what can you actually do as a single dad to power through all the struggles and start building your parenting village?

Well, first and foremost, you have to believe that you don’t need to do parenthood alone. You don’t have to go through it without help, it is completely acceptable to let people in on the action, let them support you. Ask for help when you need it, and accept it once it’s offered. Embracing the feeling of “I’m there for you” is something you’d never regret.

Remember, it’s okay to show vulnerability. It’s okay to not be on top of the game every single day. Asking questions and seeking advice doesn’t make you any less of a father than you already are. This will push you to be more comfortable around people, which in turn, builds friendships in a far more meaningful way as you feel others dropping their façades as well.

As a final piece of advice, I urge you to try offering your own help and putting yourself out there. Your attitude attracts people matching it into your village, so make it a positive one. Nourish your connections, invest in relationships, and let others help you.