The number of single fathers in the United States has gone up from less than 300,000 to over 2.6 million since 1960. While this number is still out-shadowed by the 8.6 million single mothers, there is increased awareness of the unique needs and struggles a single father faces from a single mother. Some fathers join mom support groups, only to feel out of place. Many report that it's hard to even connect to fathers in two-parent households, who tend to do less direct childcare than moms and often don't understand everything that is involved in raising a child. It can feel incredibly isolating.
In no way are we attempting to imply that being a single father is harder than a single mother. In fact, statistically speaking, single fathers are financially better off and are more likely to be cohabiting with a partner. Moreover, despite the isolation the fathers may feel, there seems to be more positive public opinion about single fathers than mothers, and they tend to gardner more sympathy.
But looking at the numbers only clouds the reality. Each statistical point is a person with real struggles and real joys. The short clip below shows us one of those stories.
Part of the reason I am so emotionally gripped by this story is that my daughter is young enough for me to recall how stressful those early months were. With all our family hundreds of miles away, we had little help navigating parenthood. There were lots of joys, but also so many times that we felt like we were screwing it up or that we are in over our heads. But we did have each other. I honestly can't imagine what I would have done without my husband to support me. What really broke me, however, was when Matt talks about not having Liz to share the best moments. Imagine the bittersweetness he must feel every time he sees her smile, every time he's proud of her, every time she makes him laugh.
It's heartwarming to see how well they are doing, despite Matt's initial insecurities. What did you think? What helped you the most as a parent? What were your biggest struggles? Let us know in the comments section.