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November 2020

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Daddy and Daughter
Parenthood

Facing into Parental Self-Doubt After Separation

There’s no manual for parenthood. It’s harder than most people imagine, but infinitely more rewarding. 

I’ve learned in recent years that parenthood is one of those un-winnable games. 

Once you think you’ve mastered one level, you’re onto the next – each level with harder puzzles to solve along the way. 

Throw separation into the mix and quickly you’ve got two players trying to help one character win, each with conflicting strategies and objectives.

I have Evie on a two-week split timetable and there’s a gap that I don’t see her every two weeks of about five days.

It sucks.

It’s always been this time I’ve struggled most.

Thankfully, children are malleable little creatures and they adjust so quickly; Evie certainly does.

She fully relaxes back into her routine with mum and when she sees me again, it always takes her a little while to warm back up.

Considering I see Evie seven out of nine days that break after seems like a long time indeed.

That’s not to say we don’t always have a great time together, we do. It’s just that the difference is noticeable.

It‘s this time that causes me to question myself most.

Does Evie want to be here? 

Am I doing a good enough job?

Is she really happy?

It plays on my mind a lot.

More recently, I’ve tried to remind myself that we all succumb to that self-doubt from time-to-time as parents.

Instead of suffering like I used to, I try to think of self-doubt as not only healthy, but useful. 

Questioning myself forces me to continuously examine my behaviour and re-evaluate my approach towards parenting to ensure I’m doing what’s right by my little girl. 

There’s no one size fits all strategy for bringing your kids up.

What matters, and what they’ll remember, is that you tried your damned hardest to fill their lives with love, security and laughter.

So keep smiling.

Daddy and Daughter
Lifestyle & Adventures

10k Instagram followers for a Breaking Dad and his beautiful daughter.

10,000 followers on Instagram. Wow. Well, at the time of posting this photo, 10,116 followers.

I had no idea what an unusual year was in store for both of us; for all of us.

I’d toyed with the idea of starting this Instagram page for a while and kept bottling it for fear of failure. I thought nobody would be interested.

On 27th January earlier this year, I bit the bullet and just went for it.

The goal was simple: To show a real separated dad’s journey, complete with the ups and downs that come along the way.

A year ago, I was in the lowest place I’ve ever been in my life.

Knowing I wasn’t going to have a ‘proper’ Christmas with my daughter was utterly heartbreaking – It was the first one since the separation.

I didn’t want to put decorations up because it just made me sad and was in a worrying amount of debt from solicitor fees and mediation.

I’d go to work, put on a brave face, come home, cry.

Christmas came, and all of the stress had been for nothing.

It was the best Christmas I’d had in so long, and it solidified in my mind just how broken my previous relationship had been.

I realised that what mattered above all else was the relationship I have with my little girl, and that co-parenting WAS going to be best for her in the long run.

If I can look back in years to come and feel proud of the fact that I’ve given Evie the best childhood I could, then I’ll be a happy man.

That’s why I started the Instagram page.

I wanted to make myself accountable to my daughter.

Not all dads just up and walk away. Some of us have to fight tooth and nail to be ABLE to take an active position in our children’s lives.

I talked to my friend, @rewilding_dad on the day I created the account and we joke, saying I was aiming for 10k in twelve months.

It seemed ridiculously unachievable.

Yet, just over nine months later, here we are.

So from a Dad that was on the verge of breaking, who can now honestly say he is the happiest he’s been in such a long time, I wanted to say thank you so much.

Thank you for every follow, like, save and comment.

It means so much.

You’re the best.

Dan
The Breaking Dad

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