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Monthly Archives: June 2015

You’re The Dad!

I sat down to wish you a Happy Father’s Day. But it’s difficult to do that as I’m not sure what Father’s Day means for you. The world of the divorced dad is so diverse and situations of divorce vary so greatly it’s impossible to know exactly what you’ll experience today. For some it will be a joyous celebration, yet for others it may very well be a terribly difficult day.

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My father.

So I’ll leave you with this simple thought. You’re the dad. Regardless of whether you’ll be at the pool with your kids today enjoying a full day of interaction, overseas protecting our nation missing your children, somewhere miles away from your children that you don’t get to
see very often or perhaps enjoying an extra afternoon of visitation, simply put; you’re the dad.

No one, other than another dad, can ever fully understand what you go through internally as a father. It is a gift you were given that can never be taken away. How you hold that gift internally is up to you. Fatherhood is an everlasting truth and no matter how you spend Father’s Day no one can ever take away from you the fact that, say it with me, you’re the dad.

We’re a brotherhood of sorts. So do what you can to support each other. I can guarantee you, that whatever your situation, there are others out there experiencing the exact same scenario and understand what you’re going through.

If you can’t be with your kids today, perhaps you can support other dads in similar situations. Or you can reflect on what being a father has meant for you and how it’s changed you. If you are with your children today, soak it up and be thankful for every moment.

Good or bad, today I simply wish for you peace and joy this Father’s Day.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Pushback Top 10 of Divorced Kids

When my daughter was four I told her to take the gum out of her mouth before we sat down for dinner. “You’re ruining my LIFE!” was the response I got. I told her, “Wow, hadn’t really anticipated ruining your life until you were 13, so I’m WAY ahead of the game.”

As parents our decisions are sometimes met with hateful resistance. I’m pretty sure it’s a sign you love your kids if you’re told how much theyFotoliaComp_34861400_4phGROBYL2KdLisCNSqaTcl8idEYHapB hate you from time to time. We weren’t put on this earth to be their best friend, rather protect them from the world and themselves as they go through different stages of development. And we all know that kids will use anything in an attempt to push our buttons and get us to change our position on things.

Driving to work this morning I was reflecting on some of my favorite pushbacks from the past thirteen years. Thought it would be fun to create the Top 10 pushback phrases we hear from our children. A few are unique to divorced kids, but most are applicable to any child. If you’ve got one not on the list don’t hesitate to share here or on Facebook (facebook.com/lifeasadivorceddad) or Twitter (@divorceddadlife).

And now the list!

Number 10. Everyone else’s parents are letting them go!
Number 9. This wouldn’t be an issue if you and mom (dad) hadn’t gotten divorced.
Number 8. You wouldn’t understand (which flows directly into number 7)
Number 7. It was different when you were my age.
Number 6. You’re ruining my life!
Number 5. I don’t do half the things my friends do.
Number 4. Mom (dad) let’s me do it at her (his) house.
Number 3. You’re MEAN!
Number 2. If it were (insert sibling’s name) you’d let them do it!
And the number 1 pushback we hear from our kids when they don’t like our answer: “Now I know why mom (dad) divorced you.”

Twitter: @billfilipiak
Facebook: facebook.com/lifeasadivorceddad

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Going Off The Divorced Deep End

I am indeed very proud of the relationship I have with my kids. As a divorced dad, I’ve attempted to be more aware of specific interactions I have with them and how we work together and communicate. Yet, as much as I believe my relationship with all three is very strong, like most parents I struggle with the big picture and how to ensure that as they get older that bond is maintained. Despite my own insecurities and fears that I’ve completely messed things up, once in a while I get little hints from the universe that maybe I’m on the right path.

Recently while at the lake with my kids one of the people renting a house directly next to us came over and introduced themselves. They made a comment about how great it was to see the amount of interaction between our family. I was somewhat taken aback and thanked them for the kind words. The encounter caused me to step back and think more about the family and how we interact. We’ve been going to the lake each summer for over six years now. And as I heard the comments it made me consider how my relationship with my kids has changed and continues to evolve as they get older. We, like most, have our good days and bad. And one of the nice things about the lake 2014-05-25 11.03.49trip is we’re able to focus 100% on each other. OK, maybe 90%, but you get the point.

With one now entering her teen years and another not far behind, attempting to keep up with their needs both physically and emotionally can be a real struggle. What created a bond with my eldest six years ago is very different than it is today. Expecting her to focus 100% on her family for a week, when she is entering a social circle and is more emotionally dependent on her friendships outside the family, is frankly unrealistic.

“So Bill, what’s the point of this post?”

Awesome question. The first point of this post is to let you know that the world is watching. As a divorced dad you have a unique opportunity to change the perceptions of the divorced dad. For far too long the “dead beat dad,” “the cheating ex-husband,” “the dad who was never there for me,” has been the focus of media and TMZ. We need more examples of dad grocery shopping with the kids, coaching soccer teams, being a positive influence in their kids’ lives and jumping in 62 degree water because your son wants you to play in the lake with him. You can be that person. But it takes hard work and sacrifices. It takes shifting priorities and searching for balance; which let me tell you, is hard as hell. Oh, and you’re going to screw up. But as long as you keep your focus and keep reminding yourself that the next 10-15 years is going to go by quickly, you can motivate yourself to drop what you’re doing and be involved.

The second point is that you need to be open to changing the way you interact with your kids based on both their individual personalities and needs, but also their stage of development. This is a tough one for me as it means seriously honing in on your kids and being open to adjusting your own mind set from time to time. Doing so also means you can’t take things personally. When your thirteen-year-old blows you off to text friends back home, sometimes you have to recognize that this is an important part of his or her development and you need to work with them on boundaries and guidelines that are a win/win. Basically you have to find compromises and offer a little give and take.

The third point is, sometimes all your kids want to see is that you’re trying. Making an effort and letting them know they’re important is sometimes easier than you think. It simply takes being aware and catching yourself and sometimes forcing each other outside of your comfort zones. Make a point from time to time to let your kid know they’re the most important thing in the world to you and that you enjoy their company. Not by saying it, but by blowing off other priorities once in a while in order to give them your undivided attention, even when they’re saying they don’t want it.

What I’ve found over the past thirteen years of being a dad is that gathering up the muster to make that first jump into the lake is a struggle. It’s much easier to just watch from the shore. But I’ll tell you, once you’re in the water, you’ll find it’s even harder to get out.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Divorced Laundry

Scrambling through a particularly chaotic week it dawned on me how similar my life was to doing the family laundry. It’s uncanny how similar each day can be to a particular type of load. For example; there’s the adult load which is full of big items that take up a lot of space but are quick and easy to fold. (Adult clothes, towels, those kinds of things). Typically those loads don’t take long to fold and you can accomplish a lot in a short period of time. It’s like mowing the lawn. Big project but simple; straight-forward, Done! Trim with a couple pair of socks and you’re ready to move on.

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Contrast this with the baby’s load of laundry. There are likely 48 onezies, 153 tiny little socks, 24 shirts and a number of things you have no idea what they are but they’re itty bitty and impossible to fold. These equate to the days that are full of a “laundry list” of a lot of little tasks and errands that get strung together to create a ten hour day. Inevitably you’ll forget something and won’t realize it until you’re finished. Kind of like getting to the end of the load only to realize there are several socks left that don’t have a match. By the end of it you’re like, “If I have to reach in to that damn dryer one more time and hit my elbow on the door someone’s going into timeout!”

There’s also that load of clothes from two pre-teens that are similar in size making it near impossible to recognize whose is whose. Inevitably you’re going to mix em’ up and get all kinds of complaints, not unlike getting to work only to realize you grabbed your daughter’s lunch instead of yours.

Life is also full of awkward moments. Which I equate to your teen’s delicates that are impossible to fold and frankly, make you a little uncomfortable handling in the first place. This of course quickly turns into the perfect excuse for teaching them to do their own laundry. At the office we call this delegating.

As men, one of the positives of being single is that our laundry consists of nothing more than a couple of pair of jeans, a few classic T’s and and two pair of socks. But let’s face it, that makes for a pretty boring load of laundry after a while. Sometimes it’s nice to find a pair of Hello Kitty socks or some Superman pj’s (not mine) mixed in for good measure just to make sure your own clothes down get too lonely.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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