Meet Mike

“Becoming a single father was really hard. I worried about my daughter growing up in a divorced family and having to shuttle between two homes. I was just trying to get through life because it seemed chaotic at the time.” Mike reflects on his time as a single parent. “I was unsettled, and it was difficult adjusting and adapting and getting into a new routine.”

Mike had been married for two years when they had their daughter. A few years later, his marriage ended. He and his ex-wife shared time with their daughter after the divorce and worked together with the shared goal that she felt loved and taken care of. Nonetheless, learning how to coparent during that time was difficult. “I had to figure out how to work with someone I was no longer married to and do it in a way that was best for our daughter. I felt like I sacrificed quite a bit to not put her in the middle. I would choose to give in and not get into an argument with her mother, because I didn’t want our daughter to think we were arguing because of her.”

Finding their new normal wasn’t easy, but Mike was committed to finding a way. “It was important for me to try to keep the house, so she had a place that was familiar for her since that was the only place she knew up until then. But financially that made it really tight. For a couple of years, we were pinching pennies and cutting coupons. We were eating as cheaply as we could and cutting as many corners as we could so the other things we had to pay for – like daycare and doctors’ appointments – we would have the money for. It was difficult.”

Mike also remembers learning how to be creative and strong as a single parent. “When you have your children, it’s just you there by yourself. That was a challenge for me, because I was sometimes on call at night. I’m a computer programmer and at the time we didn’t have the capability of logging in from home. So, if I got called in when I had her, I had to figure out what to do. One time I brought her in with me with her pillows and blankets and figured I’d let her sleep under my desk! So that was definitely a challenge.”

Mike encourages single parents to find someone to talk to. “One of the mistakes I made was acting like I had it all under control and could do it on my own. I was never one to ask for help. I had support from my family, but I had a tendency to act like nothing was wrong, that I didn’t need anything. Looking back, I feel like that was a mistake on my part. I wish I would have found somebody – like my parents, or a sibling or a friend – that I could talk to and get advice from.” Mike realizes that had he reached out and asked for help, he could maybe have saved some heartbreak with custody issues and learning how to coparent. “I never felt like I needed the help of talking anything through, but that was a mistake. It is good to find someone you can just sit and talk with.”

Mike can look back now and see how after the initial years of finding their new routine and adjusting to life as a single parent eventually led to a time of growth in his faith. “Back then I was just trying to get by and do whatever I had to do. I’d get her up, feed her, play with her, read to her, put her back to bed and just felt like we were on the go constantly. Time just went so fast; it felt like a blur. I don’t know if I could have changed that and slowed it down or not.” After Mike’s ex-wife moved out of state with their daughter, he felt devastated he could not see her as frequently as he had been. “That’s where I began to see more personal growth. I started attending a church that was similar to one I went to growing up. As I attended more frequently, I started listening to the teaching more and it got me thinking. I realized I really needed to change what I was doing. It felt almost like I was leading two lives. When I didn’t have my daughter, I would resort back to my twenties but when I did have her, I would do everything I could to be a good parent for her. I realized I needed to act all the time like I did when I had her and be more consistent. It happened over a period of years. It took time to grow.”

After Mike’s daughter grew, he met and eventually married Jean, who has two grown daughters of her own. “That was a godsend. I had never been in a relationship where you work together, and you work on your relationship together. Even though we have our differences, there’s this commitment I have from her that I’ve never felt before. I thought after my first marriage that person isn’t always going to be there for you, but I do feel that with Jean. She’s always going to be there, and we will work through things. She is a woman of God and devoted to that and to our marriage. That’s huge.”

Mike encourages those who are not single parents to reach out. “If you know someone that is going through this, let them know you are there to talk. You don’t have to get into their business but let them know you are there if they need anything. I always tell the single parents we know I get it. I know what you are going through. Things may be difficult, but we are here.”

Thank you for your transparency in sharing your journey with us, Mike! You are a blessing to all of us!

Published April 2023

The views conveyed in each of the Featured Family and Reflection Stories found on our website or any other media from Single Parent Provision (SPP) are based solely on information given to SPP by the parent sharing as they perceive it to be true. SPP is not responsible for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or opinions expressed by the parent in sharing their story.

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