Weekend Dad

It was on Boxing Day 2009 that I popped into the OnlyDads Office to pick up the inevitable “Christmas crisis” calls. When I got there the ‘phone was ringing; on the other end was a Dad who (crying) told me that he didn’t get to see his son very much these days and he felt he was losing the ability “to love him”.

It was a conversation that haunts and drives our organisation forward in equal measure! It is typical of many such conversations and emails. Here, Oli tells us how he keeps a relationship alive and flourishing with his daughter.

Don’t tell him this – but I have the highest regard for Oli – he is a man who sees his daughter every other weekend and despite the difficulties puts his child first. He “steps up to the plate” and I am proud to have him write for us…

**************************************************************************

It’s only right that my first ever ‘guest’ blog will be for the man I whole-heartedly blame for me starting a blog in the first place. Bob asked me to write something about how I keep and strengthen the bond with my daughter when I can go for 2 weeks on occasions 3 without seeing her.

There is no doubt that I miss out on a lot but the time we have together is fantastic and if anything it can be argued we have a stronger bond now then we had before the split from her mum. Difficult to say what would have happened if she was still here but in a bizarre way becoming a weekend dad made me a better dad.

I struggled at first, I let her get away with blue-murder to begin with because I was so paranoid about upsetting her and her not enjoying her time with me and not wanting to come back or just spending the time in tears that I was weak. I woke up to this and remembered I am her Dad and always will be nothing can change that. In fact it was something she made at her nursery years ago when still with me that really shook me out of my paranoia, “Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad.”

Before I continue and go through the techniques and process’s I use I thought I’d clear off the bad stuff- I don’t know who her friends are, I’ve met her teacher once, I’m not there when she comes home after getting an award/star/praise at school, I’m not there when she finally spells that word that she’s struggled with, I’m not there when she falls over, I’m not there when she is poorly. It breaks my heart every time to give her back to her mum, even though I know that is the right thing.

To deal with that I draw on every damn resource and support I have, I use twitter, blogging, friends, family and most importantly my parents.  They don’t always tell me what I want to hear, they won’t always let me just vent but they are always ALWAYS there.

That’s how I cope but in order to keep my bond with my daughter, we do things we create events, dad and daughter events. We go swimming most weekends, we have cinema nights. We don’t just put a DVD on we, we get popcorn, turn the lights down and watch something new every time. We go to the cinema together, I’m teaching her to play chess, we do crafts (something I would never have done when with her mum). I include her in everything, she helps me cook, I take her clothes shopping (for me- well any bloke needs female advice even if it is from a 6 year old). We go for trips out- not always an option due to money but the important thing is we do it together.

I’m also very lucky to have my sister and brothers close by, so we do a lot with them. I’ve always been conscience that it’s not only me that lost my daughter full-time, so did my siblings and parents. Day to day, I call her most nights or she calls me and I speak to her, it isn’t always great but the important thing is she knows I’m there. I’ve taken her to my work so she knows where I am, I never miss a parents evening or any other important school things. She lives 60 miles away so it is tough to keep that going but it is essential.

There have been times when I’ve been close to walking away, thinking in my darker times that she would be better off without me but the fact is she wouldn’t, she needs me and I need her. Earlier this year I had a massive wobble where I was very close to doing this, but due to some wonderful people I didn’t.

I am very very lucky in the fact that despite the issues me and the ex have we both understand she needs us both and we have (to date) managed to put our differences aside for the benefit of our daughter.

I don’t talk badly about her mum when she is near, I ask her what she thinks mummy might be doing, what she might be having for tea etc
Will of this the cornerstone to my success is my parents, without them I wouldn’t have got this far and there are many more challenges along the road but I know that I will rise to them because of what I’ve learnt, the support I have had, because I know I’m not the only person in the world going through this and because more than my little one needs me, I need her.

As Dads we have the best job in the world, so we must step up to the plate and get into the ballpark because in this job you can’t just sit in the grandstand.

Advertisements

About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
This entry was posted in Family Law, Family Law Fortnight, Family life, Guest posts, Putting children first, Talking to kids. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Weekend Dad

  1. Wow,

    Oli you are amazingly honest and I feel honoured to have a peak into your life. I have 2 children by 2 Dads, neither have made the effort you have made. It’s refreshing that you know your weaknesses as well as your strengths and I love that in some ways you see some positives from the situation. This is the best first guest Blog I have ever read.

    Louise

  2. Oli Moore says:

    Wow,

    Louise thank you so much for your kind comments.

    Really appreciate it, thank you for reading. When Bob asked me to write this it was a no brainer, my little girl is the best thing that ever happened to me and she has shaped my life since. I wouldn’t be without her.

    There is always a silver lining! 🙂

  3. A friend says:

    A fantastic blog, and one I know is written from the heart. I’ve known you since before you were a dad, and watched your daughter grow. I know, as a friend, I have not always been there when you’ve needed advice/help, but Oli, I’m proud of how you have grown up since I met you, more so in recent years, which has not only made you a better dad but a better person.

    Yes, you get things wrong sometimes, but so does everybody, and the mistakes you make are always in the best interest for your daughter. You’ve certainly made difficult decisions that I not only would I hate to make, but doubt I would have the strength to follow them through with conviction.

    You are a fantastic dad whether it is full time or weekend. I hope this blog, and your efforts seen by friends and family, are recognised by others. You are what a father should be, and should always be proud!

  4. Oli Moore says:

    Thank you ‘A Friend’ and I’m sure you have been there when needed.
    Growing up with my daughter has been the most fun I’ve had, everyday is different and there is no doubt being a Dad is great job and there’s no Job interview either.

    (Sometimes I think there should be)!!!!

  5. FannyJane says:

    Thank you for giving us a window on your world. As a (now grown up) child of divorced parents I can say that even though it may be hard sometimes, your daughter will cherish the special times she has with her dad. They will be different to the special times she has with Mum – the times you miss, when she comes home from school with an award etc. but her time with you is just as, if not more, important. One thing I really wish we had done when I was little (I was seven when my parents separated) was to record some of the special times we had. If you are able to get a big diary (1-2 days per page?) and use it to write a note of what you’ve done together over the weekend, maybe stick in a photo of you together or a cinema ticket, you can create a lasting memory of all the great times you’ve had together that you can both enjoy looking back at. Good luck for the future – it sounds like you’re doing a brilliant job.

  6. Oli says:

    Thats is a very good idea Fanny Jane, as it happens (and being a bloke) I am not that thoughtful or organised. But my Mum, bless her cottons is and that is exactly what she does when my daughter visits there and they go on trips etc.

    Thanks for reading and kind words.

  7. ThinkingFox says:

    You’re doing a great job Oli, your daughter is a lucky lucky girl with a Dad like you.

    Don’t ever stop. Even if it gets so hard you can’t breathe, don’t stop. You’re her father and the most precious man she’ll ever have in her life. How you overcome obstacles to spend time with her will stay with her forever. More importantly, it’ll shape the way she views men when she’s older.

    You can’t buy that.

    • william says:

      It was touching and cleared the negative thoughts running threw my head of giving up.help me realize am not the only one and is normal for me to feel this. I’ll keep on doing the best .I can as a weekend father..

  8. william says:

    Good story

  9. Richard says:

    An amazing story, I so admire and respect you and those around you helping make all this happen for you and your daughter.
    However, I would like to ask how you ended up in this a situation?
    When my ex-partner and mother of our son left me suddenly when he was 16 months old, I could not bare the thought of ending up in the same situation as you find yourself, only seeing the child every 2 or 3 weeks.
    I therefore stopped working, to ensure that the Court was left with no option other than to grant a Shared Residence Order. Yes, its been extremely tough financially, its cost me my career progression, my house etc BUT……. my boy lives with me 50% of the time and he has been my priority over everything else whilst so young. As he grows up, I will begin to think of my life again.
    Did you ever consider this?

  10. david says:

    Good to know others are out there struggling with the same problems I am 🙂 keep up the good work Oli, gave me a big glimmer of hope reading this, thanks.

  11. Lonely Dad says:

    Moms have the greatest jobs…they get our children all week, they get to watch them grow daily not just weekends, they get to read stories and tuck them in at night, & they get all the credit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s