'Roadblocks at every turn': Single dad delivers emotional plea for change

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Solo parenting can be a tough gig. 

And single dads, in particular, are often confronted with a number of unique challenges as they navigate parenthood alone.

One dad has had enough, venting his frustrations on Reddit after being a single parent for the last four years and 'running into roadblocks at every turn'.

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

"Why is the world SO unfriendly to single dads?", the dad of four girls begins his post.

"I've had to change my babies on countless men's restroom floors because there was no changing table. I've gotten so many dirty looks for taking my kids into the men's room, but I can't go into the women's room and I can't leave them alone so what am I supposed to do?"

The distressed dad goes on to explain that he is tired of his girls being questioned about 'where there mum is', even when he is standing right there.

"When I travel with my kids we often get questioned like I'm kidnapping them," he writes, clearly baffled by the outdated gender stereotype.

Turns out, the young girls' mother passed away, which makes the situation even more uncomfortable and upsetting. 

"Well meaning old people ask if it's "mum's day off" all the time, which isn't great for my kids to constantly be answering because their mum is dead."

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The frustrated dad's rant does not end there, revealing that his kids have had to skip so many 'mummy daughter' events, because they are too embarrassed to be the only one with their dad there. 

He is also quick to admit that he is fully aware the world is also tough on mothers. 

"Mums deserve all the credit and conveniences they get and MORE," he says. "But it's frustrating that I get praised for "babysitting" (dads aren't babysitters!!!!!!!) yet I run into so many obstacles trying to do the smallest things.

father and daughter playing outdoors in day light
father and daughter playing outdoors in day light Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The dad wraps up his post by delivering a heartfelt plea about the changes he would love to see come into effect.

"Why can't we put changing tables in men's rooms? Normalise men being with their kids without mum present?," he begs. 

"Make parent/child things PARENT/child things because there are SO many different types of families? And why can't dads as a whole step up to the plate as fully fledged parents so these things don't happen?"

"We're fine, we'll live, but it just sucks to constantly be reminded that kids "need" a mum and I'm not one."

Redditers immediately chimed in to support the exasperated man, with many offering kind words of reassurance.

"Props to you dad. Was raised by a single dad since 8 years old and I know it is not easy for you. You're doing great," noted one. 

"I agree! Dads should be considered just as much a parent as a mother. I hope the future will hold change to make it easier for more Dads like you," said another. 

"Preach on brother! I can only imagine how difficult it is for you because I still have my wife but even without being a single father, I STILL have said every single thing you said in your post. It's frustrating, so damn frustrating. Ps. I'm sorry for your loss. I don't know how you manage to pull it off alone man."

Many also applauded his stance to normalise dads as the primary caregiver and drop the gender role stereotypes. 

"Normalising dads as being equally responsible for child rearing is something that should be a thing. Equality is not the same as wanting to be on a pedestal. Keep doing you and any parent (female or male) raising 4 kids alone is a Rockstar in my book,' wrote one.

"All of this. My husband has done every bit as much child care as I have. He's not a "substitute" or a "babysitter", he is one of my daughter's two parents, and his skill is equal to mine". 

"I'm with you 100%. We need to normalise parenting by men. It's discrimination to not include changing tables in men's rooms and I would be super annoyed at people calling me the babysitter if I'm literally doing 100% of the parenting. I'm sorry you have to put up with such ignorance."

"Honestly, you know why? The patriarchy is why. When childrearing is women's work, dads who raise children have no place. I am very sorry you hit so many barriers. It's wrong."

And many fathers leapt to his defence and empathised - echoing his perspective. 

"I always felt really insulted when anyone praised me for just doing normal dad stuff," noted one dad. 

"I was a single dad to 2 for several years and your post is on the money. It's a low bar for dads out there. I recall a facebook friend posting a picture of himself waiting in the doctor waiting room because he was taking his son to the doctor. The posts that followed were gushing about what a great dad he was to do this. Is the bar really that low?"