Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.


Daniel, Los Angeles California

A skill every single parent should have is humility, says Daniel, a single gay dad, through open adoption, who lives in Los Angeles. "Nothing ever goes quite as planned and life is ever changing — We have a responsibility to our kid(s) to teach them to roll with the punches with a smile."

The best advice he's received since he's become a parent? "Enjoy every moment," Daniel said, adding that it "takes a village" to raise children, so it's also important to have a support system.

As for one misconception about single parents, Daniel said he just wished others understood how much more work it can be at times. "From laundry and house chores to work to all the school memos and homework and concerts/sports etc," he said. "It's just a LOT!"

Despite the effort, fatherhood was clearly just part of his destiny, he said. "Dad jokes just come naturally!"

Adam, Dallas, Texas

"You've got to leave plenty of room for grace w'hen the going gets tough," said Adam, who became a father via former straight relationship, and lives in Dallas, Texas. If you love your kids and are kind to yourself everything else falls into place."

One of his greatest strengths he's developed as a single dad, he said, is his ability to really listen to his boys. "I making them feel like they are important because they are," he said. "Kids can get excited about even the smallest things and I like to celebrate their curiosity. If you listen to your kids they'll teach you everything you need to know. I love their perspective and know I'm better off from all the conversations I have with them."

For others interested in single fatherhood, Adam had this by way of advice to share: "Being their boss and being their best friend doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. I want my boys to think I'm a ton of fun and for us to laugh together every day but I also know kids need rules and structure. I thought that you had to be either a strict parent or a fun parent but the truth is single parents have to be both."

The best advice he's received personally is to enjoy every single moment of parenthood, the good bad and the ugly. "They grow up really fast so enjoy every moment, even the days where bedtime can't come soon enough."

Romayne, Chicago, Illinois

"It really takes a special person to be a single dad," said Romayne, who lives with his son in Chicago, Illinois. "I started out as a foster dad and had to deal with birth parents, birth grandparents, social workers and the inevitable questions of where was my wife!"

To other gay men considering embarking on fatherhood solo, "Don't ever be afraid to ask for help." Romayne receives a lot of that support, he said, from Nanu. "My son's name for my mom," he explained. It's also important to prioritize yourself, he said. "Always find time for self-care, whether it be speaking with a therapist, retail therapy, volunteering, sneak out for a drink or all of the above. I find that I tend to center everything round my son and seeing as he came to me later in life, I don't have much of a social life. Now, I'm perfectly fine with that, but I do need the occasional stimulation of a conversation not centered on Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and Monster Jam!"

Lastly, Romayne said he wished more men would set their fear aside and become dads if it's something they really want out of life. "In a perfect world we would all have partners/ husbands to go along with our children, house, dog and cat," he said. "But in actuality four out of five ain't bad. Also, you have the unconditional love of someone that thinks you are their entire universe."

The best piece of advice Santiago about parenting as a single man was this: "Block out lots of advice," he said. "It can be overwhelming!" The most important thing to do, he said, is "take care of you so you can take care of your baby."

Santiago, who became a dad via surrogacy and lives with his son, Santino, in Guadalajara, Mexico, said he has a pretty good handle on parenting as a single man, but he also doesn't pretend to know everything. He simply tries to "be open to learning day by day and not judge myself in the process."

Also? He tries to have as much fun with fatherhood as possible. "Someone once told me a happy parent equals a happy baby," he said.

Similar to other single dads, he also stressed the importance of building a solid support system to help you in times of need. "It takes a village to raise and take care of a baby, so surround yourself with friends and family," he said. "It is ok to ask for help."

The best advice David received about single parenthood, he said, was to make sure you don't go through all the hassle of becoming a parent, only to miss special moments. "Another gay dad encouraged me to take off work to join my kids on their school field trips," David said, for example. "It totally opened me up to their world and they are so so happy when I get to chaperone."

David become a dad while married to a woman who sadly died of cancer when his kids were just 1 and 3 years old. "I've been solo parenting ever since and came out to them last year. "Today, his kids are 9 and 11, and they live together in San Diego, California.

As for the best advice he has to give to other single parents: "Treat yo self!" David said. "Ya gotta have that ice cream or special treat that you know you love and need after a long day of single parenting."

On what it's like to parent solo, David said, "I wish more people knew that being a single dad means my kids miss out on twice the love, twice the snuggles, twice the band aid giving, twice the smiles and laughs, and twice of everything that comes with a two parent household or dual parenting situation cuz there's just one of me."

Diego, 

"You need to be a master of time management," said Diego, on life as a single dad. "Try establishing a routine as much as possible — wake up time, breakfast, playtime, bedtime." He clarified that this doesn't mean that you can adapt through the days, "but it makes it easier when your kids know what to expect — kind of."

The strongest parenting quality he's developed as a single dad, he said, is striking the right balance between being a friend and a father. "He knows that I love him to the moon and he is the most important person for me," Diego said. "But I also put limits."

For other single gay men considering parenthood, Diego stressed the importance of taking time for yourself. "It's not selfish and there is no need to feel guilty about it," he said. "You need to take care of yourself: go to the gym, spend some time with your friends. Having this time is important for you and your family - plus, you deserve it!"

The biggest misconception of single parenthood, he said, is that people think it's miserable. "Being a single dad is fun!" Diego said. "Yes, it's hard but all the positives that come with it are much better. I can tell you that as a single dad you create such an amazing bond with your kid! Every person is different but personally, I'm sure becoming a single dad was the BEST decision for me."

Show Comments ()
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Movie Night: My Favorite Family Tradition

As his sons have gotten older, the movies have morphed away from cartoons and towards things blowing up — but movie night remains his favorite family tradition.

Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about his life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Of all of our traditions and rituals, probably the most consistent and longest-lasting one was movie night. Sure, we read the heck out of Harry Potter. But our capacity for watching Harry Potter? We're talking Quidditch World Cup here, folks.

In its early version, movie night looked like this: During the week, I would order a movie and a cartoon from Netflix—back when "Netflix" meant "mail." On Saturday night—and I mean, faithfully, every Saturday night—we would order a pepperoni pizza (which Mark faithfully took the meat off of—I'll get to food later) for delivery and then sit and watch our cartoon and movies while eating. The kids had a say in the movie, but I got to pick the cartoon. They watched enough of their own cartoons on the regular, and besides, this gave me a great opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats.


Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Happy Mother's Day From Gays With Kids!

To all of the women who have supported the journey of gay, bi and trans men towards fatherhood — thank you, and happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be complicated holiday for many gay, bi and trans dads and their kids. Choosing how, when — or even if — to celebrate the day is a uniquely personal decision. But no matter how we've become dads, women have helped us achieve our dreams of fatherhood. And for that reason, we've loved celebrating all of the women who have supported our journeys to fatherhood, in ways big and small, over the years. Check out some of our favorite photos, essays, articles and more below!


Keep reading... Show less
Become a Gay Dad

Webinar Series: Becoming a Dad During a Pandemic

Gays With Kids launches a webinar series with surrogacy, adoption and foster care experts — to explore family planning options for gay, bi and trans men in the age of the coronavirus.

Gay, bi or trans and considering building or growing your family? Gays With Kids is offering FREE webinars led by industry experts in surrogacy, adoption and foster care to give you up-to-date insight on how the coronavirus affects family building. There will be lots of time for audience Q&A, so come prepared for this webinar with your specific questions on starting or continuing your surrogacy journey.

Register via the links below!

SURROGACY

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Surrogacy Webinar Series.

Come discuss: surrogates, egg Donation, IVF, and embryo creation with leading surrogacy and fertility experts.

Please register for just one of the following 3 surrogacy webinars

Monday, May 4, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET

  • Dr. Guy Ringler, California Fertility Partners
  • Victoria Ferrara, Worldwide Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET
  • Dr. Jerald S. Goldstein, Fertility Specialists of Texas
  • Sam Hyde, Circle Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 8, 2020
12:00-1:00pm PT / 3:00-4:00pm ET
  • Dr. Mark Leondires, Reproductive Medical Associates of CT
  • Kristin Hanson, Simple Surrogacy

Register here (pre-registration required)

ADOPTION & FOSTER CARE

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Adoption Webinar Series.

Come discuss: matching, placements, home studies and finalizations with leading experts in adoption and foster care.

Please register for just one of the following 2 adoption / foster webinars
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
3:00-4:00pm PT / 6:00-7:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 15, 2020
10:00-11:00am PT / 1:00-2:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

Gay Dad Life

Top Memes From Parents Sheltered in Place with Kids

Perhaps the ONLY good thing to come out of the coronavirus crisis... hilarious parenting memes.

Very, very few good things have come about since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, but one of the tiny silver linings — and one of the only ways most of us parents sheltering at home with our kids are staying sane — is this: parenting memes.

We've rounded up our favorites below. (If you know who originated some of these, please let us know so we can give credit!)

Enjoy!


Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse