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Just a Guy Raising Two Boys

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A single dad shares his story.

father and sons watching

I have been writing a dad's column for several years. My parenting background seems to have included many of the most common challenges. As an older parent to begin with (having my first son 5 days after turning 40), I made the choice to quit my so-called glamorous showbiz career and stay at home with my two boys (a second son was born 3 years later).

My wife was a workaholic and eventually, not surprisingly, our marriage ended. The surprise was that she abandoned the state and boys, leaving me to raise them alone. I found, for all the goodwill out there supposedly for dads, that I was isolated at PFA meetings and other mom get-togethers. Other dads, for the most part, worked and had little time to discuss changing diapers and toilet training a 4-year-old.

Add dating into the mix and I faced yet another challenge. Babysitters, extra expenses, and secrets (when do I tell them I'm dating and when do I introduce someone I've dated for a while?). Did I mention our two big dogs? My wife's contribution was to make our divorce as costly and difficult as possible.

We survived well. Challenges help us grow, and my boys and me definitely grew (my teen is now 6'2" and still going). I met, online, a wonderful woman who became my second (and last) wife this past December 2008. She was divorced, but had no children. Now, we have the additional challenge of a new member to our family, a stepmom with no experience raising kids and one of mine now a full-fledged teen.

I like to think I can write about any and all of the challenges of parenting, having now lived through most of them. But, you be the judge as ... after all, I'm just a guy.


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28 comments so far | Post a comment now
single mom seeking March 28, 2009, 1:14 PM

It’s so great to “meet” you Bruce! So, inquiring minds want to know: where can we find your syndicated column online?

It would be great to connect. Congrats on the new fam!

ame i. March 28, 2009, 6:57 PM

I would also like to know where to find your column.
I know more Dads-as-primary-parents than I would ever have guessed I would. One of my brothers-in-law(youngest brother of my late-husband) has been the primary parent of his two sons since the older was 2 and the younger was 3 months old. He has always been slightly bemused when people act like he has done something nearly impossible by caring for his sons.
When I married my current husband 2 years ago, he was 48, never married, no children. He has been a better father to my(our)daughters than their father was.
My father was 18 when I was born. Age has nothing to do with a man’s ability to be a good father. Younger fathers, older fathers, what matters is the father’s heart.
Your kids are lucky to have you.

Bruce Sallan March 31, 2009, 12:07 PM


Dear Single Mom Seeking and Ame I.;

Thanks so much for my FIRST comments and such lovely ones at that. This first blog is obviously just introductory so please look for the next ones which I hope will be illuminating (in that they’re from a guy’s pov). Some may even be controversial. I’ve just suggested a topic that I suspect will incur some debate among moms. But, maybe debate and discussion between the genders, and specifically our different approaches to parenting, is good for the kids which, after all, should be every parent’s goal (vs. being right). As for finding my column, just google me and you should be able to find several of the papers and sites that carry it. Soon, I’ll have a web-site, which will be posted here, that will give you access to many, if not all, my columns.
And, please do let momlogic know you want more coming from me! I’m the new guy on the block and I hope to stay a while! I think, btw, you can find a video of me in something called Dadtourage, on this site, when I joined several other dads in a roundtable sort of discussion. Again, thanks for the comments! And, Ame, I’m the lucky one (to have my boys).

bruce

Erin April 4, 2009, 1:19 PM

I think Dads do get lost in the mix and we don’t hear from them near as often. Clearly your situation is unusual as I can’t imagne any mom abandoning her kids. Welcome to the blog mix. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

- Another Mom struggling thru it all.

Camille April 6, 2009, 12:29 AM

You’ve piqued my interest. Want to read more. Where can I find your column?

Marla Vaughn April 6, 2009, 6:05 PM

Bruce, you seem have to have very well for yourself! I’m thoroughly impressed! How did you get your training to raise 2 healthy and balanced boys?…just kidding… Much luck to you with your new life with your more grown up boy and your new wife. Keep up the great work……do tell your secrets………..

Michelle April 6, 2009, 8:11 PM

What a challenge it must be two boys. New wife, one teenager, all starting at a new transtion period. I am in aa new relationship too. My teen son is adding alot to the mix also. Would love to hear how you are handling the struggles…

Newoman April 6, 2009, 9:52 PM

I love how Bruce tells a story. I hope to hear more from him here, soon.
His point of view is fresh and real.
Write on Bruce!

Monica April 6, 2009, 11:59 PM

Hi Bruce -

Thanks for sharing your story and showing that there aren’t just dead beat dads out there. Sadly there are dead beat moms as well.

Happy to hear you were able to make it past the challenges and step up to the plate! Best wishes with the new addition to your family!

susan April 7, 2009, 11:49 AM

What a great story, and such a fresh, candid perspective. I really look forward to seeing your blogs AND your columns. We need this POV.

Susan April 7, 2009, 9:05 PM

What a wonderful story… sounds like you are a great Dad and a great husband to your new wife!

Valerie April 7, 2009, 9:37 PM

My parents divorced when I was 9. At 10 I went to live with my father. That was pretty unusual in the 60’s. I am sure a male point of view like this would have been a great help to his parenting skills.

Anonymous April 7, 2009, 10:15 PM

Blended families are challenging. As long as you remain the one dishing out discipline, things should stay healthy.
Good luck!

Elise April 8, 2009, 3:56 AM

I read both of your comments and your point of view is very healthy and helpful to any single parent raising kids. When I was young and single and date divorced dads with small children, they never used your common sense approach to parenthood. They dated me and introduced me to their little ones very early on and I think they should have waited liked you suggest. I think you are right on and will help all of the parehts needing good solid advice. Keep on truckin!

Rayna April 10, 2009, 12:23 AM

It’s good to hear a Dad’s point of view.

Denise  April 10, 2009, 1:22 PM

Dear Bruce:

I am so happy to hear that a dad is raising the children, it is usually us
“mom’s” who do it. Knowing when to introduce the children to a new person is hard but I believe you do what your heart tells you and as long as you do not introduce every girlfriend to your children, then it is ok. Please continue writing your experiences about raising your children especially now that you have a teenager. Thank you. Denise

Lorie April 10, 2009, 5:12 PM

I really enjoy Dad’s Point of View. In fact, Bruce’s column now appears in our local paper and I have heard wonderful things about it. Keep it up Bruce!

Bill April 10, 2009, 8:01 PM

Bruce - your writing reveals a wonderful storyteller at heart - one that conveys a rich true life tale with heart - all done in a style that is spare and descriptive at the same time.

BC

Carolyn April 13, 2009, 12:29 PM

Very fresh viewpoint. Thank you. Fortunately, I’m not a single parent. My husband is a great Dad. But I know far too many single parents and always wonder and marvel at how they do it. It must be a constant challenge. My hat’s off to you and I wish you continued success. You sound like a great Dad.

Pat April 15, 2009, 10:36 PM

Very compellng situation, wouldn’t want to be in it myself. Bruce, you’re doing a great service for us by sharing your stories.


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