This Sunday is Fathers' Day, and I always find the day makes me pause a little, because my own father passed away a few years ago.
So how do you approach days like this if you're a single mum, with no dad on the scene? And if you're a single dad without a partner to bring you breakfast in bed, how do you ensure that Fathers' Day isn't just another Sunday?
Here are some tips for single parents, and a special ParentDish competition for single dads who don't want to be single any more.
At this time of year, most nurseries and schools will be getting children to prepare Fathers' Day cards. So have a word with the teacher about this if you need to - if dad isn't around, maybe your child could spend the time making a card for someone else who's special in their life.
Take time to acknowledge that days like this aren't always as straightforward as they might seem, and use it as an opportunity to have fun as a family unit, whatever shape that might be.
FATHERS DAY COMPETITION FOR SINGLE DADS
Online dating site eharmony would like to offer 3 single dads the chance to win free VIP membership for three months, worth £100. Eharmony says it's an online dating site with a difference – they have 6 PhD scientists as full time staff, constantly researching relationships, love, sex and marriage. This helps them scientifically match members to increase compatibility.
The site is huge in the US, where an estimated 200 people per day go on to get married, having met on eharmony. Your profile will only be seen by people you are successfully matched with. By receiving highly compatible matches – people that share similar values, beliefs and passions amongst other things – you can focus on the fun of getting to know someone at a deeper level.
So if you enter this you might not be single for too much longer.
To win, all you have to do is answer this question:
What does eHarmony.co.uk match you on?
a. values, beliefs and passions
b. personal appearance
c. taste in music
And this is eharmony's advice if you're a single parent who wants to get back on the dating scene:
Shake up your routine
It's easy to get into a rut when you have work and childcare commitments. However, you should think of your single status as a chance to discover more about yourself and what you're looking for from a relationship and a partner. New hobbies and interests not only expand your life, they will also help you meet people.
Be honest from the beginning
It isn't always easy to bring up the fact that you have kids when you meet someone new. But your date deserves to know what to expect of a relationship with you. Telling a date that you have commitments you need to keep and that your kids are a huge priority in your life ensures everything is out in the open early on.
Take it slowly
Unless you and your dating partner are both certain you want to take the relationship in a more serious direction, don't rush to introduce them to your kids. Having a new adult in their lives is never going to be "casual" to them. They will be confused by too many new faces. When you feel the time is right, keep the meeting low-key and brief, and do all you can to remove pressure from everyone.
Practise being more than a parent
It is true that dating when you have kids is a logistical and, at times, emotional challenge. But don't let that stop you. Yes, you are responsible for children and yes, you should take that seriously. But that is not all you are. It's okay to think of yourself as a multifaceted human being. Get a babysitter, relax, and treat yourself to an evening out.
Coming back to the dating scene can be difficult after some time out, but it's important to make sure you still have fun! Initially, don't be focused on the goal of finding a serious partner. Treat each new encounter as an exciting chance to meet someone new and expand your circle of friends and acquaintances. If you keep an open mind, who knows what you might find?!