'How easily I might not have had kids': Single dad shares his unconventional parenting journey

accreditation
'It’s not messy. It’s fantastic.'
'It’s not messy. It’s fantastic.'

For many people, Father’s Day is a time of celebration, as children who are blessed to call someone ‘Dad’ show their father figures how much they mean to them.

However, what is often overlooked is that this is also a time of celebration by the fathers themselves. 

It can be a time of reflection for these men, as they think about how their lives have changed since they became parents.

Here dad Sean, father of three, shares his thoughts on the changes that fatherhood brings – and how being a parent means that you’ll always be able to find the child inside.


The first instinct I had towards the parental state occurred one night many years ago, while I was kicking a tennis ball against the cupboards in my kitchen.

I was in my late 20s, and single, as I am now. 

Before then, I simply assumed I might become a father one day, but didn’t have any strong feelings about it.

Suddenly, with the ball bouncing helter-skelter, I keenly felt the absence of a little person to play with me. I became excited to think I might be destined to be a dad. I saw it as a sign, as something that had bubbled up from within me. 

That urge was strong.

I have three children now. Two of them, the youngest and the oldest, were not planned, and have different mothers.

This may sound messy, even irresponsible, harking back to the days when I didn’t feel strongly about having kids, one way or the other. 

But it’s not messy. It’s fantastic.

On some level, I wanted both of these pregnancies to happen, even if they came as a surprise. The way I now understand my children’s mother’s roles is that they came into my life to introduce me to my children. 

If that sounds arrogant, it’s simply my way of managing the pain in the demise of our romantic relationships, helping me keep it tidy, open, honest and good with both the moms in the interest of my children, and my own sanity.

My exes are both happy. I’m happy for them and their new partners. On my end, I’ve worked hard to establish a pattern and a structure which supports my parenting and my kids.

I’d say we all are, as are our children. I have the space to be the parent I want to be, and to give and receive support at a distance that is comfortable. 

So when Father’s Day swings around, these things come up. The struggle, the challenge, the loss, the growth and celebration. I can see my exes’ features in my kids’ faces and behaviours, and it’s a good thing. They are good mothers. 

I remember how easily I might not have had kids, and celebrate the fact that I did, although it’s a celebration I keep to myself. I quietly contemplate the swings of fortune that brought me to this point.

There’s nothing ‘unplanned’ about the births of my first and last child. They were wanted and welcomed and landed well on this earth. I marvel at them, all three, for they came without me calling them.

They simply heard that echo of the tennis ball in the kitchen one night, and came to play. The fun I have had with them is immeasurable.

They have allowed me to be a carefree child again, instead of the complicated adult I sometimes am, and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that.

Submitted to Parent24 by the BrightRock Change Exchange programme.

Chat back:

Share your story with Parent24. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @ parent24.com

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 892 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 4903 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1049 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.41
-1.2%
Rand - Pound
21.50
-0.6%
Rand - Euro
18.89
-0.9%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.29
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.5%
Platinum
1,009.02
-0.4%
Palladium
1,637.70
-0.5%
Gold
1,922.40
-0.3%
Silver
23.59
-0.1%
Brent Crude
86.66
-0.9%
Top 40
74,344
-0.6%
All Share
80,325
-0.6%
Resource 10
77,934
+0.1%
Industrial 25
102,701
-1.1%
Financial 15
16,323
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE