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Doug French is a father of two boys who writes his personal blog Laid-Off Dad, co-founded the Dad 2.0 Summit, and co-parents When The Flames Go Up with his ex-wife.

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7 Ways My Divorce Has Made Me A Better Dad

By Doug French |

Yesterday was my 11th Father’s Day, and I spent it without my kids. If your brain just went “Awwwww,” turn that brainfrown upside down. Magda and I worked out long ago that, given our travel schedules, she and I would trade our “Days” this year: I had a great Mother’s Day replete with pancakes, Scrabble, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and Magda spent Father’s Day driving 600 miles to take our 10-year-old to camp. I think I got the long end of the deal.

The other blessing about yesterday was that I was, frankly, worn out with the Father’s Day news cycle. Don’t get me wrong: It’s great to see so much fuss made over dads, more than I can remember ever happening. (I just spent the last couple weeks working on all sorts of dad-based things, including this video about “The New Face of Dad,” and the date and venue announcement for the 2013 Dad 2.0 Summit.) But after I kissed the boys goodbye, I was free to read a lot of the really great writing surrounding Father’s Day and be happy that none of it was mine. It seems like so many of us spend our time “weighing in” on some topic or other. Yesterday, it felt wonderful to be weightless.

Yesterday was also my fourth Father’s Day as a single dad, and at one point I found myself marveling at how the day has evolved for me since the divorce. When we were splitting, I was super possessive of it, because that was MY time with MY boys, and come Hell or High Water, the Three French Men Would Spend Father’s Day Doing Fatherly Dadthings, So Help Me Dad. But now it’s casual because no matter what life shovels at us, I know I’m a big part of my kids’ lives, and they’re a big part of mine.

Then I got to wondering if I could ever have gotten here as a person if Magda and I were still together. I don’t deal in hypotheticals much because hypotheticals are for suckers and/or rabid sports fans. But I do know that my life has grown back pretty well since it burned to the ground four years ago, and the transformation has helped me be a better dad:

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How divorcing my kids' mom made me a better dad

All time is quality time

Since I don't see my kids every day, I've learned never to take them for granted. When we're together, I unplug from the computer and phone, and I'm all about them. I want to be present for them, for as long as they're willing to be present with me.

Read more from Doug on his personal blog, Laid-Off Dad.

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About Doug French


Doug French

Doug French is a father of two boys who writes his personal blog Laid-Off Dad, co-founded the Dad 2.0 Summit, and co-parents When The Flames Go Up with his ex-wife.

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One thought on “7 Ways My Divorce Has Made Me A Better Dad

  1. Korinthia Klein says:

    I have a few friends going through divorce right now, and this was nice to read. Thanks for some positive perspective.

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