Dadlife: Getting the week done whilst solo fathering

silhouette of man carrying child

In our new series on The Fathering Channel, we introduce ‘Dadlife’.

Dadlife gives us a glimpse into the day to day dad-ventures of dads and their kids. This week we hear from John R.

“Tell me why I don’t like Mondays!!”

I have two boys aged 14 and 16, and a daughter aged 12. My sons were not thriving in the high school environment so I am homeschooling them this year. My daughter has just started year 7 and was desparate to experience high school so there was no way she was joining my home school class this year!

Monday’s are all about planning and putting the week in motion for us in the Rutter household.  Organisation and staying on task have never been my strong point so setting up the week with a solid plan is important for us all…


I’m a a  solo Dad. My ex-wife and I have been separated for over ten years and we luckily have developed a great  co-parenting relationship. This has taken a lot of work and we had to be  focused on what is best for our children, but the process has paid off as we see our children develop into confident and fulfilled young people.

To me, being an engaged Dad is about serving your family and authentically leading by example, no matter what your family situation is.

I read once that if you want to have close relationship with your kids that “you need to love what your kids love, as much as you love your kids”.  This has really stuck with me through the years as there has been heaps of things my kids have enjoyed that really didn’t interest me at all. Despite this, I’ve always tried to show an interest (or at least, show an interest in their interest!) and I have to say it’s not only deepened the relationship with my kids, but it has  often put me in a position where I can use my influence to guide them in the right direction.

Where this has been my biggest challenge is that I love aussie rules footy and would have loved my kids to play that great game, but as it turns out, we are a basketball family!

TGIT (Thank god it’s Thursday)

When Thursdays arrive in our household, it means that the busy part of the week is almost done.  All three of my kids have basketball training over the week then games on Friday nights and the weekend; so, Thursday is a good time for us to have dinner together and check-in.  Despite being AFL mad myself, I’ve grown to love basketball and have even put my hand up to be coach a few times. It was interesting this year, when I asked my 14-year-old whether he wanted me to coach his team again, his hesitant reply was “is it okay that you don’t, and I have another coach this year?..  I was prepared for that answer, but it still was a little hard to hear it.  I was proud, however, that we have a strong enough relationship where he felt he could say that. I’ve learnt over my 16 years of being a Dad that parenting isn’t about me being everything for my kids, it’s also about me giving the right amount of space and guidance to be independent, confident and successful.


There’s an easy, downhill run feel to a Friday, and for us this is the day when my two boys get out and earn some cash from a leaflet run and lawn mowing. It’s taken a bit of organization to get everyone into this routine but worth it to see them grow and work together (not to mention the positive bank balance that comes from the hard work!)

Friday night’s are all about Basketball!. Juggling three games across multiple locations isn’t easy as a solo parent but we’re lucky that we’re part of a trusted community where support is generously given and there are lots of positive male role models and father figures my kids can rely on.

Saturdays and Sundays.

We are a close family, and our weekends are all about spending time together as well as individual rest and recreation.  Whilst we do tend to spend a fair bot if time travelling for various sporting endeavors, I find this enforced travel time spent together is great. I get to know their friends and get really involved in their journey of life.

No matter what happens over the weekend, Sunday is traditionally a time where we plan and cook a meal together for Dinner.  Whether it be a roast, pulled pork or a slow cooked stew, my kids love the time of coming around the table and I know that this is a tradition that they will take on for their families.  We talk about what my Dad used to cook on a Sunday and we look at the future and when we will come back together with their partners and kids to do the same.

Author: John R. I love life, love people and love being a Dad.

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