A Single Dad Shares The Important Lessons Fatherhood Has Taught Him

I want to shine light on the black men we know and love.

Her Voice

On September 20, 2019, Andrew Sullivan on Real Time: With Bill Maher stated that "70% of black children are born without a father." While there's a statistic that states 72% of black children are born into single-parent households, that does not validate the stereotype that black fathers are not present in their children's life. According to Statista, in 2019 there were about 15.76 million children living with a single mother and about 3.23 million children living with a single father. While the numbers are much lower for single fathers compared to single mothers, fathers are very much present in their children's lives, despite marital statuses.

I want to shine light on the black men we know and love. The black men that may be overlooked who are proof that they are an active father.

I had the chance to sit down with a good friend of mine, Matthew Carothers, who was able to talk with me about his experience as a full-time single father. Originally from the west side of Chicago, Matthew currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his two sons Aaron (9) and Alvin (7). While being granted full custody of the children, given the circumstances, Matthew was ready to step up as the sole provider for his sons.

While parenthood is different for everyone, Matt and I were able to highlight three key areas on what life is like being a father.

“Fatherhood definitely showed me where I was lacking and where I needed to be.”


Becoming a parent can be one of the greatest and one of the most challenging experiences. You have to be able to shift your priorities because now it isn't all about you, but about you and your family. As a father, Matt explains that one of the biggest challenges is finances. "You have to make sure everything you get for yourself, you get for your children too. Like I can be lazy and say, I don't want to go to work. But, if I don't go to work, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, who is going to provide for my boys?"

Managing purchases and even managing time can definitely be a wake-up call for most parents, but with challenge comes opportunity. Becoming a parent, you're able to tap into skills you perhaps would've never known you had without having children. "There is an instinct that you have when raising your kids that you later understand why your parents did what they did when raising you," he revealed.

Being a parent, especially a father, lets you see yourself in a new and different way. Now even with struggles, there are always rewards that keep you motivated.

"The best part about being a father is whenever I talk to my kids, they look at me like I'm a superhero. Like I am the strongest person ever and there is nothing that I can't do in their eyes. In my opinion, nothing can beat that."

Hearing this, I can only imagine how it feels to create someone who depends on you, looks up to you, and thinks the world of you. With that kind of responsibility, it helps you become more selfless and to think more about the future.

“In dating, I’m not looking for just anyone to date, I’m looking at the bigger picture."

We all need love, right? Whether you're a parent or not, we all search for someone we can share our life with. For Matt, dating hasn't necessarily halted. For him, it's important to be more intentional when dating.

"Dating as a single father is different for me. When I say different, I mean my mentality has changed. In dating, I'm not looking for just anyone to date, I'm looking at the bigger picture."

When you're a parent, dating becomes more serious. While you're balancing work and family life, finding someone isn't about who can vibe with you, but who can vibe with you and your kids. You are a package deal. As a father, Matt prioritizes if a woman he's dating will get along with his sons in the long run. He wants to make sure that if he does develop feelings for someone, they're already prepared to welcome his family with an open mind and heart.

Even if dating can become more serious, dating has to be fun too. "My mom taught me when I became a father that yes you are a dad, but you still have to find time for yourself."

“Do not try to be perfect, because you are going to make mistakes.”


When children are young, they look to their parents to teach them everything about the world. For a father and son, it can be about learning how to be strong and confident, how to navigate the world when you get older, and how to be one another's support system. A father and son bond is just as impactful as the bond between a mother and daughter. Since Matt is raising two sons, he mentioned that the biggest lesson for him as a father is how to raise them the right way.

"It's important to instill things in them when they are young or it will not catch. The biggest things I teach my boys is how to act when they are around other people and how to be respectful."

Whatever lesson a father passes down to his son, without a doubt, shapes how the son grows into a man. Fatherhood for Matt, ironically, is what helped him become a better man. The one piece of advice Matt has for soon-to-be fathers is: "Do not try to be perfect, because you are going to make mistakes."

We as humans put a lot of pressure on ourselves. After trial and error, it isn't about being the perfect person or parent; it's about doing the best we can. We must remember to always learn from our mistakes and keep getting better with our hearts in the right place.

That is what counts.

Want a chance to have your voice heard in xoNecole's "Her Voice" series? Become a member of the Writers Club in our xoTribe Community today for a chance to have your work featured on xoNecole.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Common has become a fixture in the hip-hop scene thanks to his longevity in the game. And while he is known for hits like "Go!" and "Come Close", he is also known to have dated some of the most beautiful and talented Black women in the world. The "Glory" rapper has dated Erykah Badu, Serena Williams and now he is romantically linked to Tiffany Haddish.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

So, if you've been rocking with this site for several years now, you might vaguely recall an article that I wrote, a couple of years back entitled, "Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship". The bottom line was, if you don't make the time to go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — even when it comes to the ending of a romantic relationship, you could 1) mistake a lack of thorough and proper grieving for still loving someone and/or 2) prolong the process of healing, so that you can actually move forward.

Keep reading... Show less

HBO's hit show Insecure has been heralded as one of the best and most authentic shows on TV by fans thanks to its real-life depictions of friendships and romantic relationships. One of the friendships that keep fans tuned in is between Issa Rae's character Issa Dee and Yvonne Orji's character Molly.

Keep reading... Show less

We all know that advocacy for inclusion and equality should be year-round, since we all have to be our fullest selves all day every day. Identity is a key element of doing that, and for LGBTQ+ professionals, this can include the question of coming out at work. Some may wonder whether their personal business is, well, anybody's business at work, while others might want to feel safe in the office being out, loud, and proud. Either way, coming out in the workplace is indeed an issue that not only must be addressed, but addressed appropriately.

Keep reading... Show less

Love is beautiful and social media is a wonderful way to showcase and spread it. However, many times it's the content with a bit of controversy or drama tied to it that gets all the double taps. But as my father once told me, "It's fine to seek drama in your art and interests, but love should make you happy and feel peace." When he said that, it stuck with me. For a long time, I think I sought out excitement in my relationships and that can lead to a lot of unhappiness or unhealthy situations.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Adrienne Bailon Wants Women Of Color To Take Self-Inventory In Order To Redefine Success

"You can't expect anyone else to care about yourself like you do."

Latest Posts