Musician Matthew Felix tells us what it’s like to be a father and mother to his child.
Freebie MNL was curious about how single fathers raise their kids. So we hit up single father Matthew Felix, a former session musician for the post-hardcore band Saydie. We asked him how he juggles his career with parenting his daughter Kaitlin.
Matt became a single father after his relationship with Kaitlin’s mother fizzled out. He tried to make it work because he thought his daughter needed a mother. But he and his ex couldn’t overcome their differences.
He soon realized the best thing to do would be to raise Kaitlin on his own. Matt won primary custody of her after he ended things with his ex. But he’s quick to clarify that Kaitlin’s mother is still involved in their daughter’s life.
Friendly but strict single father
They say the first two years of a child’s life are the hardest. For the parents, mind you. Matt knows all too well how true that is. In the beginning, he struggled to balance his career with his parenting duties. Luckily, his parents pitched in when they could.
“I didn’t get much sleep because I still needed to look after Kaitlin when I got home from work. Living with my mom and dad for a while helped,” he says.
Matt remains grateful to his daughter’s grandparents for lightening his load. The only thing that worried him about leaving Kaitlin in their care was their tendency to spoil her. But he need not have worried, because she turned out to be a bright girl. Her teachers even allowed her to skip a grade.
For Matt, one of the best things about being a single father is seeing his daughter grow and learn. That’s partly why he decided to show her what he does for a living. He takes her along on gigs, which influenced Kaitlin to start playing the piano and singing. Matt says she has a natural talent for music.
Parenting-wise, Matthew sees himself as a strict father. But he also wants to be his daughter’s best friend. He wants them to be able to talk about anything under the sun. That includes Kaitlin’s crushes and what to expect when her period comes. The pandemic strengthened their relationship because it allowed them to bond at home.
What single fathers should learn
Kaitlin is his No. 1 priority. Everything else, including dating, comes second to her. Even so, finding out many women find single fathers appealing came as a pleasant surprise to Matt. Given that, it wasn’t hard for him to find someone new who also understands his situation.
Matthew wants to equip his daughter with the knowledge and skills she needs to face the real world. But he also wants her to enjoy her childhood at the same time. No matter what happens, he wants to be a supportive father to Kaitlin. He vows to be with her through thick and thin.
Matt says the one thing a single father should learn is to love himself as much as he loves his kids.
“It’s not the end of the world if things between you and your partner don’t work out. You can still turn things around. Also, don’t forget to love yourself. Your mental and physical health matters. You need to be healthy so you can be there for your kids.”
Featured Image Daniella Sison