My life is about to change forever.
Tomorrow, I’m leaving The Dallas Morning News, where I’ve worked for the past 27 years. It’s a voluntarily split, thankfully.
The newspaper has already had five rounds of layoffs in recent years because of the industry’s decline. Another round is rumored to be imminent, and I expect even more in the coming years.
You can only dodge the layoff bullet for so long, that’s my view. If I didn’t get laid off now, I probably would later. So for more than a year, I’ve been brainstorming other careers.
I came up with Single Dad House. The site has been active for more than two months, but I’ve been working on it while juggling my Dallas Morning News duties. It hasn’t been easy.
Now, I’ll devote all my energies to Single Dad House. Goodbye, newspaper. Hello, online publication.
A leap of faith? Sure, but I couldn’t stay at the newspaper and endure the agonizing uncertainty. The stress was affecting both my 11-year-old son, Connor, and me.
He’s delighted that I’m leaving TDMN because we’ll have more time together. No, ecstatic would be more like it.
“I can’t believe it’s really happening!” Connor said last week as the days ticked down.
Like other single dads, I’ve faced a constant struggle to be both a good employee and good father. I’ve never been able to pick up Connor when school ends at 3:30 p.m. Instead, he’s had to stay in an after-care program (that he hates) until I arrive moments before it closed at 6.
We’d get home 30 minutes later, then it would be a mad dash for the next two hours to prepare dinner, talk to Connor about his day, help him with his homework and get him ready for bed.
Whew! After almost a decade of this brutal regimen, I’m exhausted. You can relate, I’m sure.
I’m thankful and excited that I’ve devised an alternative to the newspaper. The beauty of running an online publication: I can work anywhere, anytime. The greatest benefit is that I’ll be able to pick up Connor as soon as school lets out.
We’ll have more time for leisure activities together, and he’ll have more time to do homework. I can’t wait, and neither can Connor.
Will I make enough money to survive? I’m realistic. Few people make money off a website – at first anyway. I know that. But, fortunately, I have some savings and real estate investments.
After writing five hardcopy books over the years, I’m tackling my first ebook, tentatively titled The First Five Things I Learned After Divorce (we’ll see if the title or concept changes). Look for it in a few months. I’m hoping the book will generate more buzz about Single Dad House.
After that…I’m not sure. Maybe more books. To some extent, I’m flying blind in this unfamiliar atmosphere of online publications and social media.
Thankfully, I have a very able co-pilot. Her name is Lindsey, and she’s less than half my age. That makes me feel very old.
But unless I partnered with a young, Internet-savvy person, I knew I’d never be able to launch the publication I envisioned. Lindsey works behind the scenes, making Single Dad House look attractive. All those cool pictures? Lindsey finds them.
Single Dad House is a unique site, and I’m a unique voice. As I say in the About section, I’ve been divorced twice. I know the pain and fear single dads face. And I know how to communicate those emotions, while offering ways to manage them.
Will I miss the newspaper world? I said I’ve been at The Dallas Morning News for 27 consecutive years. But I worked there earlier during college, and I delivered the newspaper in my early teens.
So my association with the newspaper goes back almost 40 years. Despite the industry’s struggles, leaving is bittersweet.
But I’m confident the next chapter of my life will be even better. I’m writing exclusively about my passion: fatherhood. And I expect to meet many new friends, like you. Let’s have an ongoing dialogue.
And let’s start right now.