June 16, 2013

Life as a single dad is challenging, rewarding

Jon Provost enjoys balancing challenges of work, home life

By AMY HEGGEN Contributing Writer

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Flexibility, patience and organization are important attributes for a single-parent family to have.

“It’s busy. We’re always on the go,” said Jon Provost, a single father of two children.

His son, Sam, is 15 and his daughter, Catherine, is 12.

The Chazy family spends weeknights on homework and sports activities like basketball or soccer games. They are typically on the go during weekends, too, Provost said.

“Time is definitely the biggest challenge. Not just time being with my kids but doing the laundry, having to mow the lawn and then come in and make dinner and do the dishes,” Provost said.

Organization is his key to time management. Provost said he and his children work as a team to accomplish chores.

“My kids are really good about chipping in, helping out, taking care of things,” Provost said.

He said Sam and Catherine help to cook dinner and finish yard work.

Provost looks forward to the special moments when he and his children connect, like making dinner together or going on vacation.

“Remember to find the fun and the good in it too,” Provost said of being a single parent.

“I still have to nag them about things every once and awhile, but that’s all normal teenage stuff I would expect,” Provost said.

He works together with the children’s mother, Jennifer Christiansen, of Chazy. They both strive to make sure their children are doing well.

“We know that we have the most important job together,” Provost said. “Their mom is a single mom doing the same thing that I’m doing.”

Provost said he and Christiansen support each other as much as possible.

“I can’t be in both places at once. My kids are understanding about that,” Provost said. “If I can’t be in one place, then their mother can be there.”

The children also spend time at Christiansen’s house. The time allows Provost to go grocery shopping or finish other errands. As a special education teacher at Mooers Elementary School, Provost also uses free time to go over school work, he said.

“There’s never an issue of going to mom’s house or going to dad’s house,” Provost said. “This has just been life for us.”

He said the important thing is that Sam and Catherine are happy.

“My kids are really OK with the situation,” Provost said. “I’ve been a single dad for nine years now and they are adaptive.”

There are challenges, though, to being a single father, he said.

He might get looks from other parents while shopping for clothes with his daughter as he waits outside the fitting room.

“There’s certainly a perception (from others) when we go out to do something. I get the sense that people are wondering about things,” Provost said.

After 15 years of parenting, Provost said he has learned that parents need to be able to listen to their children.

“I’m thankful every day that I have these beautiful, wonderful children,” he said.

They’re helpful, patient and thoughtful and Provost loves watching them grow and flourish, he said.

Provost said he has a great job and great friends, but being a dad is the most important thing to him.

“It’s the thing that I’m most proud of; I think it’s the thing that I’m best at,” Provost said. “It’s the focus in my life right now, the fact that I get to be involved in all of this.”

“This is our life and we make the best of it.”