Matt Sweetwood

The spiritual journey that will forever change the way we look at single dads

I’d like to tell you about a new book, Leader of the Pack. It is the story of a man who, like many men, had been going through his life apparently content and positively clueless. A man devoid of spirituality and detached from his Jewish roots, who found himself tethered to a tornado as his marriage descended into violence and madness. Surviving courts and cops and chaos and a crazy-challenging-business, he unexpectedly ended up the only parent of five small children–ranging in age from only 18 months to 8 years old—at a time when most men didn’t even know how to change a diaper.

It is my story.

In it, I detail the transformation I underwent from sole breadwinner and “back-up” parent to sole parent; from a scared and unsure shell of a man to the strong, confident and spiritual person I am today. A man connected to Judaism, who became chairman of the Aish Center in New York, as well as a business leader and a voice for single dads everywhere.

Though the facts of my story may be different than some, the feelings are the same for single father’s everywhere. We are frustrated. We’re no longer just the backup parent; the ringer sent in when Mom isn’t available — though that was all we had ever been trained for when it came to parenting. It’s not that we don’t love our children. We do, but that and $5 will get you a latte at Starbucks.

We are told by many voices (and silent looks) from counselors, teachers, social workers, judges and our mothers, sisters and ex-wives that we aren’t as capable of raising kids as a woman. We may even feel that assessment is true. We feel helpless and undermined and above all, alone in this.

But we are not alone.

A quarter of all single-parent American households are headed by men who find themselves as or choose to be single dads. We need to own that position, be proud of it, figure out the best way to make it work and above all, add our voice to a swelling chorus of support for our brothers who find themselves in our same shoes.

We must learn to parent like a dad and that does not mean being only half of a team. In my life, and in the lives of millions of men today, we are the parent. Where there were two, now there is one and we must be enough.

Lives depend on it…our kid’s lives.

We can win our kids, raise them to be happy and healthy people and manage to have a big, fun, and exciting life while we are doing so. Life isn’t over for us. In fact, it is just beginning and beyond the doors swinging open lay a road we never could have foreseen—one filled with adventure and laughter and even sex.

I surely never would have believed it. On the day my life changed forever, I looked wildly around any means of escape, but all I saw were their pale and frightened faces, staring up at me. Five little kids, the oldest was only eight and the youngest still a toddler—my kids—all mine now. Their mother had staged one last terrifying episode and left us forever. Where there were once two-parents, there was now only one.

It felt like something had torn a large hole in my chest and ripped out my lungs. I couldn’t breathe. Then the breath rushed back in and I heard the most heartbreaking crying. It wasn’t until later that I realized the sound was coming from me.

Leader of the Pack” is far more than the story of a single dad of five, it’s also about how one can find themselves in the fires of hell and make it back again – better and stronger than before – and with a message that inspires and transforms other people’s lives – emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Grab a copy today and see if you can put it down before you read the final chapter. Most readers can’t.

About the Author
Matt Sweetwood is a business consultant specializing in technology, retail, and distribution. He is an internationally known professional speaker, author and life coach. With over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, Matt has been credited with the reinvention of the modern camera store, as well as the country’s largest in-store photography education program. However, his greatest achievement is having raised five successful children to adulthood as a single dad. He is a frequent TV and publication contributor and has a #1 best-selling book: “Leader of the Pack: How a single dad of five led his kids, his business and himself from disaster to success.”
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