“How will I survive this?” As a single parent, you might have asked this question several times. In times of trouble, there seems to be no one to turn to. There are, however, tips on how to conquer the challenges you constantly face in being a single parent.
You might be a single parent, but remember that you are never alone. Just because you embraced the responsibility of single-handedly taking of your child doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. To start with, you can set up support systems. Being a single parent usually puts you on difficult scenarios and you might need the advice from your friend or your family. Look for people you can turn to when you want an adult conversation. It is more comforting when you know that someone listens to you and understands your problems.
In addition, single parents commonly struggle financially. There are, however, organizations that are willing to help. You can apply for grants depending on the kind of help you need. There are college grants, financial aids, and single parent housing that could give you support. If you have the budget, you can hire trusted sitters to help you look after your kids.
Managing Your Time
As a single mother, you have a lot of things to think about – your kids, your work, your daily chores – that you don’t know which you would do first or when to do what. Managing your time would help you organize all your tasks. Planners, to-do-lists, or phone reminders are really helpful tools to help you keep track of what you have done, what should be prioritized and what are yet to be completed.
If you haven’t found a job yet, it is better to find a work schedule that suits your family. You can also tell your boss about your situation, and they will probably understand and give you a slightly different schedule. This way, managing your time would be much easier.
Giving Time for Yourself and Your Kids
No matter how busy you are, remember to always give quality time to your children to make them feel important and loved. Kids need your attention the most, so make sure that you are there when they need help, that you can talk to them, or play with them.
If you really find it difficult to spend time with your children because of your work, you can always multitask. In doing the household chores, for example, you can ask help from your kids and make cleaning a lot more fun, as you spend time bonding among one another.
While it is important to always make sure that your kids are okay, it is also advisable to give time to yourself. Schedule a “kid-free” time when you would go out with your friends, go shopping, or do things you usually do to make yourself happy.
Good parenting requires effective household management. You have to set rules and limits to discipline your children and maintain a peaceful home. However, just because you are the sole head of the family doesn’t mean that the decision lies solely on you. Children have to be involved in the making of the rules and you can come up with agreements to make it more democratic. Your kids might feel bad when you impose rules that limit them too much. You have to listen to them, and make them understand.
Becoming a single parent means dealing with your emotions. Aside from the many responsibilities that single parenting demands, you might still be struggling emotionally after the pain brought by your divorce or the death of your spouse. You can always ask for support from your friends or your family, but they cannot be there for you always. Sometimes, you may find that you are left alone in dealing with your emotional problems.
The best way to solve this is to think positively. Maintaining a negative mood will not only decrease your motivation to work, but it will also affect your children. Instead of constantly thinking how stressful your problems are, you can instead think about how this would help you grow as a person. This may be difficult to achieve, but doing it regularly would help you cope up with stress. Get inspired by other single mothers, or look back to the last time you overcome a problem and make it as one of your motivations. Sometimes, what matters is not the situation, but how you think about the situation.
A lot of things will challenge you but staying patient is always the key. Remember what Ted in Kramer vs. Kramer say about parenting: “I’ve had a lot of time to think about what it is that makes somebody a good parent… It has to do with constancy, it has to do with patience, it has to do with listening to him. It has to do with pretending to listen to him when you can’t even listen anymore. It has to do with love.” Keeping this in mind would surely make you realize that single parenting is not at all that stressful.