“How can I be a good single parent?”
As a single parent, you might have asked this question several times. There seems to be no one to turn to in times of trouble. There are, however, tips on how to conquer the challenges you continuously face in being a single parent.
Many people give advice, but it’s often unfounded as they have no idea what you are going through. We’ve talked to many other single parents throughout the years, and we compiled a list of their top 6 secrets on becoming better at doing it alone.
Our Secrets – How to be a Good Single Parent
1. Getting Help
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 a support system. Being a single parent often puts you in challenging scenarios, and you might need advice from your friends 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.
Besides, 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.
2. Managing Your Time
As a single mother, you have many 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 will help you organize all your tasks. Planners, to-do-lists, or phone reminders are beneficial tools to keep track of what you have done, what you should prioritize, and what you should complete.
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 program. This way, managing your time would be much more comfortable.
3. Giving Time for Yourself and Your Kids
No matter how busy you are, remember always to give your children quality time 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 find it challenging to spend time with your children because of your work, you can always multitask. For example, in doing the household chores, you can ask help from your kids and make cleaning a lot more fun, as you spend time bonding with one another.
While it is essential always to make sure that your kids are okay, it is advisable to give yourself time. 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.
4. Setting Limits
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 making the rules, and you can come up with agreements to make it more democratic. Your kids might feel bad when you impose restrictions that limit them too much. You have to listen to them and make them understand.
5. Thinking Positively
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 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 always thinking about how stressful your problems are, you can instead think about how this would help you grow as a person.
Taking a growth-mindset may be challenging to achieve, but it can help you cope with stress.
Get inspired by other single mothers, or look back to the last time you overcome a problem and make it one of your motivations. Sometimes, what matters is not the situation but how you think about it.
6. Being Patient
Many things will challenge you, but remember that staying patient is always the key. Treasure what Ted in Kramer vs. Kramer says 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 perseverance; 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 stressful and that parenting is a universal struggle.