You love your kids more than you ever thought possible, they’re the reason you get out of bed in the morning! But, single parenting… it’s probably the one thing you’ve never planned on doing alone.
Parenting in general is glorious and tricky all in the same gulp. Truthfully, being a two-parent team is hard enough, but being a single full-time working parent is even harder! Thing is, single parent families are more common than ever. In fact statistics show that only 33% of South African kids live with both parents.
Day-to-day duties for a solo parent are no different than what they are for a couple. Coping with sleeplessness, finding childcare, paying bills… Yes, single parenting is by far the hardest thing you’ll ever do and by far (far, far) the most important. It’s all true, there are a lot of challenges facing the solo parent (so many!), BUT there are also amazing rewards. You may have to change all the diapers, but remember you also get all the cuddles! You will be overwhelmingly loved and needed, wonderful, right?
So, whether you’re a veteran or a newbie of the single parent gig, we have a few tips on how successful single parents keep it together:
- Ask for and accept help. If you don’t have family or friends willing to help, look for a support group for single parents to share your feelings and get advice.
- Find out if your job is open to flexible hours.
- Develop a routine. Keep mealtimes and bedtimes fairly consistent. A predictable routine will help to give your child a sense of security.
- Count to 10. It’s easy to lose your cool when you have to be “on” all the time. Single parents have no one to trade off to when they lose their marbles over yet another bowl of peas on the floor. Don’t yell, you’ll regret it afterwards. Walk away, count to 10, you’ll feel better and ready to face the peas.
- Don’t feel guilty. Don’t blame yourself or spoil your child to make up for being a single parent.
- Have others involved in your child’s life. Provide role models; look for family members or friends of the opposite sex to be role models. Count on grandpa to pick your child up from school once a week. Maybe an aunt could host the occasional sleepover? Use this time to do something you love and, yes, to date again.
- Negativity towards the other parent will turn around and bite you later. Answer complicated questions truthfully, quickly and then change the subject. Keep your cool. It’s up to you to make your child feel loved, no matter what.
- Work hard at having a social life. It’s important not to become a recluse. Plan ahead. Make plans with friends or allow someone to set you up on a date; you’ll have something exciting and “adult” to look forward to.
Remember, you are awesome. This is pretty much a one-man circus and you are the star of the show! Single parenting is hard, but also unconditionally rewarding. Good luck on your journey.
Source: familydoctor.org, www.parents.com, www.thebump.com, www.mayoclinic.org, www.webmd.com, www.momtastic.com, www.cosmopolitan.com, www.parenting.com, www.xojane.com, www.channelmum.com, www.supernanny.co.uk, www.news24.com