Be it by choice or by chance the reality is that solo parenting is often stressful, demanding, and hectic. However the fact is that single-parent families are more common than ever. Upbringing of a child can be difficult under any circumstances. Without a support system in the form of a partner, the issues are even higher. As a single parent, you might have complete responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care. This can result in tremendous pressure, stress and fatigue. Sharing few things you can do to help minimize the stress in your life — and bring back the joy of parenting.
Get a handle on finances: Raising a family on one income, or relying on an ex-spouse for child support, can be one of the hardest part of single parenting. Hence primary solution would be to take important steps to budget your money, put your money aside for long-term investments, plan for your kid’s school/college and retirement, and, if possible, enhance your earning power by taking up part-time work.
Lean on others: While the idea of handling everything all alone may sound tempting to you, still ask friends and family members for help. There are many support groups which can help in watching over your kids, keeping your morale high, and being a family away from home.
Maintain a daily routine & Discipline: Discipline in routine will be a great help. Try to schedule meals, day today chores, bedtime routine, and other family functions at regular hours so that your child knows exactly what to expect each day. Have set rules and consistent routine which will help your child feel more secure and help you feel more organized. If you are single by choice (divorced) then work with your spouse to create common rules of discipline. One parent should not undermine other.
Have early bed time routine: Sleep is the solution to most of the stress issues. Early sleep routine will make your child more pliable,cooperative and less likely to showcase bad behaviour.
Trust your instincts: There is no set rule to parenting and all the more no rule for being a single parent. Just follow your gut instincts. Being a single parent and living with all the challenges i am sure you know best for your kids. Everyone around you would have an opinion and most are eager to share them. But as i said when it’s about you and your kids just listen to the inner voice and do what you think is right.
Answer questions honestly: Its inevitable and questions will keep coming your way, about the changes in your family, absence of other parent. Your child has right to know the truth, hence answer all the questions with complete honesty, in open and age appropriate way. Ensure that your child gets the much-needed support from you in coping with the situation at hand.Be empathetic.
Treat kids like kids: Don’t expect your child to grow up suddenly who would support you and listen to all your agonies. With the absence of a partner you may feel like relaying on your child for comfort and support. But children can only support as per their age, they do not have the emotional strength nor the capacity to act as a substitute for a partner. Better would be seek professional help if pressure of single parenting or loosing a partner is pulling you down. Seek help from your family and friends but keep kids away from this untimely responsibility.
Remove the word”guilt” from your dictionary: If it’s by choice or by chance you are bound to feel guilty of not being able to do so many thing that you would have done if you had your partner by your side. But it would be better if you could focus on giving relief to your own inner self as that will help you accomplish more for your family and yourself. Think of the love and affection you are giving to your child, the responsibility that you are fulfilling by taking care of them. If the word ‘guilt’ still persists then think of joining support groups and meet people who are in same situation. Each story is different and will give you much-needed support. Don’t be ashamed of taking help so that in turn you can help your child.
Take time for your children: Heaps of laundry and piles of dirty dishes on the basin will beckon you, still set aside time for your kids.Ensure that you spend time reading, playing, tucking your kids in the bed with all the love and affection (After all, isn’t that what parenting is all about?). Don’t bring major changes in the routine of your child at one go, let her/him enjoy the routine which he has grown to live with. Change is inevitable, so bring it slowly. Last but not least try to bond and focus on love between you and your child as a family.
Take time for yourself: Likewise, its imperative that you take out time for yourself. Seek help from family to take care of your child for sometime and you take out little time for yourself. Do what you like best, as simple as reading a book, taking a long warm bath, getting yourself a nice massage or catch up with your friends. Setting aside some personal time will give you chance to regain your energy.
Stay positive: I know its easy said than done. Most of the times its easy to become overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and demands of single parenthood. On top of that is your grief of being left without a partner. Despite all your feelings and pain, i would suggest try to maintain positive attitude as its going to affect your child in a big way. Children are far more intelligent than we believe, they observe and pick up vibrations from the surrounding. Your positive frame of mind will keep your children energised & positive. Try to meditate, do some exercise, maintain proper diet, take good rest and seek balance in your life to keep the stress at bay. At times its ok to share some of your emotions with your kids but also assure them that the bad time will pass and good time is just around the corner and that they are the reason of all the happiness in your world.
Closing this with a beautiful quote..
“Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears. But also twice the giggles, twice the hugs & twice the conversation”