Raising a child is not an easy job, it’s like an ocean voyage, full of storms and rough waves. It has its good and bad moments. It is a full time job and hard enough when you have a partner.
And when you are a single parent, the level of difficulty rises many folds. But there are many parents in this world who are joyfully raising their kids all by themselves. Just because you are a single parent does not mean that you cannot handle the job well. Following tips can help you in managing your life and kids in a better way.
Take good care of yourself:
In the early days of parenthood, paying attention to your basic needs is very important. Getting a good sleep, having healthy meals is a must. These are the things which are easy to neglect especially if you don’t have a partner to spell you. Learn to ignore some household chores which are not very important and can be completed later on.
If your home is a mess, it can be cleaned later on. If your child is sleeping, just go and get some sleep. Incorporate small chunks of exercise in your daily life. You do not have to spend an hour in the gym to exercise. Just make small changes in your life like walking to the grocery store instead of driving. Take stairs instead of an elevator.
Do not surround yourself with parenting couples every Sunday morning. It does not mean that you cannot take your kids to the park. If you can find moms and dads in a similar situtation, it can work as a life saver. If you are having trouble finding single parents, join single parent support group or check some social networking sites to find other single parents in your area.
Try to build a community. It can provide you emotional support and a sense of belonging. Do not just focus on single parents, have a diverse social circle for a richer experience. If you are an introvert, push yourself into social situations. Join a church or synagogue. Meeting new people gets easier with practice.
Do not refuse help:
There is no harm in accepting help from your friends and family. Learn to delegate some work. Remember the fact that you are not a super human being. Asking for help will give you much needed break from your daily chores. But you also need to understand who you can depend on right now. Most likely, this includes your immediate family and friends. Try making a list of people who remind you that you are not alone. Develop a wide network of people who can provide you with companionship, emotional support, reality checks etc. Choose friends who will be there for you in times of need.
Plan ahead for urgent situations:
Keep all the required medicines in hand. Be prepared for all kinds of situations when you have kids at home. Keep the numbers of emergency babysitting services handy. These services can be pricey but can provide help fairly quickly.
Move past “couple envy”
No marriage is perfect. Every couple has there own set of problems. So do not get caught up in the illusion that if everything would have been perfect if you had a partner. Being single has its own advantages. Just focus on the positives of being single. Be grateful for the friends in your life.
Cultivate a good babysitting network. Be open to new ideas. Trade childcare with other friends in your area. You can take care of their kids while they hang out and they can take care of your kids while you are out. This way you will get a free playdate for your child.
Stop searching for a partner:
Trying to find an ideal relationship is next to impossible. Rather than spending money and time on personal ads and dating services, try to spend time on things that you actually enjoy doing. Good relationships happen by chance meetings. So pursue the activity that you enjoy.
Priorotize your responsibilities:
As a single parent you are required to handle more that you ever did. You have got to worry about money, maintenence of home, car, insurance and above all your kids. So just sit down and make a list of your priorities. This will minimize the level of stress. Establish schedules and predictable routines for your children. Of course, there must be a flexibility in your schedules because children must learn that life is not always predictable.
Always try to be there for your kids:
When you are there with your children, make an effort to be emotionally present for them. Your kids really need you more than ever. Try to play with them, enjoy doing activities like board games or simply taking a walk together. Give them a message that life goes on and you are always there for your kids.
Recognize the fact that you are single and you are doing your best:
No matter how efficient and competent you are, never forget that you are single and you are handling responsibilities those are meant for two. So never feel guilty when something goes wrong. Teach your kids that you have to work as a team. Feel good when you handle a job well. Focus on success and not on failures.
Have family meetings on a regular basis and involve your kids in making small decisions. Communication is the key. Solve family problems together while still demonstrating that you are the boss. Do not confide in your children as if he is your peer, regardless of how mature he appears to be. You may hurt your child. Allow children to be children, find other adults for companionship and support.
Create a stable and a nurturing home for your little angels. If you are feeling depressed, overwhelming or anxious, get some professional help. A competent therapist will help you in finding the light at the end of the tunnel. Recognize the fact that single parents can raise good kids too.