Raising a child alone can be scary and stressful but can also be very rewarding. Here are some tips to make single parenting, whether you’re a single mum or a single dad, manageable:
1. Remember to take care of yourself
Being a single parent is tiring. Remember to take care of yourself by scheduling a kid-free time. Take that opportunity to recharge and to do your own thing such as reading a book, getting a haircut, head to the nail salon or window shopping.
If you can’t find someone else to care for your child, have a date night with another single parent. At least this way when both of the children act up, you have each other to support and help out a bit.
Basic needs such as eating enough and having enough sleep are important too!
2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a suitable work schedule
This largely depends on the work you do and your employer but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe you can ask the boss if you could come into work earlier but leave in time to get your child from school or daycare. Christine Coppa of Mama’s Boy says not to be “afraid to express your needs to your employer because most bosses want to work with you, not against you.”
3. Focus on what you can control
No one can control the other parent so just focus on being the kind of parent you want to be for your child. If the other parent did not turn up when he or she says they will, it’s on them and not on you.
4. Take a deep breath
Sometimes problems and child tantrums get the best of you even when you try to be calm. Single parents have no one to share their frustrations with so take a deep breath and count to ten or go for a walk instead of yelling at your child.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself
Single parents are always on and have a checklist to complete. However, it’s good to take a step back and reassess the things to do. Are they important? Must it be done immediately? Coppa realized no one said she has to make the beds every morning or do morning chores. All she had to do was to feed her child breakfast, shower and get them both out of the house in time for school and work. She spends the morning with her child. The beds and dishes can be dealt with later.
6. Point out good qualities in the opposite gender
If there’s no dad in the picture, it’s up to you to show your child that there are good men out there. The same goes for single dads on other good women. A way Coppa used was to make a big deal about how gentlemanly and awesome the older son is when he helps out in front of the younger son. For Father’s Day celebration in school, she got her brother to come in and made a point to hang out with other guy friends with her sons so they could see how good men behave and do “guy things.”
7. Congratulate yourself
You are doing what you can daily so it’s important to pat yourself on the back. When your child displays good manners, smile and enjoy the work you put in to bring up a good child.
8. Think ahead and be prepared
Single parents are like super parents because they have to do everything on their own! For younger kids, it’s always good to carry spares such as a sippy cup, snacks, crayons or colouring books to keep them entertained.
Also plan in advance for emergency situations. Who can you contact at ungodly hours for help if the child isn’t feeling well and where is the nearest 24/7 clinic?
It may all look daunting at first but soon you’ll be a super organizer and can guide other parents!
9. Find ways to spend time with your child
You’re still able to spend time with your child while you’re doing chores. You can fold your clothes at the play area at home. Coppa tests her child on colours using the clothes she’s folding. She even got them to help pair up the socks for folding.
10. Have a support group
Other than networking with single parents, it’s also good to have some couple parents. A diverse social circle is very important. You’ll get to share tips and tricks, and have adult conversations after spending a bulk of your time interacting with children.
Feature image from The Successful Single Mom