Whether you decided to have a child on your own, are divorced and your former partner isn’t co-parenting, or you became a temporary single parent because your partner is away, at war, or in prison, there’s no question that single-parenting has its challenges. It’s all on your shoulders, and you don’t have support living under the same roof.
I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, because I’ve known many a successful single parent, and I see a lot of people embrace the responsibility beautifully. In fact, because you are on your own, you soon realise the importance of routines and prioritising, and getting into the swing of things more quickly, because you have no one else to rely on. Similarly, the fact that there is no one around to give you a break can also encourage you to reach out and make friends with people who can take on a bit of the childcare when you need some time off. You’ll need some help, and you’ll most definitely appreciate it when you get it.
Solo parenting does mean playing both bad and good cop, which can be exhausting at times; however, you won’t spend any precious time and energy arguing about who’s going to do what – or how! Most single parents develop wonderfully close relationships with their children, and while the toddler years can present a challenge to anyparent, single or not, it is possible to establish an understanding early on and use your closeness to encourage the behaviour you want to see.
The bottom line is that you should embrace your role as a parent, get as much help as you and, and know it’s time for a break. Find ways to take up offers of help whenever you can; there’s no reason to be proud when a little time off can ease the stress and help you to feel more relaxed in your parenting role. You can do it!
And, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Even if it’s sending your child over to a neighbor’s house for short play date with their child whilst you take a break, take a walk, grab coffee, a hot shower, or a quick shopping trip.
Going on a date night or just need a night out? Here’s a tip: I once worked in a neighbourhood where eight families set up a system of trading babysitting tokens with each other. What a great idea! If you’re worried about the expense of a babysitter, see if you can trade nights with other single parent friends in your area.
Copywritten by Jo Frost