A single parent is a parent that parents alone without the other parent’s support, meaning this particular parent is the only parent to the child, responsible for all financial, material, and emotional needs. It means there is an absence of the other parent as opposed to a co-parent, meaning that the parent is not the only parent regardless of whether or not they are a couple. Of course, this definition is loosely true. There is no true definition of what “single parent” means and is more based on opinions. Sometimes, one finds themselves in a single-parent family structure that has arisen due to death of the partner, intentional artificial insemination, or unplanned pregnancy.
There are different types of single parenting: widowed parents, divorced parents, unintended pregnancy, by choice and single parent adoption.
The many challenges of a single mom include,
- Not having one to pass the baton to when you are having a bad parenting moment or just for assistance.
- Self-doubt of your parenting methods. When you’re in a couple, you have someone who agrees (or disagrees) with your methods and can help you see the merit in your positive parenting moments and help you improve where you fall short.
- Making decisions all by yourself which makes you extremely stressed and anxious.
- Stress and anxiety about money. Sometimes, the child support is not even paid by the other partner. This can have serious effects on the children.
- Lose of Independence. As a single mom every decision you make must first be okay with the kid(s).
- Losing a sense of self. Single mom are often expected to be a superwoman when the other parent is not involved. After being overwhelmed by both providing, household chores and taking care of the kids, the single mom usually loses her sense of self.
So how do you survive as a single mom. Here are some tips that can help you.
- Seek Out Role Models. Single parents and their kids can flourish, and there are plenty of examples to prove it. Make a list of single parents—or children raised by a single parent—who inspire you, and refer to it when you’re having a rough day.
- Find A Work Schedule That Suits Your Family. You can speak with your employer hoping they will be understanding and allow you to work a more convenient shift. Working from home is another good option if it’s possible.
- Don’t Obsess About Things You Can’t Control. No one can force your child’s other parent to visit. You can’t help it if he promises to show up for your child’s big game and doesn’t. These are the other parent’s issues—not yours, so don’t lose sleep over it. Instead, focus on what you can control and that is what kind of parent you are.
- Take a deep breath and don’t loose your cool. It’s easy to lose your cool when you have to be “on” all the time. Single parents have no one to trade off with when they’re about to lose their marbles over yet another bowl of peas thrown on the floor. Don’t yell, because it’s not healthy for the child and you’ll regret it afterward. Instead, walk away and count to 10 or just laugh it off. You’ll feel better in a minute, and ready to face the peas.
- Don’t Have A Competition With Yourself. Have a laid-back approach. This will take a lot of pressure off you.
- Point Out Good Qualities In Men. No dad in the picture? This means it’s up to you to show your child that there are good men all around him. If Dad’s not around to show your son or daughter how a good man behaves or to do “guy things,” than it’s your very important job to seek out these role models.
- Congratulate Yourself. I know this sounds silly, but if you live alone with your child, no one is going to pat you on the back when your kid is finally potty-trained or when you serve up a hot, healthy dinner after working all day. You should be aware of these epic achievements and know you’re the one making it all happen.
- Always Be Prepared. Never leave home without a sippy cup and snack of some kind. You can also keep crayons, a coloring book, a few Matchbox cars and snack in the purse at all times. Stash clean clothes, snacks and juice boxes in the car. Being prepared is important for all parents, but even more so for single ones since it’s up to only you to squelch a meltdown or entertain my child while we wait to be seated for dinner.
- Multitask Strategically. You have to try accomplishing housework and playtime simultaneously, so you are not up for hours after bedtime getting chores done. You can sit on the living room floor with a basket of clean laundry and fold while your son races cars on a ramp. Every so often, you can make a “vrooom” noise and slide a car down the path. You can also hold up a shirt to quiz himi on his colors, or encourage him to pair socks together. Work, play and even some sneaky learning gets done and everyone is happy.