Raising children is always a huge responsibility but when you’re doing it solo, things can feel particularly challenging. Whether it’s the sleepless nights of the terrible twos, managing an emergency at work or enforcing household rules – it takes a lot of energy and strength to be a single parent. It can be especially tough for those who are raising kids alone because their partners are away from home – on deployment, in jail or for other reasons.
In addition to juggling a job and family, single parents also face a certain stigma about how they’re perceived in their community. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, many people see unmarried parenting – and single motherhood in particular – as a bad thing for society. This can make it hard for single mothers to get the support they need. Despite this, the number of unmarried families is steadily increasing.
Single parenting can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that your child’s well-being and happiness is your primary concern. Whether you’re a single mom or dad, having a support network is essential to help you cope with the challenges and stresses of life.
It’s also a good idea to establish a routine for your family. Having a regular schedule can help you manage your time and ensure that daily tasks like meal preparation, laundry and homework are completed on time. It may be helpful to delegate chores to your child so they can learn the importance of being responsible and take ownership of their responsibilities.
Self-compassion is a powerful tool for single parents. Practice it by being aware of when you’re criticizing yourself or holding unrealistic expectations of yourself. For example, if you feel overwhelmed when your child throws a tantrum or misbehaves, remind yourself that all parents find it difficult to be a perfect parent. Try to say something kind to yourself, such as “This is a normal part of being a parent and I’m doing my best.”
If you have extended family close by, it’s also a good idea to get them involved in your child’s upbringing. Spending quality time with them can reinforce the love and attachment that your child needs to thrive. You can also ask them for help with household chores, such as washing the dishes or folding clothes – this will give your child a sense of autonomy and independence while helping you to free up some extra time in your day. It’s also important to set aside some one-on-one time with your child every week. This could be as simple as reading to them before bedtime or going for a walk together. The more time you invest in your relationship, the better your child will perform.