Silhouette of a single father on vacation with his two kids

Being a Single Parent

November 25, 2017

Being a single parent can leave you with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Facing having to raise your children on your own without the support from your partner, can be a very overwhelming and stressful time in your life. When you are raising your child as a single parent, you may think that you will have to replace the other person by splitting yourself in two. You need to keep in mind that you are only one person, so can only do what you can do. Avoid pushing yourself too hard, as this can result in frustration and stress.

If you are trying to be a successful single parent, keep in mind that you should be willing to step out your comfort zone. Raising children on your own often means dealing with unexpected things: a single mum can find herself trying to fix broken things in the house, and single dads often have to learn things out of their comfort zone as learning how to braid their daughter’s hair for example. Household routines are very important to simplify your day! Work on establishing everyday routines. As a single parent, you need to find time for yourself too, having some “me time” and dedicating some time to please yourself, to do the things you love to do will make you feel refreshed and you’ll return to your kids with more appreciation, enthusiasm, and energy. So try to plan your day and take into account that there are certain things you do every morning, afternoon and evening. Schedule some free time often to focus on yourself and on your emotional and social needs.

Some single parents have support from family and friends. If you are lucky enough to have support, this can make your life a lot easier. However, there are many single parents who are bringing up children without any support network. If this is the case, you need to try to organise and plan as much as you can in advance, as it can be hard managing the practical things in life, such as balancing work and home, different school runs, cooking and chores.

When your routine is set around your children, you can forget to set goals for yourself. Think about your life in the near future, and set a few personal and professional goals. Start writing a journal and look for inspiration and motivation to accomplish them. Remember that it is important to prioritise balance in your life. It’s very common for us, single parents, to focus only in one area of life, as we are taking care of young children, and this aspect of our lives usually takes up almost all of our time and energy. Try making a decision to focus some of your energy on other parts of your life, reserve some time for your friends or hobbies. It’s not easy, but this can help spread the weight of pressures in your everyday routine, and make everything feel lighter.

Do something small for yourself that can make you feel better every single day. Small things can make a big impact in your emotional health. When you feel emotionally balanced you are able to listen to your kids, and let them know that they can talk to you about their feelings too. You are able to listen to them without anger or judgment. Remember that when you are broken down, you can either rebuild yourself, or stay broken. If you fill your house with love, your children will realise that love is what makes a house a home.

Forgive yourself when you make a mistake when trying to raise your child by your own. Try to remember that you are doing your best and nobody’s perfect. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself, putting extra pressure on yourself doesn’t help. Keep in mind that if  you can start seeing every obstacle life throws at you, when trying to raise a child by yourself, as a chance to practice being stronger, and you’ll begin to acquire the wisdom and clarity that you need in order to be more focused and hopeful when things get difficult. Set a positive example because your kids are learning constantly from you. If they see in you resilience and determination, they will be inspired by you for the rest of their lives.

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