Parenthood is not a simple stroll in the park. Similar to a farmer who nourishes a seed to become a full tree or plant, the mother and father nurtures a child to become a responsible adult someday. However, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances which push an individual to become a single parent. At this stage, the individual takes on the role of both the mother and father in rearing a child. The role is doubled, and so are the challenges.
Below are a few tips on how to live through single parenthood.
1. Have a good support system:
Being a mom or a dad per se is difficult. What more if you have to take up a double-role of being both. Having a good support system of family and friends whom you can trust does not only provide a single parent some moral support, but can also serve as an extended pair of arms and legs whenever the single parent has so much tasks in his/her hand.
2. Make and Find time for Yourself:
Too often single parents are very much occupied with work and raising their kids, that they have less time for themselves. Setting up some personal “me-time” allows the single parent to rest and recharge – thus feeling less burnt out. A single parent can also learn new skills aside from the work he/she has been used to. This would allow him/her to not only have time for him/herself, but also to improve him/herself.
3. Always be Prepared:
A bottle of water, some snacks, an extra pair of clothes, some tissue or napkin, hand sanitizer or alcohol, a small toy or book to keep the little ones busy. With kids around, being prepared is always a must for parents. But by being a single parent, being prepared becomes a sole responsibility. It is important that whenever you and your child leave home, the “essential stuff” (i.e. the items listed in the first statement) is always within reach.
4. Maintain a Positive Attitude:
Having the task to juggle work, paying the bills, taking care of the home, and solely raising a child can become overwhelming and can sometimes stress out any single parent. It is always important to have a positive attitude if you’re a single parent. When things get out of hand, a single parent can maintain a journal just to have an outlet to vent out all the negative feelings. Children learn from their parents. And we want our kids to grow up having an optimistic “can-do” mindset.
5. Live Within Your Means:
Part of being a single parent is handling financial matters on your own, whether it is paying the bills at home or shouldering your child’s education. It is an important for any single parent to learn the necessary budgeting skills, spending wisely, as well as making sound financial decisions to save for the future.
6. Spend Quality Time With Your Kid(s):
This is one, if not the most, important part of this list. Spending quality time with your son or daughter does not only meet the child’s need for attention, but it allows the single parent to have some meaningful interaction. This meaningful interaction would allow the single parent to learn more about his/her child and sometimes, even about him/herself. Quality time need not always be expensive and extravagant. A good chitchat over dinner, or some weekend at the movies or arcade, or picnic at the park are good examples.
To summarize, single parenthood is definitely not for the faint of heart or those who fear responsibility. A single parent should be able to have the compassion and tenderness of a mother, and combine it with the steadfastness and the discipline skills of a father. But the rewards have always been great. Being able to see your child grow up successfully and knowing in your heart that you were able to do it on your own, is a reward any single parent can be truly proud of.
The author of this article is a single parent to an 8-year old boy. The article includes the author’s personal insights and take on surviving (and thriving) as a single parent.