In November of 1999, I became a mom. As if the challenge of parenting isn’t hard enough, I had the added challenge of being a single mom. Was I scared out of my mind? Yes, but I knew for my son I had to do it, I had to put my big girl panties on and do everything I could to make his life the best it could be. And that’s just what I did.
Being a single mom definitely required sacrifices on my end but I also ended up reaping the benefits of single parenting. Today I want to share with you some a few tips I think every single parent should know.
- Set a routine. Routines are so very important, but as a previous single parent I think they are even more so in a single parent household. It’s important not only for your kids but for you as a single parent. Chances of downtime as a single parent are less than that of a two parent household so a routine is key to making sure you get those moments alone and your child has a routine to follow. I’ve noticed both as a single parent and in our two parent household, when a routine is followed, the smoother the days go for both parent and child.
- “No” is your friend. It’s so easy as a single parent to want to say yes because of guilt or just wanting to fight less battles. You can’t let single parent guilt parent or you may find yourself saying yes to everything, which can lead to a child feeling they should get everything they want later in life. As we all know, we don’t always get what we want and the earlier we can teach our children that lesson the better. I remember feeling so guilty that my son’s biological father wasn’t in his life I wanted to over compensate. That was something, I quickly realized, could not be done. I was trying to ease my guilt, because in the end that extra toy or piece of candy didn’t make him feel any more loved. I was doing a fine job of that on my own.
- Build a support system. One of the most important things that got me through being a single parent was the support I had. Whether it’s friends or family having a good support system is key. You might need to just call up a friend and pour out your heart during a difficult day or ask a family member to babysit for a short time so you can regroup. Having a support system is important, in my opinion, for any parent but even more so for a single parent.
- Be positive! It’s so easy to focus on the negative in todays society but it’s much better to focus on the positive. Look at all the positive aspects of being a single parent. Your child gets to give you all their attention. You are showing your child how to be strong even if life doesn’t go exactly the way you planned. You get to be the inspiration your child draws from. Being a single parent offers so many positives, so don’t let the worry and negative thoughts get you down.
- Focus on your finances. This is probably one of the scariest things about being a single parent. There are questions like “What if I can’t provide” or ”How can I make sure my child gets everything they need“. I remember worrying about this so often, but worrying did nothing. I had to take charge of my finances. There are programs out there to help if you need them. Remember it’s not just about you anymore. You need to make sure everything from food to clothes, transportation to is covered. Sit down and make a budget, find out where all your money goes and where it NEEDS to go. This is also a great way to teach your kids about money and finances. Make it bonding time while teaching an important life lesson.
Single parenting isn’t something all of us envision happening but it does happen. Instead of focusing on the hardships, take a moment to see the blessings. Seeing the positives can change your outlook and attitude. Single parenting is hard but it’s also so rewarding.