A single-parent family is home to about 19 million children in the United States, with 15.76 million living with a single mom and 3.23 with a single dad. At 23%, it’s by far the highest rate in the category worldwide. Although conditions differ, such as whether a parent is divorced, widowed, or a single parent by choice, the fact is that solo parenthood is frequently stressful, challenging, and strenuous.
If you’re in familiar territory, chances are you’re constantly on the hunt for ways to reduce stress in your life and reclaim the joy of parenthood.
Maintaining financial stability
Starting and supporting a family on a single household income or spousal support might be one of the most challenging elements of solo parenting. Thus, it’s critical to start budgeting your expenses. Some would lean on learning more about long-term securities and planning for their children’s education and, later on, retirement.
If feasible, you may also increase your earning ability by returning to school or obtaining more work training. This will give you more edge on your way to financial stability and building a safety net.
Surrounding yourself with people who matter
A solid support system comes in various ways. Each of us must have one, especially single parents. Whether it is someone who watches the children while you’re on the run or just someone to chat with when you’re stressed, people who support you can help you overcome the challenges that come your way. While it may be tempting to manage everything alone, consider surrounding yourself with the people who genuinely care for you and your children.
You can also attend single-parent community groups or, if resources permit, employ a dependable babysitter to help with the children or with cleaning.
Giving yourself enough time to spend with your children
Despite the busy schedule and stressful days at work or at home, set aside time every day to appreciate your kids. Let them know that they are loved and that you are there for them and can be their anchor. You can also take advantage of this opportunity to develop your ties with one another by doing their favorite activities together.
For example, you can go for a stroll in a nearby park, play their favorite sport, buy new books for them to read, or water the garden. If you have a newborn, spend extra quality time with them by breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and other alternative feedings (for single dads). You can also do this when you’re changing their diapers and listening to classical music while doing their daily baths. Moreover, remember that babies’ skin is sensitive at this age. Thus, make sure that you use a gentle, hypoallergenic soap and soft baby bath towels to keep them safe from harm. Apart from this, find other ways to make your baby comfortable and happy. That way, your child’s happiness can also give you joy and in return
When your child receives the utmost care that they need from you, such as a smile, a kiss, or a snuggle, the world appears to be a much safer place for them to play, learn, and explore. This establishes the groundwork for your child’s future growth and well-being. Additionally, building a solid connection with your children has been shown to aid in brain and growth development, build resilience, and provide long-term mental health advantages.
Let children be children
Given the circumstances, it’s easy to lean too much on your children for comfort, friendship, or compassion. However, keep in mind that they still lack the emotional maturity and life experience necessary to serve those needs. If you find yourself venting your anger and disappointment to your children frequently, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from friends, family, or even therapy.
Don’t forget yourself in the process
While it’s normal for solo parents to feel terrible or not feel enough to provide what their children need, it’s essential to refrain from feeling guilty and blaming yourself. Instead of asking about things you can’t do, start focusing on the good and appreciate yourself for doing the best you can and how far you’ve gone given the situation.
You are doing your best, and that is enough. Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t. You’ll be surprised at how much lighter you’ll feel once you assess the things that matter most. Give yourself some me-time. Spoil yourself once in a while. Reward yourself for being able to keep your head up.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the obligations and responsibilities of being a single parent. Regardless of your personal emotions, it’s critical to have a cheerful outlook, as your moods impact your children. The most effective strategy to manage stress is to find balance in taking care of yourself and your children. Make sure to find which technique works for you best and stick with it. Improve yourself if need be. Remember that parenting is not a competition. You do you.