Being a single parent is one of the most challenging roles to play in life, especially without the assistance of a partner. When you have some tools in your tool box, however, to help you navigate through the experience, being a single parent can also be one the most fulfilling and wonderful experiences in the world, one that you wouldn't want to trade for anything! (Unless, of course, you fall madly in love with someone you wanted to share your life with.)
This article provides you with a handful of suggestions to use with the intention of allowing the journey of single parenting to become more balanced, rewarding, and definitely more joyful.
Single parenting requires being resourceful and responsible. Whatever it takes, single parents make sure their children are fed, bathed, loved up, schlepped from here to there, making sure their kids are loved up by someone else's loving hands when they are working, and do the best they can to consciously be present with their children, setting the stage for a healthy and respectful family atmosphere. Let's face it, it's not always easy to be everything for everyone.
Being a single parent is the greatest responsibility and greatest gift in the world! It takes great thought, mindful intention and resourcefulness to handle how you respond to your life circumstances. Being able to respond means you are "response-able" and resourceful. You learn to delegate by finding the "right" support. You learn to surround yourself with a village of friends and family to rely upon to help you through the journey.
Relax and smile because you are not alone. Many single parents have been in your position and have survived, and are even thriving! If they could do it, then you can too. Below are the basic tips that will help you as a single parent.
Be a Team
Forget that you are the only parent; you and your child/children can work as a team in the house. Working together as a team is essential for your family. Every activity may seem a lot more difficult if only one person is left to do everything.
Create a family mission statement, engaging everyone (if they are too young, make sure it's age friendly). Set the tone that it is a family matter, how everyone is treated, etc. Have agreements of what kind of family dynamic you want (uplifting, bringing out the best in each other, standing up for one another, etc., whatever is important to experience as a family).
Learn to delegate the household tasks and responsibilities to everyone in the house. Make it fun. Create a work flow chart and maybe offer praises, validations or acknowledgments. Regardless of how little your kid(s) can be, there are tasks they can do. Let your kids pick up their toys, clear the dirt on their bed, or gather the plates. Talk about the importance of taking pride in one's care and one's environment. This type of teamwork will enable your child/children to develop a sense of responsibility in the family, to become "response-able".[amazon_link asins='1460007956,0974525421,B00A1SR63U,B0128DH1T4' template='ProductCarousel' store='us-1' marketplace='US' link_id='857e4634-f8be-11e8-837f-a96c3d4495df']
Parents vs Friends
Many single parents often overindulge out of guilt and sometimes make the mistake of trying to be friends with their kids. Studies have shown this can be one of the major causes of disrespect in most single-parent homes. It can also make the children lack respect for people in authority. Teach them about bringing honor, dignity and regard to the table of their own lives.
As a parent, remember you are matriarch/patriarch/role model of the family. Be mindful that you are their leader/teacher/parent, because they will learn from what you do/say/believe. Treat them with the same respect as you want them to treat you. Let them know they can always feel safe to share their feelings with you and ask you for your advice without judgment. Remember, you are the parent and not your child’s friend.
Quality time, not quantity
Having time for oneself is something everybody desires but usually absent in the lifestyle of a single parent. You have to balance your work with home, and thus, may have little time for yourself. The stress that a working single parent endures most times can harm child-parent relationships, just out of sheer habit.
As a single parent, you need to make a judicious use of the little time you have for yourself and your family. Even if you can only get a few hours for your family in a day, you use it maximally. You need quality time, not quantity.
One on One Time
As a single parent, you may be tempted to undertake two or more tasks at a time. For instance, you may want to attend to your kid’s homework, while washing clothes at the same time. Kids usually compete for their parent’s attention. This can be overwhelming especially because you are raising your kids without your partner. There is only one you!
The best way to easily resolve this is to take one task at a time. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on the task, just make sure when you are with your child, give him/her your attention. Children know when you are half listening or paying attention. Once you are present, BE there and then go on to whatever other task you may have.
Prioritize Your Life
As we have discussed, single parents (or any parent for that matter) can only be in one place at a time. Teachers, instructors, and tutors sometimes do not realize you are doing all these things on your own. Setting priorities is a way to help you organize your school events, open houses, and personal/professional appointments.
Draw a to-do list and arrange them in the order of their priorities. You can even talk with your children (if matured enough) on which task they would want you to attend to. This will even help you to develop a healthier parent-children relationship and build a family bonding experience.
We have learned that single parenting is challenging and rewarding. Being a loving parent cannot ever be compared to anything. Remember to enjoy your children, no matter what age, that life sweeps by swiftly. Keep yourself in the equation by taking care of yourself and doing what YOU need, so that you have plenty to give.
What did you think of our blog?
Let us know in the comments section below!