Five Tips to Single Parenting
When you became a mother you probably never anticipated having to parent alone. Now that you are venturing out solo, there are many things to consider about how you want to set up your new life.
There will be a lot of feelings that come up for you around your new role as single mother, and there will most likely be doubts about whether you can actually do a good job on your own. Even though we all know the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, the truth is that a child only needs one loving, dedicated caregiver to thrive. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Every single parent worries about their child’s well-being post divorce. What many single mothers don’t realize is that children are very resilient, and just like adults, they have a great capacity to thrive even in the face of challenging life situations. Through this process your children will have the opportunity to learn and practice compassion and empathy. They will also come to know their own strength and fortitude that will help them deal with the inevitable obstacles they will face in the future.
You might miss having your Ex around to bounce things off of, or to pass off your child when you aren’t up to parenting. The reality is that many mom’s find that their ex-husbands made parenting more difficult. If you feel that you really miss your spouse, think hard about what exactly you miss. Is it really the man, the person, the partner? Or is it the extra set of hands? Many couples end up divorcing because of unresolvable parenting differences, or over a complete lack of involvement.
Here are 5 tips to manage this “parenting thing” on your own:
- Generate Support: If finances are not an issue hiring a nanny or babysitter is a great way to get the help you miss. You are not any less of parent because you need someone else around to help you manage. If you can’t afford this option, think about forming a co-op with other parents to get a break, or reach out to family and friends.
- Involve your Children: You can’t be a parent who does everything for your kids. Assigning chores, asking for help in places you might not have in the past, or teaching your kids how to do things like laundry or cooking will lighten your load.
- Organize Your Life: Keeping things organized and creating structured schedules will help you maintain your sanity. This can be anything from utilizing an online scheduling program, to creating a chore chart for your family. Keep important documents filed, stay on top of paperwork and try not to let too many things “build up”.
- Maintain Firm Boundaries: This is your greatest tool as a single parent. Many single mothers find that their children become unruly and defiant when they are left to parent alone. Maintaining structure and consistent rules around bedtime, curfew, routines and behavior will ensure that you remain in charge.
- Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power, so making sure you are educated about your child’s developmental stage and what you can expect from them at any given age will make you a better parent on every level. Parenting is not something you want to do with blind faith. You need information and tools just as you would with any other important job.
Overall, be realistic about the expectations you hold of yourself with regard to being a single parent. Parenting is hard in general, so doing it solo will definitely be challenging. Just remember that you can do it, and maybe even better than you did before.
Written By: Allison Pescosolido M.A., Andra Brosh Ph.D. from the Divorce Detox™ Team, Founders, Divorce Detox