Whether or not you share custody of your children with another parent or you are raising your child(ren) on your own full time, there is no doubt that single parenting can be challenging and stressful. Sometimes, a few simple single parenting tips can be helpful in the day to day work involved in single parenting.
Anyone who has done it knows that being a single parent is a full time job in and of itself. There is so much work involved in making sure that we provide the basics to our children. And let’s face it, most of us want to provide more than just the basics. Add to that the fact that most single parents also need to work a full time job and by the end of the day you have one majorly overworked parent.
So my first tip to any single parent is to really make sure to take a little time for yourself every day. Whether that’s 30 minutes of exercise or getting up a little early to read the newspaper or have some quiet time with a cup of coffee, it is very important to get that time for you where you focus on just that, YOU!
Second, try to stay aware of your “emotional pulse”. Because the job of single parenting can be so tiring, overwhelming and stressful at times, it is important to be aware of how you are feeling so that if things are starting to build up or become too much you can take the proactive steps to avoid a meltdown. Daily check-ins may sound crazy but I literally at least once a day simply ask myself, “How are you doing?”, and then take the time to honestly answer it. If I feel that I am overwhelmed or just not on my game, I revert to the first tip and for me I like to take about 10 to 15 minutes to perform deep breathing exercises. Emotional awareness can go a long way in helping prevent stress or anxiety becoming too much.
Third, a meltdown is ok…well sort of. Obviously part of why it is so important for us as single parents to avoid letting our stresses and anxieties overwhelm us is because of our responsibility to our children. That being said, blowing off a little steam sometimes can be a really effective way to release some stress.
For me, if I feel a bit of a meltdown coming on (maybe because the kids left a tornado of a mess through the house) I will go out to the garage for a few minutes and go a round or two on the punching bag. Now, it’s important to note, I am not taking out on the punching bag any aggression directed at my children. It’s just a much more effective way of releasing stress than losing my cool and yelling and screaming about the things that I cannot change. After I have had my little private meltdown, I can then get back to it with a much more level head and calming speak to the kids about how we need to clean up our messes.
Fourth and possibly most important, even though you are a single parent does not mean you are all alone. I don’t know how many times I have called my Mom, or Dad, or friends or other family just to ask questions or vent or get a little advice. Sometimes it is trivial little things and sometimes it is stuff that at least for that moment, seems like life altering impact.
The main thing is, we need to remember that we are not required to be all alone in our journey to raise our children and in fact, we shouldn’t be. It is too hard of a job to do alone and no one should have to do it. That being said, sometimes people do not want to burden their friends and family with their personal problems. This is understandable and certainly a fine perspective, but not an excuse to handle things alone. There is also professional guidance you can receive in the form of therapists, support groups, online communities, social workers, the list goes on…
This is just a short list of single parenting tips that have been invaluable to me on my day to day journey of single parenting. I hope you can find some use in them. Please feel free to offer your own tips in the comments section below. I assure you that other single parents will be very grateful for them.