Parenting isn’t easy for anyone. It is in many ways the hardest thing a person will ever do, but it is also by far the most rewarding. Single parents face even more obstacles and potential hardships. Many single parents face these challenges head on each and every day. As a single parent one must maintain a “can do’ attitude. It would be all too easy to say, “I can’t do this.” However, looking into the eyes of your children this is not likely to be anything you will ever say even if the thought flickers in your mind for only an instant. Having a “can do” attitude will result in successful single parenting.
It is difficult to juggle running a household, taking care of your family and working a job. These jobs are hard enough to do when you are married and have a partner. They are even harder when you are shouldering everything on your own. Single parenting creates its own unique sets of problems and creates more extensive difficulties from the standard challenges. There are never quite enough hours in the day. Money always seem to be a little on the low side. A good night’s sleep is a luxury. An immaculate house might as well be a fairytale.
A single parent must be ready to face all challenges head on. You never get anywhere by saying I can’t, only by saying I can. One important step in being a successful single parent is to remember that you don’t need to be mom and dad. Do not try to fill the shoes of the parent who is absent. Instead strive to be the best parent you can be each day of your children’s lives. Your children will understand that mom may not be the best at pitching baseball or that dad is not a gourmet cook. That is not to say that moms shouldn’t throw a ball around with the boys in the backyard or that dad shouldn’t try to be at least an “ok” cook.
Remind yourself from time to time that you can be a great parent even when you have limited resources of time and money. Set aside a few minutes each evening to sit and talk with your children. The dishes can wait until later. The floor can be swept in the morning. Use that time to find out about your children’s day. Find out if they need to talk with you about anything. You can share your day with your children as well. They might not tell you this, but they like to know what is going on in your life, too. Give them an opportunity to connect with you.
Most single parents know that raising children alone can be a financial challenge. However, knowing that you can provide for your children well, even on limited budget, will help to put your mind at ease. The cost of raising children is not easy for anyone, especially for single parents. You need to have a “can do” attitude by making ends meet and providing your children with what they really need. You might even be able to provide a couple small extras along the way.
But first you must create a budget for your family and stick to it. Leave a little room in the budget for treats for the children on special occasions or when they do a job well done. Do not be hard on yourself if you cannot give your children those brand name shoes everyone else seems to have. You don’t need to buy them the most expensive bicycle on the block or ten video games for the computer. Teach your children that things are not important, but rather that family is the most important.
Time especially is in short supply when you are a single parent. Once again you need to maintain a positive attitude. You must make the time for your children that they need. In all reality, it is the quality not quantity of time that counts. Spend time with all your children together. Implement a family night or set aside a little bit of family time each day. You might have a “movie night” or a night when you all go out to dinner. Perhaps it is as simple as making sure you all sit down together at dinnertime and then later
unwind by watching some TV together. It is also important to make some one on one time with each child. You may not have the opportunity to do this every day, but you should try to find time whenever you can. Again this might be as simple as making the most of those few minutes before you tuck them into bed. For your older children it might be chatting during breakfast.
No one says that being a single parent is easy. But with the growing number of single parent families in recent years, in many households the parenting role seems to have shifted from providing a safe and secure haven to being a child’s best buddy. As a single parent, you may think that you have to compensate for your child’s loss of one parent. Wrong! Just like your two-parent counterparts, a single parent is a role model who sets firm and consistent limits and who provides their children with lots of love and support.