The Challenges of Single Parenthood and How to Handle Them is a guest post. If you are interested in writing for A Modern Mom’s Life, please visit my Guest Posting page. I routinely publish one guest post per month.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say that single parenthood is not for the faint of heart. When you are the sole caretaker of a child or children, you are doing the job of two all on your own. Fortunately, the rewards of parenthood and seeing your children grow into strong, young adults makes it all worthwhile.
To make single parenthood easier, it’s best to be prepared. Knowing the challenges you are up against makes it less of a shock when you have to face them. Here, I’ve broken down some of the most common obstacles single parents face and advice on how to handle them.
Making Tough Decisions
Not having another parent to turn to when it comes to difficult choices makes it all the more challenging. When it comes to decisions that affect the entire family, you don’t want to make the wrong choices. Are you picking the right school? Do the kids need to pitch in around the house more or spend that time on schoolwork? How strict should you be with discipline?
Having someone else to bounce ideas off and give feedback in return makes you feel more secure when you’re making an important decision. However, just because you don’t have a co-parent, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone in decision-making. Talk to friends, family, and other parents that you’ve met through your children or social media. You should be able to find local groups that can give helpful advice on things like after-school activities and babysitters. Other single parents know what your situation is like and will be more than happy to offer their two cents.
Balancing Home and Work
Nobody wants to be stuck at work when you could be spending time with your family. However, as the sole caretaker, you have to bring home the bacon and fry it up, as well. Instead of feeling guilty, plan and prepare. The more organized are, the more thoughtful you can be about how you spend your time. The following are some tips:
- Save money and time and ensure that your household is eating healthy with meal prep. In addition to setting up lunches for the kids and yourself each week, store a few frozen dinners in the freezer for those nights when you are too tired to even think about cooking.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate! If you have friends or family in the area, recruit them to help watch after the kids in case work runs late or you need to go in on the weekends. You can also ask around your single-parenting social network for recommendations on quality but affordable child care.
- Keep your home organized with a spot for every item. Establish a daily schedule including wake-up times and bedtimes that will keep everyone on track. Children do best with routines. The consistency helps to ease anxieties about not knowing what is going to happen next.
It happens to the best of us. Some days you wake up, and you simply don’t have the energy you need to get everything on your to-do list completed. Hey, it happens. This is your body’s way of telling you it needs to rest. Get a few extra minutes of sleep and go easy on yourself. Spend some time having fun with your kids and relaxing. Self-care is crucial for single parents. Not only is it necessary for self-preservation, but it sets a healthy example for your children about the importance of both physical and mental health.
Being a single parent isn’t easy, but with the right amount of preparation, you can make it work. It can be tough not having another person to turn to for input when it comes to difficult decisions. Find outside support through friends, family, and single-parent networks. Between work and home, there never seems to be enough time. Things like meal prep, delegating, and home organization can help cut wasted time so you can spend more moments with your kids. Finally, everyone gets burned out. Listen to your body and take care of yourself for both your own sake and the good of your children.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.