One of the hardest things about facing an unexpected season of life is parenting by yourself. Parenting is not for the faint of heart and solo parenting brings unique challenges. You may feel loneliness and even grief because you didn’t expect to be a single parent.
While solo parenting isn’t easy, there are things you can do to set yourself up for success and have happy, well-adjusted kids.
Find your support team — Even in two-parent families this is good advice, but especially for single parents. It may be difficult to do but seek positive and uplifting friendships, especially with other single parents. You may be tempted to find a romantic relationship to fill this need, but it is not always wise to rush into relationships if there are children involved. Finding a good group of friends can provide you the help you need without the potential complications of a romantic relationship.
Finances — It is always a good idea to have a budget, but even more so if your household only has one income. Make sure you have a plan for every dollar you spend so you can handle big expenses like rent, food, and childcare. There are many, many good resources online to help you create and stick to budgets if you have never had one before. Some of these include, You Need A Budget (YNAB), Financial Peace University, and Mint.com.
Quality Child Care — As a single parent, quality child care is important. If you need help, Wellspring has resources to provide you with information to consider as you look for child care that works for you. It is one of many resources we have as part of our parenting support classes.
Maintain a daily routine — This sounds like it may not make a huge difference but having a consistent daily routine can help you maximize your time and help you and your child (or children) know what’s next. Children thrive on routine and structure, so this will go a long way in helping kids grow and thrive. Things to consider making routine:
- reading books to your child
Consistent child discipline — If you are co-parenting, it is essential that you both communicate well about how you are going to discipline children. That way the kids are getting a consistent message about what’s acceptable behavior for both mom and dad and what’s not. Again, children thrive on routine and structure!
Take time for yourself — Even if just an hour a week, do something that you find joy in doing. If it’s something outside the house, consider swapping childcare with another mom so that you can do that!
Some information mentioned comes from this link here.