Being a single parent is not a walk in the park. You will face many struggles and challenges along the way however, if you plan yourself well you may end up enjoying it and viewing it positively. I understand we have single dad’s out there but this article focuses more on single mom’s because they are the majority in the single parent bracket.
When you welcome that bundle of joy into the world, a lot of people friends, relatives and even strangers will congratulate you. But as the days go by and they start questioning on the whereabouts of the father and the response you give is “he’s not in the picture” many will view you differently. It doesn’t matter whether your child is a month old or a couple of years old, the moment you have the tag “single mom” majority of women will view you as a husband snatcher while the men will view you as an easy target for their sexual fantasies. So how do you cope and stay sane through it all and still manage to bring up disciplined and happy kids?
Leave your past behind you.
Accepting your status as a single parent is a first step in looking at the whole situation positively. Whether he left the day you told him you were pregnant or he chose to replace you with a sweet 16 after 20+ years in marriage, leaving your past behind is key to bringing up healthy happy kids. Don’t hold a pity party and invite all his friends and family to attend. Though some may feel sorry for you, the much they can offer is a hug and a shoulder to cry on but all the drama will not make him come back home or put food on the table. Learn to accept it gracefully, though it will be tough in the beginning, as time goes by your heart will heal completely BUT only if you learn to let go completely. Remember harboring anger towards someone will only make you stagnate as your thoughts are focused on him instead of how to progress in life.
Live within your means
As the head of the family finances, you need to be very keen on how you budget the little you are able to earn. If you were getting financial help from your ex, this is the time to re-strategize to avoid accumulating unnecessary debts. Move to a more a affordable house and cut down on extra costs. If you can, do your shopping in bulk from wholesalers and at the local market to capitalize on the bargains you are likely to receive in such places. If the kids are a bit older, do away with the live-in help and find one who can come in once a week to clean- this will help cut on the pay and food expenses and you can channel this cash to something else. Whatever you do, make sure at least 1/3 of your salary is saved up for a rainy day. Remember you have no one to run to when an emergency knocks so being prepared moneywise will help relieve off some stress when the going is tough.
Learn to say NO
Sometimes kids may take advantage of the parents separation to make unnecessary demands. From day one you need to learn to set firm boundaries. Being emotionally unstable and the fear of being branded a “bad parent” should not drive you to say yes to every request made. Being a parent and a single one for that matter means loving your child enough to say no to some of the things you believe will do them more harm than good. And doing this in a manner that will not make them resent you but help them understand you are doing it with their best interest at heart.
Maintain a positive approach to life
The way you relate with other people around you and carry yourself on a day to day basis has a great impact on your kids. Your attitude can make or break your kids translating to either a firm founded family or a family founded on despair. Building a positive attitude may take a while and one way to work things out is to talk to yourself through a journal. Write down any troubles or positive things you encounter daily and before you know it you’ll be writing down happy thoughts and solutions to your problems.
Don’t be in a rush date
Though it may seem like the most natural thing to do, dating soon after separation especially when kids are involved will most likely lead to disaster rather than good. A relationship is a full-time job. Being a single parent, you already have your hands full juggling between work and taking care of kids and the last thing you need is someone stressing you up because you forgot about your date with him. Before you dream of falling for any Tom, Dick or Harry that comes your way, ensure you are emotionally stable. Learn to love yourself first, have lots of ‘me time’ and pamper yourself by going out on your own for lunch, coffee or dinner dates. Once you are confident enough in yourself and you’ve managed to gain control over your family matters, then you can consider going out on a date with a stranger. NEVER allow the pressures of those around you force you into a relationship you are uninterested in which includes being convinced to go back to someone who never saw your worth in the first place.
“Whatever circumstances leads to you being a single parent, always strive to be the best parent that your child can be proud of…there is no sweeter revenge like being the best at what others thought you can’t handle”