If you are a single parent, chances are you are interested in finding ways to make the most of your situation. Being a single parent can bring up numerous questions and feelings of uncertainty. Can you do it alone? Yes, you can, but it will probably be a challenge. Many women struggle with fears of failing or feelings that life is unjust. If you are one of them, here are some suggestions:
If you need to talk with someone or are looking for local parenting support, you can call 1-800-672-2296.
Common Challenges You Encounter as a Single Parent
Below are some ideas you can try to help with some of the challenges you may encounter:
- Making up for lost income or establishing a source of income:
- You can try to look for ways to earn supplemental income from home.
- Identify other ways to make ends meet (see Single Parenting: Making it Work)
- Seek opportunities to share responsibilities with other single parents. (i.e. childcare, carpool, laundry, and cooking).
- Meeting the child’s needs:
- Get connected with a support group, a church, your child’s school and/or parenting classes.
- Communicate with your child about the things you both enjoy and believe are important.
- Finding time for yourself:
- Find a support group or mentor with whom you can communicate openly about what’s going on in your life.
- Take turns with other parents to babysit each others’ children. Use your free time to relax or do something you enjoy.
- Providing a good home:
- Live with a friend or in a group home.
- Live with a relative or your parents.
- Live in subsidized housing, or find an inexpensive apartment of your own.
Single Parenting as a Result of Divorce or Death
- Losing a spouse can involve losing an extra source of income, losing family members and possibly losing some friends. Take care of yourself and give yourself time to grieve.
- Keep boundaries in your work life. Since you will probably be operating on a tighter budget, you might be tempted to work more than usual. Regardless, don’t use work as an escape. Take time to re-evaluate your priorities, and remember that your child needs your presence at home.
- Allow your child to express his/her individuality. While it is easy to lean emotionally on your child after losing a spouse through death or divorce, remember that your child should not be overly burdened by your own emotional needs.
- Find a mentor, or a group that offers friendship, common interests/activities, and support.
- Allow your child to help you with household tasks without overburdening him/her.
More Advice for Single Parents
- Don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. Providing a positive environment for your child, finishing school, or continuing your career are all possible with the right amount of sacrifice, energy, time, and support. Effective support can include family members or churches with programs geared toward helping single parents.
- Find a support group of individuals with similar circumstances.
- Deciding on if or when to start dating can be a difficult decision. Be careful to not rush into another relationship. Be aware of any feelings you might have that you are obligated to find your child a mother or father. Do not let those kinds of thoughts control your behavior.