Single parenting may be very common these days, but that doesn’t make it any easier–in fact, it can be downright exhausting. If you find yourself feeling this way, take a moment to step back, clarify your priorities, and appreciate what you accomplish every day. For example:
- Most single parents face some financial challenges. Try to appreciate the value of your support and your time. These are the most important things you can give your children, not fancy clothes or expensive toys. You can have fun for free! Going for walks, playing together, reading, and singing can be just as memorable as going to a costly amusement park, arcade, or store. Live in the present, with what you have today.
- If you are angry at the absent parent, realize that you’re only hurting yourself and your children. Carrying a grudge takes a lot of your energy, and your children will feel pressured to take sides. Your children can benefit from the love of two parents (if the other parent is available), and in any case everyone will benefit if you learn to manage your anger.
- Find as many supports as you can for your children and yourself. Friends and family may be available to help out and spend time with your kids when you need a break. If not, consider ways you might expand your support network. Both you and your kids will do best when surrounded by people who care about you.
- Stability and security are important, and you can provide them by developing routines and rituals in your everyday life–bedtime stories, Friday night movies, Sunday morning pancakes, etc.
- Provide consistency and dependability by keeping your word and being available to your children (e.g., helping with homework, listening to them talk about their day).
- Be as good a parent as you can, but don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t manage. You’re only one person.
- Don’t be concerned with generalizations about “broken homes.” Single-parent families provide kids and adults with many experiences and skills that they can put to good use throughout their lives.