Being a parent is difficult no matter which aspect you look at it, and being a single parent — even more so. You’re taking care of a child, after all. That’s one life or more that you have to be responsible for. It’s a full-time job that requires your attention, love, and care. But in the face of all those challenges stand your child’s happiness and wellbeing, things you would absolutely give everything for.
We know you try to do your best as a parent. As a single mother or father, your child’s happiness and comfort are at the top of your priorities. However, sometimes, you may not notice that you have bad habits that affect your child’s life and yours too.
It’s crucial to spot those habits and change them as soon as possible. That way, you make your life easier, even by just a bit. Developing healthier habits can also make your child’s life better. Plus, it helps you set a good example for your kid.
What Counts As A Single Parent Family?
When you hear of “single parent households,” children living with single mothers and fathers immediately come to mind. The term includes individuals who are widowed, divorced parents, or unmarried parents, whether they’re cohabitating or not. It also doesn’t just apply to biological children and parents. Single parent households include children adopted by one guardian.
The United States Census Bureau records over 13 million single parent families raising more than 21 million children under the age of 18. The latter number comprises about 25%-30% of kids in the country, as per the Pew Research Center.
Here Are Five Tricks To Kick The Worst Habits Of Single Parents
Single parent families are now more common than families with two parents, or what’s called a nuclear family. While having only one parent doesn’t equate to a failure of a family, it does tip off the scale a bit. With two people, you can hold each other accountable. But when you’re a single parent, you’re required to take care of everything. You’re responsible and accountable for every single thing that concerns your kid’s life as well as yours.
A single mother or father’s responsibilities and obligations far outweigh that of the non-custodial parent too. There’s almost no time to sit down and think things through, especially if you’re taking care of many children. You have to work to be able to provide for the whole family, and you have to do everything else too. From washing the dishes to cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, giving baths, and preparing what else, they’re all yours.
That mountain of responsibilities is overwhelming and you may find yourself unable to stop, breathe, and think for a while. You may not even have the luxury to evaluate your parenting style and habits. To help you with that, we listed down five tricks you can use to kick your worst habits.
Communicate With Your Child
Being a single parent comes with more responsibilities than you can count. Your work never stops, and sometimes, that can lead to a lack of communication between you and your child. But no relationship can prosper without a steady stream of communication between the people involved. And yes, that includes your relationship with your child.
You need to talk to them not just to build rapport, but also to understand them. As a single parent, you have to work twice as hard to know your child’s thoughts and feelings.
You can start solving your lack of communication by consciously making the effort to talk. Make it a habit to ask about your child’s day, thoughts, and realizations. You can do it over meals, while cooking together, or before they sleep. Whatever you decide on, stick to your chosen process to ease them into being comfortable to open up to you. That way, you can also check on their mental health and how they feel about their living arrangements.
Additionally, you can think of bonding activities that can help you communicate more. Spending time with your child regularly can help make them feel seen and heard. Of course, everything that you do for them matters. But you also can’t forget about their mental and emotional well-being in the process.
Set A Steady Routine
Single parents often get lost in the maze of endless responsibilities. A doctor’s appointment here, a trip to your child’s other parent there, and many other things. Because of that, you may be prone to forget about tasks and schedules you need to remember.
To stay on top of all your commitments and obligations, you should create an easy schedule you can follow. If you want to write everything down, even better. That way, you have a tangible reminder of the things you need to do and attend to. By setting fixed schedules, you can also condition yourself and your child to get used to a steady routine.
Ask For Help
Asking for help not a sign of weakness. Being a single parent is incredibly difficult. It’s not, and never will be, a walk in the park. Taking care of one child is already challenging for two married parents, what more for a single mother or father?
It’s perfectly normal for you to feel the pressure of wanting to provide everything to your child all by yourself. However, you have to understand that is unrealistic. We’re not saying you’re not capable, what we’re saying is that you can ask other people for help. If you do everything by yourself, you’ll burn yourself out inevitably, and you don’t deserve to feel that.
Taking care of another life is a big responsibility for a single person. That’s why there should be no shame or humiliation in getting child support or child care services. If anything, you give yourself more chance to become a better parent for your kid. You can also ask for a helping hand from the people you trust, like your family, friends, and loved ones.
Aside from help for your child, you can also seek aid for yourself. If you’re overwhelmed or you feel like everything is too much for, you can talk to a professional. Substance abuse can be common for single parents too, but therapy can help you avoid or recover from that. It’s crucial that you don’t lose sight of yourself in the face of your role as a single parent. You also have to check your emotional and mental health every now and then.
Pay Attention To Your Wants And Needs
Single parents can sometimes end up forgetting about themselves. If you can say the same for you, then you have to start thinking about yourself too. You are your own person, and you have to cherish your life the same way you take care of your child. You don’t have to let go of who you are even though you may sometimes feel like you have to.
Once in a while, you should set aside some time for yourself. Incorporate relaxing activities into your routine or go back to hobbies you’ve been doing before. You can even buy gifts for yourself.
We know that doing those things may feel like you’re being selfish. Perhaps negative thoughts linger in your mind, like you can’t possibly prioritize yourself over your child. Maybe you think you should give your all to your kid and not leave anything for yourself. However, taking care of your body, mind, heart, and soul should never be considered selfish. In fact, you can become a healthier parent by not forgetting about your wants and needs too.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
Being a single parent comes with a complex web of emotions. Sometimes, you won’t even be able to discern one feeling from another. It all appears like one big blur of emotions you don’t even have the time or energy to face. Admit it or not, there are also things you would rather ignore than address. Other times, you feel like you deserve to feel a certain way so you just let yourself drown in your emotions.
All those things can give you a heavy heart and a clouded mind. Nobody can tell you what you should and shouldn’t feel. But what you need to know is that your feelings are valid and the first thing you should do is acknowledge your emotions.
Maybe you feel joy, sadness, pain, guilt, anger, loneliness, or all of them at the same time. You can’t just ignore those emotions and go about your day like nothing’s wrong. You need to step up and acknowledge how you feel no matter how scary it may seem. Taking that first step can open up paths you can take to move forward.
It’s also okay to feel conflicting emotions about your current situation. What matters is for you to address those feelings so you can cultivate a healthy life for yourself. Of course, how you treat yourself affects your child’s life too. By dealing with what you feel, you open up a healthier version of yourself to your kid.
If things are just a little bit too much for you to handle, take a breath and treat yourself. It’s okay to do something nice for yourself once in a while like getting a tasty bottle of wine to de-stress. We have an amazing offer from The California Wine Club that will surely give you the perfect taste for your palette. Buy The California Wine Club’s Aged Cabernet for yourself #WelcomeTCWC
Some Reminders For Single Parent Households
Being a single parent is never a failure. Of course, you need to acknowledge the part you played that resulted in your current circumstances. It’s also admirable to hold yourself accountable if you’re at fault for something that happened in the past. But never think that you’ve failed in life just because you’re a single parent.
Similarly, your child or children being in a single parent household isn’t a failure too. Studies show that kids who grow up in a single parent family aren’t different from kids from a nuclear family. It’s also way better for a child to live with one mother or father than be in two parent families full of conflict. There’s nothing wrong with a single parent household, no matter how much cultural norms say otherwise.
We know you may feel this pressure of wanting to provide everything for your child. You may feel like you fail as a parent the moment you seem even remotely not enough for them. However, know that it’s okay to ask for help. You don’t have to meet every single need of your child by yourself. You can turn to the people you trust to help you raise your kid. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is resoundingly true, after all.
To Wrap Up Single Parent Families
Single parenting is incredibly difficult and overwhelming. The mountain of responsibilities can also make you unable to be critical of your own habits. But as a single mother or father, you have to kick those tendencies, both for your child and yourself.
You have to communicate with your child, set a steady routine, and ask for help. You also have to pay attention to your wants and needs and acknowledge your emotions. It can be overwhelming most of the time, but remember that you are not alone. Being a single parent isn’t a failure, same as how your child being in a single parent household isn’t a failure.
It may take some time to change your habits into healthier ones, but what matters is that you’re trying. When things become difficult, remember that you’re doing it all for your child and for yourself. We wish you strength and power in being a single parent!
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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