7 months old

Single Parenthood: Tips and advice

Whether you entered into single parenthood by choice or by unexpected circumstance, there is an aspect of loneliness, jealousy and frustration that you might feel from time to time. Articles will advise mom to hand off her baby to dad for a break and to enlist the help of her partner, but what happens when mom is pacing the floor with a teething baby at 2 a.m. and there’s no one else in the house to help? What happens when mom has to endure the cries of her sleep-training baby with no one there to reassure her?

It can be at least twice as hard to manage a household and a family by yourself – but it’s important to remember the positives:

  • Single parenting can foster a bond closer than the typical parent and child.
  • There’s no compromising on parenting decisions; you can raise your baby exactly as you want to.
  • There’s one less person to clean up after.
  • It’s better to be raised by one person in a house full of love than by two people in a house full of tension and fighting.
  • For those who are single parents by choice, imagine how much energy and time you’re saving from not arguing with your ex. All of that can be given to your child.
  • Although your income will be less, you’ll also have total control over your expenses – so you won’t have to worry about another person’s spending habits.
  • Single parents provide the perfect example of self-reliance and independence for children.

That being said, it’s never easy to be the sole provider and caretaker. Whether you’re on your own permanently or your partner is usually away in the military or on business trips, single parenting can feel isolating and, at times, overwhelming. While we can’t give tips on how to lighten your load, here is some general advice for single parents:

  • Create a network for emergencies: Regardless of single or partnered parenting, moms simply don’t get sick days. But when you’re on your own and suddenly come down with the stomach flu or, worst-case scenario, hospitalization, it can be even more stressful than normal. Who will take care of the kids? If you haven’t thought of this already, it’s a good idea to ask a group of family members and/or close friends to be available when an emergency strikes. Hopefully nothing serious will ever happen, but at least you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that everything will be taken care of.
  • Find other single moms for emotional support: Finding the perfect “momance” is even more important for single moms, as it can be monumentally helpful to share your experiences with someone who really gets how challenging and isolating single parenting can be. Whether you find fellow single moms at a play group or at a support group, the emotional connection is invaluable.
  • Let go of the resentment and anger: If your partner disappeared from the picture, it can be easy to carry a grudge – but your child doesn’t deserve the negative attitude and energy. Being angry won’t change your situation, so it’s best to create the most positive environment you can for your child – which means leaving the bad-mouthing for private time.
  • Establish – and stick to – a routine: If you’re newly divorced or widowed, your child will need the stability and structure of a routine now more than ever. Eating dinner together every night, reading a story before bed, having dinner at Grandma’s every Sunday – these are things your child will depend on and look forward to.
  • Ask for help: No one expects you to be superhuman. For your family – and your sanity – it’s important to ask for (and accept) help, whether it’s from the stranger at the bus stop who is willing to collapse your stroller or your brother who comes over with dinner.

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