Guest Blog – Daniel is a single parent to my daughter (9) and son (6). He shares resources that have worked for him as a single parent on his website Dadsolo.
These days, most parents barely have enough time to keep up with everyday responsibilities. Making time for themselves is so difficult that many simply give up. For single parents, it’s twice as difficult because they’re always on the clock. When your kids need help with homework, you’re their only option. When they have a bad dream, you’re the one they wake up for comfort. When your kids are fighting, there’s only one adult on hand to play referee. You don’t get to hand off a situation to a partner and take a break. Somehow, you need to find ways to take a breather for you and your children’s sake. An evening on the couch watching TV may be unrealistic, but there are opportunities throughout the week to practice self-care.
Quiet time for Single Parents
Take a few minutes to think through your daily routine and identify some quiet moments you can take advantage of. With a little ingenuity, you can make it work for everyone. After work or on weekends, take your kids to an indoor playground that offers plenty of activities. While they’re having fun in a safe, enclosed space, use the time by reading that book you never have time for. Call a friend you’ve lost touch with, or find out what’s happening on Facebook. Sometimes, a little thought and organization are all you need to preserve your mental health and improve your outlook, even in the midst of a busy day.
If you spend 40 hours or more at work, that means you probably have a few hours of lunch and break time that can be used for some physical or mental exercise, or just for meditating and relaxing. If time allows, head to the mall for some “retail therapy.” Or get some co-workers together for Pilates or a group yoga session. You might be surprised how much good a few hours of restorative activity can do.
Some single parents feel guilty about hiring a babysitter so they can go out for a little rest and recreation of their own. There’s no need to feel bad about it – your kids may even enjoy having someone new to have fun with for a while. For a few dollars, you can spend the evening doing something you enjoy. It’s good for you and for your kids. They’ll reap the benefits by having a more relaxed and energetic parent, one who’s engaged and more focused on their needs and interests. If you’re nervous about leaving your children with a stranger, there are services and websites that provide background information and customer reviews of babysitters and nannies in your area.
One of the hardest things about being a single parent is trying to play a dual role, to be both mother and father. That’s a tall order for anyone when it’s hard enough just being a good mum or dad. Trying to wear both hats only adds stress and strain to a situation that’s burdensome enough for one parent. Instead, focus on being a loving and supportive role model. Demonstrate what it means to be a good person. Be honest with your children and let them see that while you’re their source of security and love, you can also be vulnerable and need their help.
We all need help now and then. Finding a support network, whether through a formal group or with friends, gives you a chance to share your frustrations and worries with people who care about you in a safe, non-judgmental environment. It’s also important for your kids, who need to rely on you for emotional support rather than being your only source of support when times get tough.
Being an effective single parent for your children is about making good choices, both as a parent and as an individual with hopes and dreams of your own. Remember, it’s important not to neglect your needs as you provide support and guidance for your children.
What if you had a way to quickly calm yourself down when you feel your blood starting to boil BEFORE you snap? What if you could get your kids to do what you’re asking WITHOUT having to turn into a CRAZY screaming mum? Learn how with my 5 quick ways to keep cool when the kids are driving you crazy, without having to yell.
Imagine being able to connect with other mums experiencing the same struggles without leaving the house? Wellness Hour online will help you connect and identify your biggest struggles, share stories and feel supported, discover the secrets to better wellness even if you’re an insanely busy mum and finally, enjoy time for you without the distraction of life or kids. Click here to learn more.