Being a single parent is one of the hardest jobs there is, and it can be overwhelming even on a good day. Fulfilling all the tasks associated with being head of the household while making sure your children are safe, happy and well taken care of can lead to quite a bit of stress, so it’s important to find healthy ways to cope and focus on your mental health.
You may face many challenges, such as dealing with a busy schedule, not being able to spend as much time with your children as you want, financial hardships, and feeling guilty or inadequate. If this is the case, you’re not alone; it’s estimated that about 1 in 4 children in America live in a single-parent home, and these are all things that moms and dads face every day.
The good news is that there are ways you can make your life a little bit easier, from reducing stress to finding time to take care of all your responsibilities. Here are a few of the best ways to get started.
Many parents struggle with staying on top of their child’s school responsibilities; it seems there’s always homework to check, paperwork to sign, clubs to join, and requirements for you specifically, such as bringing in snacks for parties or providing uniforms. It’s a lot to keep up with, and when you forget to do something important it can make you feel like you’re doing a bad job at parenting. This isn’t the case! You just need to get organized. Invest in a large magnetic calendar that can go on the fridge and write down everything that needs to be done on the corresponding date. Sometimes seeing it in front of you in writing can help immensely. Also, make it a habit to check your child’s backpack with him before bed each night. Look over any paperwork and homework, make sure he has everything he’ll need for the next day, and have him lay it out his clothes, shoes and coat so the morning isn’t such a struggle.
Manage stress in a healthy way
Facing so many stresses as a single parent can leave you exhausted and wondering whether you can do it all by yourself. The answer is yes, but it’s important to take care of yourself. Learning how to cope with and manage stress in a healthy way is imperative for you both mentally and physically. This can include meditation, which can help you focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the past or future; self-care, which includes anything that helps you feel good and relaxed in a healthy way; and building a support system of friends, family, and/or a therapist who can help out when you feel overwhelmed. For more tips on how to manage your stress, read this helpful guide.
A common wish among many single parents is for more time. It can be difficult to juggle all your responsibilities and take care of yourself at the same time, so it might be necessary to think outside the box a little. For instance, if you want to start a new exercise routine but don’t have 30 free minutes per day to do it, set your alarm for 15 fifteen minutes at night before bed, or on your lunch hour at work. If that doesn’t sound appealing, work in your exercise with your child by having a dance party or running around at the park.
Parenting isn’t easy, and when you’re taking on every responsibility by yourself, it can feel like you’re completely alone. Rest assured that isn’t the case; there are lots of hardworking single parents just like you. Consider forming a network in your community so there will always be support when you need it. Having that support system can not only benefit you but the other single parents you connect with. Most importantly, don’t forget to congratulate yourself once in a while for all of your hard work. As crazy as life gets, you’re doing the best you can and that counts for something.