Single parenting is no-one’s first choice, but it is a fact of life for many parents today. Being mommy and daddy wrapped in one is a superhuman feat that stresses even the best of us, but there are things you can do to keep your sanity and help your little one grow up happy, healthy, and well adjusted.
We’ll look at some of these things today. In particular, here are three areas to work on that can make your adventure as a solo parent be stress free as possible:
• Get some me-time
• Cut down on the negatives
• Don’t forget quality time
Let’s start with the ‘me-time’.
If you want to travel long distance with a car you’d spend some time working on the car. You’d take the time out to make sure the engine was running smoothly, and you’d make sure it had plenty of gasoline and motor oil.
If you want to go long distance as a single parent and not burn out after the first month, you need to spend some time on the runner here—you. Sometimes we can get too focused on our children and their overwhelming needs. But what that child needs most is a cheerful, loving, unstressed parent—and to be that parent you may need to take the occasional time out.
Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. If you have family living anywhere near, let them know that you’d appreciate the occasional time off. If you don’t have family near by or they aren’t overly keen on babysitting, find a good babysitter and budget a certain amount of babysitting money for non-crucial outings. I’m not talking about a babysitter so you can visit the DMV or get your dental check. Those are important, but it’s also important to budget some outings just for relaxing time doing what you like best. If you are into natural areas, you can make it a hike to a local waterfalls. If a manicure is the way you relax, do it!
The world is the color you color it. If you face life determined to be cheerful, you’ll find lots to make you happy. If you have a chip on your shoulder, though, nothing can make you happy.
When you're a single parent, you are the major player deciding your family’s mood. Make an extra-strong effort to stay positive no matter what.
One person it may be hard to be positive about is your child’s other parent. The two of you have history together, and there may be plenty of reasons to be bitter toward him or her. Don’t share these feelings with your child. It’s not fair to him; that parent is a part of him just as you are. Even if your memories are primarily negative, try to think of positive aspects of your ex to share with your child.
Quality time sometimes seems the property of those two parent homes where everything runs effortlessly. It’s often considered to be a bit of time spent focusing on the child to make up for all the time mom and dad are at work. When sole parenting, you may feel you have so much time with your child that quality time is a meaningless concept.
“Quantity time”, though, doesn’t cut back the need for quality, one on one, focused time with a parent. Even if you solo parent and spend a good part of every day with your children, choose some special moments that you’ll forget the rush of life and just smell the flowers with your child. Enjoy building
Lego towers on the floor. Share a good book. Play catch in the yard.
Your child will only be a child once. Enjoy him.