Most people hope to raise their children in a two-parent home, however, this isn’t always the outcome. Couples break up, spouses get divorced, and sometimes, unexpected circumstances (military deployment, incarceration, or death) result in one parent not being in the picture. This leaves a lot of undue stress on the custodial or full-time parent.
Even if you and your ex have an amicable co-parenting relationship, the pressure to love, nurture, and provide for your kids on a regular basis by yourself still exists. Though the change in your family dynamics will take some time to adjust to, here is some advice that single parents everywhere have been using to stay afloat (and maintain their sanity).
Look to Your Village
Your ex may not be there to help raise your children on a regular basis anymore, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are a lot of people in your life and in the lives of your children that can provide them with the love and support they need. Now, more than ever is the time to rely on your village. Look to people like your parents, siblings, cousins, friends, religious leaders, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and mentors.
Your village is a great source of support for you and your kids. They can assist with babysitting, homework, after school activities, cooking, household chores, transportation, and so much more. Don’t be too proud or afraid to reach out to those closest to you for assistance. Doing so frees up your time and reduces the burdens that come with being a single parent.
Get Your Finances in Order
Though you may receive child support or death benefits to care for your children, it often isn’t enough to cover the costs of everything they’ll need from now until they’re 18. Being the sole income earner in your house, it will be imperative for you to get your finances in order. You should create a new household budget, eliminate unnecessary expenses, reduce the cost of your monthly bills, and try to tackle debt.
Another important financial step to take as a single parent is to create an emergency savings account. These are funds set aside to be used when there is an unexpected expense. If you don’t presently have one, there’s always the option to download the payday advance app and apply for a short-term loan to cover things like groceries, higher than normal utility bills, home repairs, or car repairs so that you and your children can live comfortably.
For single parents that are struggling financially, there are plenty of programs available to help you out. From getting assistance with your mortgage or rent payments to free or affordable health insurance and food stamps to cover groceries, you may be eligible for these programs so that you can continue to provide for your kids.
Maintain Daily Routines
One of the hardest things to deal with as a single parent is your children’s emotions to the changes. They are often confused or even saddened by the fact that their family is no longer what it used to be. Beyond making sure that you’re present as much as you can be, and considering counseling to help your kids cope with their overwhelming emotions, it is highly recommended that you maintain your routines.
Routines provide structure and stability for you and your children. From getting the kids to school to putting them down for bed each night, try to maintain the same practices you did in the past. This helps them emotionally as it provides comfort in knowing that though some things have changed, there are parts of their lives that will remain exactly the same.
Take Care of Yourself
The last bit of advice as a newly single parent is to take care of you. Yes, there is a lot to do now that you’re the head of the household, but if you’re not at your best physically and emotionally, it makes it hard to do anything. Make sure that you’re eating 3 well-balanced meals a day, exercising at least 5 times a week, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Taking care of yourself also means finding ways to relax and doing things you really enjoy. Continue to pursue your passions, hang with friends, and engage in activities that are related to your personal interests.
Parenting (though rewarding) is not an easy task. This is especially true when you’re doing it by yourself. Though it may seem impossible, the reality is that there are millions of people around the world thriving and raising outstanding children in the process. It’s going to take some time to get used to, but using the above-mentioned advice will get you off to a great start.