Being a mother can be incredibly exciting and scary at the same time. When you are a single parent, both multiply tenfold. However, not to worry, folks, since this article is about rocking your single parenthood, juggling your other duties while not going crazy in the process. Whether you are a newly single mother or have come a long way, the tips would come in handy.
Be supportive to your child
It might be overwhelming when going gets tough, and you already have too much on your plate. But remember to be present for your child physically and emotionally as much as you can. Show up at their piano concert and don’t miss their football tournament. Support them by showing your love and care for them unconditionally and will be there through thick and thin. Keep regular tabs on them, but leave them some personal space to grow up. Also, don’t allow them slack when they go recalcitrant and erratic. Don’t be afraid to introduce discipline and consequences whenever necessary in between showering their love.
Be a role model for your child
Afraid that your little one might go astray without an active father figure? Our children are likely to copy whatever they see instead of merely following instructions. Guide your child by showing how you go about in your daily life, handle problems, make choices and make decisions. Make a routine for daily life and be disciplined. Your little one will look at your plate filled with veggies, your nightly ritual of reading for an hour, and will try to emulate you.
Ensure financial security
Since you are donning the robe of an all-rounder mom, your financial security and independence are tantamount to your and your child’s well-being. Got child support from the baby’s father? Great. Make those count and earn to be wealthy in your own right. Don’t have provisions for child support? More power to you, since you could manage on your own too. Make a budget, stick to it and swap those unnecessary subscriptions and membership fees with productive investments, fixed deposits, and profitable ventures. This will allow you to save up and leave room for splurging for the two of you. Teach your kid about the importance of money, responsible spending, and sticking to their budget.
Consider your career options
You need to work out a schedule and establish a fixed routine to provide your child with a modicum of stability. Spend at least the morning or the evening with them to have some fun time and learning time together. Let your employer know about your home situation and work in fixed shifts. If that is not possible, swap your shifts with your colleagues. If the work schedule brings you too much stress worry and hinders your priority, which is your kid, then consider switching your career. Lots of options are available for remote working, freelance work, and working from home. If you already have one of those cool careers, kudos to you. If you don’t, browse and tinker until you’ve found the right match for your lifestyle.
Divide and share responsibilities
Since you are human and not a supercomputer, you should try to set up realistic goals and leave yourself some slack. If your kid is old enough, ask them to participate in household chores, small errands, and daily responsibilities. Don’t allow them to leave their dirty socks and books scattered all over the floor, teach them to chop the veggies, water the plants, and clean their room. Make some of the household chores fun tasks for both of you. Be a team and treat them like a partner. Also, set some realistic expectations and make sure your kid knows that you cannot attend all of their social or cultural events and sometimes have to work long hours. Teach them to grow up as responsible adults instead of depending on you 24X7.
Also Read: 10 Self-care tips for Working Mothers
Accept and ask for help
Motherhood comes with loads of bumps on the way. You can’t handle all of them without support from your near and dear ones. Even if the kid’s father commits to a few weekly visits and outings, build up a support system of your own, involving your parents, friends, coworkers, neighbors, other single parents, and so on. Yes. You can’t expect them to always be there whenever you are in a sticky situation. But accept their help and support for taking care of your child once in a while. Admit to yourself and them when you need help and ask for it. Make friends with other single parents from your neighborhood kid’s school and take turns in looking after the kids so that you can have some alone time. If that is out of the question, consider nanny service, babysitting service, child care, and creche.
Keep negativity in check
It’s very easy to let guilt or irritation get the better of you. Don’t let guilt, despair, irritation, anger, or any other toxic emotion pull you down if your child is getting recalcitrant, if you are struggling financially or if you are doubtful about your success in single parenthood. Even if you hit a bump, stay positive, and if your child is old enough to understand, talk to them about your problems and admit your worries. You are allowed to be a Negative Nelly once in a while and lose your cool, but don’t make it a norm. Don’t put a high burden of expectation on the child’s shoulder, and never feel guilty about the absence of a father or not doing enough for your child.
Realize the importance of social life
You are not alone in your journey to motherhood; remember to include social meet and greet in the daily routine for you and your kid. Introduce your kid to some positive male role models in their life. Arrange regular playdates with their friends and schedule regular social time with other people who might play an important part in your child’s life.
Don’t lose your personal life
You are allowed to seek some time for your private life and unwind a bit. Otherwise, you’ll crash and burn from overwork. Don’t make your child the only focus of your life. Pursue a hobby, have some alone time to soak in a bathtub, join a study circle, go on a date, or have a drink with a friend. If you are in a relationship or are active in dating, set some of your time and focus for those too while practicing discretion. Set a personal space and personal time for the person you are outside, a mother and a parent. Have a talk with your child about respecting your privacy and personal space.
Establish boundaries and stick to those
Isn’t it frustrating to listen to the tantrums of your child about eating veggies or watching a TV show after the end of a hectic day? Even if you are tempted, don’t budge from the boundaries you set earlier. Make very clear to them what the boundaries should be about their dietary practice, sleeping habits, homework, and play schedule and always stick to those. Don’t cut them slack to go astray and haywire, and remember to keep them accountable for their deeds.
That’s it, mums. Practice these steps, and you are on your way to being an awesome single parent, juggling your responsibilities and life like a pro.