Despite our best intentions, many of us become single parents at some point in our lives. For some of us it is by choice, for some it is out of necessity to escape an unacceptable situation and for some it is by misfortune due to the death of a spouse.
No matter what the reason, being a single parent can be one of the hardest things to tackle. You now have so many issues to face and you are to face them alone. You begin to doubt your ability as a parent, whether it is the right thing for your child, how you will survive not only financially but also emotionally.
The most important thing to remember is that you are a strong human being. If you are a single mum you have given birth to another human being – that in itself shows strength, courage and determination. If you are a single dad you have had to face the world with a brave face and show that you can be as good a parent as a single mum – again showing determination, strength and courage.
Have faith in yourself and your ability to raise the next generation on your own. Believe that you CAN and you WILL. There will be many trying times, money will probably be tight, there will be times when you have no-one to lean on and really need a shoulder to cry on, there will be times where the pressures of raising children just become too much.
It is important to remember the following:
Money is necessary for the basics in life
It is essential for food, clothes and shelter for you and your children but it is not essential to ensure that your children grow up in a loving environment. Homes without a lot of money often have the most amount of love to give. Show your children by example that they can enjoy life and make the most of their situation without a lot of money.
Take time for you
Your children need you – nobody will dispute this time for you will be of much better use to them if you have some time out for yourself. This doesn’t need to mean that you have to spend a lot of money or even go out without the children. Make sure you allow yourself some time, even just half an hour a week for you. Tell the children that the next 30 minutes are Mum/Dad time. Put the housework aside and spend 30 minute reading, resting or doing something you love.
Nobody can raise children alone. Lean on the support systems around you. If family and friends are not available there are other avenues. Join a single parents club, take advantage of free parenting courses in your area or even phone community support programs such as Parents Helpline. You do not need to tackle parenting alone.
Ultimately nobody can tell you how to raise your children – they are your children and you do what is right for them but DO NOT forget you in the process.