Guest Author : Daniel Sherwin
Being a parent is one of the most demanding jobs there is, and it can be exhausting even on the best of days. Parents spend so much of their day worrying about and planning for their children that there’s hardly time to take care of themselves, let alone figure out a way to reduce the inevitable stress. Being a single parent is twice as hard, simply because you have to take on double the responsibility from day to day. And while most parents would agree that just seeing their kids’ smiling faces in the morning makes it all worth it, there’s no doubt that there’s a need for change when things get overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can reduce stress and be the best parent you can be. The key is to plan ahead and to remember to ask for help when you need it, something many parents think they can’t do. When you’re doing everything yourself, you need a support system around you; no one can do it all alone.
Here are a few of the best tips on how to get through single parenthood without all the stress.
One of the things that can make single parenting feel overwhelming is being disorganized. There’s no shame in it—it happens to the best of us! But it’s important to get a handle on things before they’re past the point of fixing. If you don’t have an office space at home, create an area to keep all your bills and correspondence, stamps, extra envelopes, etc. Keeping everything together in a neat accordion file labeled with the days of the month can help you stay on top of due dates. You can also write other important dates on a dry-erase calendar that you can keep on your fridge. If your kids are having trouble getting organized in the morning, start a routine in which they lay out their clothing and shoes and check their backpacks the night before, which can go by the door with their coats. This will help everyone start the day off with minimal stress and improve moods all around. For more great tips on getting organized, check out this article.
GET CONTROL OVER YOUR FINANCES
Money is often tight in single-parent households, which can add to the burden of stress you already carry. If you’re having trouble staying on top of bills and other expenses, consider going back to school to increase your earning power or look for ways you can make money with a hobby—such as knitting—on creative seller sites like Etsy.
Parenting is more than a full-time job; it’s a lifestyle. Finding time to do everything can be difficult even when you have the energy, and on the bad days, you may feel like you’ll never have the energy again. This is when you need a support system the most, so talk to your friends and family about what you need. If you live far away from your loved ones, look for a single-parent support group online or take your little ones to the library and strike up a conversation with another mom or dad. Having someone to talk to when things get rough, or a little help when something comes up and you can’t get to everything on your to-do list, can be extremely beneficial for your mental health.
Spending quality time with your kids can help put you at ease, so have a dance party or set up a movie night with popcorn and make a blanket fort. Try to have one “fun” night per week so that all of you can relax and enjoy yourselves.
Remember that as overwhelming as single parenting can be sometimes, you are not alone. There are many other single parents out there who are in similar situations, and with a little planning and some support, you can learn to make the best of yours.
Local Edmonton Parenting Support Links & Resources