In the recent decades, single-parent households have been the fastest growing family type. For them it’s always tough and overwhelming. Aside from raising your child, you also have to take care of the housework, income and expenses. It’s also challenging to give enough care and attention to your child because of the little time available each day.
Whether it’s because of your choice and preference, separation, divorce or partner’s death, being a single parent brings with it more challenges. Thankfully, despite those challenges it’s still possible to raise a child full of love and care.
The first step is to seek and get practical, emotional and social support. These three types of support are crucial to having enough time and energy for your child. For instance, practical help is crucial to lighten your workload (and have more time and attention for your baby or toddler). Emotional support is also important so you can better cope and get through the most challenging times (especially when it seems everything is going wrong or that your child is being difficult). It’s also important to seek and get social support (especially from friends and colleagues) so that you can take a real break from home responsibilities and pressures.
Notice that to do well as a parent, it really helps to take care of yourself first and get some time off. It’s like when you want to have a successful career or business where maintaining your physical health is crucial. You don’t have to put all your attention and energy on just one aspect because other matters are important as well.
In raising a child, this means taking care of your physical and mental health as well as your social and emotional being. This sounds difficult or impossible given our little time available each day, which is why it’s good to get practical help (from family and friends) to lighten your workload and free up some of your time.
In the first few weeks after giving birth you’ll have to spend most of your time with your newborn. As you somehow cope with the new responsibilities, you can then find some time to take care of yourself (and rethink about your personal goals). Even if it’s just a few hours each week of time off from your home and family responsibilities will help re-energise you. This is possible if there are others who will take care of some of your house chores.
If you’re totally alone and there’s no nearby help, it’s good to plan your daily tasks to make sure everything gets taken cared of. This way you won’t forget anything and everything will still fall into place even if you get busy and overwhelmed. It’s good to write on paper all the tasks and concerns you have. Instead of thinking in cycles and keeping all the thoughts inside your head, it will really help to write them all down. This will give you some clarity on what to do next.
It will always be difficult and challenging. Thankfully, your child’s health and proper development don’t fully depend on family structure. Instead, it’s still all about the love and care he/she receives, whether it’s through single- or dual-parenting.
Yes, there will always be challenges. But there are also rewards to enjoy such as having the freedom to make your own decisions and move swiftly towards your goals. You can also form a stronger bond with your child because almost all the time, attention and love come from you.