Single Parents’ Day celebrates those brave people that do it on their own, and in many cases without a safety net.
Most single parents didn’t intend to be single parents when they started. Single parenthood usually comes about due to unfortunate and stressful events. Raising children even with two parents can be hard work, so take a moment to applaud those people who, usually through no fault of their own, are having to fly solo.
Today, The Morning Thing shared encouragement for both single Dads and Moms.
1. Too little time.
For a single dad, time is at a very high premium. Work eats up most of it, so task overload can easily swallow what remains. Mouths to feed, dishes to clean, clothes to wash, and all the chores and charms of home that need your attention. As a generalization, try not to feel guilty if you leave the dishes in the sink overnight. Place the emphasis and importance on being with your children to play, read, or just simply talk.
2. Financial difficulties.
A great many single parents find themselves in financial distress. Keep in mind that the thing your kids need most from you is your love and attention. After that, separate the true needs from the pile and place top priority on them—things such as food, shelter, and clothing. Children don’t always understand why they can’t have everything they desire, but one day they will.
3. Feeling overwhelmed.
It is difficult and challenging being the only adult in the room long term. Loneliness, stress, and depression are common for single parents. Know that you are not alone. There are 1.7 million others in your same boat who are experiencing the same things. Be sure to take time for yourself to recharge and strengthen your mind.
4. Relationships old and new.
With divorce, the ex-spouse is still a very big part of family life and always will be. How that relationship is handled and functions is extremely important, not only to the children but also to your overall mental state. In dating and new relationships, extreme care must be taken when introducing new people into the life of the family. Resentment or early attachments are just two of the standard pitfalls. Keep the hope of love in your heart always, but be mindful of far-reaching, unintended consequences.
5. Building a support system.
Family, friends, babysitters, teachers, mentors, and all sorts of people take a role in your family life. However, divorce can take a big toll on family support; judgment and bitter feelings can split friends. Try to display humility and understanding towards those in your life. In most cases, they won’t understand the entire picture and will see only what they want to see. Only time and a new stable reality will change those perceptions. Be patient.
1. Be a listener.
Your single mom friend needs someone she can trust. She may need to talk about a hard day, wrestle through an issue or talk about how she’s feeling. Be a safe friend who your single mom friend can confide in. Listening well is a huge gift you can give her.
2. Be a trusted adviser.
One of the hardest things about single parenting is the sheer number of decisions that have to be made alone. The single mom makes hundreds of decisions by herself every day. I cannot begin to describe how helpful it is to have a friend I trust for advice. As a friend, you can ask questions to help the single mom work through a big decision or bring an objective perspective to her decision-making.
3. Be understanding.
Going from married to single meant that my workload doubled. Between work, house, yard, finances and parenting, most single moms have way too much to do. Be understanding if your single mom friend can no longer do the things you used to together. If she can’t get out for coffee, bring it over to her house one night after the kids are in bed. Instead of the annual birthday shopping trip, offer to take her kids shopping for her birthday presents.
4. Be another driver.
This is a place where you can be a huge help. While my husband and I used to divide and conquer the parent meetings, practices, and lessons, nowadays I often have to be two places at once. You can always set up carpooling ahead of time but look for a spontaneous need as well. If you see her child at practice, text her and offer to drive her child home.
5. Be a supporter.
Married parents can lean on each other when making decisions or encourage on the hard days, but single parents are going it alone. This is where a good atta-girl goes a long way. Be specific. A good report on character shown by one of her kids or affirmation of how your friend handled something will give her a huge boost to dig down and keep parenting well.
6. Be loyal.
When my husband died and I was suddenly single, I worried my friendships would change. Most single moms have already gone through a painful loss and the last thing they need with all the change and upheaval is to lose a good friend. It might look different, but find a way to include your single mom friend and make sure she knows that her singleness doesn’t affect your friendship.