Being a parent is definitely amazing, great fun and damn hard work. It is challenging enough when you have a partner to share the workload with, but when you are doing it all on your own, the word challenging takes on a whole new meaning. It seems that more and more parents are going it alone and with great success, but if you require a little bit of help to ease you through do not be scared to ask your friends and family for help. Most importantly, you need to find the time to take care of yourself. Me time is vital and however much I’d love to suggest a trip to the spa, I actually mean the simple things, like making sure you are eating healthily and sleeping enough. Sometimes, to fit in time for yourself you have to let other things slip, perhaps that ironing can wait one more day or is that hoovering really that desperate that it needs to be done right now? Getting enough exercise is a must too, even if it is just a walk to the park or the shop.
It can be a good idea to become friends with other mums and dads who are in a similar situation to you as having someone to spend those long, quiet and lonely weekends with can give you a break without you actually having one. The simplest of ideas can sometimes be the best, perhaps alternate a morning at a friends every week with your sprogs? The awe of having an adult conversation, or being able to watch ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ on a saturday evening with someone can be the highlight of your week – I know it is mine!
Try not to feel envious of your friends who are couples. For starters, being envious can soon turn into bitterness and resentment. Not only will you lose friends, you will lose your happiness. Plus, just because they are married, doesn’t actually mean they are happily married and it certainly doesn’t mean that their husband actually helps out with any of the childcare. Think of all the advantages you have for being on your own – you only have you and your child to think about, you don’t have to please anyone else. You can have what the hell you like for tea and can watch whatever you want on the telly.
Perhaps you could get creative with childcare. It’s expensive, so much so, that it might not even be economically viable for you to pay for it. You can easily exchange childcare with a friend. Perhaps they can look after your child while you go shopping and you could look after their little one while your friend goes on a date – win, win! I have also heard of people taking their childcare to a whole new level. If one of your colleagues has a new baby too, why not suggest that you job share and while your friend is at work you look after her baby and while you are at work, she looks after yours. Not only do you both get to carry on working, neither of you have to pay a penny towards childcare.
Maybe you have been a single parent for some years now, or perhaps it has only been since yesterday. Either way it can be hard, but you don’t have to let it be. Insist on your ‘me time,’ ask friends for help if you need it and remain open to repaying the favour.