For single parents, however, parenthood can sometimes be a bit more daunting, especially in the area of finances. Like it or not, single parents carry the sole responsibility of providing for the needs of the family.
If you are in this grim position, fret no more! Below are some life hacks you can apply to help you maneuver your way around the many challenges of single parenthood:
1. Set money aside for insurance.
As a solo working parent, one financial strategy that can work best for you is to manage your finances and to save up for insurance.
Investing in an insurance plan while your child is young means that by the time he/she reaches college, you would’ve saved up enough money to provide a college education. This will lessen all your worries such as where to get money for your child’s next tuition. Getting insurance will secure not just your child’s future, but yours, as well.
2. Ask your child to help with household chores.
It can be very challenging to manage the home all by yourself, especially if hiring a house helper isn’t an option. If your child is old enough, you can start assigning tasks at home starting from the simple to the more complicated ones. This will also teach them how to handle responsibilities early on. The idea of training them while they are young never fails in delivering positive results.
3. Meet with other single parents.
If there are no other adults around the house, it would be good for you to join a support group for single parents. This will help keep your holistic well-being in check, and you’ll have other single parents to turn to for advice.
As Oprah Winfrey said, “Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.” No one can understand your situation better than those who are going through the same situation.
4. Create a budget, a schedule of tasks, and set goals.
Having a budget makes financial planning easier for you and your child’s future. It will help align your priorities and give an idea of your current financial standing. A schedule of tasks will also come in handy since you will be monitoring all of your child’s schedule in school, payments, buying groceries, cleaning the house, and other errands. When you have short-term and long-term goals, you can also plan ahead and see which of them are achievable and workable for the time being. They will also motivate you to strive harder in order to give your child a better life.
5. Don’t forget to celebrate milestones with your child and create more meaningful memories.
Make it a habit to celebrate milestones with your child, and reward yourself for a job well done as a single parent. It doesn’t have to be lavish. What matters is your child will appreciate you more, knowing that the life of a single parent isn’t always blissful. Some of the simple recreational activities that won’t cost much but are also fun for your child includes taking walks in the park, playing sports, and starting a new hobby.
6. Spend time with your parents and your siblings.
Children of single parents can still benefit from having a sense of a complete family by being close to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
This may not be the ideal set-up, but your child can benefit from the additional support provided by your siblings, parents and other family members. If circumstances won’t allow this, consider mentors and other adults either at church or in your support group whom your child can look to as positive role models, other than you.
7. Explain the situation to your child.
When your child is old enough to understand, you can explain why he/she has only one parent. This will help protect your child from the social stigma of having only one parent and from bullying.
You may also talk to your child that grew up in a single-parent home is no different than growing up in a home with two parents. This will encourage a sense of security in them and provide an assurance that they are deeply loved no matter what the situation is.
8. Have your well-deserved “me” time.
All too often, working mothers and fathers in single-parent homes forget to take care of themselves because of overwhelming responsibilities. This can be detrimental to health-wise. Pause and remember that your overall well-being matters as much as that of your child’s.
How about trying that Zumba class you’ve been eyeing on for the past months? Or accepting the invite of a coworker for a hike up in the mountains? Taking the time to recharge can give you a moment to pause and have that much-needed break once in a while. You may ask your parents or siblings to look after your child while you’re away.
9. Set specific rules for your child to follow.
In cases of divorced parents, co-parenting also has its own set of challenges. This includes the rules that you need to reinforce at home. In this case, you will need to coordinate with your ex-partner to make sure the same set of rules are applied in both homes. It may be emotionally difficult on your end, especially if you’re not on good terms with your partner. But your child will benefit a lot from having the support of both his/her parents, though no longer living together. Agreeing on the same rules will also minimize any favoritism between you or your ex-partner, and instilling discipline on your child will be easier.
Most people may never understand what the parental pressure that single parents go through entails. To some, it can mean just raising the child to the best of your abilities. While others may take it more lightly and view it as no different to regular parenting except that you’re doing it alone.
However, the challenges that single parents go through are more than that. It can deplete so much of your energy and your resources and will use so much of your time. Yes, single parenthood is difficult, it is tough. However, if the going gets even tougher, always keep this quotation by Garrison Keillor close to your heart: “Nothing you do for your children is ever wasted.”