Over 14 million single parents manage to have a positive work-life balance, but that figure doesn’t account for every single parent out there, so things still need to change.
No matter the circumstance (divorced, separated, widowed, never married, single parent by choice), all parents face the same challenges and rewards as everyone else.
But being a single parent can be a challenging phase in your life. You are not only responsible for yourself anymore, but also your littles ones.
Here are some tips for all the single parents out there who are hoping to get a better balance in their life.
Draw a Circle of Support around You
Although you are accompanied by your children almost everywhere you go, there are times when every parent feels isolated. This can especially be so for single parents who don’t have partners to lean on when things get difficult. What you can do to overcome this feeling is to reach out to your extended family and close friends.
Remember that people who care for you may be ready to play a larger role in your life but might fear they are being intrusive. So, do not be afraid to step up and ask for help. Plus, it means they get to spend time with your little monsters, so who can say no to that?
You can also reach out to other single parents in your community. There are plenty of groups and centres that can connect parents. They might be facing similar issues themselves and may also be worrying about approaching other parents for support and friendship.
Know Your Backup Plan
Certain situations come uninvited. Any emergency such as babysitter cancelling or family emergency can arise any time. In such situations, it is always better to plan beforehand.
Have a list of people you can contact in case of emergencies. Have these numbers saved in your smart phones and written some place in your house from where it is always visible.
Also, take copies of it and distribute it amongst your friends, family, neighbours and caretakers.
Make Your Health a Priority
While juggling between homework and deadlines, single parents usually neglect their own health. Here are some pointers that will help you remember to keep your health a priority too:
- Fuel your body: While leading your children towards a healthy lifestyle, you may find your neglecting your own needs. Try to switch the fast-foods with healthy alternatives. Your body and children will thank you in the long run. You can prepare these healthy alternatives beforehand and freeze them for the upcoming week. Remember to always eat healthy as your kids will learn from you and pick up your eating habits, good or bad!
- Make fitness a habit: Keep it a habit of exercising on a daily basis. Single parents have a lot to handle on a daily basis, so make a habit of starting your day by either hitting the gym (hire a personal trainer if you have to) or by exercising at home before your kids are up.
- Get your rest: Even though you believe that “sleep is for the weak”, your body still needs to rest. Experts say that not getting enough sleep is linked to most of the problems many of us suffer with. We understand that single parenthood is a real job and you probably do not have time to rest, but you must have a regular sleeping schedule set. Just like you have a bedtime set for your children, have a bedtime set for yourself as well. Not getting enough sleep can lead to frustration, anxiety or depression.
- Ease your mind: If you are not a single parent by choice but due to certain circumstances in past, then you may find yourself mulling over the past. You may even find yourself regretting the choices you made back then. Focus more on your life with your children and stay connected with healthy minded people. Staying with likeminded individuals will help boost your morale and will keep you strong and living in the moment.
Have Some Fun
No matter what your financial situation is at the moment, always spend some quality time with your children. Here are some low-cost activities that can become family rituals.
- Pack a Picnic: Family lunch can become your child’s favourite childhood memory when they are served up on a blanket in a garden or in your backyard every Sunday afternoon. You can arrange a dinner party every once in a while, where you invite all the family members so that your children not only get to spend time with you but also with the entire family.
- Books and beyond. Explore your community library: Make it a habit to visit public libraries over the weekend with your children. Get them involved in reading books and comics. There are various public libraries that organise events (such as poetry recitals and story competitions) for children that adults can get involved in, too.
- Surf your community’s web site: Explore your community with your chilren in tow. Go to concerts, music festivals, movies and museums with your children. Discover the events happening around you and plan a fun day out with your children accordingly.
We understand that being a single parent can be an overwhelming task. Hence, having a positive work-life balance will not only keep you motivated in life but also help your children stay happy and healthy.