Whether you’re divorced, widowed, or have chosen to raise children on your own, being a single parent is challenging. All of your children’s immediate needs must essentially be met by you. Seeing as how you’re only one person, meeting those needs isn’t always easy. It’s a huge undertaking with lots of pressure that can get to you if you’re not prepared.
All Parents Are Stressed. Right?
Parenting and stress seem to go hand in hand whether you’re single, successfully co-parenting, or in a committed relationship. So, what’s the big deal? It’s true that there is no such thing as stress-free parenting. That being said, when you’re under a great deal of stress on a regular basis, it can begin to have an adverse effect on your health. Symptoms of chronic stress can include headaches, body aches, concentration and memory problems, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, substance abuse, and even depression.
Ways to Ease the Pressure
If you have experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms of chronic stress you should consider looking into mental health treatment before things spiral out of control. With or without mental health treatment, however, making some adjustments to simplify your life can help you to ease some of the pressure of being a single parent. The following are a few suggestions to consider:
Routines help to provide structure for both you and your children. It maximizes your time and cuts down on all the stress of your day to day activities. You should have a morning, after school, and bedtime routine that is scheduled at the most convenient times and mapped out in a manner that your children can easily understand and follow along with.
Plan and Prep Meals in Advance
Ensuring that your kids get proper nutrition every day is vital to their overall wellbeing. However, when you’ve just gotten home from work, picked the kids up from after school activities, and helped them with their homework, you’re drained and not much in the mood to cook.
To take some of the weight off your shoulders, start utilizing some of your downtimes to plan and prepare your meals in advance. You can write down meal ideas for the week, go grocery shopping, then come home and slice, dice, season, and cook in bulk. Place them in microwavable safe containers and you’ve got yourself some healthy meals throughout the week that require no real prep time.
A home in disarray is sure to add to the pressures of parenting. You can’t find anything you need and to be quite honest an untidy home puts you in a bad mood. Getting organized saves you time and frustration. So, start by going through each room in your home and getting rid of things you no longer use. Then, invest in toy bins, plastic containers, and other storage products to rearrange the items you’ve chosen to keep. Use labels, if necessary to make finding things easier.
Trust Your Children
It doesn’t take much for single parents to feel guilty about their circumstances and how it impacts their children. As such, they tend to try and do everything for them to make up for it. The problem with this is you hinder your children from developing life skills they’ll need as they get older. It is important to trust in your children’s abilities to get things done. Give them age-appropriate chores around the house, let them get their own snacks, if you live in a safe neighborhood, don’t be afraid to let them walk to and from school. All of these things take some of the pressure off your shoulders and gives your children the experience they’ll need throughout life.
Don’t Forget Your Village
It takes more than just a mother or a father to properly raise children, it takes an entire village. From your relatives and school teachers to your friends and religious leaders there are people willing and ready to support you in making sure your children have the best life possible. Don’t be afraid to rely on them for assistance. The more help you have the less pressure you’re under.
Though stress is often associated with parenting when you’re doing it alone that pressure doubles. Don’t wait until things get out of hand and your mental and physical health are in disarray to do something about it. Instead, start simplifying your life so that you can relieve some of that pressure, find balance, and enjoy the wonders of being a parent to your amazing kids.