Are you single, pregnant, and wondering how you’re going to make it work? Are you a single parent due to the death, divorce, or separation? Are you a single parent by choice? Either way, you can definitely do it and stay sane!
Yes, single parenting is possibly the single most difficult thing that I’ve ever done in my life, and I’ve definitely been through some mess in my 30 years. And I know everyone says this, but it is the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done too!
But I couldn’t do it – and do it well – without a couple of important factors:
1. A Strong Support System.
A support system does not always have to be your parents or direct family. My mom lived nearby for the majority of my son’s 2 years, and she was the greatest source of support that I had when my son was an infant. She was there to watch my son during the day while I worked, and was there as a back-up when his father would not show up to get my son.
In addition to my mom, I had the love and support of some of my best friends – I call them my adopted family. They love and adore my son – almost as much as I do – and shower him with love and affection whenever he needs it. And they’re always available to be a shoulder for me to cry on and a babysitter to take my son for a few hours when I’m starting to pull my hair out.
You can already see how important it is to have a strong support system, right?
2. Planners, Calendars, Lists…
I am a planner by nature anyway, but I became even more of a planner when my son was born, and even more so when I became a single mom. You’ll want to invest in a couple of calendars, planners, and possibly even a binder or two – yeah, all of the above. If you’re technically inclined, you’ll want to set up online calendars and lists as well. I have calendars, lists, planners, etc. to help me stay organized daily.
I get a calendar from my son’s school at the beginning of each month, showing all of the events and activities for the month, special lunches, and so forth. You will not believe how much activities they have scheduled for these little kids each month. Since I don’t want him to be the odd man out, I try very hard to make sure to involve him in all the activities. Today they want him to wear pajamas…check! I can do that. Wear blue tomorrow…check! Got it! Bring in cookies the following day…yep! I can buy those (yeah, I have no time to bake cookies).
I have a planner that helps me to stay organized with medical appointments, prescription lists, prescription refill information, food and drug allergies, contact information for all of our doctors (yes, there are several for each of us), grocery lists – the planner is chock full! I recently bought myself a tablet to help me eliminate my planner (or at least leave it at home). It was starting to cause shoulder pain with me walking around with that thing daily. And yes, I needed it every day – you never know when you’ll get questioned whether or not you have your child’s flu shots.
I have yet another calendar, but it’s mostly to track what’s going on at work on a particular day. How many times have I scheduled a medical appointment when there’s a big meeting at work? Plenty! So I need this calendar to keep track so I make sure to plan around it. Now, there are times when it’s important to schedule these appointments on that date regardless, but at least I can tell my management that I’ll be unavailable in advance.
3. A Positive Attitude.
Honestly, this is the way I live my life anyway, but I have to say that it has helped me to handle single parenting even more so. A negative attitude never helps anyone, and it surely doesn’t help your child. Smile when you’re happy, smile when you’re sad – do it because you need it. Its rare when I don’t have a smile on my face.
Plus, regardless of the circumstances, I have an awesome kid! He surprises me each day with his little antics. So why not focus on that and keep a positive attitude?! Yeah, I’m a single mom but that doesn’t mean that I have to miserable too. When you become happy and satisfied with the cards that you’ve been dealt, you’ll realize that you have a pretty awesome life. When I finally faced that reality, things became a lot better for me and my son.
Trust me, single parenting is a lot more difficult than what I described above and it takes a lot of hard work before you see the fruits of your labor, but you can do it nonetheless! Don’t be fearful of the unknown – embrace it! You and your child will be ok. Don’t take unnecessary risks, but a little risk is necessary. I’m doing it and you can definitely do it too!