Single parenting isn’t a job for the faint of heart. There’s no question that single moms love their children and would do it all over again for them. Although, there are times when being a single parent can feel like an impossible task. Single moms need to be everything, all of the time. Food, cleaning, work, child care, bath time, bedtime, single moms get it all done along with their own work.
However, it can be incredibly hard when children hit a rocky phase in life. Growing from toddler to child to teen is filled with emotional phases, struggle for independence, and self discovery. At times, it feels like all of the mom’s devotion and care taking goes completely unappreciated. Before you hit the point where you want to throw in the towel and ship them off to a relative’s house, take a breather. We have a few tips for you to try when you feel like you’ve reached your wits end.
1. Disengage and Breathe
For those of us with children, you’ve definitely come home to a scene where clothing, toys, and even Tupperware are littering the floor as if they’ve exploded from your kid’s backpack and the kitchen drawers. Then when you find your child to ask them to pick up their mess, they’re hunkered down on the couch watching tv and couldn’t care less about the state of things.
Speaking sharply will get their attention! Or will it? It always seems to be the go-to but how effective has it really been? I know I’ve butted heads with my teenage son and have needed resources on how to deal with his sometimes maddening behavior. When the sharp reproval no longer does it’s job, it’s nice to have an arsenal of different tactics for parenting and correcting unwanted behavior.
But first, take a step back. You are the parent and have to remain in control. If you need to walk away to regain your calm, do it. Let them know you want to talk and that you’ll be back in a few minutes. Take as much time as you need to make sure you don’t lose control. Remember to breath!!
2. Switch Gears
If you never have time to yourself, away from the needs of your tiny dependents, you may develop a bit of resentment. This is normal! It isn’t exactly good, but it is normal. It is imperative to schedule some time with your own friends, not just the parents of children your kids are friends with. When you can reasonably take time for yourself, you will be better able to maintain a level head when stress’ with your children come up – which they will, always and forever. But it’s okay! You can do this.
3. Play With Your Kids
When every interaction with your kids boils down to correcting bad behavior, it begins to taint your view on your child, your day, and your job as a parent. It even alters their view of you, their parent. While it may seem like adding one more thing to your to-do list, planning for some playtime with your kids can be when you really get to know them as an individual. One good way to do this is to plan an activity of their choosing! This way you can avoid negativity from their end. If you drag them outside to hike when they hate hiking, no one is going to have a good time.
4. Share The Load
When possible, share the load of raising your child. You don’t have to do it all alone. Some organizations, like Big Brothers Big Sisters, can help by giving your child a positive role model in their life besides you.
If you have a good relationship with your child’s parent and are co-parenting, be sure you are the one to talk to them about struggles with your shared child. Children may exaggerate conflicts, so it is best they hear it from you and can lend you a hand.
5. Don’t Make Molehills Mountains
This can be one of the hardest things as parents to do, but if you spend every moment correcting, and getting after your kid for socks left in the hallway, all that’s going to do is stress out the both of you. Set some ground rules on what behavior is totally unacceptable, and let go the rest go.
Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn