There are a few challenges associated with being a single parent. Not to discount the challenges that married couples face but for single parents there are many challenges and if you also have an ex-spouse you will also have to add co-parenting to that list of challenges.
One of the hardest issues to surviving as a single parent is an overwhelming feeling that you should complete the role of both mother and father. This feeling evolves and will be more intense if the other single parent is not playing an active role in your children’s life.
Trying to play the role of both parents is not a badge of honor
I personally feel that when somebody congratulates me on taking on both roles it’s not something I’m proud of. It is necessity and just a survival mode. It’s life and shouldn’t be championed because it is our reality. Completing the role of both parents is stressful and some single parents try to fight this feeling often in two ways. Either you try to compensate by being both the mom or dad or you get on one of those wild life hunting explorations to search for a partner to fill in the other role. May I give you a piece of advice? Neither one of these options will work. It is easier said than done. One of the ways you can try to overcome this feeling or need to either complete both mother and father is to identify what insecurities you have about parenting alone. What are you afraid of? There are more single parents by choice, more parents are same sex couples, and more parents that cohabit but are not married along with blended families. Women are having children later in life but the challenges to young single mothers that have children are real. If you have a good support network of friends, family, babysitters, coaches or other single parents then the stress of trying to play both roles will ease. It is hard to trust people and it’s something I completely understand but is necessary to ensure that you don’t get stressed out or stay with an abusive partner.
Society and lots of research tells us that having both parents in a child’s life is better for the child but the reality of having both biological parents may not be realistic if the other partner is abusive, in prison, unemployed, does drugs or if both parents just can’t get along and close to abusive of each other. As shameful as it is to admit, all the fathers of my children were unemployed and habitually unemployed. Based on how hard the experience has been to be a single mom to three children I’m thankful that I’ve kept my corporate job since 2008 which means stability and a stable paycheck so far. If your partner is abusive, habitually unemployed, does drugs or is just not a good life partner it is less likely they can be a good co-parent to your child. That is the challenge with co-parenting is that old resentments create another added stress to single parents. Don’t give into the pressure of society to create a standard for your children without addressing your life issues. The key thing to remember is that your child has another parent and if they are involved in their lives even better. If the other parent is not, it’s a situation or a reality of their life that they need to accept or cope with and that you need to teach to your children.
Single parents should never feel guilty
Single parents always bring this feeling of guilt for the reason that their children do not obtain the love and care they could be getting from another parent. So what are you supposed to do? It is a very difficult situation.
For example, you are a single father with three children. This gets even more complicated if two out of the three are girls and you will have to choose between being a mom or to hunt for the mom to be able to have a better orientation for your daughters.
You would most probably go on an exploration to fill the second. Not a year has passed and you would probably go back to being a single parent. Some research has shown it is worse for the children to see parental role models come in and out of their lives. That’s why kids should really never meet or be introduced to the person you are dating until you know for sure that you are exclusive.
You cannot replace the mom or the dad. Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible to find people who are ready to be a huge portion of both yours and your children’s life. What is really meant is that this should not be the reason of the relationship you form. Relationships are about learning about yourself and coexisting with another as they also learn about themselves. It should be about love between two people first and later on as commitment ensues should evolve into blending the families. This is not an easy task and should be taken seriously.
Resist the urge to replace your wife or your husband for your kids and focus on what you need to provide or give to them? Being a single parent is not a reason for you to feel guilty. You should rather be proud that your sons and daughters have you.
The key to your child’s happiness is you
This article is written to help you, single parents, realize that your children love you and if you are going to find another spouse or feel guilty, you are not going anywhere. Single parents do not have to have a mate to make your kids happy.
If you are a single parent, then you are probably strongly thinking that you should fill both roles. This is empowered by the feeling of guilt for finding our children in difficult positions. You are only human; you are not a super hero. You cannot do everything by yourself and you should never feel that you are second best just because of this.
Your children will sometimes not offer a helping hand and themselves should not be a replacement “spouse” or partner in the home. Children are not evil, crazy or anything of that kind, they are just being what they are, kids. It is what kids always do, and it turns out that it really works well for them. You need to adapt to working with your kids with your own provisions and not feel disenfranchised when things don’t go smooth in the household.
In total, you gain the respect of your kids if you follow what this article just said. No matter how much and how well you try, you surely cannot be both your children’s mom and dad. So take my advice and quit trying.
You do not need to be fit and lean to make your kids love and appreciate you. They love you just the way you are. You should even appreciate yourself first in order to make your children and others appreciate you.
Being a single parent can be tough but it also makes you tough and your unique experience is becoming much more common. There are more single parents like you and experiencing the same feelings. So date and find a partner that you love and that fits the reality of your life. You shouldn’t date someone to fit a mold or to raise children because after the children are grown up you will also want a life partner that means something to you.
How do you find time for yourself as a single parent?