Tag Archives: single mother

8 Tips on Reducing Single Parent Stress

Raising kids can be stressful.  Raising kids alone can be STRESSFUL.  Here are some tips to reduce your single parent stress.

1. Get Your Finances Under Control

Raising a family on a reduced income can be one of the the most stressful aspects of being a single parent. That’s why one of the first things that you should do is understand your expenses, and make a budget.  Controlling your cash flow by sticking to a budget is one of the most important things that you can do to reduce stress and move forward with your single parent life.

2. Set Up a Support System

All single parents need help — whether it’s someone to watch the kids while you run out to do errands or simply someone to talk to when you feel overwhelmed. While it’s tempting to try to handle everything alone, ask friends and family members for help. You could join a single-parent support group, or, if finances allow, hire a trusted sitter to help out with the kids or someone to assist with housework.

3. Set UP and Keep Daily and Weekly Routines

The more routines you have in place, the more smoothly your house will run.  Schedule meals and chores on a weekly calendar.  Have a set bedtime for the kids, along with a bedtime routine (bath, brush teeth, lay out clothes, quiet reading time before bed).  Once in place, these routines will be comforting to your children because they will know what to expect each day.  Consistent routines will help your kids feel more secure, and your household will run much more smoothly.

4. Maintain Healthy Boundaries with Your Children

When you become a single parent there tends to be a big void where your partner used to be.  Many times it’s tempting to rely too heavily on children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But relying on your children to act as substitutes for an adult partner is unhealthy for both of you.  Instead of relying on your children for emotional support seek out other adults for your emotional needs.  If you don’t have family or friends to rely on, many churches have single parent support groups to help.  Different churches offer different kinds of support, but you might be surprised at how supportive they can be.  Or seek counseling if necessary.

5. Carve Out Quality Time with Your Children

As a single parent there is always going to be something you need to do around the house; but don’t let that stop you from connecting with your children in a meaningful way every day.  Use your routines to connect – a quick bedtime story; or family breakfast catch up with your children will keep you connected daily.  Then find larger chunks of time, perhaps on the weekends to do fun things together – bike rids, crafts or baking can provide the fun bonding time you need with your children.  And it doesn’t have to cost anything.  As long as you focus on love and connection, your time as a family will surely be quality time.

6. Take Time for Yourself

I know it sometimes seems impossible to carve out any time for yourself, but it is so important.  With your budget, routines, and rituals in place it will be much easier to accomplish.  Remember, if you’re not at your best, nothing in you single parent household is going to be running at its best.  Even if it’s something as simple as a warm bath, or 15 minutes of reading before you go to bed.  Setting aside personal time for you to refuel will do wonders for your whole family.

7. Stay positive

As a single parent it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all your responsibilities every day.  On top of that, you may not have wanted the divorce.  Or maybe you are grieving the death of a spouse.  It is true; you do have to go through the grieving process.  And you do have to deal with your feelings regarding a divorce; but you can still cultivate a positive environment in your home.  The key is to move through and process the painful event that has happened in your family.  Don’t get stuck in the pain.  Don’t let negativity and sadness become what you and your family is now about.  If you’re feeling sad, it’s okay to share some of your sentiments with your children, but always try to help them see that for every ending there is a new beginning.

8. Dream About and Plan for the Future

This really needs no explanation.  The way to make a great future is to dream about and plan for a great future.  Do this, and teach your children how to do this, and things will turn out just fine.

4 Challenges of Dating as a Single Parent

Being a single parent can crimp your style when it comes to dating if you let it. But don’t let it.  Here are 4 challenges that single parents face when dating, along with some advice on how to overcome them.  You owe it to yourself to have a life; and possibly a new relationship.  So follow this advice and you just might find yourself enjoying a few nights out on the town with an attractive companion.  And maybe more…

1. Time

One of the biggest obstacles to single parent dating is time. Without a partner to help you transport, feed and nurture your children, you may find yourself in a non-stop hamster’s wheel of activities, responsibilities and obligations.  And if you have small children, childcare may be an issue. They may already spend large amounts of time in daycare.

Giving yourself permission to get out and enjoy yourself is the first step toward having a regular dating life.  Enlist the help of friends, relatives and older children; or trade evening babysitting with another single mother so your youngsters can be around people they are comfortable with.

2. Money

Simply put, dating can be expensive.

There are many activities that can be enjoyed without spending large sums of money. A simple picnic, an early movie, skating, hiking, a drive in the country, dinner at home, or a BBQ in the back yard are all activities that can be arranged very inexpensively.  And you’ll probably have a more enjoyable time.

3. Empathy

Not all dates are going to be thrilled with a date who needs to check on her offspring often or who receives multiple phone calls from demanding children or babysitters. The restrictions on how long you can stay out and how far away you can travel may put a damper on an evening with someone who does not have children of their own.

Instead of leaving this to chance, join organizations such as Parents Without Partners.  This can be an excellent way of engaging in family activities and meeting other people, especially those of the opposite sex, who are in your situation. There are also many online dating sites available which are designed specifically for the single parent.

4. Lack of Self-Confidence

Many single parents put all of their energy into taking care of their children and households. By the time they are ready to jump back into the dating arena, they may be out of touch with trends and popular hot spots. They may not have a wardrobe conducive to dating. Their conversation skills may be limited to entertaining a three-year old during snack time. All of this can add up to a general lack of confidence when it comes to re-entering the dating and relationship scene.

It may not sound like a good solution but practice makes perfect.  Sure, making mistakes doesn’t sound like fun, but if you keep trying and keep a positive mindset you will regain your confidence and dating will get easier.  Be patient with yourself.  The worst thing that you could do is to rush into dating anyway.

Be kind to yourself.  Give the dating process plenty of time.  And enjoy the journey.

Organization Tips for Single Parents

Let’s face it, life is BUSY!  And you’re a single parent so life is BUSIER!  Carving out some leisure/free/fun time for you and your kids takes some planning and organizational skills, but it’s worth it.

Who doesn’t want more free, fun time with their kids!  Let’s see how we can make more of that happen.

Daily Routines are Your Friends

Establish daily routines for your family so that everyone knows what’s expected of them. Routines won’t solve all of your battles, but there’ll be fewer surprises.  Bedtime routines as well as morning routines really help your single parent household run more efficiently.  Don’t forget homework, chores, and meal time rountines.  Get yourself a dry erase board and have your routines in a place where everyone sees them often.  Routines definitely save you time.

A Family Calendar is a Must

Along with your routines board, you need a calendar where everyone can see it.  Keep track of your special events, special school activities, and appointments, etc.  This cuts down on conflicts and lets you (and the kids) keep track of the logistics of who needs to be where at what time.  An up to date calendar will save you even more time.

Motivate your Kids to do their Chores

You’re a single parent.  You need to get household chores done on a daily basis but there’s no way you can do it alone.  You may disagree, but the fastest way to get the chores done (and with no whining) is to offer an incentive.  It could be money but it doesn’t have to be.  You can make the incentive internet access when their chores are done.  Whatever motives your child.  Chores are more likely to get done quickly and properly if there is an incentive attached.

Plan Your Meals

Obviously you’re going to take your kid’s preferences into consideration, but it is a huge TIME and MONEY saver when you plan your meals out weekly.  Planning your weekly meals out saves on trips to the grocery store – you only need to go once.  If you can pre-make meals for the week and freeze them, you save more time.  An added bonus is family fun time together in the kitchen if your kids like to cook with you.

If you follow these tips you will be able to regain some precious time that you and your kids can use for more enjoyable things, like spending some fun leisure time together.