Becoming a single parent brings about a number of unique challenges. Although you can expect a few more challenges than what you might expect from a two-income family, you need to remind yourself that you will get through the rough spots. To help you succeed in a single family home, I wanted to provide you with some tips that I myself used. I raised two kids on my own and there were times when it was hard but now that they are grown, viable adults, I feel proud of my accomplishments – you can too.
First, you have to forgive your ex-spouse. I know sometimes that is hard but for the sake of the children, it is the only way. Unless there are some serious implications, the arguments are between you and him or her, not the kids. By being angry, you will create an environment for your children, feeling unpleasant and unsafe. Instead, make amends with your ex-spouse, agreeing to discuss serious business away from hearing distance of the children. In addition, while you might think of your ex-spouse as a jerk, keep your opinions to yourself. The children do not need to hear horror stories about mom or dad.
You also want to make the best situation out of what you have. I remember when I first became divorced I had to move from my home with two small children to live in a Section Eight apartment complex. I remember feeling ashamed but I decided we at least had a roof over our heads and each of the kids had their own bedroom. I decorated it so it felt like home and made it “our home”. We spent time playing outside, walking, bike riding, and other activities, just as we did in our old home.
Then, make sure you create a web of resources. This time of your life is when you need to be near friends and family. You need help, at least in the beginning. For instance, what happens if your child becomes sick and you have to go to work? You want to have a pool of people that you can count on to watch the children or provide you with emotional support. Being a single parent is tough but by setting realistic goals and not beating yourself up over everything that goes wrong, you will make it.
As mentioned, I look back now, and my son just turned 24 yesterday and my daughter will be 22 at the end of this month. The kid’s father and I are best of friends, something that took years to develop. Today, we talk several times a week, working together as a team in raising our kids. That does not mean it has always been this way but with determination and commitment, we made it.