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The Struggle of Being a Single Parent and 9 Ways to Cope

Think about it: a whopping one out of three American children is raised by a single parent.

As a matter of fact, the number of parents raising a child alone has practically doubled in the last 50 years.

On the hunt for single parenting tips? Then you’ve come to the right place because the struggle of being a single parent is real.

Fortunately for you, this guide will point out nine ways to cope with being a single parent.

1. Make Positive Goals For Your Family

Not sure how to cope with being a single mom? We totally feel you. First of all, making positive goals for your family is a great place to start.

To do so, you have to imagine a happy future for you and your children.

Although it might be hard to do if you’re feeling down, you might be surprised how uplifting goal-setting can really be.

Consider this: what clear intentions do you have for yourself and your kids?

Think about your current situation and what you’d like to improve on, from short-term goals like making a solid morning schedule to long-term goals such as:

  • Pursuing your higher education
  • Moving closer to other family members
  • Getting a grip on your money (more on that later)

On top of all that, healthy co-parenting with your former partner is another wonderful goal to strive for as well.

Even if it’s not 100 percent possible, any small improvement will make a huge difference for your family.

2. Stay as Organized as You Possibly Can

Curious about how to be a good single mother?

Let’s face it: there’s no one with more “to-do’s” on their daily checklist than a single parent.

Not only that, but you’ve got to juggle your kid’s schedule along with your own routine.

And don’t even get us started about checking homework and packing up your child’s belonging to visit your ex for custody visits.

How can you possibly keep it all together? The good news is that you can, especially with online calendars like Cozi or Google Cal.

With these handy tools, you’ll find that sharing dates, making schedules, and tracking reoccurring events will be a breeze.

Once you get the hang of the essentials, you can always add on to your schedule too.

Plus, sharing an easy-to-use online schedule with your ex gives them the opportunity to step up to the plate as well.

Don’t know what we mean? It’s simple: they can simply check your online calendar instead of calling you for updates!

3. Be Flexible With Your Family’s Schedule

Wish there was a “how to be single parent’s guide?” Join the club. Some things are bound to go south no matter how well you plan.

The truth is, it’s all about being flexible with your family’s schedule.

For instance, there will be times when picking up your kid from childcare feels like a headache-and-a-half, especially when you’re coming straight from a work meeting.

Don’t know what to do?

The answer is clear: either call your ex for babysitting duties or phone an on-call babysitter. Whatever you do, finding creative solutions for when life gets tough is the key to success.

In addition, there’s no harm in being flexible with any changes in your ex’s schedule as well, particularly if you think that they’ll return the favor when you need them.

That way, you’ll be well on your way to creating “mutual flexibility” together. How can you beat that?

4. Be Firm With Disciplining Your Child

News flash: when it comes to single parenting, you can’t go wrong with being firm with your child.

In fact, most single parents know that establishing healthy boundaries starts with sticking to your word when you lay down the law. Yes, you read that right.

While it pays to be a woman or man of your word, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can never change up your mind either.

All that you really have to do is confidently discipline your children and provide the proper consequence to make a real impact.

Are you someone who has trouble saying the word “no?” If so, then you’ll definitely want to add this useful word to your vocabulary.

While some single parents think it’s easier to let their kid win, this will only establish a future pattern of bad behavior.

For those who are feeling stuck, there’s no shame in phoning a family member or friend for help as well.

Trust us – if they’ve ever raised their own child, then they’ll know exactly what to do!

5. Know When to Ask For Help

You know the feeling: when you’re raising a family on your own, you may not always have the option of having a helping hand.

However, every successful single parent knows when they should tackle it themselves and when to ask for help. Guess what?

Asking for help doesn’t exactly mean babysitting duties either. Amazingly enough, even asking a friend to join you for a venting session can be helpful too.

Picture this: tapping into the network of close family members and confidants can provide encouragement and support when you’re at your worst.

And you may eventually find out that they can relate to your problems as well. Take the time to find new relationships to invest in.

From college buddies to next-door neighbors, you’d be surprised to find out who’s there for you.

6. Have Faith In Your Parenting Abilities

While having faith in your parenting abilities can be hard at times, it’s literally one of the most essential things you can do if you’re raising a child alone.

Admit it: you may not have the best living situation or the nicest home, but you do have the best of intentions for your family.

Do yourself a favor and think back on the last couple of years of parenthood. Then, look at everything you accomplished and give yourself a hearty pat on the back.

Take a second to be grateful for your personal journey and thank the hard times for making you who are you now.

Having a hard time keeping your parenting accomplishments straight? We highly recommend that you buy a journal and write it all down.

Feel free to write about your daily struggles as a single parent and your creative solutions that you’ve come up with to help.

After a while, you’ll be proud to go back to your journal and see how much you and your family have grown!

7. Keep in Mind That Hard Times Are Temporary

As a single parent, another thing to keep in mind that hard times are temporary.

To stay strong, think about the fact that you might be faced with an even larger problem in the future.

While this may seem even more stressful, it might help you put things in perspective right now.

Having a difficult time getting through things? We’re here to help. For starters, it may be a good idea to use the words “for now” in your mental vocabulary.

For instance, if you’re stuck in the middle of a heated custody battle with your former partner, you have to consider that this will only be an issue “for now.”

Or if your baby’s still hungry after breastfeeding, remember that they’re only fussing and crying “for now.”

Once you realize that what you’re dealing with is short-term, you can start to see yourself succeeding in the long-run.

8. Give Advice to Other Single Parents

Let’s get this straight: after you’ve been living as a single parent for a couple of years, you’ll find that it’ll be beyond easy to advise others in the same situation.

Can we be completely honest with you? Although it might not seem like it, most single parents have to build up their faith and strength over a long period of time.

Once they’ve got it down pat, sharing their journey with those who are just at the beginning of single parenthood is the greatest way to give back.

For those who are feeling clueless, you might want to start a local support group for single parents in your region.

Naturally, finding friendship, support, and advice from people in a similar situation can provide a big boost to your confidence and self-esteem. Don’t know where you can host a meetup?

Pro tip: try hosting your event as a nearby coffeehouse.

Better yet, have single parents meet up with you at your children’s school to talk about everything from bottle feeding to your child’s first steps.

You’ll find yourself in the center of a supportive community before you know it!

9. Get Your Finances Together

Get this: getting your finances together is one of the biggest hurdles to clear as a single parent.

On top of the daily struggles of getting to work on time every day, raising a family when you get home is a challenge in and of itself.

Besides this, single parents usually don’t have anyone to share the bills with too, which means higher rent, grocery, and daycare bills.

And don’t forget about making all the difficult financial decisions by yourself. Not sure how you can catch a break?

First things first, you’ve got to starting budgeting your finances as soon as you can.

That includes knowing exactly when your check is coming in, as well as any other forms of income. Also, keeping track of your monthly bills is a must as well.

Once you have a bigger picture of your financial health, you can think about improving your career.

So, start by contacting temp agencies for additional work. Next, you could potentially gain the high school or college degrees that you’ve always wanted.

Bonus Round: Single Parent Self-Care Tips

Ready for a bonus round? We got your back. Take a look at a few ways that you can take care of yourself as a single parent:

  • Physical self-care
  • Emotional self-care
  • Social self-care

In case you didn’t know, physical self-care includes going to bed on time and eating enough clean foods throughout your day.

Plus, getting regular exercise and drinking enough fluids are also super helpful for your overall wellbeing. That’s not all.

When was the last time you thought about your emotional self-care? If you’re shaking your head “no,” we’ve got you covered.

This step begins by analyzing your feelings and combatting the negative ones as best you can.

As we mentioned above, journaling and sharing your thoughts with others is another form of emotional-self care as well.

And then, there’s social self-care. For those who are unaware, this taps into your relationships with others.

Even though getting together with friends or loved ones is a bit difficult when your baby wakes up every few minutes at night, it’s vital for lifting the emotional burden of single parenthood.

By putting your emotions into words, you’ll see that your challenges aren’t as hard as they seem. Sounds good to us!

Overcome the Struggle of Being a Single Parent

Want to overcome the struggle of being a single parent? Luckily for you, you’re not alone.

From divorced moms to widowed dads, we have everything you need to get back on your feet.

Feeling overwhelmed by single parenthood? Try putting your physical, emotional, and social self-care first. And don’t forget about meeting up with friends every now and then.

Hopefully, our practical tips can give you the peace of mind that you deserve.

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