I met a friend who was recently divorced and was raising two children on her own. Though she said it was tough, she had found great peace in being a single parent rather than having an absentee father who presumed to live under the same roof. Now the father visits often and they have a respectful relationship towards each other.
This takes a tremendous amount of maturity on both the people's part. Being a single parent is no joke. Especially for a working mother who needs to balance so much more. It's tough but it can be done. Children become more positive when you are positive rather than living in a negative environment. But do think twice or thrice before you file for divorce.
If you are a single parent you need to get a lot of help from family, friends, day care, nannies, maids, etc to help you manage a child. Do what's best for them and you even if it means spending a little more money.
Don't over indulge your child though trying to make up for the spouse's love. It will only make him rebel and keep wanting more.
Keep boundaries, routines and structure as you would if you were still married.
10 Tips For Single Parents:
1. Balance - Realise that you’re one person and you’re doing the best you can/ Sometimes you can’t be at all places at once. You need to prioritise. If your work meeting is more important than taking the child to a birthday party, go for it. Then take the child to a special place later. If you can postpone the meeting, take our child and let him have a good time. Find the balance. Don’t think that by working continuously and earning enough to give your child everything he can buy you’re doing him a favour. He just needs more time from you rather than an extra toy.
2. Stay Positive – If you slump into depression, think that it’s the end of the world and wallow in misery your child is going to pick up your vibes and become a different person. You need to stay positive for your child. Many families have separated parents and it’s no big deal. The children turn out to be great. You just need to be strong and instil the values in your kids as you would for yourself. Think, “What would my role model do in this situation?” Keep happy quotes all around your room. Write them on post it’s and stick them everywhere. Even on your fridge and bathroom mirror. Change them regularly. Stay motivated.
3. Don’t expect – Your partner has moved or you have decided to leave him. Now don’t expect that person to take an interest in your life or help as much with the child. It’s your responsibility. You can’t say, “Come home and spend time with the kid” nor “Don’t you think you should be taking him for classes?” The spouse will not care. If he or she wants to be there, they will be. They know they have a child. If they want to look after him, they will. Until then, you look after your child to the best of your ability.
4. Don’t Bad Mouth – So you have gone through a bitter break up and mudslinging has happened. This definitely does not mean you need to say awful things about your spouse to your child. You don’t need to influence your child against another parent. The marriage broke up because the both of you fell out of love and were not compatible anymore. The child had nothing to do with it. You cannot corrupt an innocent mind. Hold your tongue about your spouse in front of the child or when speaking to someone else with the child around. They are susceptible to tones and words and will pick up what you say.
5. Encourage Bonding- When the spouse comes or chooses to take the child out but the child is unwilling because they have heard something from you, encourage different ways the father/mother can bond with the kid. It is hard but in the long run, having two separate parents who love the child and support each other even if they’re not living together makes a huge different to the child’s growth. Let the father take the child to a new 3D movie that you’ve told the child he can watch on the weekend. Or go practice a sport that he’s been participating in his classes. Encourage the bonding between them but don’t force too much. If the child just wants to be around you, let the father be around while you sit and read a book so they can eventually spend time together instead of you taking up the activity that the child wants to do.
6. Do Not be Friend – Don’t suddenly go from parent mode to a friend mode with your child. You don’t want to confide in your child about the broken marriage and all the problems of your spouse. He is still a child. He cannot take sides and it is unfair to put the burden on him to do so. He cannot look at either of his parents with hatred because of what the other has said about them. Confide in a friend, family member or a therapist with the feelings against your spouse but never your child.
7. Look After Your Health – After working, managing children and a full house, you feel you’re exhausted and depressed. Make some time for doing a workout and getting a massage. Look after your health. Going to the gym or doing any physical exercise is extremely important. If you cannot do it every day make sure you try to do it four times a week. Control your diet. Don’t emotionally over eat. Recognise your stress eating from your regular diet. You do not deserve an extra pastry because you’re a single mother. When you look good, you’ll feel good too.
8. Socialise – Just because you’re a single mother doesn’t mean you can’t socialise. Go out with some girl friends for a night out once a fortnight or month. Connect with your friends on face book and ask them out for coffees. You need interesting adult conversations that don’t revolve around work or children. Go on a date with a person to feel hot and special for that evening. You don’t need to marry the first man who is interested in you but you can definitely date for a while.
9. Economise – Whether you have a spouse that gives you child maintenance or not, being a single parent means you need to curb your expenditure. No more buying thousands of rupees worth of sexy lingerie or splurging on a new pair of diamond earrings or even extra shoes that you just don’t need. You don’t need to splurge even on your child by getting more books, toys or clothes. You need to start keeping a track of your expenses and how much you spend on the house. Write it in your daily calendar/ journal or diary and calculate how much you spend. Don’t forget a day and don’t round off the figures. At the end of the month, calculate. If you have a little left over, save it. You never know when you will have a rainy day and need the money. So be careful with your spending.
10. The Next One – Even if the divorce has come through you might not be ready for a new relationship until you have let go of all the baggage. So give yourself time to heal and move on. You got into a marriage because you felt it would last forever. Now that it did not you are hurt and bitter. Until you allow love to enter your life again, you should just meet friends and family members who are supportive. When you’re ready to date, keep your options open. You don’t need a father/mother for your children to take the place of the spouse. You need a companion for yourself. You need to feel complete in who you are and what kind of parent you are before you allow another person to enter your world. Remember that person must love and respect you and your children. Also, remember that no one is perfect. Learn from your previous mistakes about relationships and marriage and keep an open mind about the new one. Once you are certain about the person, introduce the children gently in a nice kid friendly restaurant or playground. Make sure the other person spends enough time with the kids with your around to feel comfortable with that person. Talk to your children about the other person. Kids are not going to like the new person immediately so let them take their time to warm up to him/her.