Parenting is tough. And single parenting is tougher. If you are a parent, you play a multitude of roles: a mentor, teacher, friend, entertainer, disciplinarian, and a chef! When you have two people to help with these roles, surviving is easier. But when you are alone: you need some help.
Here are 5 single parenting struggles that every single parent goes through, with tips on how to tackle them head on!
Monthly bills. Utility costs. Credit card payments. Loan installments. Insurance. Child education bills. The list of expenses will be long when you are a single parent. And daunting. Simplifying a single parenting life requires financial planning. Not doing it can break you. There will be expenses which you wouldn’t have even thought about. Such situations will be stressful, frustrating and demanding.
What to do: “Very simply speaking: Have saving goals. Make lists of your expenses. Get a preliminary budget. Say no to your child sometimes. Curb your wishlists”, suggests Heeral, a financial planner from Mumbai.
There will be times when you doubt your capabilities as a parent and wonder if you are doing a good job. If you keep thinking you aren’t perfect, your guilt will get the better of you. And that won’t be a wise thing to do. Janis Adams, in her book, A Complete Guide for Single Moms shares, “Being a single mom has been the most golden experience in my life. While there have been trials and fiery times, it has produced the most valuable and lasting results in my life.”
What to do: Assess yourself, but remain sane. You are human and prone to mistakes. It’s okay if you don’t get 10/10 for parenting.
“When you’re alone and wearing so many hats, asking for help and getting help in return can feel hard. You may feel that your own choices and decision have led up to this stage in your life and you have to deal with it alone. But people like to help. They love to support their closed ones. What seems like a big humongous help to you can be a small trade for your friends and support. It’s not just this, getting mental support from a counsellor can also help you enormously and help you unburden yourself”, says Dr.Dhruv Thakkar, a psychiatrist from Gujarat.
What to do: If you have no support, getting to see a counsellor isn’t WRONG at such times. Even your child might need one. Arti, a single mother of two daughter shares, “It’s only when my daughter completed the 10th grade that I took her to see a counsellor. And I realized that she was a disturbed child. With those sessions, it took a lot of time to get her out of her emotional instabilities. But it was worth it.”
You, as a single parent have a lot on your plate. Your to-do lists are endless and you probably have minimal help. It can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Soon, you will find yourself complaining and bickering about your new life too.
What to do: Please find time for yourself. Structure your time around yourself as a single parent. Only if you’re calm and relaxed will you be able to give your child a happy life. We can’t stress enough on the fact about how important it is to be with yourself also.
It’s very tempting to think about how life has wronged you and has been unfair to you. Okay, your past wasn’t great. But you have a child and a new life. Nothing is more important than your mental health, your tranquility and the ability to bounce back from difficult situations.
What to do: Let go of your past. Focus on the bright side. Practice forgiveness. Indulge in calming activities like going for a walk, meditation and listening to music to help you come back to the present and get unstuck from your past.
Being a parent is an incredibly rewarding experience. Even if you are doing it single-handedly. So ditch these struggles. And take these challenges positively: it is only going to make you a stronger person in the end.