Single parenting would never be confused with a night on the town or a relaxing picnic, but it need not be overly stressful and/or frustrating. New single parents are most at risk for becoming overwhelmed.
However, remember, even in two parent households, babies and young children come with a strong “overwhelming quotient.”
Almost all newer single parents experience feelings of isolation and/or inadequacy. This is normal and this, too, shall pass, if you get yourself organized and committed to excellence. Here are some basic single parenting tips to become more self-confident, under control and comfortable.
Create a support group of family, friends and acquaintances. While face-to-face personal interaction delivers the most benefits, even establishing an online support team will help. You’ll learn that you are not alone and know people who will help. If your support group has local team members, ask some if they’ll spend some quality time watching the kids.
Target personal growth activities to motivate you and reduce stress. Do something for yourself. This is probably the most important tip of all of the single parenting tips we can tell you. Take a course, start or restart a hobby, learn a foreign language or learn to play an instrument. Things you’ve always wanted to do or activities you suspended during marriage or cohabitation are perfect targets.
Visit friends on or spend holidays with family or single acquaintances if you’re without the kids. Remember, holidays are only another calendar date. It is the emotional links that make holidays wonderful or dreaded days. If you have the little ones, celebrate holidays as you choose. Should the little people be elsewhere, arrange with family or friends, preferably single, to get together on the “date on the calendar.”
Create new traditions and rituals. Formerly happy traditions can become tedious or unpleasant for single parents. Create some new ones.
The “what” is unimportant. Only the doing is critical. Instead of facing a depressing “gap,” create new traditions and rituals to generate excitement for you and the kids.
Get comfortable with “alone,” but do not adopt “lonely.” There is a huge difference in the terms. This single parenting tip applies to the time after the kids are asleep, social events and other relationships. Alone is good; lonely is not so good. If you crave more social interaction, go for it. But, learn to be comfortable and enjoy the alone time you have.
The last single parenting tip is to never try to “out do” your ex. Trying to out-compete your ex is akin to depending on your weekend in Las Vegas to make this month’s mortgage payment. You can’t win. Even if you could, after the initial thrill of victory, your feelings often turn to a strong emptiness. Being a good person/parent is much more important than buying things for the kids.