I think there are a lot of benefits to being a single parent. I’ve been one for a long time, and I would say that you become so strong because you are both mother and father in a lot of ways, without losing your femininity. I feel that you gain a strength that you can pretty much do anything.
And as long as you have support so that you feel you like you are not alone – I can’t emphasize that enough – there is just this strong “I am woman, hear me roar” kind of thing that happens. And the best thing you can find is a lot of joy in being a single parent. It’s not just the old “woe is me”, like in the olden days when there weren’t as many single parent households.
What are the Challenges?
Finding time for yourself is really important no matter what it is, whether it’s going to a movie, having a child playdate circuit – where you exchange play dates with another single mom, so that you have some time off. Time off is really important. And, you want to make sure that you’re not stressed out and that you have time for you. And also making sure that your child has resources, too, whether it’s a therapist or even a teacher or coach they can talk to – so that they can be healthy through the transition as well.
What is the Key to being Successful?
There’s probably a lot of keys, but mostly just knowing that you can do it, and being there for your child. Other factors include getting help when you need it and knowing that you are not alone. That’s really important. I think that 62% of all parents are single now, so it’s not the old minority; we’re almost a majority now, so just knowing that you are not alone and you can handle anything.
Does the Age of the Child make a Difference in Parenting?
I believe single parenting changes a lot depending on the age of the child. When your child becomes a teenager, you are still a mother but It is more like a coach or a mentor and you are in more of a roommate situation with rules and boundaries. But when your child is younger, it’s really different, and a lot of single parents get like a big brother, and overly protective.
What is If Suddenly Become a Single Parent?
When you suddenly become a single parent and you really didn’t have time to plan it, the first thing I would say is to jump on the internet, look for research groups, support groups, talk to your school teachers, the principal, and guidance counselors are amazing. Let them know what happened because they are actually joint custody with your child, they have your child at school during the day and you have your child on weekends and at night, so it’s really important to talk to the teacher, talk to the counsellor and let them know for the child’s sake what’s going on.
And then as far as you, find support, go to a group, I would get in a support group right away. Talk to your preacher, your Rabbi, and just get support, one on one or in a group, and that will really, really, really help because it’s a shock to your system, it’s a death of a dream and you need help to kind of pull through it all.
What about Shared Custody?
Some of the dos and don’ts regarding custody with your child is, firstly, don’t let your child be a messenger. Don’t give your child the support check for your ex. Don’t give your child a message for your ex. Don’t make your child be the go between the two homes, it’s just too damaging.
Another do is even if you’re angry, just compromise with your ex. Keep in mind the best for the child, that’s your motto. When your ex-upsets you or doesn’t pay for something that they said they would pay, you know what, just write it down, keep track of it, but don’t make it an issue. Because a lot of times what happens is people act out after divorce, and they’ll do anything they can like little kids. Sometimes the child is the grown-up in the whole family unit. You want to it, you don’t want to keep it going because the child is the one that suffers.
Should I Keep a Journal?
You can even incorporate all the cool things your child did or said, your emotions, even, you know, what your ex-did or said. It can be wins, it can be losses, it can be sadness. But it’s a journal, a daily journal of you sitting down with yourself and getting to know who you are during this process.
You can even use your journal, or a calendar, for legal purposes. Keeping track of when the child is brought back late when support isn’t paid, when they don’t pay half of a legal expense. When something happens that you need to document legally, you write it down. That way, you can let go of it and then you keep track of it.
Because when it comes time to modify papers or do anything like that, you’ll have all the dates and everything, which normally you wouldn’t remember.