A lot of responsibility comes with raising a child and, when one is suddenly thrust into single parenthood, it can feel doubly overwhelming. As a single parent, a person must sometimes take on the roles as both mom and dad and it is very frequently a challenging balancing act.
It is not uncommon for single parents to often feel a lot of pressure in performing both parenting roles. As a result of the stress, a parent may question his or her abilities to be able to do a good job, and these insecurities may fester and undermine confidence.
Upon the realization that you are now a single parent, your world and that of your children's, it probably feels like life and all you knew before been completely turned upside down. It is natural to feel a bit shaky in the area of self-confidence during this time frame. Especially if there are other things going on, such as a messy divorce or ongoing conflicts with the ex.
A divorce or other separation is difficult to deal with as it can be really hard to balance emotions with the need to take care of the household and children.
Since the circumstances surrounding single parenthood are frequently unexpected, often a period of grief also needs to be worked through; it is difficult to try to face each day knowing you have to pull it together for the sake of your kids, especially when that lingering wish to dive back into bed and pull the covers over your head persists.
It’s not easy, but by setting forth a plan, it can help you get through those rough moments and readjust to your new life.
Single parenthood has its challenges, but it is not impossible. The first thing to do is take a deep breath, try to focus on accepting the situation and then turn your attention to what immediate needs have to be taken care of and prioritized. Some of these things will need to be completed immediately, especially if there are court cases, a physical move or any other major change involved. Try to separate these from the needs that can wait for a bit.
Once the needs which are a priority are set into motion and/or accomplished, set some goals for yourself that enable you to establish a vision of how you want to continue your life's journey. In achieving the strength and fortitude to move forward, you will undoubtedly discover a lot about yourself and realize that you probably have not given yourself enough credit for the skills and strength you already possess.
Communicate With Your Children
Ultimately, your kids will be the driving force that garners the confidence and strength for you to move ahead. The journey will have scary moments and, even though this is not necessarily the path you'd originally envisioned, it is the one you have to face. Your children probably have lots of questions about the big changes occurring in their lives and you'll have to gently explain things to them and reassure them that things will work out fine. This is not an easy conversation, but keeping them in the loop (while simultaneously keeping them out of the things they don’t need to know about), will help a lot.
Kids generally pay attention to what's going on around them. It is important to keep communication going because they are probably confused and afraid too. Let them ask their questions so you can provide them with reassurance.
Handling Financial Stresses
While you are trying to adjust to the situation, an immediate dilemma of finances and how to support your kids' physical needs may be present. If you've not been working, the job search process can be intimidating and, depending on your personal situation (such as a long employment gap), this brings a whole different set of challenges.
Fortunately, there are helpful resources that can both grow confidence and solve the financial dilemmas simultaneously. Many federal, state and/or county labor department agencies offer programs and services designed to help people update technical skills, learn job interview techniques and pull together an up-to-date looking resume. Taking some of these courses or seminars can be real confidence boosters and, in the end, provide a solid foundation to aid you in your search to find a job to support your family.
Many agencies provice resources to help single parents update their skills and/or find a job. These can include technical training, mock interviews or writing resumes, to name a few services.
Go Back to School
Education is another terrific confidence builder. If you never started or had abandoned that college degree - consider going back to school. Doesn’t need to be full-time if that’s not feasible. The distance learning programs most colleges offer these days provide an excellent environment and opportunity for single parents to pursue their dreams and carve their own paths to support their families. Going back to college is also a great confidence builder. Between community colleges and distance learning, a lot of flexible opportunities and resources are available for single parents to use.
Creating goals and setting time tables present a positive focus and moves you away from feelings of hopelessness and/or fear. As a result, more confidence emerges along with a new-found determination to succeed and overcome some of the obstacles that exist when you are a single parent.
Finding solutions to challenges single parents face on a daily basis can be difficult. But with a combination of perseverance, determination and positive thinking, you will be amazed at the inner strength you possess and that, in fact, you are, armed with your new confidence, a wonderful parent, all on your own.
[ Related Reading: Single Parents - Setting Up a One Parent Home ]