If your home life situation changes and you've suddenly found yourself in a position where you are a single parent, this is a huge adjustment for both you and your kids. You may find yourself either wanting or needing to change either your physical household or altering routines in order to better take care of things.
There are many factors recently separated or divorced parents often reflect upon as they set up house. A sense of normalcy, affordability, location, need for change, and organization may come into consideration during the decision-making process and these things may carry a heavy weight when making choices.
While you may want or need to make significant changes regarding your home set-up, it is important to try to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. Their feelings are probably ones of confusion, fear and sadness, and it helps to try to focus on ways to keep things as consistent as possible, even if everything else feels as if it has been turned upside down. Sometimes change is eminent and unavoidable, other things you have some control over.
Talk with your children and learn their feelings as you begin to set up your new home. Their input is important too. While they may not really have a say in location or a potential change in school, it is important to let them talk about it.
Other changes are more flexible and it is a good idea to highlight these to help your children through what can be a difficult transition period. It will give them a sense of choice. If your kids have to change schools and/or move away from their familiar home, you might want to consider offering something as a trade-off.
This is not a bribe, but rather something tangible to give them something positive to hold onto. For instance, teens might appreciate a private telephone in his or her room (although in the age of mobile, something else might be more desirable, but you get the idea). Young children might like a new stuffed toy or something else they can bring to their new home which will hold special meaning for them.
The idea is to give them a feeling of happiness, security and contentment. Yes, in a sense, even a bit of control. After experiencing so much change they had no control over, giving them a bit of input can do wonders making the new adjustments.
Affordability of Your Home
As you set up your one parent home you'll need to take into consideration your individual circumstances which include finances. For instance, as you get reestablished, various questions will brew in your head. Ones such as whether or not you can afford the home you are currently in or if you need to downsize or relocate to something more manageable.
If you are forced to make a physical change due to finances or as part of a divorce agreement, this is a primary consideration which will need to be dealt with and it is not always the easier thing to do. If you can find something similar, close to your current place which is affordable this may be the best course of action to take. You'll have to think kid-friendly and consider the location you'll be moving to.
Location of Your Home
If you've recently gone back to work or need to find a job, this is another aspect to consider as you set up house. Proximity to your job is a consideration because you'll want to be close enough to be able to get home easily.
As a single custodial parent, chances you won't feel as comfortable being an hour's commute away if your child's school calls, a snowstorm closes school or your child becomes ill during the day. Due to these reasons, the location of your home is going to matter unless family, close friends or other trusted caretakers live nearby that can quickly step in during these types of situations.
Reorganizing the Home
After going though what may have been a traumatic experience, some single parents prefer to start fresh with new furniture, belongings or household items. In a sense this is a feeling of empowerment because it gives a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
This often includes re-doing and reorganizing the home. Some people like to change the home around and start fresh. This isn't always affordable, but if you find yourself feeling this way, consider which items which are important for you to change and focus on those.
One important thing to consider if you feel this way is your children's feelings. If you make too many drastic changes, especially if they've gone through other major upheavals you don't want to put them through more trauma by dismantling the home they are comfortable in and that is a sense of that aforementioned "normalcy".
Simple changes may help get through some of those rough feelings when adjusting to being a single parent.
If you feel this way, you are not alone. When embarking upon a new life, sometimes it helps to move forward if you can eliminate items from your old life which are a direct connection with the past and don't have a place in your new future.
Organization and Time Management
To simplify and reduce stress, it is a good idea and keep to a routine so the kids will feel safe and secure. Routine will, especially in the beginning, help them through the adjustment periods.
Additionally, if you can organize your schedule where there is a pattern of predictability it will help you be able to better manage your time and get things done. This will lessen any pressure you may be feeling and the multi-tasking single parents often find themselves doing will be easier to handle. Practicing organization and time management will make it easier for you to keep up with your daily chores and still have quality time for the kids.
Single parents are faced with unique challenges. Some of the trials faced are related to the physical home and other issues are directly associated with the strong emotions connected to the situation which led to becoming a single parent.
Consequently, being a single parent also has many joys. The feelings of love and commitment you have for your child are powerful and it is these wonderful emotions which will carry you through the rough spots as you begin your new life.