Tips for Getting Through the Rough Times
Single parenting is a tough job. When a person has to assume the role of two parents it can get pretty overwhelming at times. Between the kids' schedules, school, job(s), and balancing everything else that comes up in between, single moms and dads may sometimes feel overwhelmed. BabyCenter highlights a story about a single mom who would often forget to eat and wasn't getting enough sleep. 1
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed and if you are "losing your sanity", getting through the days isn't always easy. But by taking a breather and trying some techniques you can try and reduce the anxiety, frustration and feelings of being overcome with too much to do.
Sometimes life can feel upside down living day to day.
The fact that you've taken the role of single parenting shows what a strong person you are and that you can get through the days, even the tough ones. It's also important to not neglect yourself in the process. Here are a few techniques that help get you through the rough moments, dark times and just plain insane days:
As a single parent there are likely many times you feel lonely without adult company and conversation. A good way to combat the loneliness is to join a single parent group or make friends with other parents who have walked in your shoes. When you network with other single parents you'll establish a group of friends who are cohesive and understand one another. This support is invaluable because you'll always have an ear of someone who truly understands what you are going through and you won't feel so alone. Join some groups where parents and children can attend.
However, it is also a good idea to develop friendships with other parents, single or not. Every parent goes through similar trials and tribulations, and friends can help support one another, offer tips or just make each other laugh.
Invest in Yourself
This is often easier said than done, but if you can manage to squeeze in a bit of "me time" every day this will help you be better equipped to handle the chaos that can occur at any moment. Even if it is a few minutes in the morning or in the evening, take a brief period of time to concentrate on yourself and do something you enjoy. This often helps tremendously.
Maybe you are an avid reader, like to sketch or could just use a nice hot bath -- whatever suits your fancy. The key is to find something that makes you feel good and gives you a sense of enjoyment or tranquility. One way you may be able to find the time to accomplish this is to take a few minutes before the kids get up or after they go to bed and concentrate on you. Sleep is often at a premium, so this could be challenging, but even if you can manage this a few times a week, every bit helps.
Many single parents feel as if they don't want to be a burden to others. If someone offers you help, don't be too proud to accept it. When you are surrounded by supportive family and friends, this can have a significant impact on decreasing the levels of "insanity" you experience. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to or an offer of babysitting will help tremendously. If you have a supportive network of family and friends, this can make all the difference in the world.
Time Management and Good Organization
Sounds obvious, but with the hustle and bustle of everyday, sometimes it is hard to get organized. However, if you take some time to establish a schedule and get well organized, this can make a huge difference in eliminating some of the chaos of your days. Learning how to effectively use time management will help you be able to get everything done you need to and perhaps even find a few leftover minutes for relaxation.
Go to School
Another good approach to help maintain sanity is to go back to school. Even though it may add a degree of pressure and time constraints to your already jam-packed days, if you can manage a way to take a class or two, this can go a long way in reestablishing a feeling of strength and can be a good confidence booster too. Many single parents, especially those who have been home with the kids for years, find it difficult to move forward in careers and may lack self-confidence to pursue a new route.
If you consider taking just one class, even if not enrolling in a degree program, this can do wonders for your esteem levels and give you a feeling of strength and self-accomplishment. This sense of control and achievement can help take the edge off those hectic days. BankRate suggests to first a) know your obstacles and b) know where to get help. 2
[ Related reading: College Education Options for the Nontraditional Student ]
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Find a Technique that Works for You
Single parenting is probably one of the toughest jobs on earth. There will undoubtedly be many days of "insanity", but even if you are able to integrate just one or two of the above techniques, you'll likely find yourself better equipped to deal with the tough days.
The key is to find a technique that works for you. If you are feeling levels of helplessness or depression, simply finding someone to talk to can do wonders. Each stepping stone you place helps you build a foundation to a structure that is stronger and more durable, able to withstand any storm that comes your way.
[ Related: Single Parenting: Learning to Have Fun Again ]
You may not be able to "get away from it all", but it does help to take a few moments.