Single parenthood is one of the most challenging yet fulfilling roles that an individual can play. It is not borne out of chance or choice, but is often a result of divorce. When a couple divorced, the parent who is given the care of the children is now entrusted with the role of both a Dad and a Mom. This parent has a whole new set of responsibility and oftentimes may be overwhelmed by the vast number of tasks that he or she has to handle.
The single parent often forgets the self in his or her attempts to provide for the children. The result is an overworked, extremely stressed up individual who would either be screaming at the children at a slight trigger or crying at the end of the day. This negativity will rub off the children, causing invariable harm to them.
How can you, as a single parent, empower yourself so that you would not spiral down this road to nowhere? In this article, we offer you 6 ways to empower yourself. You, as an individual, need to be there for yourself before you can be there for your children. Treat yourself kindly and you will find that your life will take a 180 degree turn to positivity.
1) Take note of your limit and do not take on too much
You are a human, not Superman or Wonder Woman. You have your limits. You may feel that you need to be limitless in your capacity, but the truth is, you do not need to be limitless. Know where to stop and when to get help. Take note of the warning signs that signal you to stop, get help or change your routine/lifestyle. The signals are varied and could range from uncontrollable crying, extreme anger and frustration or depression and apathy towards your children. Regardless of the signals, be aware of them and stop overloading yourself before things get overboard.
2) Do not be ashamed to get help
You are not a lesser person just because you ned help. Everyone in this world needs help at some point in our lives. Ask for help when you need it. People, even close friends and family, are not going to offer help if you do not ask for it. Be open and honest with your needs. If you need help, ask for it. List out the things that you need help with the most and ask for specific and concrete assistance when you are feeling overloaded. It could be a simple task of helping with the laundry or the heavy responsibility of looking after your children when you are at work. If you can afford it, get hired help. That includes putting your children in a childcare centre that you can trust. Getting help from others can mean the difference in the world when you are struggling with the overwhelming responsibility of a single parent.
3) Do not allow others to judge you
As a single parent, the most daunting task is to ignore what others might say in front of you and behind your back. Make a conscious decision to ignore judgements from others, even if the other person is also a single parent. You have a unique situation on hand, and no other person in this world will have a situation that is exactly the same as yours. Do not let the judgement of others cloud your own judgement towards the good of you and your children. More importantly, do not compare yourself to your friends, no matter what their situation is. Your responsibility is to create a situation that works best for you and your children, so listen to yourself and ignore what others think of you.
4) Keep yourself Healthy
It is very easy to slip and forget all about yourself when you have children to care for. This is especially so if your children need special care. However, take a step back and think about this: If you are to fall so sick that you cannot take care of your children, how are they going to survive? What will happen to them if you are down? Therefore, always put your health as a priority. Eat well, sleep well and rest well. Your investment in your own health is the best present that you can give to your children.
5) Indulge yourself as much as you would for your children
That sounds too much like a splurge, isn’t it? Not really. Remember that you are as human as your children. If they enjoy a treat from you now and then, why would you not enjoy a treat from yourself now and then too? You need to look after your own happiness and enjoyment as much as you do for your children because you need to be happy for your children. If you go too long without joy, you might forget how to find it again. That would be the ultimate loss for your children, isn’t it?
6) Continue to Dream
Dreams are what keep us going. Do not give up your dreams just because you are a single parent. There is no law in this world that says a single parent cannot pursue his or her dreams. You need to create an identity for yourself so that your children can mirror your confidence and bravery in life. While it is true that you would need to make sacrifices for your children, it is important for you to hold on to the dreams that inspire you to be better. Make time for your favourite hobby, spend money on yourself now and then, and make space for the big dreams that you have. It could be that you cannot get to your big dreams now, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot have it later on.