Are you a single parent? Raising a child is hard enough with a partner, but when you're doing it alone, the difficulty rises to a whole new level.
Yet parents all over the world are successfully and joyfully raising children by themselves.
These tips can help smooth your journey.
Take care of yourself
While a trip to a luxury spa would certainly be nice, self-care in the early days of parenting is more about paying attention to your basic needs as you pay attention to your baby's needs too. These are all too easy to neglect, especially if you don't have a partner to spell you.
Always maintain a positive mind and stay as happy as you can. No matter what happens to you, never give stress the chance to settle in.
Incorporate small chunks of exercise into your life whenever you can. Like dancing to your favourite songs or Instead of driving to the grocery store, you can plop the baby in the stroller or use your baby carrier and walk. Especially if the distance isn't far.
Being the lone mom or dad on a playground full of parenting couples every Saturday morning can get old pretty fast, as can being stuck at home every evening with only your colicky baby for company.
Hooking up with your friends (moms and dads) in similar situations can be a lifesaver. the two of you can get together for lunch or dinner at your house or theirs. Sometimes both your babies would be crying, but at least you're both going through the witching hour together. Lol
If you're having trouble finding buddies, consider joining a single parent support group. You can check Facebook and other social networking sites; contact your local women's center, mothers' club, dads' group, YMCA, church, etc to find other single parents in your area. And if there isn't an existing group to join, try starting your own.
Build a community
A strong community can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging – the perfect antidote to the isolation brought on by solo parenting.
Don't just focus on other single parents. The more varied your community, the richer it will be. "Having a diverse social circle is very important,"
If you're on the introverted side, building a community can be tough. You may need to push yourself into social situations. For example, join a church , find structured playgroups, or attend weekly story time at your local library.
And remember, meeting new people gets easier with practice.
For some, this is easier said than done. "Sometimes you feel like you don't deserve to feel overwhelmed, since you chose to become a single mother/father. But try to remember that this doesn't change the fact that you need help."
You'll definitely discover that babies have a magical way of bringing people closer.
Move past "couple envy"
"Do you feel envious of friends who have kind, involved husbands/wives? men/women who actually want to be with them, who want to pitch in, you must learn, it's all too easy to get caught up in the illusion that everything would be perfect if you just had a partner.
"The reality is that everyone has problems, even married people," being a single mom/dad comes with its own advantages too. "You find it much simpler to only have to think about one other person's needs,"
Constant envy can turn into resentment and bitterness, which is a drain on your energy. And causes you so much emotional stress. Focus instead on things in your life that you're grateful for,especially your baby. including also, your married friends.
Plan ahead for urgent situations
It's midnight, your baby has a fever, and you're out of medicine. Or you have a virus yourself, and you're too busy throwing up to care for your baby. Without another adult in the house, what do you do?
It's important to be prepared for these types of situations. Find out if there's an emergency babysitting service in your area – while these services can be pricey, they can often provide help fairly quickly.
In addition, develop an "emergency list" of friends (including neighbours) and family members you know you can call on when need be.
Get creative about childcare
"Cultivate a babysitting network,"
Another good idea is to trade childcare with other families you can trust. Your friend could watch your baby while you do errands, and you'd watch his/her baby while he/she is busy with important work/stuffs. Trade-offs provide a free break for you and a playdate for your child – what's not to love about that?
Believe you can do it and you will
"Having a positive mindset and always believing in yourself is the way to go. You can do it if you believe. You just have to be strong for yourself and your baby, knowing you have no other choice than to be. Cos if you break, your baby breaks even more. You need all the strength you can get.