Homework, home repairs, home-cooked meals ... It's all on you as a single parent.The average single parent looks like this: female; 40 or older; one child; employed; not living in poverty and not receiving public assistance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, she also is one of 13.7 million parents going it alone.
Being a single parent isn't easy. I know. I'm one. The struggles single parents face each day are many, and they include:
- Balancing time for yourself with time for the kids.
- Money. Plain and simple. Balancing the family budget.
- Asking for help and advice from family and friends.
- Having to make all the decisions and set all the rules.
- Discipline (yourself and the child).
- Visitation issues with the non-custodial parent.
- Power struggles with the non-custodial parent.
- Dealing with all the "home" things alone ... home repairs and home loans, homework, home-cooked meals, home alone, home remedies and even home plate. You get the picture.
- Finding good childcare.
- Dating. Should you or shouldn't you?
These are some of the issues single parents face. You can probably help us think of 100 more. So, what are some ways single parents can alleviate single parent struggles?
- It is good to find time for yourself. Maybe you can trade babysitting duties with friends or family members so you can go shopping or even have a night out with friends (or a special someone). You will be surprised at how those that love you are willing to help. You would do it for them so let them do it for you.
- Money. You may have to downsize a little, rethink the vacations, bring your lunch to work, or have a cheaper cell phone plan. This is where everyone has to be creative and know what you can and cannot live without.
- Just try to get along. Sometimes it is difficult dealing with the non-custodial parent, but for your own well-being and the emotional well-being of your children, it's best to let the past live there, and try to remain friends with your child's other parent. You may not love him or her, but your child does. Try to let them in on decisions you make and seek advice when you can. It will be best for everyone.
- Dating. It's going to happen. However, make sure the relationship is serious before you let your children become involved. You don't want your child to form an attachment to someone who may be only temporary in your life. Also, ease the children into this new love life of yours. Give them a chance to get to know this person. Don't just show up with a new spouse. Everyone needs time to learn to love and respect each other.
- Finding good childcare. Ask around. Visit the centers. Take advice from those who have been there.
- Everything else. This is a new life for you. Learning to mow your own lawn. Finding where the hammer is kept. Take it as a positive step in your life. You will love the feeling of independence.
Tell us how you deal with being a single parent. What is your biggest issue? What advice can you give to other single parents? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter.
This article was written by Kelly, the single mom of two college kids.