Single Parenting – Five Simple Tips

Single parenting is something I've not really mentioned before. Mainly because (and I know I shouldn’t take it for granted) I am in the lucky position of having a great circle of friends and family to support our little bubble. But I also have my partner by my side to help with our boys.

The concept of single parenting has, thankfully, moved far away from the stigma that it once carried.

In fact, one of my friends was bullied terribly at school just because her dad wasn’t around, and she was the 'odd one out.'  

That was a good few years ago now. And single parenting has become so much more accepted as the norm. I take my hat off to all single parents though because it is a skill. It really is.

There are downsides to being a single parent. The fact that you are making all the decisions yourself; managing finances and the home; and taking full responsibility for raising your little human.

But there are the benefits too. I mean, you get to make all the decisions and get to experience every first! From their first giggle to their first word. Their first hesitant step to their first proper potty pee!

Many of our friends and customers are single parents. Some because of circumstance. Some through choice.

And I wanted to share with you just some of the hints and tips they’ve shared with me. Particularly over the last few months, as it has been more difficult than usual. They’re in no particular order, but just seem to be the ones that have helped them the most.

Hints and Tips for single parenting

Routine

Probably one of the most important things in setting up your life as a new parent, and starting as you mean to go on. And whether you are a single parent or not, your newborn, toddler, or a growing infant, will always need some form of structure around them.

Routine creates security and helps to set some boundaries for later life. Babies need their sleep, their food, their play time, and their wake-up time in a structured pattern. And it helps you to be able to plan around those times too.

It can be difficult at first, but so well worth putting the time and effort in to setting up your routine.

Don’t worry though if it’s not the same timings or pattern as everyone else.

Your routine must be just that – a routine that works for you and your children.

Support Circle

 If you don’t have too many family members close to you, find yourself a good group of friends.

One piece of advice I will give to anyone though is don’t be afraid to ask for help. No matter what situation you are in.

The more you try to take everything on yourself, the more even the smallest tasks will build up. And you will struggle more than you need to. Friends will not only help share the load, but you can share so much more with them – particularly friends who are in a similar situation as you. Sometimes just talking things through, your emotions, your experiences, can make the world feel so much lighter.

You are not failing if you ask for help. You are being realistic and, if it helps, normal!

And, if you don't feel you have friends you can ask, then look for your local parent-child support group, ask your GP surgery about groups they would recommend... there are many groups out there that will change your world.

Discipline

As with setting a routine, you'll not regret setting some boundaries and discipline from the start. It can be tempting to ‘spoil’ your children if you are single parenting, and the only voice of discipline on hand. Almost by trying to make up for it.

Heck, it’s tempting to reach for the sweet jar or head for the toy shop when they kick up a bit of a fuss, even though I’m not the only parent!

But nobody wants their child to be the one to cause a scene at Florence or Freddie’s birthday party because they didn’t want to share their toys or join in with the games!

Friends have also said it can be difficult to develop discipline because of the change in routine when they go to their other parent’s home.

Cheeky monkeys start to play one of you against the other.

“Mummy doesn’t make us do that” or “Daddy lets us stay up late to watch …...”

And then the guilt sets in too. You know what is good for your child, so you set the standards for discipline.

But that’s probably the same when grandparents come into the equation, so I will have to get used to that one!

Knowing you are providing a loving relationship with your children is enough. They don’t need material things at a young age. And letting them know what they can and cannot have, and should or shouldn’t do, as they grow up is a good way to start teaching them about life. So, don’t let guilt get the better of you.

Involve the children

Getting your little ones involved in some of the ‘chores’ around the house will benefit you all in the longer term. They will learn some of the things that mummy, or daddy, must do. They’ll learn more about looking after their own belongings and gain a sense of responsibility along the way.

You’ll always manage to find some fun ways of involving them in the cooking or the cleaning.

Crikey, that sounds like I want my boys up the chimneys!

Seriously, even the toddlers can learn to put away their toys though, so they get used to tidiness and not chaos.

And finally, ….

Look after yourself

I am a firm believer in loving yourself. Even if it's simply forgiving yourself for the circumstances you are in. You are much stronger and able to deal with life if you are comfortable being you, and accept yourself as a person.   

It might be hard to make time for yourself, especially single parenting. But the phrase ‘you can’t drink from an empty cup’ is so true. And if you try to keep going full pelt all the time, you will simply burn out.  

So, like I said earlier, don’t be ashamed to ask for some help. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours every now and again.

Take time out for a long hot soak in the bath. Read a book in peace. Grab a coffee and cake for some adult time with a friend. Do something that you like to do. Something that will help you switch off.

Whether you are single parenting out of choice or circumstance, you are doing an amazing job, even if you can't see it right now!

And you’re never alone here.

Much love, until next time

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