Being a parent is both one of life’s greatest rewards and biggest challenges. Life is no longer what you knew it to be. Priorities shift, passions are reassigned, relationships change, and daily sacrifices become second nature. It is a journey that two people often take together in partnership.
But, for a number of reasons, many parents find themselves tackling this challenge without a spouse. So, what happens when your life does not follow the traditional order of things and the “white picket fence” dream never actualizes? Single parents have to face a wide range of fears, doubts, and decisions on their own. Questions, such as “what happens to my child if something were to happen to me?”
“What if I am not a good parents?” Will my child resent me for the decisions I have Make? How will I make ends meet? and Can I do this? are very real uncertainties for a parent who has the weight of their child’s world solely on their shoulders. They often have to play both good cop and bad cop to fulfill the parenting job requirement. The parent’s needs, feelings and “me” time take a back seat as they spread themselves thin in order to provide for their children. In the abasence of a spouse, a strong netweork of support is crucial and delegating parental responsibilities frequently becomes necessary. Daily activities, such as morning drop off, afternoon pick up, clearning the house, paying bills, finding time to unwind, and caring for a sick child are tricky when raising one on your own. Single parenting often becomes more like co-parenting as they reach out to others for love, advice, emotional support and spiritual guidance. It really does take a village for many of these families.
A single mother and dear friend had this advice for others filling similar shoes: “do not allow pity or peer pressure to interfere with being a good parents. Be firm with you beliefs, even though they may not make you popular with your child. As they grow older and mature, they will realize and appreciate that you had their best interest at hear.”
Equally important is to be present and consistent with your children. Treasure the time you have together. Create a positivie environment in your home because feelings are contagious. Be mindful of your physical health. Acknowledge and grieve the loss you have experienced. An probably the most difficult one of all…ask for help.
I am fortunate enough to know an amazing group of single parents that strive to raise respectable, well adjusted, and emotionally healthy children with strong values. They are the true stories behind this article. Although what they had once envisioned for their family and future may not be the life they are presently living, they remind themselves to take things one day at a time, teach through example, work hard and have patience. Ambrose Redmoon once said, “courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” For many single parents, their children are that “something else.” No matter how difficult, scary or linely it is to raise a child on their own…they push forward and make it happen because their children deserve the very best from them.
Posted in Parent Center |