Life as a single parent is many things but it is definitely not boring. Life as a single parent is joyful, creative, challenging, loving, and sometimes lonely. I like to compare my life to a roller coaster – it has its ups and its downs and around every corner it brings something new so my advice to all single parents is to throw your hands up, scream out loud when you need to, and most of all enjoy the ride because when it is over you don’t get to stand in line and do it again.
Life as a single parent can be difficult. We do almost everything alone with little or no support. If you have a good support system through family or friends then consider yourself very lucky. If you don’t everyday life can sometimes become overwhelming. When life becomes overwhelming the simplest chore or minor setback can become a major stressor.
I am grateful to my parents who helped me through some tough situations such as co-signing for a car when I needed one, buying food for us when times were tough, and always willing to hand out advice whether I wanted it or not. I am thankful for my sister who has helped watch my children so I could take classes, go on a date, or just provide me with a well-needed break. I am I am especially grateful to my friends and family who have lent a shoulder to cry on throughout the years.
For many single parents there is very little support system and to those I say to be strong, work harder, never give up, and learn to enjoy the little things like your child’s drawing, a hug, or even just watching the look on her face as she discovers something new.
Life as a single parent can be demanding. Because we do almost everything alone dealing with everything that needs to be done can be very exhausting. Sometimes I feel like while I can do almost anything I can’t seem to do anything right.
Life as a single parent can be lonely. Because it can be very exhausting when I think about dating I think, do I really want someone else in my life that I have to worry about? Of course a good partner will be someone you won’t have to worry about but a good partner is hard to find these days – not to mention who has the time to look? Certainly not me!
Life as a single parent can be very rewarding – even when you least expect it. Many times I feel as if when talking to my children it goes in one ear and out the other. But then the day comes that they say or do something that makes your jaw drop, your heart pound, and your head feel light as you realize, wow – he really did listen.
There are very little resources out there for the single parent. While there are resources available to anyone considered in the low-income bracket, which many single parents are, there are very few that address the unique needs of the single parent such as affordable and flexible childcare – did you know the state does not provide childcare for parents to go to college? There is no, or hard to find, resources available to ensure affordable housing in safe neighborhoods – most affordable housing is located in high crime neighborhoods where drugs run rampant and peer pressures run deep. One of the worst things a single parent has to deal with is social stigma and double standards.
So if you know a single parent, don’t be afraid to offer her (or him) a hand up once in a while. Any little gesture can become the biggest help like cooking a casserole, mowing the lawn, offering to change the oil in her car, or offering to help with the children once in a while. The little things are what make a big difference.