Parenthood in the 21st century seems harder than ever. Two people find it hard to raise children due to economic, cultural, social, and a myriad of other factors that make rearing their kids hard. Just imagine how hard it must be for single mothers out there! They are perhaps the biggest heroes of our age (for their kids, they certainly are) but even superheroes need a couple of parenting tips now and then.
Establish a support network
No matter how much time you dedicate to your son or daughter, you have to stay socially active. Your friends aren’t going to serve as buddies with whom you sit at bars sipping cocktails but they are going to form an unofficial support network.
For instance, your niece can look after the child while you’re away on a business trip or your best friend can pick them up after school if you stay late at work. The more time you spend with other adults, perhaps at family gatherings, the stronger and larger your support network will be.
Your health is a top priority!
We assume you are worried that your child will get hurt or sick, just like every parent is concerned with their child’s safety. However, since you’re the sole caregiver of your child, your health is equally, if not more important.
You want to go to bed on time whenever possible, eat well, and stay physically fit. As far as the latter is concerned, you could look up exercises you can do with your kid, using them as a living and breathing weight, getting a good laugh and a solid workout.
Apart from physical health, mental health is equally important. You love your kids but there must exist a daily time window during which you take time exclusively to yourself, either reading a good book or socializing with your friends, as mentioned earlier.
Financial help from the father
There is more than one way a mother can become single but divorce seems to be the predominant cause. If you too are divorced, we cannot stress enough the importance of the child’s father paying his alimony on time. Apart from the financial aspect, there are other legal conundrums that you should leave to experienced family lawyers to handle on your behalf. The last thing you want is wasting time and energy on dealing with your ex-husband, especially if the divorce didn’t go too well.
Seek out a positive male role model
Your child will benefit from having a positive male role model in his/her life. Just because you ran into a rotten egg, that doesn’t mean that your children should be left without a positive male role model in their lives. This can be their uncles, grandfather, coach, teacher, etc. In general, this will be a man whom you can completely trust and who shares the same family values, acting as an instructor for the child. Of course, they too need to be willing to spend time with your kids, playing with them, and teaching them life hacks.
Teach your kid to stick to routines
As a single mother, your free time and attention are divided into several areas. On the other side, your children are probably so playful they are not going to make things any easier for you. Don’t get mad at them for this, because they are just children.
What you can teach them, is to value routines. These will allow you to predict their behaviour and plan better. When you know when your baby boy/girl usually gets up, goes to school, eats his/her meals, and plays computer games, you will be able to plan your day better and get more things done.
Adopt a strict attitude towards discipline
Finally, your children shouldn’t be left to do whatever they like just because their father is not around. You should be both the good and the bad cop if your kids get into trouble. Boundaries of decent behaviour should be set firmly and you must not lax them. Discipline must be harsher than if they had both parents around. Stay clear of empty threats, try not to lose your temper, and don’t let the kids push you over. Discipline lies at the very heart of a healthy parent-child relationship.
Let us not fool ourselves, being a successful single mother is not easy today. The society we live in is full of negative influences that makes it hard for both parents, let alone a single mother, to shield their child from!
By Patrick Adams
Freelance writer and blogger