6 Strategies to Strengthen Single Parent Families
Whether you’re a single parent by choice or by circumstance, being the primary caretaker of your children can be challenging. Mighty Mommy has 6 strategies to make your life as a single parent easier and more fulfilling.
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Strategy #4: Live in the Present
It’s easy to dwell on what’s not going right for you or your family or to worry about heavy-duty things like paying the bills, but focusing on these types of scenarios only robs you from living in the present. Single parents don’t have as much time with their kids so when you do have an afternoon where you don’t have to be at work or your child doesn’t have to go to daycare or school, enjoy the “here and now” and focus on what you can share together that day. Try to make even mundane routines fun by having your child take an active role in helping you. Have your 5-year-old help you sort the laundry by color and sing silly rhymes as you do so, or let your 8-year-old scramble the eggs in the bowl with you while you make breakfast and pretend you’re working in a restaurant. Your child will feel like a helper and you get to spend a few special extra minutes together before you have to part ways for the day.
Don’t put yourself last when it comes to preventive care—your family needs you!
Strategy #5: Keep a Journal
Journaling can be a very therapeutic way to release unsettled emotions, vent pent up frustrations, or work through a troubling issue so you can release the negative energy that is bottled up inside of you. In addition, it’s also an excellent way to remind yourself of all the great things in your life. At the end of each day, list 5 things you are grateful for to keep the focus on the positives in your life. A good friend of mine recently lost her husband to cancer at the young age of 53. She’s been journaling both good and bad emotions and has found it to be instrumental in the healing process. Regardless of how you use your journal, it’s a healthy way for single parents to let go of what’s brewing inside before you blow a fuse and take it out on someone you love.
Strategy #6: Treat Yourself Well
It may sound corny, but perhaps the single most important thing you can do to be a better parent, succeed in your career, and maintain your health and your relationships is to practice self-love. There are countless ways you can do this and if you become consistent in finding ways to appreciate yourself on a regular basis, you will not only become happier and more content with life, you will be setting an excellent example for your kids.
Here are some suggestions:
- Find one aspect of your body you appreciate. Maybe you would like to weigh less but you’ve always loved your thick, wavy hair. Next time you are getting ready to go out, smile when you fix your hair and remind yourself you are beautiful today.
- Do something nice for yourself for at least 15 minutes every day. This might be taking a hot shower, making a cup of your favorite tea and sitting alone with your thoughts, or taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or apartment complex. You owe it to yourself to make time to do something just for you every single day.
- Eliminate negative mind chatter. We all get caught in the trap of listening to ourselves talk negatively about what might be going on in our life. A recently divorced friend of mine calls this mind chatter. When she was going through the divorce process she admits that she would fall apart and cry not because her ex-husband was giving her a rough time, but because she was listening to her own inner voice tell her everything that was wrong in her present life. Once she started catching herself getting carried away with a negative thought, she’d immediately tell herself “that’s mind chatter” and move on to a better thought. A year later, she has perfected this technique and has cut her mind chatter down to nearly nothing!
If you’re a single parent, share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
Whatever your situation is, take a moment to celebrate your unique family because parenthood is definitely a blessing, no matter what! Until next time--happy parenting!