Elaine PN is a single mom who has worked in a children's home for years. She worked as a tutor, caregiver, and an assistant administrator.
The Challenges of Being a Single Parent.
Being a single parent, whether you're a mom or dad, has many challenges—but you can still have as much fun if you want to. We all know that in life, no matter what kind of challenges you face, they can make you a stronger and better person. But, of course, it depends on the challenge and the person being challenged. Because it is either those challenges you face will leave you a stronger and braver person, or a defeated one.
I have been a single parent since my child was a toddler. She has just become a teenager and the challenges are different from when she was younger. Every day is a challenge if you are a parent, especially if you are doing all the parenting.
The Life of a Single Parent
You may be a single parent because it's your choice, or it may be due to separation or death of a partner. The first days, weeks, months or years after you became one must have caused you a miserable life, devastated, broken and depressed. It can be overwhelming to become a single parent, and stressful too, because you have to raise your child on your own. I believe that because you are a loving parent, you focus so much on the happiness of your children and that is important. Your world revolves around them now and you prioritize what you think is best for them and forgot about your own.
Enjoy Parenting and Have Some Fun
When my child was still a toddler, I started working in a children’s home where they care for the neglected and abandoned children. My work is composed of being a tutor and a caregiver for 15 to 20 kids, until I was promoted as an assistant administrator. Working with children the whole day can zap your energy! After each day’s work, I didn’t have enough energy left to spend with my child. Even if I wanted to take my child out to take some needed fresh air, I felt so tired. It is just so frustrating because work can take most of my time. I often didn’t have the time and energy left to bond with my child. Although we are together after work, it is still work for me as a parent. I was tired and still I needed to get things done at home. My child was not getting the time and attention I was supposed to be giving her. Those made me feel guilty and overwhelmed. From then on, I started to find ways to have fun as a parent. Well, I deserve to have some!
Despite of all the difficulties of being a single parent, you can still have fun. The fun that you needed that can help you relax once in a while and not the kind that would make you forget you're a parent.
There are things you can do so you won't feel overwhelmed. Here are some:
- Have Some Fun - Plan something in advance for you and your child. You may want to dine out, take a trip to the zoo, or to the beach if there's one near you.
I managed to plan an out-of-town trip once a month whenever I could when my child was younger. Together, I invite some friends to go hiking, have a picnic and visit an exciting place . It’s really fun doing things with your children while they are young because it’s different when they get older and become teenagers.
- Take Time Off Work - It's difficult being a parent when you are working and parenting at the same time. Try taking some time off work and spend the day doing fun activities with your child. It benefits you both when you have the time off to relax and bond together.
We live nearby a beach and it’s just a ride away. I take my daughter there sometimes and spend a few hours walking along the beach, splashing our feet on the seawater, or swimming as we take in the relaxing view. Spending time with her in a relaxing environment is fun already for me. I feel refreshed and energized when I take some time off work. It greatly helped me as a working mom.
- Hang Out With Friends - Parenting takes so much time of your day to day activities and you spend less and less time with your friends. It helps to hang out and catch up with them. Be sure though to find someone you can trust to look after your child for a few hours before going out with friends.
Sometimes the best person who can share a shoulder for you to cry on is your friend. Aside from catching up with them, friends who have become parents like you can give you helpful tips and advises regarding parenting.
- Visit a Family Member - You might want to plan ahead of time to visit a family member. My choice would be my parents. You may visit during holidays or school breaks. While visiting, you may want to ask helpful tips about parenting. Spending time with your family helps to take your mind off from your daily routine as a parent and be relaxed for a moment.
It’s important also to spend some time with your family. Grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren and they would love to know what’s going on with you as a parent.
- Have an Alone Time - As a busy parent, always being "on the go" doesn't give your brain, and body as well, a chance to rest. Spending time alone without distractions gives you the chance to think more clearly and be relaxed. It's an opportunity to relax both your mind and body at the same time. After your child goes to bed at night, take a few minutes to listen to your favorite music, read a book, pray, or just relax.
What I do when I want to have an alone time is to arrange for someone to take my daughter for a treat or to just look after her. I could have the space and time alone for at least an hour or two. I choose to spend the quiet moment to lie down for a while and just relax by listening to a soothing music.
Remember, parenting is hard work. You are not helping yourself and your child if you do not take time to ward off the blues. We all get frustrated and overwhelmed, and things could get out of hand if we take out our feelings on our children. So, find time to relax and have fun!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.