Being a single parent isn't the expectation for most people trying to have a child. So many men and women go into a relationship with the view that it's their future and it's forever – it's why they choose to get married in most cases. You want to be able to raise your children in a family, but while you're over there making plans, life often does not pay attention to your planning – and you get something completely different to the life that you envisioned for yourself. Being a single parent may not have been in your plan, but here you are, being a single parent and doing a grand job of it!
Single parenting is perhaps one of the toughest things that you can do in life, and yet over 50% of the households in the U.S have just one parent at the helm. You may have been led to believe that single parenting makes one a failure, but it's not true. There is nothing that makes you LESS of a failure, in fact, as you are the person raising a child to be a whole, happy and healthy human being and you're doing it all alone. Yes, you may have support in the form of friends and family, but that doesn't mean that you will be sharing the parenting. There is a guilt for some parents who are doing it alone, as they may worry about how to buy a home as a single-parent, or how to hold down a job while raising a child. There is a lot to consider when you are going it alone, but you are here and you are winning the battle against the stigma that sadly still comes with parenting alone. You should feel empowered as a single parent for the work that you are doing and here are all the reasons you should feel elevated.
You are enough. As a parent, you are the sun, the moon and the stars for your children. They look to you as if you are everything and they do this because that's exactly what you are. You are a family, not an incomplete group, a family. Whether you have one child or five, you are enough for them and they will always believe in you as their parent. The most important thing to remember isn't that there isn't “enough” parenting in the home, but that what you are doing is more than enough. It's a different type of family from the societal 1950s vision of “normal”. Guess what? It's not the 1950s and you are living a normal family life if you love your children more than anything. You are enough for them and you are able to provide them with all of the help, advice and love that they need. Your family should be seen as an opportunity for you, and not a negative thing to berate yourself for.
Stop feeling guilty. Most parents feel a sense of guilt for being single, but you shouldn't. Your marriage or partnership ending happened for a reason. You were right for each other once, but not anymore and it's okay to outgrow someone. You should never feel guilty for being the parent that is there 24/7. You may be alone, but that doesn't mean that your love isnt enough for your child. Offer them security and build their confidence and they won't know any different. You shouldn't feel guilty – there is nothing to “make up” to your kids here, either.
Show your children they are needed. Some children blame themselves when the other parent leaves the family home, but there's no need for it. Show your children that they are not to blame and that they are needed in the house as a productive and loved member of the household. You need your children, and they need you, so work together as a team and you will be able to ensure that your children are confident in your ability to love them and to feel loved.
Be problem solvers together. You worry about finding work, and you worry about buying a house, but when you have older children, you can work together as a team so that you can ensure that you are able to keep the house working well. You should be problem solvers together, and that means ensuring that you all know the house rules and you maintain them. Let your children work with you to solve problems and you will find that they are happy to be an active part of the family.
Be gracious. When your relationship breaks down, you should think about how you act about your ex. No bad language or talk in front of your children and no discussion should be had about what they do at their house. Things get complicated when you do that, and you are effectively telling your children that they are not good enough for you, either. Your children are half your ex, and so you should remember that you loved them enough once to make a child. This child is your living breathing legacy – and they are 50% your partner.
Ask for help. Whether you use childminders or family members, you should ensure that you ask for help as much as possible. If you are working, you need support during working hours, and if you are in need of support to keep the house running, you should take that, too. When you are a single parent, you need and deserve support. Being a parent with a house of children isn't easy, and the last thing that you want is to burn out because of it. When you ask for help, though, you are able to support your family better.
As a single parent, you should feel empowered simply for being you. You are the one ensuring that your children are happy, safe, and cared for – and that deserves recognition. Be the success that your children believe you to be every single day!