Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent, having 100% of the responsibility 100% of the time (or most of the time, depending on the set up you have with your particular family) is hard. In fact, when it comes down to it, single parenting is hard and can really suck sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret Isla-Mae for one second. She is the light of my life. I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to have been a single parent though. I am a single parent and always have been. We do ok but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be frustrating, tiring and sometimes overwhelming though. Speaking to DreamBear readers and single parent friends, I can see that I’m not alone in thinking that single parenting is hard sometimes.
Self Care is Not Just For Instagram
My advice to anyone who parents alone is to make sure that you look after yourself. You can’t be all that you want to be for your family if you are overtired and potentially making yourself ill through neglect. Self-care is a big topic right now, it’s seriously hashtag-worthy and is right up there with #hygge. Self-care is not just for Instagram though. Take that bath, read that book, enjoy some yoga, fresh air, a chocolate bar or whatever it is you need to relax and recharge yourself.
Knowing When to Walk Away
When your little ones are babies you look forward to their first steps and their first words. There comes a time however when you wish that they would just shush and sit down! Pushing boundaries and trying it on, being cheeky or flat out being a little turnip is all part and parcel of growing up for most kids. Most of the time just sticking to your guns is all that is needed to nip it in the bud. That other 1% is the time when they push their luck and you are exhausted. These are the times when single parenting is hard as you don’t have someone else to share the responsibility and frustration. Little darlings that they are!
You know that you are not going to be consistent in your approach. You are starting to imagine whether you can use duct tape to tape your kids to the wall (does anyone remember that TV advert?). This is when you have to remember that it is ok to walk away. You don’t have someone else there to tag team in so when you know you are not going to win the battle without screaming at the top of your lungs it is fine to bow out gracefully. That’s so much better than losing your cool. That way you’ll survive to fight again another day. If you are a parent who never gets pee’d off with it all I applaud you and want you to come and live with me for those days when Isla-Mae is being a mini-teen and I’m hormonal, cranky and have had enough.
Decompress From Time to Time
Sometimes I feel like a kettle, the old fashioned sort that whistles when it’s going off the boil. Parenting is hard and stressful. It can also be amazing, so worthwhile, awe-inspiring and our kids are the best thing since sliced bread, but that’s not what I’m blogging about today. Every now and then I need to find a way to decompress, we all do. Whether it’s screaming in your pillow, booking a babysitter and having a cheap night out, going for a run, dancing it off or something else, do it! It’s good for you!
If you are really struggling though, please don’t hesitate to speak to your GP or support network in order to discuss additional support or advice.
Single Parenting is Hard: In Summary
Single parenting is hard and presents challenges that none of us ever expected to have to face. Some of the things I’ve written about today will do the job. Walking away to collect yourself, taking time for you and decompressing are important, but sometimes a little extra help may be needed. In times like these, you need to find a source of support that can help. Be this talking to someone or talking to your GP to find out what your options are for more help and advice, don’t be afraid or ashamed to do so.
Us single parents are amazing but at the end of the day we are doing the work of two (traditionally) and so, of course, it stands to reason that sometimes we’re going to need a helping hand or just someone who understands to listen to us.
Maintaining this level of awesome is hard work you know!