Single parenting can be one of the most stressful situations that you will ever find yourself in. Juggling finances, finding day-to-day care for your children, dealing with fatigue and discipline are just a few areas to mention. You may even be feeling guilt for your situation and are worrying about the lack of a female/male role model in your daughter/son's life. These stresses compiled in your life can create more challenges to you mentally and physically than you think. It is important to reduce as much stress as possible in the areas you are able to for not only your well-being, but your kids as well.
Be Positive. Your mood can set the tone for how your day will be, how your conversations will go, and will affect you and your child more than you can imagine. It is okay to be honest with your child when you are frustrated or having a difficult time but it is important to remind them that things will get better. You have to first believe that yourself.
Take Care of Yourself. Exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and do things to stimulate your mind. If the pilot of your airplane cannot fly the plane it will inevitably crash. Single parents tend to put our children before ourselves at all times but this is not healthy. You are important too and are needed in good health and mental well-being if you are going to be a successful parent. What this looks like for you will differ from others, but do what you can to make sure you are taken care of.
Ask For Help. It may seem like there is no one available to help you but that simply is not true. Even if you live far from family and feel like you have no friends, there are organizations and people available to help you if you reach out. Join a mom's group or a church and be proactive in addressing your need for assistance. It's easy to get in a rut of going to work, then staying home because of the load you carry, but meeting people will only happen if you get yourself out into your community.
Fight the Guilt. Whatever brought you to your single parent situation, guilt is a poison to your well-being. Fight the urge to let guilty feelings dictate how you parent your children. Guilt spending and leisurely discipline do not "make it up" to your kids for having a single parent household. Single parent homes can raise great kids too!
Set Attainable Limits and Goals. Know your capabilities and time availability. Don't stretch yourself too thin. For example, the older your children get, the more responsibilities around the house you should give them. Teach them responsibility with their things and why it's important to pick up after themselves. Create chore lists and celebrate when accomplished. Start slowly and ease into a productive routine. Do not be their house servant. That doesn't do them any favors for them when they are out on their own. The more they do on their own, the less burden you will feel for things around your house. My son is 8 and he is fully responsible for his bedroom, taking out the trash, putting away his clothes, dusting, sweeping the patio and front porch, and picking up around the house. Those are 6 things that are off my list. It's a good feeling also knowing that he has learned those housekeeping techniques.
Create a Routine. Keeping things on a schedule will eliminate stress for you and for your kids. Knowing what to expect gives security.
In Everything Show Love. Doing all things in love keeps the ill feelings away and resentment at bay. Tell your kids how much you love them often and show them with little notes or special treats. Teach them what is looks like to love another person. This not only will teach them how to love in future relationships, but can come back to you ten-fold when they start to do those things towards you. Set aside special time with each child and focus 100% on them during that time. Taking the focus off of life and yourself for a short time to just get to know your child is sure to reduce the stress you feel.