The Unique Challenges of Single Parenting
When it comes to being a parent without a partner to help share duties, the workload can be overwhelming. While there are some single-parent challenges that are unique to you, Family Promise is here to demonstrate just how much unites single parents in a common struggle.
Balancing Finances as a Single Parent
Sadly, the two most common life events that lead to single parenthood are death or divorce. If you went through either of these events, chances are that it upset your finances in an unforeseeable way. To make it more difficult, now you have to carry the financial responsibility of raising your children and caring for yourself all on your own. Even if you chose to have a child on your own, it can be difficult footing the bill without a backup source of income.
To face this challenge, a single parent needs to be organized. Create a budget that covers your children’s needs and puts small amounts aside to build a “rainy day” fund. Consult with a financial planner about smart choices you can make today to save for your children’s future. Finally, when it comes to raising your kids, don’t equate money with love. Giving them plenty of attention and affection will more than make up for not being able to get them the latest toy at the drop of a hat.
Balancing Time as a Single Parent
Next to money, time is your most valuable resource as a single parent. Sometimes, it may seem like you never have enough of it, especially if you have more than one kid. Just like with finances, the best way to approach this problem is with vigilant organization. Keeping your home clean and prepared for whatever life throws at you will make it easy for you to find what you need and keep track of your crazy schedule as a single parent. Get rid of excess clutter that causes stress around the house and in other areas of your life (the office, car, etc.).
When it comes to your kids, keep them on a consistent routine. Wake up at the same time every day and enforce a steady bedtime schedule. While it doesn’t have to be the same every single day for the rest of their lives (e.g., it’s okay to let them sleep in on a Sunday every once and a while), having those extra morning hours can really help an over-packed schedule.
Set aside time blocks for bathing, homework, playtime, and cleaning. Keeping a routine in the house gives your children a sense of security in a world where they often don’t always know what to expect. They become more disciplined and independent, which enables them to be more helpful around the house and lessens the load of a single parent. If your children are older, keep a dry-erase calendar in a common room like the kitchen where family members can fill in special occasions and events so you know where each family member is throughout the week.
If you’re having difficulty balancing time and earning enough money for your family, consider a career in freelancing which will allow you to set your own schedule so you’re more available to your kids. There are many at-home freelance opportunities whether you’re a web designer, virtual assistant, or accountant. You’ll need to set up a designated working space away from high-traffic areas of your home. It’s also essential that you thoroughly research the market for your services to ensure you’ll be able to find enough work.
Single parenthood is a major challenge. While no one article could really capture the amount of work that goes into one parent’s unique experience, the scarcity of financial funds and time are universal. Single parents often feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything their kids need them to do. The answer to both problems is organization and planning. While staying vigilant isn’t easy, it can make the single parenthood process run smoother.
The mission of Family Promise is to serve homeless families with children by uniting faith communities in a cooperative effort to provide shelter, meals, transportation, and compassionate assistance leading to independence. To help or learn more, contact us today!