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Single Parents - The Struggle is REAL

January 22nd, 2023
Chrissie
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Single Parents - The Struggle is REAL
So, it has happened and you are now a single parent with hardly any opportunity to explore your own emotions as you must put your child/children’s needs first and that is in itself going to be a huge challenge. The future looks and feels bleak, but it is surprising how, after just a few short weeks, you will be settled into your new routine - especially once you have defined boundaries and your children feel that they have the same secure emotional relationship with you as they did before.

Children who are raised by one parent are usually as happy as those raised by two parents – especially if the single parent is really loving and spends time with them. This helps them develop into a mentally healthy child.

Let your children talk about what has happened

It is important that your children have the opportunity to talk about the situation because many children feel that it was somehow their fault that their parents split. You must reinforce the fact that it was a decision between you and your partner only and that they will still have the opportunity to regularly see the other parent.

Even if it is difficult, it is essential not to bad mouth your ex-partner in front of your children. To them, their mummy/daddy is still a really important person , whom they love and will still be looking forward to seeing. There will be times when they come back from a day with your ex armed with presents and gifts that you can’t possible afford – say nothing. As children grow up, they will make their own decisions about both their parents and will fully appreciate all that you did for them as a single parent. The moment they realise exactly how hard you have worked for them as a single parent is when they become parents themselves.
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Explain to them the changes that need to take place

Often juggling home and work becomes much trickier when you are a single parent because you will not have an extra pair of hands to help you. Many single parents have to work extra hard and take on side hustles to help pay the bills. Explain to your children the situation and encourage them to help. Every Friday we had a pizza dinner and the children took it in turn to prepare it – I bought the bases and they made the toppings and baked the pizzas and we all enjoyed them and laughed when ideas went wrong! Dedicate a few hours every Saturday morning to housework for everyone. Give each child set jobs to complete – with the goal being doing something fun as a family on Saturday afternoon.

Try to keep family life as stable as possible

Unfortunately with less time and money, this can be hard to do, but with some clever planning it is achievable. If you are looking for things to do with your children, there are several websites that tell you cities in your area that are available free of charge. If you have older children, there are litter campaigns and breach cleaning projects to get involved in and these can be great fun. Helping out at animal sanctuaries as a family can also be really rewarding.

https://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/hub/things-to-do/free-family-days-out
https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/family-activities/31-free-things-to-do-with-kids

Even if you cannot afford the latest ‘must have’ trainers etc it is important that your children ‘feel in’ at school so if you can take them to see the latest film or for a McDonald’s or buy the latest craze such as stickers, sweets etc. this will help them to feel far more confident with their friends. Even if pennies are really tight, try and invite your children’s school friends over for a regular sleepover. Jacket potatoes are a great cheap meal option and an evening playing traditional board games and cards can be great fun!

If your children really are keen on a particular item they have seen, if they have a sort out of toys and clothes to sell on ebay or similar, they will be delighted when they achieve their target – and so will you!

Birthdays are really important so it is important that you try and make them as special as possible – they needn’t cost the earth if you don’t hire a hall and a children’s entertainer. There are plenty of ideas online on websites such as -

https://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/ideas/17-tips-to-throw-a-kids-birthday-party-on-a-budget/

Children really benefit from getting pocket money and it does teach them about the value of money and again it ‘keeps them in the swim’ at school. If it is something you can afford, the perfect time to hand it over is as you all relax with a hot drink after the Saturday morning clean! If you can’t afford it, perhaps it is something grandparents would be delighted to give to your children.
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Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It is really hard work being a single parent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from good friends and relatives when you need it. Grandparents are usually very happy to help out if they live close by and friends in a similar situation may well be happy to look after your children for a few hours if you can reciprocate when they need help.

It can be really beneficial if you have a good friend where you can pick up the ‘phone just to say ‘hello’ and to ask their opinion on a problem. If you are living away from family and feeling a little isolated, websites like mumsnet are invaluable -
https://www.mumsnet.com/

If you have problems that you do not know how to resolve with such things as housing, legal matters or debt . Citizens Advice is a really good organisation and they will be able to discuss how and where you can get the best solutions.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Give yourself valuable ‘me’ time

It is really important to take time just for yourself – even if it is just taking a leisurely bath with music and candles. Maybe you love yoga and it will certainly be good for you to continue – even if you can’t get to classes. There are some great yoga sessions for all levels online – and some of them are free of charge too -

https://www.lululemon.co.uk/en-gb/c/community/hubs/online-studio
https://yogawithadriene.com/free-yoga-videos/

Alternatively, just some time spent relaxing a reading a good book or getting your haircut. will make you feel really good.
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Planning holidays

A holiday as a single parent with children can seem a daunting idea, but with the number of single parents in the UK steadily rising, there are a number of companies that are specifically geared to providing the ideal holiday. The huge bonus of choosing holiday camps and adventure holidays is that your children will be occupied for much of the time and will make new friends – and you could well do so too!

https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/information/holidays-and-special-occasions/holidays/
https://www.101holidays.co.uk/singles/the-best-holidays-for-single-parents/

There is no magic way to ease the difficulties of being a single parent but the key is not to suffer in silence and to swallow your pride and ask for help. It is a really special moment when your children leave home and secure good jobs as it really makes the struggle worthwhile...

Chrissie x

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