A New Single Parent Survival Guide
As the mother of a physically active three year old boy, we spend a lot of time outdoors. Recently, I was watching my son enjoy his time at a local park and felt amazed by the pure bliss of the moment. This, I thought, is happiness.
When I became a single mother three years ago, this kind of joy seemed impossible. Watching my then-husband turn his back on our family, I held our infant son in my arms and vowed one day things would be better. I knew our lives would be difficult for a while, but I also knew that anything had to be better than remaining in an unhappy marriage.
The first few months of single parenthood were emotionally wrenching times. I found myself wondering how I would ever get past such intense heartbreak. Since then I’ve learned that single parenting is a challenge, but it can be done. Life moves on and you will not only survive, but thrive.
Looking back at my journey as a single parent, here are some things that helped me push past hard times:
1. Reach out. Yes, you are a single parent, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in isolation. Talk to understanding friends and family members and let them know that you need their emotional support. Get your feelings out and write in a journal, or even start a blog to connect with other single parents. If you find yourself feeling emotionally overwhelmed, seek the help of a mental health professional to help move forward.
2. Find support groups. The Internet age is a wonderful time, because with a simple search, you can easily find people who are in your situation and understand just what you’re going through. Meetup.com is a wonderful resource for single parent activity groups.
3. Get out and about. I have found that physical activity helps relieve emotional pain. When I had just become a single mother, I would take my son on long walks that the both of us loved. These days, we take advantage of our local libraries and parks on a regular basis, which are both free and fun.
4. Take care of you. To this day, I have to remind myself to take a couple of hours every now and then just for me and not anyone else. Hire a babysitter and take a walk, go to the movies, or read a book at a coffee shop. If you don’t take care of you, it’s impossible to take care of anyone else.
With three years of single parenting under my belt, I can say that this experience is the greatest blessing in my life and has made me stronger and wiser. Difficult times are guaranteed, but know that positive changes are, as well. Seek out help, if needed, and remember that you will emerge from the hard times, better than you think you will.