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Whether you are a mother or a father, solo parenting is tough. You will need to manage everything on your own; your work and an endless list of chores, and, there’s no such thing as an off on weekends. Many solo parents end up in this situation as a matter of chance, and they are seldom prepared for it. Here are a few ways to manage things if you end up being a solo parent.
What Is Solo Parenting?
In general, the definition of solo parenting is almost the same as the definition of a single parent – a person who is bringing up a child or children on their own. But unlike single parenting, the term solo parenting is used under circumstances where one of the parents is absent for a period of time, leaving the other with the responsibility of caring for the children solely. Solo parenting is also a term used under circumstances such as if a relationship has ended and the other partner no longer visits the children.
How Different is Solo Parenting from Single Parenting?
Although the definitions of single and solo parenting overlap in some places, the experience of each can be different. Here is how:
- Single parents raise their children alone as a matter of choice, while solo parents may not be doing so as a matter of choice.
- Single parents do not have a partner to raise their children. Solo parents may be alone for a brief period until their partner returns.
Why Is Parenting Solo so Difficult?
Here are a few reasons people find solo parenting difficult
- The circumstances of being a solo parent to many is not a matter of choice.
- Children are a handful and if you have more than one, it’s that much more difficult.
- Getting some personal or alone time is rare.
- You will have to take up the roles of both parents to raise your children.
- There is no tapping out. You cannot throw your hands up and say you give up and that you need a break.
- You have no back up as there is no second authoritative figure to keep the children in line.
- There are only so many things that you can indulge in. Solo parenting has a sacrificial element to it.
- It often feels lonely, not having your partner to share your frustrations with or having a discussion over the right course of action.
- There is a cultural stigma associated with solo parents as second best or inferior, and the creators of social problems.
- Taking up the whole responsibility can be exhausting.
Solo Parenting Survival Tips
If you find yourself becoming a solo parent because your partner won’t be around for a while due to unavoidable circumstances, here are 10 survival tips that will come in handy:
1. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Managing your household will get hard, and tougher if you’re working; therefore, be ready for whatever surprises may be thrown at you. If your patience can only last as long as your partner is scheduled to return, use a calendar to mark a countdown of the number of days. It helps.
2. Plan All Meals Ahead
Have a plan for what you want to prepare for the next meal, write it on a sticky note and paste it on the fridge. It saves plenty of time and frustration from uncertainty.
3. Stock up While Grocery Shopping
If you can plan for more than two days, that’d be wonderful. You can then stock up on all you’ll need and don’t have to worry about running to the grocery store at the last moment.
4. Choose Your Battles
With one less restraining force, the kids will have more energy and room to release it. This may not be a good time to start a new discipline initiative. Instead of cracking down on them, being gentle and gracious works well to settle them down.
5. Plan a Special Outing Every Week
Be it a visit to the amusement park, a museum or the mall, plan a day off as an outing to break the monotony.
6. Reward Yourself at the End of a Hard Day
If the kids are in bed and the house is tidy enough, you’ve done a great job. Reward yourself with your favourite drink or snack, and settle down for some time of quiet and peace.
7. Don’t Stay up Too Late
When you’re flying solo, you’re on duty 24/7, so try not to get carried away with your reward time. Sleep early and try to maintain a schedule. You will need all the sleep you can get.
8. Keep Your Expectations Low
You may not be able to keep up with everything you normally do when your partner is around to help. So, you may need to sacrifice some of your routines to ensure you have all the essentials covered. Let go of the rest for a while.
9. Ask for Help
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek help from family or friends. It’s a great morale booster and gets you through the day.
10. Compromise Cautiously
It’s tempting to stock up on fast and easy foods for convenience or eat out often. But it can turn into a habit-forming pattern and is unhealthy. Therefore, compromise on healthy foods only when you absolutely must.
It’s no doubt solo parenting is hard, but being present every moment can help you appreciate the infinite possibilities for the future.
Also Read: Finance Tips for Single Mothers