Being a successful single parent
So you’re on your own raising your kids. How are you going to do it? You can wallow in self-pity, stay angry or hurt, put up walls and prove you don’t need anyone, lay down and let others run your life, or just survive day to day. But maybe, you can not only “suck it up” and survive, you can be a successful single parent. I have made more than my share of mistakes since becoming a single parent over eight years ago, but I have done a couple things right too. So here are some of my thoughts:
- How you handle adversity will be more important than the outcome.Your kids are watching how you handle the struggles and disappointments. Their expectations come from you. If you believe you will fail and your life is terrible because of your situation, they will internalize that. If you show them that adversity is something to face head on, problem solve, and work through, they will learn how to handle their own struggles.
- You cannot change someone else.You may be hoping that your ex will show remorse, forgive or ask for forgiveness, accept responsibility, get help, or change in any other way. You can hope and pray, but you can’t change them. You can only change yourself. Of course, God can, but don’t promise that to your kids. If you promise that God will change your ex and your kids never see it happen, what will they think of God? Be honest with your kids, work on yourself and become who God wants you to be. The rest is out of your hands.
- Let go of some things!My house will never be clean, the projects will never done, my kids didn’t get baths every night when they were little, and there were nights when PB and J with applesauce was the menu for dinner. Learn to prioritize and focus on what is important. I will never have time to do it all, but I will always have time to spend time with my kids. Kids grow up too quickly to worry about the little things. They need YOU! Something has to give and I would rather slack on the things that don’t really matter than to take time from my kids. Kids need love and time. They will get it somehow…I want them to get it from me.
- Kids adapt. Kids learn more out of necessity.What is a ‘normal’ family? Our normal is me with my 3 guys. Kids adapt to changes better than adults. It may not be ‘ideal’ or fit your expectations, but you can still have a wonderful, loving family and lead your kids to become great adults. We have always talked openly and honestly about the entire situation and discussed what is right/wrong. The other thing that has occurred is that my kids have learned to do things that their friends have not, mainly out of necessity. They do their own laundry, can cook, understand budgeting, and have learned (alongside Mom) how to do minor plumbing, electrical, construction, and other home projects.
- You are not alone.Get out and get involved. Don’t wait for others to come calling. It won’t happen because they are sitting back and waiting too. Give yourself time to be someone beyond a single parent. Ask for help. If you’re a single mom, find some godly men to teach your children (boys need role models and girls need to learn how men should act). If you’re a single dad, find some godly women. Invite a couple or family that you admire to dinner. Don’t isolate yourself. There are many people wanting to step up and help others but they just don’t know who needs it or how to get involved.
Being a single parent probably wasn’t in the fairy tale dream you had as a child. Life happens that way. Situations and people change. If you put Jesus in the center as the stabilizing constant, and keep your focus on what’s important, He will guide you and you can be successful, even as a single parent.
Posted on June 25, 2007 by Rindy