In most cultures being a single parent is considered a disadvantage. It is looked upon as something that needs to be fixed. Therefore as single parents, we often fall under the pressure of trying to alleviate the fact that we are ‘doing it on our own’. We can quickly fall down the rabbit hole of judgment and think to ourselves, “It’s bad enough that I’m a single parent, so now I have to prove that I can handle this and get it right!”
But, what if it does not have to be this way? What if you could have fun, be happy and thrive, all while being a single parent? Is that possible?
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Right Voice for You facilitator, Marja Zapusek shares some helpful tips and tools to make single parenting as easy and joyful as possible this holiday:
Stop judging yourself or making yourself wrong and instead find ways to be grateful for you.
Make it a daily practice to focus on things you are grateful for about yourself, your family and what you have accomplished. Start a gratitude journal or list – you could even say what you are grateful for each day to yourself upon waking, in the mirror or even to your children.
As a single parent, we try compensating for the fact that we are single and in doing so, try even harder to be a good parent and get it right, which usually doesn’t work or turns out to be the opposite.
Instead of deciding you’re a ‘bad parent’, or that you have done something wrong, ask yourself the following questions instead:
– What is right about me I am not getting?
– What is right about this situation I am not getting?
– What is right about my child I am not getting?
These questions take you out of thinking and concluding that you are wrong for being a single parent, and open you up to other options and possibilities you haven’t been able to see or consider, until now.
What if you weren’t wrong for being single? What if that was just a choice…your choice?
ASK FOR HELP
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all on your own. Asking for help is not a crime, nor is it a weakness. In fact, it takes a great measure of courage and strength to be willing to be vulnerable and ask for help. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is actually a sign of strength, not a weakness. Asking for help can give you the reprieve you may need to alleviate stress, boost your energy and take time out for yourself, so you can still be the great parent you know you can be, but also acknowledge when you’ve stretched yourself too thin and self-care is necessary.
What if multitasking was not wrong, but instead you could be looking at it as a skill? When you find yourself juggling with different responsibilities or tasks in daily life, that you think you won’t be able to handle them all by yourself, you can ask:
– What am I capable of, that I have never considered before?
– How quickly can I handle all of this with ease?
– Who can I ask for help here?
– Who do I know, that would like to contribute?
You may just find out that you are capable of multitasking then you thought you were and that there are many people that would be happy to offer you assistance. Maybe a neighbour, friend, or another single parent, that you could arrange play dates with to alternate taking each other’s kids off their hands once in a while.
INCLUDE YOUR CHILD
What if your life can be joyful and easy and not a struggle or a constant handling and fixing of problems? What if you let your child contribute? If you ask them, it might surprise you how much they would like to help. This does not mean that you are taking advantage of them or taking away their childhood. Remember, it is their life too and they should be able to co-create it. You can empower them by giving them choice and not making them a victim of circumstance.
INCLUDE YOURSELF IN THE COMPUTATION OF YOUR LIFE
Don’t make your child the primary focus of your life. Include other people and create healthy relationships with them as well.
Don’t forget to include yourself. Take time for you by nurturing and taking care of your body, doing things that are fun and joyful for you and that make you laugh and brighten your spirit. Enjoy being single. When you are happy and joyful, others benefit from that as well.
What if you could lead a life that was an example for your child and could inspire them to choose greater for themselves?
Choosing for you and for your kids is the best gift you could give them and yourself and will allow you to be the best parent you can be.
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