Doing It Alone

Being a single parent raises lots of questions and many times leaves you with uncertain answers. For many women, there are fears of failing or unjust struggles. If you are a single parent, chances are you’re searching for ways to be the best parent you can be. Here are some suggestions that may help you overcome common challenges.

Common challenges:

  • Earning the income that is lost, or needs establishing:
    1. Find supplemental income from home.
    2. Check out other ways to make ends meet (see Making It Simple)
    3. Find ways to share responsibilities with other single parents. (i.e.: childcare, carpool, laundry, and cooking).
  • Meeting the child’s needs:
    1. Get connected with a support group, a church, your child’s school activities, and/or parenting classes
    2. Spend time talking with your child, sharing things you both enjoy and feel are important.
  • Finding time for yourself:
    1. Find a support group or mentor where you can feel at home talking about what’s going on in your life.
    2. Take turns taking care of children with other parents. Use this time to relax or do something you love to do.
  • Supplying a good place to live with your child:
    1. Live with a friend or in a group home
    2. Live with a relative or your parents.
    3. Live in subsidized housing, or find an inexpensive apartment of your own.

Single Parenting as a result of divorce or death:

  • Losing a spouse may also include losing an extra income, a group of family members, and possibly some friends. Find what your interests are, and find confidence in who you are.
  • Keep tabs on your office life. Chances are that money is tighter than it used to be. If you find that you are working as an escape, it may take some re-evaluation to see that work is not going to help you when your child needs you at home.
  • Allow your child to become his or her own unique self. Although it is difficult not to attach to your child after a spouse’s death or divorce, remember that your child should not be your plug into healing.
  • Find a mentor, or a group that provides friendship, activities, and support.
  • Allow your child to help you with the tasks around the house, but be cautious about overwhelming him.

Single Parenting – Unmarried:

  • In many cases single parenthood means moving from being a teenager to being a mother. If this is your situation, there are a lot of changes in your lifestyle.
  • Don’t lose sight of your goals. Finding ways to supply a good surrounding for your child and finishing school or continuing your career is possible, but it will take sacrifice, energy, time, and support. Find a family member or church nursery that has a program for working or students mothers.
  • Find a support group of people going through similar situations. Find support through that group and other friends near you.
  • Dating right away may be difficult, don’t rush into anything. Being aware of any feelings that lead you to think you have to find your child a mother or father is important; do not let those thoughts take over.

Minrith, Meier, Arterburn, “Single Parenting,” The Complete Life Encyclopedia. 1995.

Last updated: 12/2006