No matter how prepared you are, becoming a single parent challenges you financially and emotionally. The stress of raising a child increases when you are solely responsible for the care of your little one. Add to that the normal stresses of everyday life and it may seem impossible to survive parenthood solo. Asking for help from others and having a plan for single parenthood keeps you on track.
Create a Support Network
Being a single parent doesn't mean you have to do all the work by yourself. Friends, neighbors and family members become crucial when you're the only adult taking care of your child. Your support network can help you with transporting your child, watching your child, helping you maintain your home and supporting you emotionally. Reach out to other single parents through a support group or through your social connections. If you have difficulty asking for help, consider that many of your friends and family probably want to help but don't know how.
Control Your Finances
With only one adult in the household, finances often become tight. Budgeting is a crucial financial step as a single parent. Your budget dictates where your money goes and helps you find areas to cut back on spending. If your expenses exceed your income by $200 each month, you know you'll need to cut back in areas such as groceries and entertainment or seek additional income. An emergency fund gives you a financial safety net if you have a lean month. Put aside as much money as you can in the savings account to serve as a backup source of income.
Focus on Your Child
With the pressure of handling all of the adult responsibilities yourself, it's easy to lose focus of the most important part of being a single parent: your child. Carve out time every day for you and your child. Don't worry about blowing the budget. Most kids are content hanging out or playing with toys they already own. Talking about the situation to your child can help both of you work through your anger, sadness or fears. Let your child know that things have changed, but you're still there.
Take Care of Yourself
Raising a child solo doesn't leave much time for your, but meeting your own needs is crucial. A healthy, energized body is better able to take care of a child. Make time for exercise and healthy eating. Your mental health is another factor that impacts your child. Counseling is an option to help you deal with single parenthood. Giving yourself a break is also key to staying positive. A few hours out of the house without your child often rejuvenates your outlook, and allows you to better parent your child.