Any parent knows that raising a family is hard work, but for single mothers, the challenges can be especially daunting. Not only do you have to juggle the demands of work and child-rearing, but you must do it all on your own. It’s no wonder that stress levels for single parents are through the roof.
Many single parents, especially moms, are experiencing dangerous levels of stress, and they don’t see any way around it. Chronic stress is harmful to your body, mind and spirit. Between work, finances, and caring for the kids, it’s easy to let the little things fall by the wayside. Here are some helpful suggestions:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. They can watch the kids while you run errands or take a break, and they’ll be happy to lend a helping hand. When you have people that you can turn to, you’ll be able to release stress in a positive way. When you need a bit of reinforcement, it helps to know you can pick up the phone and call in backup!
Your support system might consist of family members and friends who are willing to
listen to you vent or even help you around the house.
Remember to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercise are all important for managing stress levels. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Make time for yourself. Schedule at least 10 to 15 minutes just for you into each day. This time can even be for something simple, like painting your fingernails, taking a hot bath, or reading for pleasure. Your alone time will refresh and revive you!
Plan ahead. The best thing you can do when you’re a single parent is to plan ahead. You’ll find that the simple things in life that often cause the most stress can be managed or outright eliminated when you plan ahead. Prepare meals in advance and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Have everyone put out their clothes the night before, shoes by the front door, so getting the day started will be a breeze.
Involve the kids. You can’t do everything by yourself, so get your kids involved in getting things done. Any help they are able to contribute will save you a lot of time and stress each day, plus it’s teaching them the importance of responsibility and contributing to the family. Teach them age-appropriate tasks like cleaning their room, doing laundry, making the grocery list, planning meals, cooking, taking out the trash, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, and so on.
Know your limits. When a friend, co-worker, or family member asks something of you that you know you can’t do, say no. It may not make the other person happy, but knowing your limits can help you from being overworked unnecessarily. If you don’t respect your time, who else will?
These are all very simple, yet effective, ways to deal with the stress of being a single parent. These tips won’t do away with stress altogether, but they’ll help you manage it in a way that will allow you to get things done and enjoy your life and kids. Your kids will only be small for a short time, and you don’t want to waste these years in a stressed out daze. Instead, take advantage of the here and now by incorporating these stress management tips into your life.
With a little bit of planning, help, and effort, you can juggle being both the parent and
provider of your family. Which one of these suggestions will you implement today?!
To Your Success,