There’s no doubt being a single mum can be tough, especially if you’ve recently separated or bereaved.
But as you slowly adjust, it can also bring some amazing upsides too - freedom to do things your way, have fun with your children and meet new friends. Here’s a guide to making single parenting a smashing success for you and your children.
At a glance
- There are 1.9 million single parents in Britain
- Try to make time for yourself
- Get support from other friends
Top tips for coming out on top
As a single mum, taking complete responsibility can be a big challenge - from finding enough money and juggling work and childcare, to coping with emotional upheaval and the need to keep going for everyone’s sakes. Here are top tips for coming out smiling...
Take care of yourself
Work, homework, cooking dinner, packed lunches, washing, family admin – the list goes on and on. And when you’re doing it on your own, it can be pretty exhausting. So what you really need is ‘me time’. Look after yourself and it will be much easier to look after your children. Set aside some time for you every week, eat properly and get as much sleep as you can.
Rock solid friendships
There are 1.9 million single parents in Britain, so there are plenty of people in the same boat. Seeking out single parents could introduce you to a big new group of supportive friends – look out for a local group or find single parents like you in the Bounty community.
Get out there!
Lovely though children are, you need adult conversation and a break from ordinary home life. So why not invite friends round, join a club, do exercise or hit the town?
If you’re offered help, grab it with both hands! Support from family and friends is important and can help you get back on track more quickly. A couple of hours childcare goes a long way – whether it’s freeing you up to get jobs done, or giving you space for a massage, exercise or even a date.
Enjoy the benefits!
As you adjust to single parenting – doing things your way, hogging the remote and enjoying a more peaceful family atmosphere, you may start discovering some upsides to your new situation.
Do it your way!
Taking responsibility means taking control and doing what is best for yourself and your children. It means you can set your own rules and work out what suits you best in the new set-up. And you can take command of the TV remote - whoop!
You may find strengths you didn’t know you had, which will both help you face a different future, and lead you onto new, and more positive paths.
Your amazing children!
It’s natural to worry about how your children will react, but they may surprise you with their resilience and will quickly become used to it being just you at home.
You may develop an even closer bond with your children, particularly if you have a different view to your ex on what parenting means and you can finally express it.
And breathe out...
If family life has felt angry and tense, your home may well become a more fun place to live for everybody.
Gingerbread is a national charity that provides expert advice and practical support for single parents. Check out the website, free helpline and members’ forums, including great discounts and special offers.