It doesn’t matter how you ended up here – you are here and you have your littles to take care of as well as deal with the ending of your relationship. It’s not easy. Here are some things I learned during my first year as a single parent which may help you get through this difficult time.
Take the help when it’s offered, ask for it when it’s not
This was one of the first pieces of advice that was given to me as my marriage was ending.
I was incredibly independent. I never asked for help with anything so to all of a sudden be in a place where I had to accept help that was offered or worse still ask for it took me a long time to adjust. I felt like a huge burden to everyone.
Just know that people are offering you help because they genuinely want to help you. You are not a burden. They love you, that is why they are offering.
Know who you can go to and ask for help, the people who say yes are the ones who genuinely want to help you. Lean on these people, they will be the ones who help you get through those early months.
It’s OK you don’t have to be Super Mum
You used to be able to do it all. Go to all the parties and play dates and now you feel like you can’t do any of it. Everything is out of control, there are not enough hours in the day.
That’s OK. You will get there. Learn to say No to things. Especially in the early days. A time will come when things will be much more under control and you will begin to take more on.
Make a ‘to do’ list, keep it simple and realistic and that way as things get crossed off you will feel like your achieving something and your confidence as a single parent will grow.
Get the kids to help
If your kids are old enough, get them involved in helping around the house. This will teach them responsibility. In my home we are a team and everyone pitches in. They are rewarded for helping, but not always with money. A reward can be anything – a nice long bubble bath, a movie, staying up later than normal.
Budget, budget, budget and then budget again! This is something I am terrible at but dropping from 2 incomes to 1 forces you to do something. Make sure you include everything in your budget, including things for yourself such as hair cuts/colours if you can stretch it that far.
Take time for yourself
Speaking of hair cuts – take time for yourself, this is vital. It’s very easy to get caught up with everything that needs to be done but if you’re not looking after yourself you will eventually burn out.
Also don’t feel like you need to rush into a new relationship. Take time to find out who you are now you are on your own – date yourself, spend at least 12 months on your own. I promise you it will make your next relationship so much more worthwhile.
You can keep going long after you feel you can’t
The most important thing to remember is that you can keep going long after you feel you can’t. I can’t tell you how many times I was on the phone to my Mum, crying that I just couldn’t do it anymore and after a nice long chat I got off the phone I felt ready to face it again.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to reach out. Reach out to friends, family, community groups. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.