In our last blog we laid out the first two of five tips to help newly single parents adjust to their new parenting situation. When a divorce occurs or a second parent becomes unexpectedly absent in your child’s life for any reason, you may be overwhelmed by the prospect of raising your kids by yourself.
Even if your parenting plan includes equal time sharing, you will essentially be a single parent when your kids are staying with you, so we’ve detailed some tips to help you adjust to the newfound parental independence you will face. Be sure to check out Part I for our first two tips as well.
Tip #3 – Schedule time for yourself
As a single parent you will likely be spending a lot more time parenting than you were when parental duties were split between two people in the same household, but it is essential that you do not neglect your own needs. You need to take time to get away from your children from time to time, whether that means getting a babysitter and going out with friends once a week or taking the time to do something for yourself when your kids are asleep. You could even take up that hobby you’ve been meaning to start for years but never gotten around to.
We understand that your kids are probably the most important thing in your life, but you will not have the energy or mental health capacity to properly care for your kids if you constantly neglect your own physical and recreational needs.
Tip #4 – Plan ahead
Perhaps in the past you were able to call up your spouse if you forgot something or your kids needed something and you didn’t have time to take care of it yourself. Now, you will need to do more planning ahead than ever before. Keep back-ups for everything from clothes to toys to food in your car or in a bag you carry with you. Try to think through every possible scenario and be ready to handle any emergency—this includes your own incapacitation due to sickness or an accident. Keep handy a list of emergency contacts who can help take care of your kids if your become indisposed.
Tip #5 – Learn to let go of the little things
Parents are not perfect and no one who matters expects you to be. You may find yourself overwhelmed with your normal routine of day-to-day life, such as cleaning and paying the bills, now that your parental duties have essentially doubled. Prioritize your life and learn to let go of the things that really don’t matter. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you forget to get that letter in the mail or you don’t have time in the morning to make your bed. For many parents, this will take a major adjustment in the way you’re used to living, and it may be helpful to seek out the reassurances of other loved ones or experienced single parents that it’s okay to let certain things go. You don’t have to be Supermom or Superdad, you just have to be Mom or Dad.
Becoming a single parent is not an easy task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Follow our tips above and check out Part I of this blog for more tips to help you adjust to the new challenges you will face. If you’re facing a divorce and the prospect of becoming a single parent, please contact the Vazquez de Lara Law Group to let us answer any question you have and to discuss how we can help you prepare for the road ahead.