By: Dr. Lesley Iwinski
Whether by choice or by circumstance, almost half of parents find themselves raising their children alone. This is often done while working one or more jobs, and sometimes done with the stress of not having a steady income. Daunting? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely.
The good news is that there are ways to keep yourself encouraged and to navigate a difficult course with grace. Here are some ideas from one single parent:
– Have faith that it is going to be okay.
– You are enough. Everyone has challenges in life. You don’t have to be everything: just be you.
– Be generous to yourself. It’s easier to be kind to others when you are kind to yourself.
– Avoid allowing yourself to feel like a victim. You always have choices and there is power in that.
– Everyone makes mistakes, has breakdowns and hurts. Let yourself feel it, but don’t take it out on your child or in front of your kid.
– Keep your self-talk positive. “It won’t be like this forever.” “He will grow up and we will work together. My child will be a help to me.” “I can do anything for a short period of time.”
– Practical Ideas:
– Schedule everything. Use a calendar. You may have a second job, be caring for aging parents, and taking your child to sports and other activities. Good prep is half the battle. Otherwise, you feel like you are just putting out fires.
– Create a village. Reach out to friends, family, church. Find a place where you can be fed emotionally and spiritually. You don’t have to do this all on your own.
-t Find one thing that nourishes you and do it consistently. Don’t wait until you feel empty. Walk around the block, have a “wish” shopping trip, pet animals at the Humane Society. Keeping your cup full is fundamental to everything else.
Support specifically for parents who are single can be challenging to find.
Immanuel Baptist Church and Southland Christian Church offer programs in the spring and fall.
The Family Center in Wilmore hosts “Single Parent Power” on the second Saturday of each month from 5-7 p.m., starting up again in August.
Children are welcome and there is a shared meal. Info: 859-553-2484 or www.wilmorefamilycenter.com
Most parenting classes include a mix of single, divorced and married parents. It is wise to build your knowledge about helpful ways to connect with and teach children.
It is very true that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Joining a parenting class gives you an opportunity to be pro-active and strengthen yourself and your children. You are not alone.
Dr. Lesley Iwinski is the mother of three grown children, a family physician and owner of Growing Peaceful Families, LLC. She offers classes, workshops and seminars.
Info: (859) 333-3053 or www.growingpeacefulfamilies.org.