When we become parents, few of us think about going it alone. It’s a possibility no woman should have to face. Of course, men are increasingly becoming single parents as well, and we take our hats off to any guy who is making a go of it. The path isn’t easy, no matter what. But, there’s still no getting around the fact that single fathers only head 13.5% of single families. The rest is down to us women, and that’s what we’re going to focus on here.
Raising a child is a real challenge, let alone when doing it solo. The problems become harder to cope with, and you haven’t got anyone there to talk things through. While having complete parental rein may seem like a dream, the reality is very different. No one will disagree with your methods. But, you also won’t have anyone there to prop you up or help you deal with those stressful decisions.
The good news is that, even if you’re going it alone, there is help out there. To prove the point, we’re going to look at the two main issues single parents are up against, and the best ways to get past each.
Money worries are, inevitably, the first concern. There’s no escaping the fact that we live in a world geared towards couples. As if you didn’t have enough on your plate, you also need to work out how to make your way alone. It’s never easy. So much so that a shocking 47% of single-parent families live in poverty. It’s hard enough working to provide a roof over your heads. You then also have to foot the full extent of bills which would usually be halved. Admittedly, most councils still offer a single person discount of up to 25%. But, there are plenty of expenses besides that. On top of which, achieving a mortgage is near enough impossible when you’re doing it alone. That said, there’s help in this area, too, with charities like Habitat, who offer affordable housing for the exchange of 500 hours volunteer work. If you can leave your child with a family member while you volunteer, this could be a fantastic way to get a roof over your heads. And, you can work out a volunteer rota which fits with your lifestyle.
Of course, it isn’t only the financial strain which is a worry for many single mothers. Parenting alone can cause extreme amounts of emotional stress, too. The task can feel never-ending, and you may be reluctant to take anyone up on offers of help. But, it’s essential you allow yourself a break now and again. This could be anything from an evening where your mum has the little one, to an hour after school while they take part in hobby clubs. Either way, these small portions of time will make a huge difference. Make the most of them by investing in a little self-care, because every mum deserves pampering sometimes, too.