To put this bluntly, the idealized version of the “standard” American family is exactly that nowadays more often than not – an idealized version that’s quite a bit distinct from reality.
Over the last 50 years things have changed significantly when it comes to what the typical American family looks like.
In the 1960s and 1970s, 80% of all children were raised in two-parent households. As of today, though, just slightly over 69% of children are raised in those same two-parent households – and the data shows things are going to continue to trend downwards for the foreseeable future.
Are You Ready to Be a Single Mother?
Yes, two-parent households remain the majority of situations for children in this country. But single-parent households are anything but unusual and certainly don’t have the same stigma that they had even just 20 or 30 years ago.
If you are a single mother it’s important that you do your level best to provide for your children a well-adjusted, loving, and happy home. Below we include some tips and tricks to help you do exactly that when you are responsible for handling all of the heavy lifting of parenting all on your own!
Routines are Key
Routines are absolutely essential when you are a single mother, not only for your child but also for yourself and your own time management.
Schedules and structure give your child certain expectations and predictability that will significantly lower overall stress levels by a huge amount, making life a whole lot easier for you and your children day in and day out.
Bedtimes set in stone, daily routines (complete with daily chores and activities), and even routines on the weekend will do a lot to help even out the lives of your children. As a single mother you’ll get big benefits from these routines as well, as once these routines become daily habits you can use these schedules to help you parent – putting a lot of the day-to-day mental bandwidth you need as a mother to use in other areas.
Fill Your Child Up with Love and Praise
A lot of single mothers inevitably deal with the kinds of financial struggles and challenges that they wouldn’t have had to deal with quite as much with someone else helping out, and that’s going to come with a bit of guilt at not being able to provide absolutely everything you want your child to have – at least from a more materialistic kind of viewpoint.
It’s really easy to get down on yourself and let negative emotions creep into the interactions you have with your child or your children when you are comparing your job as a single mom or single dad with two-parent homes.
It’s important that you do everything you can to shift your mindset ASAP away from that kind of negativity and instead focus on filling up your child’s life with as much love, praise, and attention as you can muster.
With just a little bit of creativity it’s not hard to find lower-cost adventures (free ones, too) that you and your child can enjoy without breaking your bank account – creating a lifetime of memories and a relationship built on the back of imagination, creativity, respect, and love that is going to last forever between the two of you.
Obviously you’ll want to establish limits and boundaries, house rules and expectations, with your child that you enforce on a consistent basis to add a bit of structure and responsibility to their lives. But never be shy about showing them how proud you are of what they are able to accomplish, how they are growing and developing, and who they are becoming, either!
Teach Gratitude Daily
If you come from a single-parent household – or are friends with someone that did – the odds are pretty good that you learned pretty quickly that children in these kinds of situations can quickly and acutely become aware of the fact that something’s off about their situation compared to someone else’s.
This is the reality of the situation and it’s important to confront that reality “as is”, though you certainly do not have to allow it to define your day-to-day relationship with your children or how you frame and look at your single-parent home.
Children are inevitably going to be confused about why things aren’t the same as they are at two-parent home. It’s your responsibility as a parent to explain these things to them in a way that they can understand and grasp, but it’s also important that you teach them gratitude and the power of appreciating everything they do have – no matter how it may seem to compare to others on the surface.
Reinforcing gratitude on a consistent basis can totally change the trajectory of their lives in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine right now, and it’s a powerful habit that you want to ingrain in your children and something those in two-parent homes should be teaching as well.
Lean on Your Tribe to Make Things Easier
While much of your focus as a single-parent is inevitably going to revolve around your child and what you can do to be a better parent for them, it’s important that you lean on your tribe – your family and your friends – to share the burden, to blow off steam, and to get help whenever you feel you are floundering.
Connecting with other single parents in your area can be a huge help, too. The internet has made finding these kinds of parents a whole lot easier than ever before, and if you’re able to find single mothers in your area with children around the age of yours it’s all the better!
Just make sure that you are doing everything you can to take care of yourself in the middle of all this as well.
It’s really easy to lose yourself in the role of single-parent, forgetting that you are so much more than that title alone – even if it is life’s greatest responsibility. Take care of yourself, your mental health, and your emotions and you’ll find parenting alone becomes a whole lot easier, too.