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The Perils Of Being A Single Parent

How To Adjust In The First Years Of Becoming A Single Parent

August 24, 2008       2 Comments
By: MyBayCity Staff

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Learn to live as a single parent.

Becoming a single parent for the first time is never easy and can be very traumatic for everyone involved. For some it is the hardest adjustment to face at the time. Once you find yourself situated and comfortable being a single parent, your children become teenagers and you find yourself once again, feeling as if your going through yet another "Peril of Parenting"!

Personally it has taken me a decade to find what works for me as a single parent and I would like to share with you, some tips on not only becoming a single parent, but learning to live as one, long term.

Be Present with Your Kids:

When you're with your children, make an effort to be emotionally present with them. This, has been one of the most difficult things for me personally. It is a constant work in progress for me as a single parent of two children that are with me 100% of the time, and one that is only in Michigan for the summer months and at Christmas time. It would be easy for me to retreat into my heart at the end of every summer when my little one leaves, but I have learned that it is also a crucial time when my other two children truly need me more than ever. Re-connecting and appreciating what you have, at the time and making the very best of any situation is an emotional and learned behavior. Unfortunately in our generation, changes in life occur, the best thing that we can teach our children, regardless of your "single parent situation" is that adjusting to a new life can be a smooth transition, if you make it so. Simple activities like playing a board game or taking a walk together during times of change, can go along way toward communicating the message that life will go on and they will, indeed, be OK. It is important that your children know, that Mommy and/or Daddy will be OK as well!

Schedule "Alone Time":

Time is a very powerful tool. It will bring you healing, hope, and perspective. Right now, it's important that you create pockets of time in your life when you can just be. Time when you're not accountable for completing a task or responding to questions. Time to sit, to think, to ponder. This is one of the most important single parenting tips, and it's one that you simply must make time for.

Find Creative Ways to Rejuvenate:

If finding time to yourself sounds impossible, consider some creative solutions, like swapping babysitting time with a neighbor or waking up a half-hour before the rest of your household. For me personally, the "early morning rise" IS my time and rejuvenates me for the entire day! You may find it difficult to get up and get going while going through changes which can cause depression to set in, but it is one of the best routines to get yourself into during this transition. The time that you give yourself is precious, and it will be fruitful in helping you to establish reserves of inner strength. It is also important to note, that finding time to rejuvenate WITH your children can be fruitful as well! Whether it be gardening, painting a room, cooking or even simply cleaning the house on a Saturday morning with the music playing (for us it is Polkas!), you will find that your children need this step as well.

MESSIPIE: Green Tea Lemongrass Soap!


8.3 oz. palm oil

5.5 oz. palm kernel oil

6.4 oz. coconut oil

2.3 oz. cocoa butter

11 oz. olive oil

2.8 oz. Castor oil

4.6 oz. soybean oil

5 oz. sunflower oil

6.4 oz. lye

13 oz. water

4-8 tsp. steeped green tea leaves

1 oz. eucalyptus essential oil

1 oz. lemongrass essential oil

yellow and green oxide swirl (if desired)


Make up at least 13 oz. of double-strength green tea. Save the steeped leaves for later. Let the tea cool completely!

Following the instructions in making soap with liquids other than water, make your lye solution. I can't stress enough that the tea be completely (refrigerated is an even better option) cooled off before you make your lye solution.

Measure out all of your oils, essential oils and colorants (if you're using colorants.) At trace, add in the lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oils, and add about 1/2 - 1 tsp. of the steeped green tea leaves per pound of oils.

In the above recipe, that's about 4-8 tsp. of leaves. Stir well. Add your colorants/swirl, if desired. Pour into the mold of your choice. Let it "soapify" over night. Slice it when it's firm enough to slice. Let it cure for 3-4 weeks.

Enjoy your "MESSIPIE" tip and relax!

Take Time to Identify Your New Life:

You might be tempted to make quick decisions right now about where to live and how to handle your finances. However, ignorance in this area can be extremely dangerous, and so can making rash, uninformed decisions. For now, take the time to find out where you stand financially. Gather the necessary papers in order so that when you are emotionally ready to make changes, you'll be prepared and able to make informed decisions.

It Is OK To Grieve:

Expressing your feelings is important to your overall health. Consider writing in a journal or scheduling a regular "date" with a friend to vent, cry, and grieve. Single parents are born of many different situations. Whether you've experienced the loss of a spouse, the end of a marriage, or an adjustment to the dream you once held for your life, it is important to grieve and process the loss before moving on. However, DO BE AFRAID to wear those emotions on your sleeve. Children cannot process and do not understand what we as adults experience through divorce. They have their own set of emotions and feelings to understand. Ensure that you seek assistance if needed for your emotions and theirs. It is OK to seek help from professionals on many levels to work through your own set of emotions. Do not put your emotions on their shoulders, it will indeed wear your children down during a time you are trying to rebuild the strength of your newly formed family situation.

Focus on your Physical Health:

This may be a time when you are feeling especially worn down and drained. Combat that by making the effort to eat healthy foods and choose energizing ways to fuel your body. Instead of relying on extra caffeine, try taking a walk at lunchtime. Additionally, getting adequate rest is crucial to your healing and ability to cope. Forgo the temptation to sit in front of the TV. Instead, read a book and retire early. It is also important to GET YOUR CHILDREN INVOLVED! They too, need YOU as a parent to focus on THEIR physical health in times of change, which most certainly can be traumatic for them as well.

Find What Gives You Strength:

In the past, how have you handled challenging times in your life? What most energizes you and reminds you that you possess the strength needed to meet the current challenge? Some re-connect with their faith, family or friends in a crisis. Some need to simply re-connect from within. Find out who YOU are now and where you can find the strength to pull through this time of stress and build a foundation on that source of strength. Focus on what has worked for you in the past.

Find From Within, What Works For You and Your Family:

Likewise, let go of what has not worked for you. As you move through these first years, reflect on the habits and choices that have not served you well, and decide to change them. In addition, if there are things from the past that you cannot change, let go of unhealthy guilt and remorse. Hanging onto guilt and/or trying to control things that are out of your control is one of the most "unhealthy" choices you can make for you and your family. Learning to accept the things we cannot change and making the best of it on a daily basis, is a constant battle, but once you find from within what allows you to do so, you will find peace and security in this new life. It is not only part of letting go of what "once was", but a healthy day-to-day so-lice to cope with any situation that may arise throughout your lifetime.

Focus on the Positive Side of the Coin:

This is a time of new growth in your life. Take the time to think about the things that are going well for you and most importantly, appreciate them! Having a positive attitude - especially in the midst of extreme circumstances - can empower you to move ahead and provide your children with a tangible example of the coping strategies you want them to adopt.

Do Not Be Afraid To Ask for Help:

Of all of the single parenting tips listed here, this one is one of the most difficult to apply. However, you must know that there really are people around you who would love to help! Keep in mind, too, that allowing others to help you is a gift to yourself and to the person assisting you. Our generation is filled with struggles and mountains to climb that others have not had to experience, do not be afraid to ask for help, even if it is financial assistance for your family. If you need it, learn how to ask for it. The stress impressed upon your children in times of need can be much greater than you are willing to admit, DE-CLUTTER THE STRESS for you and your family. For instance, if your lights are about to be shut off for non-payment (and in times like these, it happens!) and you believe that your not showing stress to your children, I can pretty much guarantee, you are mistaken. Sharing in one an-other's lives during difficult times affirms our human connection and brings a sense of purpose to everyday living.

I would love to hear your questions or comments on "The Perils of Being a Single Parent"! The more we share, the more we learn, the more we learn, the stronger our generation becomes to educate the next!

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MICH MICH506 Says:       On September 01, 2008 at 01:17 PM
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