I’m here to give you the low-down on life when you have a baby or toddler, or both (or more!) and find yourself a single parent. The good, the bad, the poopy.
I am not going to lie, it can be quite an intimidating place to find yourself standing – I should know, I was a lone parent with a two year old and a newborn when I started out. Back then it felt like some kind of crazy assault course and if you’d asked me what it was like I would have looked at you with slightly crazy eyes and replied in a stunned whisper ‘Relentless – it’s absolutely relentless!’
It’s ok, I managed to get some sleep eventually. The wild eyes are a thing of the past.
However, if you just started out on your own and find you’re more rabbit in headlights than rocking it, you should know that you wouldn’t be the first single parent to freak out a little so don’t feel bad.
The thing is, the Big Stuff like, will my kids grow up and hate me for not being enough? Will I ever fall in love again? The kind of big questions that give you night sweats and worry lines… this article isn’t about those.
Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you have so much time to work out all that big stuff. I can promise you hand on heart that it’s going to be ok. All the answers to those questions will come to you in time, usually when you feel peaceful and content.
Which is a bloody hard state to get into if you’re living in a state of perpetual chaos – so this article is about the little stuff.
Here’s the lowdown on getting lone parenting under control. My top tips for surviving (or swerving) the trip-wires and booby-traps of parenting teeny tots on your own.
- Stock your freezer with milk, bread, yoghurt tubes and frozen fruit. Its usually after you get the kids to bed that you realize you’re out of the breakfast essentials.
- Give your neighbour a key or get a key safe for your garden. You will definitely forget your keys, or lose them down the back of the buggy and assume they are gone forever at some point.
- Ask other people to take your photo for you when you are out with your kids. You will want more than just selfies to look back on when they are babies no more. It’s not weird to ask and will be worth it 100X when you look back.
- Ask a friend to take your toddler or pre-school child shopping to get your birthday, Christmas or Mothers/Fathers day gifts if you don’t do these for your ex or they for you. This isn’t about you this is for your kid. They will be thrilled beyond measure to be able to show you they love you.
- Lower your standards once in a while. It’s ok to leave the stray Cheerios under the breakfast table now and then. If you need to go to bed or binge watch Netflix to rebalance yourself, do it. You are doing so much better than you think you are, I promise.
Nina Farr is a Leadership and Parenting Coach who works with parents who are raising their families alone. She is a TEDx speaker and author of I am the parent who stayed – joyfully parenting alone available on Amazon.