One of the hardest things about single parenting is the lack of time away from your child. When you have a partner, you can leave them with the other parent. When there is not another parent available, you may feel guilty about abandoning them or guilty about overburdening another family. I had to get over that and remind myself that I loved having other children around, so why wouldn't someone else feel the same? And, I always reciprocated. It isn't only single parents who don't go out enough, couples often don't have enough time together away from their children. Trading babysitting is a wonderful thing for everyone. It's good for our children to experience other routines. It promotes diversity and encourages flexibility.
Another struggle for me was feeling overburdened by work and household duties. I wondered if my child was suffering from not having enough of my attention. I had to make the difficult decision to not worry as much about the condition of my house. Maybe the floor didn't get cleaned often enough or dishes always done on time, but it was worth it to have the time to play with my child. They are only young for a short time, and eventually, they start seeking out other people for stimulation. It's important to take time with them while they are interested. I didn't want to have regrets later on, so my chores had to wait. However, it was equally important for me to make sure that my child knew when I needed alone time. As single parents, we should be modeling self-respect and self-care. I didn't want my children to sacrifice themselves as adults because that's what I taught them. Children need to see us having fun and living a full life without the burden of guilt. They want us to be happy.
One potential issue that goes along with being a single parent is the issue of dating. That one is tricky and needs its own post. Meanwhile, I can say that it's part of caring for ourselves, and we do want to model good adult relationships, too. Our children learn to love and be partners by watching us. Adding another person into the mix is definitely possible and is a process. I will write more on that next week.