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Help and support for single parents

help and support for single parents
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It is a rare parent who actively elects to bring up their children alone. In most cases, single-parenthood comes as a result of a relationship breakdown. Whatever the reasons behind your status as ‘Single Parent’ the reality is stark – you are alone, either completely, or largely, responsible for bringing up your children on a day-to-day basis. And many single parents also receive little or no financial support from their ex-partner. Add into the mix the emotional fallout and recovery from a broken relationship, you begin to see what single parenting is such a tough role.

Seek out and Accept Support

You do not have to face your challenges alone. This point is one that many parents struggle to reconcile. Feelings of pride, responsibility and guilt stand in the way of many single parents when they consider seeking support. You need to banish these blockages and accept your new reality for what it is. Don’t judge yourself; ignore those who may judge you. No one else really knows your story.

If you have family and friends close by then they can be a valuable source of support. If this option is not open to you, then it is perfectly possible to tap into a wider community of support wherever you live. Single parents are everywhere, organisations such as the charity Gingerbread offer support and advice to single parents, they can put you in contact with others in your local area that are in a similar position.

There will always be times when you need help – illness, unexpected work or financial difficulties, or simply needing a break. Having a support network to fall back on when times are tough can make all the difference. So try not to struggle on alone, thinking you have to do everything yourself. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a weakness.

Financial Assistance

One of the biggest practical challenges for single parents is the need to live off a single income. Juggling the costs of living, childcare and bills can feel impossible. Empower yourself; take the time to find out if you are entitled to any benefits. There are allowances for those on low incomes, tax credits, childcare vouchers and the possibility of child maintenance that may all be available to you. Knowing who to contact and what to ask for can be tricky – the Citizens Advice Bureau or the likes of Gingerbread can be invaluable sources of advice on this.

Practical Tips

help and support for single parentsRunning your life may at times require military precision. Take on board a few of these tips to help you achieve success:

  • Liaise with other parents to share the school run once a week
  • Divvy up household chores among you and your kids – even the little ones can help out by clearing the table after dinner, or sorting washing into colours
  • Be organised – insist on school bags, uniforms and lunches being prepared the night before to minimise the morning stress
  • Take time out to learn new skills that may help you improve your job prospects – talk to your Job Centre or the Family Welfare Association about what free or subsidised courses may be available
  • Prioritise essential tasks for each day the night before – build a wish list of things you’d like to be done. Tick off your essentials and anything else you achieve each day – this not only helps you to stay organised and on top of jobs, but also helps give you a sense of achievement

Take Care of You

As a single parent you are your family’s champion. You are the provider, the carer, the nurse, the chef, the anything-else-that’s-required. ‘Me’ time is unlikely to be top of your list of priorities. And yet, to be effective in your role as all things to all people you need to be on top form. That means taking care of your own physical and mental well being. It can be hard to find time for you among the challenges and demands of daily life, but it’s so important to do so.

Try get up a little early each day, even just 15 minutes each morning to relax with a cup of coffee before the rush begins, this can help to recharge your batteries. Treat yourself to a long soak in the bath, or ring-fence one evening a week as yours once the kids are settled. No chores on this night, just You-Time. Rent a movie, treat yourself to a take-out, give yourself a manicure, read a book, listen to some uplifting tunes – whatever makes you feel good. Knowing this time is yours alone will help you to face the demands of your life with more energy and vitality.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Help and support for single parents”

  1. Sarah Jackson

    i must be one of the ‘rare, parents then that elected to have my child as a single parent through donor insemination. I find your wording a little offensive as the ‘rare’ insinuates that it is not something to be desired.

    Reply
    • Cally Worden

      Sarah, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry my use of the word ‘rare’ offended you. It was actually meant as a term of respect, as in – there aren’t many people who would be brave enough to choose to take on the role of single parenting alone. The article is simply acknowledging how tough life can be as a single parent, whether by choice or circumstance. It’s seeking to offer support. No judgement intended.

      Reply
  2. Tori

    Jeez, always someone that has to be ‘offended’ when this is a helpful article for us single parents. If you chose to have your babies that way, good for you! But you are still ‘rare’ or ‘one of the few’ or ‘minority’ – pick whatever word you like but stating a fact isn’t offensive. If you think ‘rare’ insinuates something not to be desired, then that’s your issue. Most would associate ‘rare’ with special, unique, one of a kind. I’d embrace my rarity!

    Reply

About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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