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Life as a single parent

life as a single parent
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If you’re new to single parent life it can be a daunting prospect. Just thinking about everything you have to deal with, as well as coping with the breakdown of a relationship, can seem too much. This is probably not how you planned your life working out and it might not even be your choice. However, there are ways of dealing with life as a single parent, both practically and emotionally, which can help you keep your life together.

Take any help offered

It’s hard work doing everything by yourself, so you need to make use of any offers of help or support. Don’t feel like you’re weak if you take a friend or family member up on their offer to watch the children. Even if it just gives you the chance to tidy up, do the shopping in peace or have some time to yourself it will be worth it. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support network in place and this can make single parent life extremely lonely. Try contacting Gingerbread, which is a charity working for single parents. They have a website packed full of information, as well as a helpline you can call for advice and local groups where you can meet other single parents.

Getting finances in place

life as a single parentWhether you’re working or staying home to look after the children, there is a range of financial help available for single parents. It’s important to get this sorted early on, as then there’s one less thing to stress about. Depending on your circumstances you might be entitled to tax credits or other benefits. If you’re unsure what you can claim, speak to your local Job Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau or Gingerbread. You also need to try and arrange child maintenance with the other parent. If you can’t organise this independently, you can go through the Child Maintenance Service, but there are additional fees to use this.

Make time for yourself

When you’re a single parent everyone and everything else usually comes first, whether this is the children, work, jobs around the house or the finances. This isn’t a healthy attitude to have and you need to make sure that you give yourself a break from everything once in a while. This could just be getting an early night, reading a book or taking a bath. It’s also important to maintain friendships, so invite people over if you can’t get out or try and arrange a babysitter so you can have a night out once in a while. Remember that there’s only so much you can achieve and that most things can wait until tomorrow.

Get organised

Nobody is a super parent and there are times when you’ll forget things or something will slip. The key to preventing this happening is to be as organised as you can. If you have everything in place your life will become easier. Sort out bags, money, lunches and clothes for school and work the night before, so there’s not a mad rush in the morning. Get your children to help where they can, even if it’s just putting their toys away. Do your shopping online, so there’s always food in and you don’t have to drag the children with you. Finally, use a calendar to keep track of all those appointments and after school activities.

Most of us don’t set out to be a single parent, but it doesn’t have to be a completely unhappy experience. Getting everything sorted will help you to deal better with your new life.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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