Here are 26 things all single parents will experience during their time as a single mom or dad. One for each letter of the alphabet.
Adaptability. Single parents quickly learn how to become flexible and adapt to the ever-changing circumstances around them. When your life was predictable, now you depend on so many other people to help with your children, transportation, work, home, finances, etc. Adaptability will become one of your strengths.
Budgeting. If you were lucky not to have to worry about budgeting before you became a single parent, it now falls squarely on your shoulders.
Co-parenting. How you handle your co-parenting relationship will determine your outlook on the rest of your life. This relationship can either bring chaos into your life and your children’s lives or be another relationship in your life.
Many of us fail to realize that until the children have moved out, we can’t control this relationship or the person on the other end – we can only control our response.
Dating. Dating as a single parent brings many questions and concerns, not just for the adults but also for the children involved.
Emotional. You’ll have many ups and downs as a single parent and although most of them will be at the beginning of your journey when you’re processing the end of a relationship, being a single parent is simply hard.
Friendships. Friendships will change when you become a single parent. You’ll find it harder to relate to your married friends at first and certainly won’t relate to the single only crowd.
God. If you cling to God throughout your single parent journey, you will find a partner when things are tough and great, a co-parent when you didn’t know you had one, a friend when you desperately need one, a comforter, a counselor, and more than you can put into words.
Help. Parenting alone isn’t possible. Whether you find help through a family member, friend, neighbor, someone to watch your child, or someone for you to talk to – the more you reach out to others and seek help, the healthier you and your child will be.
Isolation. There can be a lot of shame around being a single parent, particularly for single moms, so isolation naturally follows. It will take effort on your part to find a community that’s outside your work environment and the craziness of raising the kids on your own.
Joy. Often single parents must make sacrifices that cause us to give up things we once thought made us happy. In the end, you may find your definition of what makes you happy may change.
Kindness. You’ll be surprised who will be kind to you when you become a single parent and who won’t be. Remember those people and those acts of kindness so you can repay them when you’re back on your feet.
Loneliness. Loneliness can hit hard at the beginning and throughout your single-parenting journey but don’t use this as an excuse to jump back into a relationship.
Sometimes God calls us to this place to work through challenging issues and spend more time with Him. The last thing you want to do is end up in another broken relationship because you’re running from emotions.
Money. The money will be tight, but it’s not impossible to thrive as a single parent and even to save money.
Nights. The nights can be most problematic for many of us. The nights can seem longer, and if you’re not comfortable in the house as the only adult, it can be even more difficult.
Consider investing in simple self-help items for women to make you feel more comfortable, or even a dog can give you peace of mind.
Opportunities. There are a lot of opportunities for single moms, but you’ll need to look for them. They won’t come to you.
For example, some churches offer quarterly car maintenance for single moms, or you can find emotional support with other single parents through programs such as Divorce Care. Start with the local churches in your area.
Play. Spend lots of time playing with your kids. There’s a tendency to do all the grown-up things now that you’re balancing two parents’ work, but your child still needs you.
Queen. You are still a queen. You’re still a daughter of the Most-High God. You may not feel like it now, but keep going, and one day you’ll back and be amazed at how far you’ve come.
Routines. Putting together routines will be essential for you. It isn’t possible to keep up the same routine and taking care of the house and kids, and a job like you used to when you operated with two adults. You’ll need new simplified routines.
Self-Care. Single moms especially aren’t very good at self-care. We have so many other things to take care of, but in the end, the ones that suffer are the ones we are sacrificing everything for: our kids. Self-care doesn’t have to mean a whole day away and loads of money spent. It can mean 5 minutes in the morning or a hot shower.
Therapy. Check to see if your workplace offers free counseling sessions and consider taking advantage of them.
None of us get out of this life without problems, and most of us can’t figure them out in our heads.
Understanding. This journey of single parenting will make you more understanding of others in challenging situations.
Vacations. Vacations will change as a single parent, but they can still be fun. Just be prepared to do things a little differently.
Wrathful. So many single parents are angry for years at their ex. They never truly get over the wrong done to them by their ex, and they make sure everyone around them knows it. Get therapy if you feel the tiniest amount of bitterness in your heart.
Going through life, bitter and unforgiving, is no way to live. Your ex isn’t suffering. Only you are – and everyone around you.
X-factor. Don’t think just because you’re a single parent that you’ve lost whatever makes you awesome. You’re still a catch, and someday when the time is right, someone will be honored to have you.
You. You continue to be you. Don’t change who you are or lose yourself in the single parent life. It can be all-consuming to take care of the kids all night, then work all day, then repeat with no time for yourself or anyone to validate you and your hard work.
But rest assured, God loves you exactly as you are, and regardless of who left you and your children in your past or why. You are gold just as you are.
Zeal. You may feel like you’ve lost your passion for life. That’s normal if you’ve just become a single parent as a result of a breakup. These feelings will pass eventually, and one day you’ll find a new passion or zeal for life.