Single moms are no strangers to stress. You know the routine: Your toddler is screaming to be held while you try to cook dinner. Your preschooler has tossed aside a coloring book in favor of redecorating the living room wall instead. You have to get up early to work, but your toddler refuses to sleep. By the time you can finally lie down, it’s almost time to get up. Single moms have to do it all, and they don’t always have someone to lend a hand. Raising a child without a dad is hard, but it can be done.
1. What is My Child Missing Without a Dad?
Fathers play an important role in a child’s life and contribute to the child’s emotional and psychological well-being. Fathers provide a sense of security both emotionally and financially for children. Mothers, too, often feel more secure and content with a male partner by their side. Loving fathers who treat their spouse and children with respect set a good example for young boys to learn how to treat women. Fathers also help little girls learn how they should be treated and make them less likely to become involved in abusive relationships when they are grown, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Child Welfare Information Gateway. While these are important things, children raised by single moms can turn out just fine. Your children can learn these lessons from other male role models. Each child is different and no one set of circumstances can determine how a particular child will develop over time.
2. Single Moms and Work
One of the main things single moms stress about is finances. If you’re raising your child on your own, you likely have to work. That means less time with your children. Single mothers often have to watch their money carefully and budget accordingly. That often means scraping together enough money to provide for your children’s needs, but not always enough to indulge their wants. If you’ve gone from a two-parent income to being the sole earner, it can be difficult to adjust. You may have to move to a smaller, less expensive home. Learn to manage your money by clipping coupons, shopping for bargains and embracing hand-me-down clothing for your fast-growing toddlers and preschoolers whenever possible.
3. Encourage Family Ties
It’s important to encourage family ties between your children and other family members, especially when the father is absent. Extended family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can help fill the gap and lend a hand to overwhelmed single moms. Children can develop strong, healthy relationships with relatives that enrich their lives for a lifetime. Uncles and grandfathers can help fill the father's role for children. Ask your father, brother, uncle or cousin to be a role model for your children.
4. Take Time for Yourself
You probably feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish all you need to do. Single moms must deal with tantrums, sleepless nights, household chores, and usually a full-time job. It’s important to make time for your child and yourself, too. If a little "me time" seems indulgent, remember that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child. Let the laundry wait, and once you put your toddler in bed, take off your "Super Mom" uniform, treat yourself to a bubble bath and turn in early. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Even superheroes need a break once in a while.
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