What you need to know:
- You need to know that you cannot completely take the place of an absent parent, but you can make a difference by filling a few voids.
- Your household is not inferior, and do not let the children feel as if the family is incomplete.
- You must learn to conquer the self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy by practicing positive thinking and redirecting your energy to more productive activities geared toward regaining your self-worth.
As a single parent, how do I ensure that I take care of my mental well-being so that I can take care of the children effectively? How do I manage societal pressure that stems from my status as a single mother?
You are one of the strongest, resilient, nurturing, and empathetic persons the world has. Raising children alone indicates that you have a fierce determination and an unbreakable tenacity. You’re invincible. Unfortunately, society may not be kind to this model of parenting because there is a perception that this type of a parent is a failure based on her or his past mistakes. You are likely to experience betrayal differently even from the most trusted people due to cultural prejudices. Dealing with biases and stereotypes is exhausting and can tear you down. If you are a lady, the wrong assumption from society is that you are loose and that you allow men to give you opportunities in exchange for sexual overtures. This may lead to stress because you lack a genuine support system.
You are likely to succumb to the temptation of a compromised lifestyle by offering what is beyond your ability. Normally, this happens because you want to prove a point to people who label you as a failure and more so, to the children who suffer the deficit of one parent. Ideally, this can escalate the burden of finances, thus affecting your mental well-being. This, coupled with other life challenges, can bog you down.
You need to know that you cannot completely take the place of an absent parent, but you can make a difference by filling a few voids. Your household is not inferior, and do not let the children feel as if the family is incomplete. You must learn to conquer the self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy by practicing positive thinking and redirecting your energy to more productive activities geared toward regaining your self-worth. Sometimes the biggest obstacle standing between you and who you want to be in life is the inability to handle both social and self-pressure. Do not allow people's definitions to twist perceptions of your own and your children's importance.
Have a discussion with your children if they are of age. Make them aware of the challenges you are facing emotionally and financially. Be honest with your kids but avoid unnecessary details in case you went through an ugly separation. Where possible, agree on how to scale down on some luxuries to ease the financial burden. Try to balance your pursuit of finances with giving more time to your kids. Quality time allows you to offer guidance and emotional attachment to your kids.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who understand your predicament without any judgment. Possibly, you are going through the darkest night but take courage and have hope. Martin Luther King said, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Do not be grounded by the chain of your past but rather, consider your present with determination and trust that your future will be brighter.
A clergy man, counsellor or therapist might be able to help you and your child talk about the challenges and perhaps offer possible solutions on how you can navigate this unique situation.
At what point should one’s children be allowed to make their own decisions? Also, how can you tell whether your child has come of age and confirm that they understand what they are doing?