Being a parent is hard, but being a single parent can sometimes be even harder. Whether you’re separated, divorced or widowed, all newly single parents have one thing in common: uncertainty about single parenthood. As a single parent, there are many things to consider for yourselves and for your children. Let’s take a look at some of the key concerns single parents have and what you can do to overcome them.
Becoming a single parent often means becoming the sole provider of your household. One of the top concerns single parents have is no longer having monetary support from a significant other. Although this can be challenging, it’s not impossible to support yourself and your children on your own. Here are a few tips for managing your finances as a single parent:
- Budget, budget, budget. It’s important to keep track of your expenses and plan ahead. If you’re used to depending on two incomes for your monthly budget, you’ll need to cut back and adjust your monthly spending in accordance with your new income.
- Keep an emergency fund. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to build one. Put away money from your paycheck every month even if it’s just $50. You never know when your child may need hospital care or even just money for their extracurricular activities. You can never be too prepared!
- Stop eating out. This may seem tough, especially if you aren’t used to cooking. But this will save you tons of money in the long run. Plan out your meals weekly — you get to be smart about your food spending and your kids get to have a fun “menu” to look forward to every week.
Your family’s health should be your number one priority, so one of the most important things single parents should do is review new health insurance quotes for their family. Often times an ex-partner or late spouse needs to be removed from a family’s insurance plan, which means new terms or rates for your family. In addition, those who previously depended on a spouse’s’ coverage should look into getting their own insurance plans. Choosing the right health insurance plan that fits yours and your family’s needs will help you smoothly transition into your new role as a single parent.
Mental & Emotional Support
Many newly single parents find themselves feeling alone and unsupported. Playing the role of both parents can be overwhelming, but you are not alone. As the head of the household, you may forget to take care of yourself and your mental health. To ensure the best possible environment for you and your family, consider the following:
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help — whether that be taking care of the kids for a few hours, or helping around the house. Remember it’s OK to ask for help sometimes!
- Seek professional help. Family counseling therapists can be a shoulder to lean on when you feel like you’re lacking emotional support at home.
- Join a single parent support group. There are tons of single parents out and what better way to feel supported than connecting with other parents going through exactly what you’re going through?
All things considered, the most important thing you can do as a single parent is keeping a consistent, steady schedule for your family. Plan family outings, go on fun trips and provide a positive environment for you and your kids. The family dynamics may have changed, but you can still raise a happy, healthy family on your own.