10 Resolutions for Single Parents
It’s the beginning of a new year and the time for resolutions. Most of us make the same ones every year: lose weight, save money and exercise regularly. Sometimes I manage to stick with a few, but my resolve has usually disappeared by March. So, rather than repeat the same old patterns and promises, why not take this time to step back and evaluate how your life is working with your children? Like most resolutions, the 10 resolutions for single parents aren’t easy to implement but choose a few, do your best to follow through and make 2017 the best year for you and your children!
1. Move forward emotionally.
It may not be realistic to expect complete healing from the pain of the past but take steps to forgive your ex and yourself and move toward a healthy emotional place. If you feel stuck in anger or sorrow about your divorce, seek counseling or find a support group.
2. Ask for help.
Ask for assistance from friends, family and the other parent. Take off the Super Mom cape and request help. It’s emotionally healthy to admit to needing a little help now and then. Doing everything by yourself is almost impossible and leads to burnout and exhaustion.
3. Form a support network.
This is especially important if you don’t have close family ties. Get to know your neighbors, your children’s friends’ parents and other single parents. Find people that want to carpool, take turns with child care or help out in an emergency.
4. Establish a routine.
Most people thrive with routine and predictability. A schedule of mealtimes, chores, homework and bedtime creates a sense of order that helps children deal with stress. Being organized and having a schedule may be difficult to initiate but once established, it will help a single parent deal with the overwhelming list of activities and obligations.
5. Let your kids be kids.
Resolve not to involve them in adult problems. Don’t tell little Johnny he is now the “man of the family.” He’s not. He’s still a child and needs to be allowed to be a child. Don’t make your daughter your confidante. She’s not ready to handle your emotions; she has her own to deal with.
6. Commit yourself to not talking negatively about your ex.
If there is one single action that will help your child emotionally heal from divorce, it is refraining from trash talking the other parent. As tempting as it is, remember that children are wounded by hearing negative talk about their parents. Protect your children.
7. Be sensitive to your children’s emotions.
The aftermath of divorce may bring a range of emotions for your children. Be open to hearing their feelings and answering their questions in an age-appropriate manner. If your child is depressed or anxious, seek counseling.
8. Get your finances in order.
Dealing with the finances alone is one of the harder aspects of single parenting. There never seems to be enough to cover all the necessities. Look realistically at wants versus needs and cut what doesn’t make the necessity list. Educate yourself about financial matters including taxes, college savings and retirement accounts. Under this category also comes consulting with an attorney to make provisions for your children if something were to happen to you.
9. Take care of yourself.
This is standard advice and much easier to say than to follow through. Taking care of yourself includes eating a healthy diet, getting proper sleep and exercising at least 20 minutes a day. It can also mean emotional health. Get together with a friend occasionally or allow yourself to indulge in an occasional Netflix show after the kids are in bed.
10. Remain positive, be hopeful for the future.
Divorce brings changes you never envisioned for your family but with the right actions and frame of mind, you can move forward and build a good life for yourself and your children. When you feel sad or lonely, sing, pray, exercise, meditate, talk to a friend, do whatever allows you to feel at peace and reframe your life in a positive light.