It’s not easy being a single parent. There’s no partner you can rely on, you’re the sole breadwinner of the household, and there seems to be none or little time to feel relaxed within your professional and private life. Traditionally, parenting has been done in pair teams or with family support, so it’s understandable when a single parent gets easily overwhelmed and stressed.
In this post, we will explore the mental struggles of a single parent and a few effective practices that can help with difficult situations.
- The Challenges That Single Parents Face
- Best Ways a Single Parent Can Care for Themselves
- No Need to Be Perfect, Grow Together With Your Child
The Challenges That Single Parents Face
A 2019 Pew Research Center study of 130 countries point out that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of single-parent households. A 2019 Statista survey also shows that there are about 19 million single U.S. parents raising children on their own, with 15.7 million of them being women.
What are the challenges that these growing numbers of single parents face?
The Financial Challenges
Single-parent households are at high risk of financial hardship. Studies indicate that parenting alone heightens feelings of stress, uncertainty, and depression associated with finances.
The overall net worth of a single mother is significantly less than single fathers or married households. 25% of single mothers have wealth exceeding $3,500 and 50% have either no wealth or are in debt. It is said that almost half of single mothers are in poverty.
The financial challenges of the single-parent household creates an environment vulnerable to adversities.
The Physical Challenges
It can be physically tough to manage taking care of your kids and work at the same time. The younger the child, the more physical energy is required to keep up. Some parents put in a lot of work time so that they can reach financial stability and this can wear them down both physically and mentally.
Children are the motivation and reason for parents to keep pushing forward, but the physical strain, lack of sleep, and stress from all of it can affect their mental well-being at times.
Best Ways a Single Parent Can Care for Themselves
It’s a challenge for single parents to find alone time. They’re usually financially strapped as well, which makes it difficult for them to consciously engage in self-care. Single parents should put in the conscious effort to shift their mindset so that they can care for themselves.
Below we introduce the best self-care methods you can try right away.
Create a Photo Album of Your Child
One of the most satisfying rewards for a single parent is to see their kids grow. No matter how busy, try to keep a record of your child’s growth through photographs. This will motivate you in a positive way. Don’t just use your smartphone for taking pictures. Make physical prints to create a photo album so that you can share it with others and look back at your memories.
Whenever you feel stressed, flipping through these albums will help reduce stress. A university study shows that looking back at fond memories helps maintain our mental wellness. It’s a method you can try easily. We provide more details on how to do this in our past post.
Read a Little Bit Every Day
Reading is a great self-care method that is recommended for everyone. We use our imagination and try to absorb as much knowledge as we can while reading, and when we indulge in a book we can create a distance from our stressful realities.
If you’re a newly single parent, it may be difficult to find time to read. Try to find small fragments of time within your commute or before bed where you can read little by little.
Have a Talk With Your Employer
It is physically challenging to juggle between parenting and a full-time job. Talk to your employer and see if there’s room for negotiating remote work, shorter work hours, or other alternative ways to work. Sometimes, a change in the work environment can lead to better wellness.
If your company seems inflexible about changing the terms of work, as inconvenient as it may seem, we recommend that you switch jobs. Some companies proudly push forward their benefits of paid paternity leave, flex hours, remote work, and on-site nurseries. You can manage to work with less stress if you find a company that values your needs as a single parent.
Apply for Financial Help
There are programs and organizations designed to help single mothers and fathers in the U.S.
Child Care and Job Training
Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) is a grant program that provides supplemental cash for up to two years to working parents. They encourage single parents through child care assistance and job training. To see more for eligibility and details, visit: TANF.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, can provide funds for food. You can check eligibility and details at: SNAP. For pregnant and nursing woman, WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) also provides aid in supporting nutrition for mothers in need.
Rent is a huge part of our living cost. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers housing assistance through Section 8 housing vouchers. This program targets low-income households, many whom are single parents. You can check the program details, eligibility, and how to apply through their website at: HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8.
Financial Assistance for Education
There are many grants and programs widely available if you want to pursue a higher education. However, there are specific scholarships catered to single parents. You can check the long list of single parent scholarships on scholarships.com. The Pell Grants is also a popular federal government aid provided towards low- and moderate-income families based on need.
The programs mentioned here may create some financial relief for single parents who are in need of help.
Talk to Someone
People feel better when they share their struggles with others. With no partner they can rely on, single parents tend to bottle in their feelings, which can lead to worse mental conditions. The stronger responsibility they feel, the more they try to solve things on their own.
It’s okay to vent.
Talk to someone you trust. It can be a family member, a friend, or a therapist. Surely, it will make you feel a little better.
If the issues you face are hard to share with people in real life, an AI can hear you without any restrictions on time schedule, or location. It’s an affordable alternative counseling method with a free trial period. Give it a try!
No Need to Be Perfect, Grow Together With Your Child
We become a parent when a child is born, but that doesn’t make us a perfect parent. Single parents face many physical challenges that can impact their mental well-being.
We hope that you can try some of these methods listed above and find a self-care method that works best for you. Try to take it day by day as you grow together with your child.
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Financial Help For Single Parents: Benefits, Grants & Programs. (2021, April 29). Debt.Org. https://www.debt.org/advice/financial-assistance-for-single-parents/
Hao, L. (1996). Family Structure, Private Transfers, and the Economic Well-Being of Families with Children. Social Forces, 75(1), 269. https://doi.org/10.2307/2580765
Kramer, S. (2019, December 12). U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/12/12/u-s-children-more-likely-than-children-in-other-countries-to-live-with-just-one-parent/
Live a life of a single mother : Describe what the society is and will be. (2018). Journal of Nagoya Management Junior College, 59, 129–140. https://doi.org/10.14995/00000435
Stack, R. J., & Meredith, A. (2017). The Impact of Financial Hardship on Single Parents: An Exploration of the Journey From Social Distress to Seeking Help. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 39(2), 233–242. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-017-9551-6