Coping as single mothers
By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
A woman of any age can become a single parent either through teenage pregnancy, accidental pregnancy, divorce, separation, or the death of a spouse.
As a single parent, you may discover that you are dealing with emotions, such as anger, fear, sadness, frustration, shock, regret, self pity, bitterness or loneliness.
You should know that some women cannot cope and many people who grew under a single parent would remember the difficulties, challenges, and the struggle their mothers faced. But they are still successful in raising respectable children on their own.
Speaking on the issue, a Guardian and Counselor, Mrs Tola Famuyide admitted that raising children alone can be difficult under any circumstances because without a partner, the stakes are higher.
She noted that as a single parent, you might have sole responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care.
Mrs Famuyide posited that being a single parent can result in added pressure, stress, and fatigue. If such person always get tired, distracted, or being anxious to get support.
“If you constantly discipline your child, by a way of transferred aggression, behavioral problems might set in. Therefore, single parent must show love to their children by giving them unconditional love and support and equally set aside time each day to play, read or simply sit with the kids. To reduce stress, create a routine structure such as regularly scheduled meals and bed time,” She added.
She warned single parents to be careful about asking a new friend or partner to stay with their children but rather look for a regular and professional care giver, if there is need for such.
The counsellor advised that single parents should not spoil or over pamper a child Just to make up for being a single parent.
While saying single parents can consult a counselor to help her or the child solve problems, fear, or concerns, she said single parent should avoid broad, negative statements about the opposite sex so as not to create bad impression on the children.
She affirmed that being a single parent can be challenging but a rewarding experience if well managed.
Mrs Famuyide posited that by showing a child love, respect, talking honestly, staying positive can help lessen stress and help the child thrive.
To this end, if you are a single parent, these tips might also be useful for you.
Don’t be negative: It is very easy to get upset or angry about your situation, especially after a broken relationship, you may find out that you are angry with your ex. Don’t let that feelings overwhelm you, because you will get to a point when it will be suddenly dawn on you that he might have broken your heart, but he has given you what you love most(your child or children).
Therefore, be strong and be positive. Make sure you focus on your child’s best interest, most importantly, do not put your frustration or anger on the child. Start emotional healing by explaining the situation to your child or children and let them know that it is going to be alright.
Find support system: Reach out to your family and friends. Your family and friends can be of help. They can give you sound advice and assist you when you need them to look after your child or children. Seek out for other mothers, neighbours or people in church or mosque, you will find many people in your situation who are coping well. You could also try sharing ideas and experience together.
Do not put much stress on yourself: Most single parents find themselves trying to overcompensate their children because of the situation at hand. Some put too much pressure on themselves, do not be overwhelmed and don’t let things break you down. Pick yourself up and accept that everyone have challenges, you are not a super woman and nobody expects you to be. Focus on things you can control and give yourself credit for your daily achievement.
Have time for yourself: Taking time to be alone or spend time doing your favorite activities is a good way to relieve the stress of being a single parent. Make time for yourself, go out with friends, go to parties, and have a good time, by so doing, you will feel better and happier. Make sure you eat healthy and engage in exercise because you need to be in good health for your sake and for the sake of the children.
Watch your spending: Being a single parent means you are financially responsible for your child. Some father’s if they are still alive may come in, and some may not, even if they are obligated by law, child support payments are not enforced, therefore you could find yourself having to shoulder all responsible. You have to be resourceful, prudent and plan ahead.
Know that there is no shame: Single parenting through divorce, separation, or childbirth out of wedlock no longer have so much stigma unlike before in Nigeria, though divorce is not advisable except it is life-treatening. You should equally prepare for any uncomfortable situation or disapproving comments from strangers, co-workers and even family members. There is no shame in being a single parent, just focus on the fact that you are lucky to have been blessed with a child or children.
Also, surround yourself with people who can support you and help you boost your confidence. If you are worried that your child does not have any male role model, reach out to responsible family members, friends, or even neighbours who can be positively involved in your child’s life.
While single parenting involved hardwork, you should note that it will be all worth it at the end.