I have been a single parent for over two years, and it has definitely been a rocky road.

 But I have kept going, even when it seemed impossible. I know without Katy in my life, things would be very different. I love her with every breath in my body even though most times she is the cause of my frustrations. I know I'm not the only one out there. So if you are a newly single parent, or even a veteran who is going through a rough time, (some of these tips work for any parent, not just single parents): Take a deep breathStay calm. Here are a few tips I have learned that may help:

1. It's ok to be emotional:
I know that as single parents we want to be the backbone for our families. We need to achieve a balance though. It is okay for us to be emotional, and still be strong. I know I've broke down and cried many times after my daughter has gone to bed. A good cry can actually be a healthy release of emotions that we have been hiding from our children all day. But if you don't let it out once in awhile, the emotions you are holding in can backfire on you.

2. Be Creative:
How many times have you gotten un-wanted parenting advice from others, and you kept thinking "but you don't know my child, you don't live with him/her, you just DONT KNOW"? I used to do this all the time, completely dismissing any advice from others. But sometimes if we swallow our pride, and take a moment to listen, it just might help. If the advice doesn't quite work for your child, tweak it. Take someone's advice, and change it to fit you and your child. Be creative, and you just might come up with a solution!

3. Teach them your values:
Make a point of telling your children, what is okay, and what's not. And stand firm with what you believe in, even if it isn't what others think you should be doing. You are the parent of your child. No one else is.

4. Quit worrying about not having the other parent around:
This is something I still struggle with every day. But here's the deal: Single moms and dads having been raising children for a VERY long time. If they can do it, so can you. Just because the other parent isn't there, doesn't mean your child can't live a happy and healthy life.

5. Don't be scared to ask for help:
We can't always be Supermoms/Superdads. Sometimes we need help, but we are too afraid to ask. Keep in mind that just because you are asking for help, that doesn't mean you have failed as a parent. The old saying "It takes a village to raise a child" couldn't be more accurate. Make a support system for yourself of reliable family members and friends that you can trust to be there when you need them most.

6. Make them self-sufficient:
This is my favorite tip to give any other parent out there, because I have such a strong testimony of it. There is nothing wrong with getting a head start on teaching them a few things that will help them feel more grown up, while giving you more time to focus on other things. My daughter loves helping mommy with the dishes. She is so proud of herself when she gets her own snack out of the designated drawer in the kitchen. Instead of stopping in the middle of doing the mounds of laundry I have to go restart her movie, she knows how to press play when it gets to the menu. She opens the fridge, gets her own juicebox, and the only thing I have to do is help her put the straw in. Her favorite pair of shoes are a pair of clogs that she can just slip on, instead of me having to tie her tennis shoes. I know these seem like simple things, but they add up. A minute here, a minute there. Which means more time for me to get things done that I need to.

7. Make a plan/schedule/organize
Being a single parent can get pretty crazy and hectic sometimes. To avoid that feeling of "chicken with my head cut off", make a plan/schedule for each day. Try to organize your home to make things easier for when you only have a few moments to spend on it.

8. Keep your schedule:
Kids whine less about bed time, if they already know it's coming. So once you come up with a schedule, do your best to stick to it.

9. Stay healthy:
Healthy parents, means healthy kids. Make sure to take time to yourself, to keep yourself healthy. You can avoid frantically searching for a last minute babysitter because you are sick, if you just take a few moments to yourself each day to focus on yourself, and your own health.

10. Have a backup plan:
Ever had a babysitter back out at the last minute, and had to cancel that important meeting? When it comes to babysitters/childcare, school schedules, plans for the day, etc it's really important that you come up with a back up plan in case something falls through. You can avoid an un-necessary stress out session if you already have a plan when things go wrong.

11. Budget:
Living on a single income can be very difficult, especially in this economy. Take some time to come up with a budget for food, clothing, and other needs that allows you live comfortably. Putting a little of your paycheck in a savings account each month can also help for emergencies.

12. Schedule Alone time:
Make some time for yourself. Schedule a manicure. Watch a movie by yourself. Just a small amount of "Alone" time each day can do wonders for your own sanity. Don't Forget to pamper yourself

13. Focus on the positive:
There are going to be times when bad things happen, that you just can't change no matter how hard you try. Don't dwell on them, it's counter-productive and it will only stress you out. Focus on more positive things, or things that you can still change. 

14. Pray:
Prayer is a wonderful thing. Take time to thank God for the good things you have in life, and ask him to bless you with  courage, strength, compassion, and love. God always answers our prayers.

15. Sometimes you just have to let go:
If all else fails, just let it go. If you can't change the situation, just let it go. If something your child is doing frustrates you, but there's nothing you can do, just let it go. And remember that your child loves you, you love your child, and no matter what you will get through it together. Be strong.

I am not perfect, nor a perfect parent. Just doing my best. Sometimes that's all you can do.

Sending my love out to all you single parents.


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