We often hear of the challenges that single parents have, but another group sometimes get overlooked: solo parents are those who are not divorced or widowed but carry a very large portion of the family load because their spouse is often away. Whether it’s due to military service, religious commitments, or irregular work hours, many parents (women in particular) find themselves shouldering the bulk of the home and family responsibilities. Here are some strategies to cope as a solo parent:
Carve Out Couple Time Whenever Possible
If you don’t have a lot of time with a spouse or partner, take advantage of all the small moments. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate date: even just going to get a Coke together or a quick walk around the neighborhood can help you connect when time is short.
When your partner is away, make the most of all technology has to offer to stay connected. Seeing someone on a screen can be so much more impactful than a phone call, so use Skype, FaceTime, or any other video program for the whole family to interact.
Require More of Your Children
Depending on children’s ages and abilities, they can be a tremendous help in easing the burden of family work. It is not just mom’s job; if someone lives in the home, they share part of the responsibility!
Surround Yourself With Support
If your significant other isn’t around a lot, you really need to rely on others for connection, advice, and support. Whether it’s neighbors, friends, family, or church members, find those people who can be in your life when you need them.
Taking care of our minds, bodies, and souls is never easy, but it becomes all the more challenging (and all the more important) if you’re a solo parent. The best way to ensure it happens is to schedule it in! Whether it’s a pedicure, a trip to the gym, or anything else that nourishes and sustains you, work to make it a priority.
In addition to self-care, make sure you give yourself some love, and give yourself a break! If you feel overwhelmed or a little sad, it’s okay to say to yourself, “of course you feel this way!” Give yourself credit for the things that you’re doing well.