10 ways to be a boss at single parenthood by Lidia Peto

Posted 16 November 2017

Lidia has put together her top ten tips to support others get through the highs and lows of single parenthood.

  1.  Love and accept yourself

It’s not always easy to love and accept yourself as a single parent. Sometimes we live in daily guilt because we feel we are a bad parent. We live with negative feelings about ourselves and our bodies as we have the tendency to neglect ourselves as our children come first. Rightly so. We give in to stress, smoking, drinking, over eating…as it’s tough being a single parent and we all have our ways of dealing with stress in our lives. It’s easier giving in than to be positive and healthy each day, but guess what, you will still feel crappy. Staying positive, grateful and healthy will change your whole life, I’m not saying it’s easy because it isn’t, it’s really hard but the effect it will have on your life is far better.

We as role models for our children should model a happy healthy and grateful life. We are bloody awesome single parents, even with our imperfect bodies of stress and strain. You are beautiful. See yourself the way your children see you, with unconditional love and acceptance.

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself 

I can be hard on myself when I don’t achieve things I want to achieve. There are days when I discipline my daughter and I beat myself up because I feel I was too hard on her. When she says she hates me I feel like a failure and makes me think I should be a better parent. The thing is I’m am not a bad parent and neither are you, take it easy. They are teens in my case, or toddlers or just kids, its tough growing up and they will have their moods when they don’t get their way, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

There is no book on raising kids, there is no right or wrong way. Try your best not to be hard on yourself and remember you are not alone. Take the reins off and don’t whip yourself.

  1. Do the best you can for your children

As a parent you always intend to do the best for your children. Sometimes we feel confused between what we want to do for them vs what we need to do. As a single parent you always do the best for your children, however when I say do the best, I mean just keep on doing your best. Sometimes as a parent, we feel like what we are doing for them is not always the best and we end up being confused, over compensating, spoiling them and giving in to their demands. We think this is the best for them but actually, it can be more detrimental. So when you initially know that what you are doing is the best for them, even if it means sometimes they get hurt or upset, keep on doing what’s best, not what’s easy for them or easy for us at that specific moment. You will reap the benefits of this.

  1. Be selfish

My daughter said to me the other day “Mommy you are so selfish sometimes”. I was quite shocked but then I thought about it and wondered why she said this to me. I realized that I am selfish, but in a good way. I take care my daughter’s needs and then mine and always make sure I am ok before I think of other people. I know it sounds really selfish but if I am not a complete and fulfilled person how can I support and be strong for my daughter.  Therefore it is important to be selfish sometimes, in a good and positive way for you to be stronger.

  1. Have fun and laugh

Be yourself. Have fun. Be crazy and weird even if it embarrasses your kids. Dance, sing, and laugh as much as you can. If there is an opportunity to smile and laugh with your kids, just do it. Laughter is the best medicine for your soul. Embrace this fun and laughter always as some days it may feel very limited. Laughter can create amazing memories to think back on. Being silly sometimes will help you realise that life shouldn’t always be taken too seriously, you can let loose every once in a while.

  1. Live without resentment 

One of the worst things in life is to have resentment and even worse is having resentment towards your children. I learnt a very valuable lesson. Sometimes resentment and hate can creep into your life as a single parent. I had to give up allot of dreams and passions, and also give up relationships for my daughter. I had to end up in a relationship to show me that I had so much resentment towards my daughter and blamed her for me not being able to live my life the way I wanted to. This was so wrong and I had to deal with it. After all, it was me that brought her into this world. I was given the amazing calling of being a mother. It was not her fault. So I deal with resentment – as this can haunt you and cause separation between you and your children. And it can cause bitterness. It’s not easy to bring restoration. I am so grateful I identified this and was able to banish all resentment.

  1. Have goals, dreams and passion 

It doesn’t mean that if you are a single parent you have to give up on your dreams, goals and passions. But it may mean they need to be postponed, adapted or reviewed at times when your children need you more. Don’t ever think you can’t fulfil every dream and goal.  Make a list, and make it happen, prioritize the list accordingly, even if it takes you five years to achieve them. Believe you can and you will. I have been able to follow many of my dreams, and now I can experience this with my daughter by my side. Some of them have been on hold for a few years but I am now able to follow my health, fitness and inspiration passion to help others in similar situations. Now my precious daughter can walk this journey with me. No matter how small or big your goal is never use you children as an excuse that you can’t achieve them.

  1. Don’t always listen to the masses 

I know as a single parent we need all the advice and help we can get. There can be days when we don’t know if we are coming or going. All we want is for someone to help us whether it is the right or wrong. We often want to scream ‘HELP ME!’ for someone just to listen and say it will be ok. People give advice the best they can but sometimes they have no clue what they are saying. Many people do not get single parents and our unique situations. With that being said, they will try and give us advice – they could be married, single, men, woman or someone who has no children. I always take advice but then ponder about it. Perhaps talk to other single parent’s just for a second opinion and then decide about the advice. I’m not saying ignore advice from people, friends and family. Just evaluate the advice and ask, do they actually get me and my situation? You can then choose to accept the advice or put it on the shelf. The choice is always up to you.

  1. Sometimes just breathe 

There will be days when nothing else can be done, said or thought, only breathing helps.  Pouring fuel on a fire is not good. It has taken me 13 years to walk away from a raging child and sit down and breathe. I have tried all methods and this is the best and easiest one for me and my daughter. Breathing helps calm you and makes you think and react with clarity and not with impulse or anger. I have found that meditating or just being still for a few minutes on my own works wonders when it’s a bad day for us.

  1. Make ‘Me’ Time

Take a relaxing bath. Do your nails. Call a friend. Go to gym. Go for a walk. Mediate. Read a book. Watch a movie, have a nap, have a spa day, visit a museum or take a dance lesson.  Always make ‘me’ time beneficial for your body, mind and soul. Making ‘me’ time basically means refuelling. You really need this. Trust me.  And please don’t feel guilty investing in yourself. As a single mother, I never want to spend time, money, or energy on myself. I have learnt that for me to be the best parent I can be for my child, is to invest in myself and make the effort to have ME time.

15 comments on “10 ways to be a boss at single parenthood by Lidia Peto

  1. This is such relevant advise, thank you for sharing.
    I’m only recently a single mom and it’s stressful. Breathing helps and last night was the first time I took myself on a date to the cinema and I felt alive as Tanya and not Mommy for the first time since the break up.
    Me time is important for MY sanity!
    Great article thanks x

  2. This is all lovely, great advice. Sadly as a working single mum with no input from ‘dad’, or any family living near by, it’s not so easy to take a day at a spa/an hour at the gym/go to the loo alone…! Every bit of ‘me time’ has to be organised well in advance, with the associated guilt of leaning on friends for babysitting duties. Every day of annual leave outside of school holidays is another day of paid childcare during the holidays. Yes, I realise it is important, but it’s simply not that easy unfortunately. Nice idea though..

    1. I’m exactly the same and like you say going a wee alone is a highly unlikely privalage that doesn’t happen very often,let alone the dream of a spa DAY,a day,without worrying about being a mum,how lovely would that be.the part about who’s advice is relevant and who gets it,that’s very true.

      1. I JUST started to suceed in getting alone time in the bathroom (well 30-60 seconds) …for now he is not tall enough to reach the door handle or anything else that is not babyproofed!
        Every morning I congradulate myself! – After all it has been a year! (not sure how long it will last).
        My other stratedgy is to go to bed late every second night (and really early on the other nights) it keeps me sane at the same time as giving me my own time (although it is still in the dark lol)
        I don’t have family near by either.
        We can do this. xo

    2. Yes I totally agree, I have no family and miss out on several social events or just wanting to go out with a friend. Even going swimming in the evening = paying a babysitter so I don’t do that. It is incredibly tough x

  3. Thank you for all the comments and so very relevant. I understand having Me time is so difficult as my daughters dad lives 6000km away and I have no family in this country to support either. I also worked many hours a day and its not always financially viable. Finding me time could even mean watching a movie on the couch and disconnecting from the outside world and forgetting the worries. Its about investing in you as a single parent for a few mins a day. Putting everything aside and saying its now time for me to relax, breathe and recharge. I wish I had more me time in past. It does help. Good Luck and all the best. xx

  4. Thank you for setting out some important issues with a very honest and welcoming review on each.

    I probably will take a little bit of each and try a little harder having some me time.

  5. Thank you for sharing such good advice
    I feel so close to some of the feelings you expressed
    I am alone with my son and some days I just can’t stand hearing how a bad mum I am…even if later on he comes to say sorry I don’t think it.

    1. Thank you for your feedback Catherine, it inspires me to hear that you experience many of the points I have mentioned.

      Its hard being a single parent as we don’t always have someone to lean on for help.

      But we are rock stars

      Wishing you all the best


  6. This article has made me think I’m on the right path, I think of my children first, but I think about myself as well to stay sain. I’ve chosen to work part time to be there for my children & im lucky to be able to manage that as a council tenant, not through choice but my ex left myself & my children homeless to the point of living in emergency accommodation. We got through that. We are happy & life is good.
    I have a big regret that I aborted a pregnancy just before my relationship ended as it was a joint decision to keep us together, but he left anyway. I have mixed emotions that I miss my baby I never had, but now being single I would have 3 children to look after & so I feel what was done was for the best. Resentment is what beats me up inside, choices I made, decisions i made.. they are my demons. But looking ahead my future is bright, my children are healthy & happy, I am strong & fun & loving.. life is good & I am thankful for it.
    Good luck to each and every one of you in this life we all get to live together x

    1. Thanks for the amazing comments and sharing this. I’m so glad I could write this article. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job at single parenthood. Good luck. Xx

  7. I’ve over eaten out of stress since my daughter was born 5.5 yrs ago, and with the pressure of being so isolated it’s not funny. I’ve just finished 4yrs of university alone with my child and have become so fat I hate to leave the house.
    While others have family time together I feel bad that my child only has me. We do have puesdo family and aunties but it’s not the same.
    I find it difficult to not overeat on carbs & sweets 😢
    Great article Lidia! You hit so many pertinent points that I’m sure we all feel x

    1. Dear Lisa, I am so sorry to hear this. Thank you for your comments. Congratulations on your amazing achievement at University. You should be proud of this, I am sure you are doing a great job as a single parent. Good luck and take care of yourself xx

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