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