Some say you can’t call it single parenting when you have a partner because that would mean you at least have some sort of support to raise and handle the children emotionally and financially. But in the case where you’re practically the only emotional and financial support your children have, it’s safe to say you’re in the single parenting category. At its most stark, being a single parent is doing EVERYTHING – being the breadwinner, doing all of the parenting and most importantly, having no back up when either one goes south. Being a single parent is generally not staying at home with your children while someone else works to put a roof over your heads. It’s leaving your children with someone else, paying for the privilege and going out to work to put a roof over everyone’s heads. Then it’s arriving home after working a full day and being hit with all the parenting stuff on top of the full day’s paid work.
Parenting in itself is a big challenge despite shared responsibilities. It is worse in case of single parenting where the partner is not there physically. You have to deal with guilt, negative emotions, fear, and doubt at the same time. When you have children who judge you for the separation from their Mom or Dad, depression is inevitable when you allow the stress to overwhelm you. It is also apparent that the challenges are daunting:
1. Double challenges
Naturally, you need a companion to just tap your back to assure you that “all is well, we are in this together.” Now you have to deal with it on your own. Your friends and family will not give you the company that your spouse gives you. You have to make your own decisions and deal with their consequences.
2. Children are adversely affected
Some couples opt to stay in unhappy marriages for fear of subjecting their children to emotional distress. How will you handle your daughter or son who jumps simultaneously on the dad’s shoulder and mom’s laps? This child is emotionally affected. At the same time, seeing you in sorrow all the time is not good for them either. That is the dilemma parents face prior to single parenting. The negative emotions in children affect their personality development which further leads to low self-esteem issues, isolation, bitterness, and resentment.
3. There is a lot of emotional overload
Guilt, bitterness, anger, and resentment define you but you need to heal because you have to provide a shoulder for your children to cry on when you yourself require it more than them. They notice your sorrow and struggles, even if they try to empathize with you, it also drains them. The emotional instability becomes a cycle, giving inevitable raise to sad family!
4. It becomes difficult to instill discipline in children
Parenting all alone may give wrong impression to the children. You have no option but to use dictatorship in instilling discipline which is not sustainable. It is evident, you need to make the best interest of the children your priority as a yardstick for instilling discipline.
Everyone needs someone to talk to and laugh with. Someone to hold them during the cold and lonely nights. Even if your day has been full of activities and calming ranging children, the urge for intimacy sets in no matter how much you try to program your mind that you can handle the situation.
Being a single parent is pretty much as tough as it’s cracked up to be. The effects, too, apart from the challenges are areas of concern to have a healthy enough parent to raise healthy children:
1. Social life is zero
2. You’ll work your butt off but still feel like you’re treading water
3. Dating is becomes a scary project you can’t afford to take on
4. Talking about the absent parent hurts every time
5. You’ll become a penny pincher
But beyond the challenges and telling effects, I want to encourage the single parents – just as you are a loving parent that sacrifices and gives of yourself to care and provide for your children, you have a Heavenly Father who does the same for you. He sees all that you go through. He knows how hard you try. He knows the weight that you carry on your shoulders and He wants to be there for you, like you are there for your children. We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
You are loved and cared for more than you can imagine and although it may delay but the sun will shine on you again!