I think most married people have kids together with a sense of optimism and joy. Most aren’t having kids together with the hope of one day being single parents. But it does happen for many reasons – illness, death, absentee working partner, divorce, and
many other reasons.
It can happen unexpectedly and abruptly. It can happen slowly – creeping up over time in the background. When it does happen, not everyone is prepared to be both a single parent and sole breadwinner. It often takes time to get your feet firmly settled on the ground.
There is so much to navigate. Juggling across work, school, children’s social, and your social schedules. Helping with homework, attending parent-teacher conferences, attending school functions, getting the kids ready for school, and volunteering for school functions. Doing a good job in your profession. Building your network of trusted help such as babysitters, daycare centers, pediatricians, teachers, sounding boards, and other trusted help. Sleeping at least 5 hours a night. Cooking breakfast and dinner for the kids and preparing school lunch bags. Having your own personal life.
Single parenting is usually not anticipated or planned when the children first came along and when it does occur, it takes
some time to get settled into it. That’s ok.
After thrashing for a bit, I realized that the most important thing to do was to find and build my trusted network. I found a pediatrician I could count on and trust with my kids. I learned about the different teachers in the school and how to best work with them. I found a trusted babysitter that was with us for some time. I found people in my life and met others who were great sounding boards to talk through challenges. I built a catalog of recipes that were pretty quick to make that the kiddos liked – nothing harder as a single parent than routinely getting breakfast and dinner made –and even cleaned up?.
It was a challenge but getting these things in place was the best thing I ever did for both me and the kids.
Once this was accomplished, I finally started to settle in. I’m grateful every day for my wonderful kids and am thankful for the support I received from so many trustworthy people.
By: Davis Smith