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How To Win At Single Parenting

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Single parenting can be tough, so here are a few tips to help you thrive as a single mom!

RELATED: 15 Hobby Ideas For Stay-At-Home Moms

In this article:

  1. Spend More Time with Your Child to Show Affection
  2. Communicate Clear Limits to Enforce Rules
  3. Set Routines to Manage Time Better
  4. Find Opportunities to Multitask and Do More with Your Time
  5. Prioritize to Avoid Spending Time on Not-So Important Things
  6. Over-Prepare
  7. Synchronize Your Work Schedule for Less Stress
  8. Invest in a Qualified Babysitter for Peace of Mind
  9. Find a Community to Have Added Support
  10. Find Inspiration to Keep Going
  11. Surround Your Child with Strong Male Role Models
  12. Stay Calm and Positive to Be More Patient
  13. Empower Yourself to Become a Better Mother
  14. Don’t Spoil Your Child Because of the Guilt
  15. Make Time for Self-Care to Feel Good About Yourself
  16. Practice a Laidback Approach for More Quality Time
  17. Celebrate Because You Deserve It!

17 Single Parenting Life Hacks

1. Spend More Time with Your Child to Show Affection

Pretty mother reading a book to her daughter indoors | How To Win At Single Parenting

Your child needs to feel secure in your love and support. Make an effort to communicate your love with your words, time, and actions.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Affirm your child daily. Point out something they did well and praise them for it.
  • Play with your child. You’d be surprised at how much you learn about their personality and preferences when you’re engaged in their play.
  • Read a book with your child. Reading together is a great way to discover their thoughts and feelings.

When you deliberately spend time with your child, you’re letting them know they are important and they can count on you.

Studies show that teenagers from single-parent homes are more likely to have lower self-esteem and depression. Your affection and attention are crucial to your child’s mental health.

2. Communicate Clear Limits to Enforce Rules

Having a clear set of consistently enforced rules helps your child learn self-control and responsibility. Children as young as two years old can understand and follow simple rules. Take the time to explain your house rules to your child and let them know what you expect from them.

Consistency is also very important when you’re setting rules. Make sure the other members of the family are on the same page.

Your rules will naturally evolve as your child gets older and becomes more responsible. Talk it out with your child when you feel like it’s time for the rules to change.

3. Set Routines to Manage Time Better

Mother and her daughter cooking in the kitchen | How To Win At Single Parenting

Structure provides children with a sense of security. On top of that, a schedule allows single moms to plan ahead and maximize their time.

You can start by trying to schedule your meals and your child’s bedtime at the same time every day. After you’ve established that, you can start scheduling in other activities.

4. Find Opportunities to Multitask and Do More with Your Time

If you’re tired of spending your evenings on chores rather than snores, maybe you can find ways to multitask during the day. Try to find ways to incorporate playtime with your chores. If it helps, you can also think of multitasking as a type of parallel play.

For example, you can finish folding laundry while keeping your child entertained. Try playing a matching game with all of the socks or use the clothes to quiz your child on colors.

5. Prioritize to Avoid Spending Time on Not-So Important Things

Wouldn’t it be great if your home was Instagram-worthy all the time? Unfortunately, keeping a home in order does not come easily or instantly.

Some single moms struggle with the pressure of maintaining a picture-perfect household. To avoid feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do, it might help to prioritize certain tasks and momentarily let go of the things that don’t need to get done right away.

For instance, if it’s a particularly hectic morning, don’t trade in quality time with your child to do the dishes or to make the bed. These are things you can take care of later on.

Your house may not always be perfect, but is it really worth the added stress? What matters is that you and your child are happy and ready to get on with the day.

6. Over-Prepare

Most parents will agree that it’s important to be prepared, but this is even more important for single moms. Without an extra set of hands, it’s more difficult to manage meltdowns or keep kids entertained while waiting.

Try to anticipate different emergency situations and make sure you have a solution within arm’s reach. Here are some essentials you may want to always have with you:

  • Water in a reusable bottle or sippy cup
  • A healthy snack
  • Entertainment such as small toys or crayons and a coloring book
  • Extra clothes

For younger children, it’s also important to pack extra diapers and wipes. Once your baby starts solids, you may also want to consider packing the equipment you need to feed them. Having a stroller caddy where you can store all the things you need is absolutely helpful, too!

7. Synchronize Your Work Schedule for Less Stress

Working mom beside her sleeping baby | How To Win At Single Parenting

One of the most common single parent challenges is finding ways to juggle work and family responsibilities. Scheduling, in particular, is a logistical problem that can be a great source of stress. For example, some moms need to accommodate drop-offs and pick-ups in their work schedule.

Try looking for work that can give you the flexibility you need to be able to take care of your child. Some single moms work from home while others look for family-friendly companies that offer the kind of flexibility they need.

If you already have a job that you like, it might be worthwhile to talk to your boss about your needs as a single parent. While it might seem uncomfortable to disclose personal details, your boss may be willing to make it work.

8. Invest in a Qualified Babysitter for Peace of Mind

If you’re in a situation where you need regular childcare, it’s usually worth it to spend a little more on a qualified babysitter rather than relying on friends and family.

Try not to make a habit of letting the older children watch the younger ones. It’s always safer to have an adult around.

Find a professional who can provide a stimulating and safe environment. If you make sure that someone experienced and trust-worthy is watching over your child, you’ll have less to worry about while you’re away.

9. Find a Community to Have Added Support

Even though you’re a single parent, try not to fall into the trap of believing you’re completely alone in all of this. Apart from your family, friends, and neighbors, here are some common community networks that you can try tapping:

  • Other parents in your child’s school for carpooling opportunities
  • Support groups for single parents
  • Faith-based/religious groups

It takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes, you need to make an effort to find that village.

RELATED: Best Parenting Books For New Parents

10. Find Inspiration to Keep Going

Two mother talking to each other with their sons | How To Win At Single Parenting

Sure, single parenting is challenging, and it’s tough to figure out how to be a good single mother. Find comfort in knowing there are a lot of great examples of successful single parents who made amazing contributions or raised exceptional children.

For instance, former Presidents Obama and Clinton are both products of single-parent households. So, it seems like you’re in good company.

You can also draw inspiration from your friends and family. Maybe you have a friend who’s been thriving as a single parent you can connect with and get some single parent advice from?

Don’t lose heart when you’re having a rough day and the weight of single parenthood is bearing down on you. Single parenting can be challenging, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to raise an extraordinary human being.

11. Surround Your Child with Strong Male Role Models

Just because dad isn’t around, it doesn’t mean your child has to miss out on having strong male role models.

Identify a male family member or friend who you already have a strong connection with and give your child the opportunity to bond and build a relationship with him. It could be your father, brother, uncle, or a close friend.

You may have to exert a little more effort, but it’ll be worth it. Ultimately, it helps your child have a healthy perspective about men, even if they’re growing up without a dad.

12. Stay Calm and Positive to Be More Patient

Being the sole caretaker of a child can be tough, especially during the earlier stages of motherhood. When your child is young, it’s important to manage your expectations. Give them tasks and responsibilities that are appropriate for their age.

It may be challenging to keep your temper, especially because there’s usually no one to take your place when you’ve hit your limit. That’s why it’s important to understand your triggers and develop strategies to help you stay calm.

Yelling rarely works and it usually ends up making you and your child feel bad. So, before you start yelling, it might be helpful if you take a deep breath and slowly count to 10.

You will usually feel a lot better by the time you reach 10. You may even be able to laugh it all off.

When things get tough, talk to your child and explain why you’re having a hard time. Be honest about it and your child’s response may surprise you.

13. Empower Yourself to Become a Better Mother

Little girl sitting on mother lap | How To Win At Single Parenting

A common problem single mothers have to deal with is compensating for the absence of a father. As a single mom, your lack of control over your child’s father may be a source of frustration.

No matter how hard you try, accept it’s beyond your control. You can’t force your child’s dad to be the kind of parent you think he should be.

Instead, focus on your capabilities as a parent. Spend your energy and time thinking about what you can offer to your child, rather than obsessing about the other parent’s issues.

14. Don’t Spoil Your Child Because of the Guilt

Many single moms feel the need to make up for the things they feel like their child is missing out on. Try your best to avoid spoiling your child out of guilt. It won’t be beneficial for them in the long run.

15. Make Time for Self-Care to Feel Good About Yourself

Make a habit out of taking care of yourself. It’s surprising how regular exercise, a healthy diet, and enough sleep can really make a positive impact on your life.

It’s also good to schedule regular kid-free time and do something you really enjoy. Use this alone time to get a manicure, shop, or catch up with friends. Parenting is hard, and single moms absolutely deserve some time off.

Tip: If you can’t get a baby sitter, make a deal with another parent you trust. Offer to watch their child for an evening, and in return, they watch your child on another night

16. Practice a Laidback Approach for More Quality Time

Do you find yourself always racing against time? What for? It’s not always about comparing yourself to other moms, which is very unhealthy by the way, but it’s also how you constantly compete with yourself.

Did I cook breakfast on time? Did I pick up all the mess on the floor? Calm down, mama.

Some things can wait, but the time you could’ve spent with your child, you won’t get that back. Try a more laidback approach and ease off the pressure you’re feeling. Put quality time with your child first instead of picking up the Cheerios off the floor.

17. Celebrate Because You Deserve It!

Silhouette of mother and daughter walk at sunset | How To Win At Single Parenting

Whenever your child accomplishes something, celebrate it. Let your child know how proud you are of their progress, but don’t stop there — you should be proud of yourself, too!

Your child’s accomplishments are proof of how well you’ve been doing as a single mama! So celebrate your little and big wins because your hard work is paying off!

Check out this video for more single parenting tips and advice from Single with Kids:

Single parent families have their own unique set of challenges they need to overcome. It’s not a cakewalk, but there are ways you can manage your child, resources, and expectations that will help you in your journey as a single parent.

Raising children isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. Just always remember that single parenting doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone.

How do you make single parenthood work for you and your family? Let us know in the comments section. 

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