One of the most difficult aspects I found about my divorce was the change from a family of 4 to a family of 3. Yes, after divorce you are still a family, just a smaller one. So things are going to be different but that doesn’t mean they have to be negative. Here are some hints and tips to help you as you enter your new life as a single parent.
1. Develop a Support Network
This is absolutely crucial. You need to know who you can depend on right now. Most likely, this network includes your immediate family and friends, but think about other people in your life who might also help you. Making an actual list of who these people are can help remind you that you’re not alone. In addition, consider joining a formal support group for single parents in your area.
2. Schedule time alone
Carving out “me time” is an incredibly powerful single parenting tip. It will bring you healing, hope, and perspective. Right now, it’s important that you create pockets of time in your life when you can just be. A time when you’re not accountable for completing a task or responding to questions. Time to sit, to think, to ponder. This is one of the most critical bits of advice for newly single parents, and it’s one that you simply must make time for.
3. Think outside the box
If finding time to yourself sounds impossible, consider some creative solutions, like swapping babysitting time with a neighbour or waking up a half-hour before the rest of your household. The time that you give yourself is precious, and it will be fruitful in helping you to establish reserves of inner strength.
4. Be Present for your Kids
When you’re with your children, make an effort to be emotionally present with them. It would be easy to retreat into your heart right now, but this is a time when your children truly need you more than ever. Simple activities like playing a board game or taking a walk together can go a long way toward communicating the message that life will go on and they will, indeed, be okay
Expressing your feelings is important to your overall health. Consider writing in a journal or scheduling a regular “date” with a friend to vent, cry, and grieve. This one isn’t just a single parenting tip; it’s a life tip. Whether you’ve experienced the loss of a spouse, the end of a marriage, or an adjustment to the dream you once held for your life, it is important to grieve and process the loss before moving on.
6. Identify what gives you strength
In the past, how have you handled challenging times in your life? What most energizes you and reminds you that you possess the strength needed to meet the current challenge? Focus on what has worked for you in the past. (Before long, you’ll be giving single parenting tips and advice to others!)
7. Ask for help
Of all of the single parenting tips listed here, this one is probably the most difficult to apply. However, you must know that there really are people around you who would love to help! Keep in mind, too, that asking for help and letting others into your life is a gift to yourself and to the person assisting you. Sharing in one another’s lives during difficult times affirms our human connection and brings a sense of purpose to everyday living.
by Nawal Houghton, Your Divorce Coach