Being a Single Parent: Support, Help & Advice
Becoming a parent for the first time can be an incredible and overwhelming experience, especially if you are doing it on your own.
Single parents can often feel a little overburdened with no one there to share the load, but this doesn't have to take away from your parenting experience.
Here are our top tips for both bringing up your little one as an only parent, and for making a little bit of time to take care of yourself.
Self-Care is Not Selfish
Your dependant baby needs you to be capable, competent and coping, which means you need to be healthy and well-rested.
In the early days of babyhood, make sure you remember to eat properly and get enough shut-eye each night.
The household chores can be neglected (or passed to a loving relative), as long as your own and your baby’s basic needs are being met.
Get outside and grab some regular fresh air and exercise by taking a walk in a nearby park or wandering to the shops.
Single Parents Need Support
You may be a single parent, but that in no way means you are alone!
Beyond supportive friends and family, social networking sites can be useful to find mums and dads in your area in similar situations.
Belonging to a community provides emotional and practical support.
Some of the ideas below help with meeting like-minded people and other parents:
The more diverse your social circle the better for you and your little one. If there isn’t a local group to join, consider starting your own.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Everyone needs a helping hand at times so accept offers of assistance whether from family or friends.
A babysitting network is a good trade-off, where you can exchange childcare services, earning yourself some free time, and a playdate for baby.
If you have to return to work, sharing a childminder or nanny can be more economical (and social!), and remember that your employer has to consider any request for flexible working.
Take advice from the DWP to ensure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
If you or your little one feel under the weather, make sure you have a list of contacts (both family and emergency) just in case you need a helping hand.
Make sure you have friends or relatives on speed dial just in case you need them to nip to the pharmacy in the evening, or drive you to an appointment.
Single parenthood is all about planning ahead, you might find it useful to write lists of bits and bobs you might need especially for day trips and holidays.
Give Yourself the Praise You Deserve
We know that parenting is a tough gig, so don't forget to be proud of how well you are doing!
Taking time to have special, quiet moments cuddling and playing with your baby can give you a little boost, and provide you with the reassurance you deserve.
Whenever you need a helping hand or some warm advice, don't forget to check in with your health visitor or your GP.