Parenthood is tough, but single parenthood can often present a whole new set of challenges. Whether you're going it alone from birth or coping with the breakdown of a relationship, there are no hard and fast rules to abide by - but rest assured, you're not the only one. There are approximately 13.7 million single mamas and papas in the US alone, who are all fighting the good fight just like you. It can be exhausting, difficult and frustrating at times, but it's all for the greater good. Here are some handy hacks to keep in your arsenal to help you sleep a little easier.
Create a routine.
Running a bath while cooking dinner, doing the laundry and trying to prevent a child from running riot can be a daunting task, but it can be done with a little practice. Single parents often feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks, as there's no one else around to watch the kids for five minutes. Creating a routine can help keep everything in check and will make life easier in the long run. Structured meal times and bedtimes can be hard to implement at first, but can reduce your stress significantly once they're in full swing.
Find great childcare.
If you're the sole breadwinner, then finding great childcare is a big bonus. Do your research into local daycare centers, visit them and get a feel for it. Asking other moms about their experiences can go a long way into deciding if it's the right fit, too. The last thing you want when you're trying to work is the added worry of who is looking after your little one. Let them know about your situation and address any concerns or questions you have before giving it a whirl.
Ask for help.
Single parents can often feel under pressure to do everything themselves, to the point where they feel it's inappropriate to ask others for help. Don't be afraid to call on your friends and family if you need a break or just someone to talk to - that's what they're there for. There are plenty of support groups for single parents around that might help you feel more understood. Getting out and about to playgroups can also help build bonds that will serve you well in the future.
Take care of yourself.
When you're putting all of your energy into looking after someone else's needs it's not surprising that you may forget about yourself. If possible, try and carve out some you-time a couple of times a week. Finish that book, binge that series, have a bath in peace. These simple things will help you keep focused and positive moving forward. After all, you can't keep running on half-empty.