Did you enjoy Suzanne’s story?
If you have not read our Wednesday’s post, click on the link below to read and check in with yourself.
This Friday, we bring you
“Single Parenting At Midlife.”
The unique challenge of parenting as a single parent can be made lighter by the practical support from extended family and friends.
Single parents need highly focused and practical support to execute the challenges of everyday life suited for two parents but now carried by one person. The daily school runs, homework, school events, house chores, ball games, fixing meals, caring for the children, clinic visits, car repairs, house repairs, paying attention to the children, watching movies together, and so many other things that must be done 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
The single parent also has personal needs for social connections, emotional connections, touch, heart conversations, health needs, career or business needs and many other issues required for a smooth adult life.
Combining these multiple needs from the children, self, family, friends, community and other things pressing for your attention can become very exhausting and can knock the wind out of the strongest person in life. If you are a single parent and running the whole show, I respect you and I stand up and drop my cap for you. Well done - keep going - bravo - you are doing well.
If you know any single parents, especially mothers, reach out and appreciate them today and do something basic and practical to support that person consistently. The gesture can be as simple as weekly basic errands or fixing something or school runs. Take the children for a few hours so that she can go and connect mentally, socially, emotionally and check-In with herself. This is an important action point for you- so try it for a few days and send me your comments and feedback.
It is important to look beyond your polarised judgement about the single parent and kick into a more practical and supportive role and help the children experience a mother or father with more energy to play and laugh because of the support coming from you. When you support single parents you help them sustain their energy, create good vibes and higher levels of creativity and they can therefore bring greater ideas, happiness and balance to the children and new partner.
Single parents experience a deep and wide range of flowing or erupting emotions that many people cannot fathom, pitched between what you need, what the child needs, what your family demands, what social connections expect, even what your inner self dreams and what your outer self can afford per time.
Words and expressions are always hanging in your mouth, your eyes rolling over the thoughts; between blaming your ex-spouse/partner, yourself, and the child, yet trying to balance that with a healthy mindset for the child and keeping a good relationship with people around you. You are aware that what you say and how you say it can cause a damaging mindset on your children, therefore, the need for constructive words and careful consideration always. This fluid situation puts the single parent under extreme pressure that may not be seen nor understood by the people around them, therefore making it difficult to provide the right advice and support.
It is important to seek structured help to discuss these wide ranges of flowing and erupting emotions and the tendency to swing in one particular direction at a certain season, such as back-to-school period, family events, home renovation times, health-care visits and caregiving periods. Discussing with a professional can help you gain a wider perspective and connect you to other people and resources that can help you go through the process with less damaging pressures and strains but with ideas that will lead to smoother transitions.
If your church has a structure, group, or system that is insensitive to this unique group of people, the organisation might need to create practical support based on the range of issues facing single parents. It can become unnerving when the single parent is not able to find the appropriate family group in church based on the homogeneous grouping system of the married men or married women groups or structured judgement, policies and elimination processes that the religious structures might have created consciously or unconsciously. The single parent will then tend to isolate, become defensive and create a wall around them that makes it difficult for others to engage and eventfully disconnect from the religious group.
The single parent, sometimes, also works hard to protect the young mind and self-esteem of the child as he/she faces questions from daily life contacts within social, school, and playgroups. Sometimes these instructions from “mummy” while intended for good, are counterproductive and confusing to the child.
Many men and women have raised great and successful children as single parents. This underpins the fact that you can be a successful single parent. You don't need to drown beneath the pressures and situations, seek for structured help and support for your community.
So what more can you do?
Review your motives, hurts, pains and vulnerabilities and deal with these issues.
Review your plans for your future and the future of your child.
Review routines and find trusted help to reduce the daily pressure.
Look at issues from a more practical perspective.
Decide to become happier, more joyful and connect with trusted family and friends.
Remember that, you cannot totally compensate for the parenting gap, you can pray to get the support required from family and friends and you can only pray that the grace of God will create new opportunities for success. If you have any questions, thoughts or you require structured support - send us an email and we will connect with you.
Watch out for the post on - Blending Unusual Fruits - How to bring complex families together to become one happy family at midlife.
Wow!!! How possible is family blending in your community ?