All of the research suggests that it is better for children if they are able to maintain meaningful relationships with both of their parents after separation. For a number of reasons, this isn't always possible and you may find yourself parenting alone.
Parenting on your own can be a tiring and lonely task. When you're feeling low, when your children are up all night with an illness or when you would simply like to share a special moment in your child's life with someone else, it can all feel pretty overwhelming. But, there will also have special times, when being a parent feels fantastic and rewarding.
Dealing with isolation
Parents who are caring for their children alone can often feel isolated. The daily routines with no one to share the responsibilities can mean that there's little time to spend with friends. Find other parents who are in the same position, join a support group or join a baby sitting circle so that you can have a regular night free to spend with friends. Joining a club or starting a night class will also offer you the opportunity to get out and meet people.
Taking good care of yourself
The stresses and pressures of parenting on your own can mean that you forget about taking good care of yourself. It's important for both you and your children that you're in good physical and emotional shape. Eating well and finding ways to relax will help you feel happier and more in control of your life. Playing with your children at the park or at the local swimming pool is not only great fun, it provides fantastic mood enhancing exercise. It's great being a parent but parenting alone can be exhausting so it's important that you have some 'me time' too.
There are times when we all need some support, so don't be afraid to ask. You might be able to find all the support you need from friends or family. Just having someone to talk to or someone to offer a helping hand every now and then can make all the difference. Your local library is likely to have details of local support groups and your GP, your child's school or a local Sure Start centre will also be able to point you in the right direction. You'll find details of national support organisations online.
Balancing work with parenting alone can be a tricky task. Unless you have good child care or someone who can look after your child while you're working, it can be difficult to find a suitable job. Many parents who are caring alone also find that their confidence takes a knock and starting a new job can feel daunting. Don't let this put you off. Have a look around for something that might fit your circumstances or talk to an advisor.