Whether you planned to be a single parent all along or life threw you some unexpected circumstances, being a single parent comes with its own set of unique challenges.
You don’t have anyone else to rely on. At the end of the day, the only one you can count on to keep things on track in your family is you. That’s going to require some major planning on your part. Here are some ideas to help keep you organized and on track.
Think Ahead for Meals
It can be easy to fall into the trap of grabbing take-out food after a long day at work. But doing that too often may be bad for your waistline and your pocketbook.
Instead of reaching for the nearest menu, think ahead of time about your meal plans for the week. Try to spend Sunday afternoon prepping and cooking for the week so you can have a freezer full of healthy meals during the week. All you’ll have to do is pop them in the oven.
Prepping the food can be a family affair if you have a toddler. They’ll love helping you in any way they can.
Build That Emergency Fund
An emergency fund becomes even more important when a family only has one paycheck coming in. If you get sick or laid off, you’re in for some scary times if you don’t have enough money set aside.
Bulking up that fund to cover as many months of expenses as you can should be one of your top priorities as a single parent.
Finding Mutual Aid for Babysitting
Instead of shelling out money for a babysitter whenever you need or want a night out, you may want to build up a call list of friends who are in the same boat you are.
By babysitting for your friends’ children whenever they’re in a bind, you’ll have some free options when it comes to finding a babysitter for your child.
Get Some Exercise
Parenting often includes a lot of sacrifice, but one area you shouldn’t cut back on is taking care of yourself. You need time to exercise and blow off steam.
Exercise will help you stay healthier and will help you manage your stress load. Somehow, you have to make it a priority several times a week, whether you take your children to the park to run around with you or you buy a treadmill and get up half an hour earlier than the kids do.
Don’t Try to be a Superwoman
Nobody can do it all and remembering that will help you keep your sanity. Just do the best you can and let the rest go. If your house isn’t clean, don’t sweat it. Are your kids happy and well-adjusted? That’s a true indicator of how you’re doing as a parent.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at email@example.com.