Like the vast majority of single parents, this had not been my plan. I have been a single mother for 8 years now and I know firsthand that parenting is tough, especially when you are on your own.
Read more: You CAN be happy as a single parent family
I have learnt that being a single parent is many things, but it is not failure. I am not ashamed of my situation, in fact it has made me a stronger and better person.
My grandmother once said to me that there is no formula to raising a child. She told me to not expect miracles but instead to do the best I can to provide my child with a stable, safe and loving home.
Here are a few things I have learnt through this journey:
1. Live in the moment
Not all families look the same. My family is a made up of myself and my son. Trust me, we learnt a long time ago to be blissfully happy just being the two of us.
I think it all comes together when as a single parent you realise you need to forget about everything else outside your situation and deal with your most precious cargo – your child.
We sometimes tend to get consumed in relentless worry about our finances, employment and relationships, and get lost and fail to see the bigger picture. Single parents and their kids can flourish, and there are plenty of examples out there to prove it.
Being a single parent can be overwhelming but I cannot stress enough how important it is to make every day count with your child. Let your child's love be the gift you open every day.
2. Seek help when you need it
I love my son dearly and through the years, he has been my driving force, my anchor and my purpose. Through it all, we soldier on and make the best of the life we have been blessed with.
We have been tremendously blessed with the most supportive family and friends. My son is quite lucky to have role models in his life, other than myself.
I have learnt that one must never be too proud to reach out and find the help and resources that are required to assist in raising a successful child. Do not try to do everything by yourself.
I urge all single parents to help each other where you can and also to talk about your circumstance and share your stories. This way we can empower each. It's not easy but you have to make it work.
3. Take care of yourself
Yes of course, you need a break. Exercise regularly, eat healthily, and get enough rest so you can handle the running of your home better. You need to develop a workable routine with your child and learn to manage your time effectively, so you can have time for hobbies and a social life.
I know this is easier said than done and I must confess that I struggled a lot to come to terms with this. It took me a while to realise that looking after myself did not mean I was neglecting my child and I wasn’t being selfish.
Life does not end just because you became a parent. Actually it means that one needs to start living life to the fullest. You are still an individual but with a responsibility. So go out there and find yourself, find love, pursue your dreams and be happy.
What are some of your empowering single-parenting stories? Send us your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org