Raising a child or children on your own can become very stressful. Furthermore, if you’re a newly single parent, it may be increasingly challenging as you’re propelled into managing the boundaries of a different kind of relationship with your previous partner and possibly, your kids too. Here are 5 questions frequently asked by newly single mums.
- How do I talk to my child about separation or divorce?
Be as honest as you can with your kids about what you all will be experiencing as a result of the break-up. Speak to them about your new family dynamic and encourage them to express their feelings about the changes. Answer all of their questions with honesty and avoid unnecessary information or painting their father in a negative light.
Reassure the children that they did not cause the divorce or separation, and that you will always love and cherish them. You should consider hiring a counsellor for the kids if they express that they feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts with an external party; however, clear communication between you and your kids should be the goal.
- When is it safe for me to start dating or finding a new partner as a single parent?
Dating could be fun, but also challenging in itself, especially after separation or divorce. Therefore, before throwing yourself back out there, ensure that you’re ready to handle all of the consequences of dating, such as possible rejection or ghosting.
Ensure that you’re in a great mental space with yourself and have fully worked through the emotions of your past relationship, as being vulnerable with someone new may require some mental fortitude.
According to Lucy Good, founder of Beanstalk, an online community for single mothers, Don’t do it until both you and your children are in a peaceful place.
- Am I being too lenient (or too strict) with my children as a single parent?
One of the luxuries that two-parent households enjoy when compared to single-parent households is that they almost have an immediate platform to consult each other about their children; whether it’s dealing with a spontaneous disciplinary matter pertaining to the children or if one of the kids falls suddenly ill.
As a single parent, co-parenting may be difficult due to the new boundaries of your relationship. However, for the most part, when your kids are in your care, you are 100% responsible for them. There is no one to back you up; therefore, you have to do whatever is required to ensure that the children are healthy and happy in your care.
Set parenting goals and consult with other parents on matters you feel are getting out of your control.
- Am I being too generous (or too strict) with my ex?
Now that you are a single parent, terms such as ‘visitation’ or ‘custody’ may be a regular part of your life. Therefore, you need to set some boundaries. Firstly, consider whether the end of your previous relationship was bitter or amicable, and then determine what sort of relationship you would like to continue with your kids’ father.
If shared custody is in play, where are safe pick-up or drop-off locations for you? Will you be flexible with visitation times? What are you committed to doing to ensure that your kids have a healthy relationship with their dad?
You may feel guilty for some of the answers you come up with, but your kids and your peace of mind should be at the centre of decisions regarding the relationship you have with their dad – especially in the case of co-parenting.
- Is taking time for myself selfish?
No! That’s the long and short answer. Carving out time for yourself as a single parent is difficult enough, so don’t you dare feel guilty about it. If you are not in a healthy frame of mind, you will not be able to foster a healthy home or environment for your kids to thrive.
The funny thing is time away from your kids or time spent alone actually makes you a better parent. Don’t take my word for it. Check out this article.
What are some other questions you may have had as a newly single mum? Share them with us in the comments below.
Single Moms and Dating: Exactly What to Know. (2021). Retrieved 22 February 2021, from https://www.oprahmag.com/life/relationships-love/a28843699/dating-a-single-mom/#:~:text=Don’t%20start%20until%20you’re%20ready.&text=So%20before%20you%20post%20a,online%20community%20for%20single%20mothers.