I'm only an occasional single parent, when my husband travels for work. Usually he has to go to very far away places, with various time zones and a hectic schedule. So I get a taste of what it must be like to be doing this all the time. I'm the parent 24/7, with no lunch hour off or an evening away. The only time I'm not with my kids is when they are sleeping. It's a trying time. But for me, it's temporary.
I know that many single parents have their ex involved and the ex gets weekends or weeknights with the children so that the other parent gets several kid free days, which can certainly ease the pressure.
But there are single parents who do not have an ex at all. Maybe he or she has abandoned their responsibilities or is in and out of the children's lives so sporadically that it's like he or she is not there at all. He or she could be in prison, out of state or in an addictive state of mind. Or maybe he or she simply doesn't care. Believe it or not, not every parent really cares that they are a parent. That concept boggles my mind but it's real.
So what of single parents? Where is their support system? How do they cope?
They are certainly not alone! -
20 million children in the United States live primarily with one parent and there are about 14 million single parents out there. According to the Census Bureau, most single parents are women, more than 80% in fact. And about 30% live at poverty levels, which, on a more positive note - means most do not! Most single moms work.
Single parents face challenges many married parents do not. One main challenge is financial, for obvious reasons. Not every non-custodial parent is up to date with his or her child support payments.
It can also be exhausting, particularly if there is no other parent involved, and the single parent has no family to help out.
Single parents have a sense of guilt that the marriage or relationship with the child's father didn't work out - even if all avenues were tried.
But there are also positives - no clashing parental styles and any marital or relationship discord is now over! Hopefully! Single parents can take time off for personal time, when the children are with the other parent.
There are many support groups for single parents, you can find some here:
We all know how hard parenting can be. I know single parents who do an incredible job - my hat is off to them! I'd like to hear from others. What are your greatest challenges and what are the benefits? Where do you get your support from - family, friends, groups?