Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
I’ve never actually been a single parent, but I know that single parenting must be incredibly difficult. For two weeks, my husband was laid up while recovering from surgery. My husband, who, as an experienced single father, does most of the cooking and laundry in our household, was unable to move from the sofa. I suddenly had to fix meals, take the kids to and from school, do the laundry, and still keep my business going. Two weeks was enough for me to know that I never want to be a single mom even though some moms are happy to be single moms…and I have a ton of respect for the moms and dads out there who, by choice or by necessity, are raising their kids on their own.
Single Parenting Is Harder Because
..when you’re a single parent, there is no built-in respite. You’re responsible for every need your child has, emotionally and economically. Certainly, you may share parenting duties with the other biological parent, but it is much different than when there are two parents available to break up squabbles, give hugs, and yes, make money!
…when you’re a single parent, there is no running errands while the other parent stays home with the children. Every outing (until the kids are old enough to be on their own) requires you to bundle up the kids and haul them along with you.
…when you’re a single parent, there is no taking turns when the kids are sick. Every middle-of-the-night vomiting, fever, nightmare, and feeding are all yours.
How to Help a Single Parent in Your Life
Do you know someone who is a single mom or dad? With the understanding that single parenting is tough even when it is by choice, there are things you can do as a friend or family member to make it easier and give them a chance to recharge their batteries.
- Offer to babysit! We all love our kids, but we love them a lot more when we get a chance to recharge. This is often difficult for a single parent to do, and having a trusted friend or family member take a turn with the kids every once in a while can offer a much-needed break.
- Run errands. When going to the store for a gallon of milk means packing up three kids and loading and unloading them from the car, the willingness of a friend to drop off a few groceries can be a wonderful gesture.
- Spend time! When your only conversation is with children, it can get lonely. Stop over and have coffee with your single-parent friend or family member and give them some adult time.
Single parenting requires the ability to find energy where none exists and to keep smiling when you feel like crying. My hat goes off to all the single moms and dads out there who wake up each day and give everything they have to their kids. It’s quite a job!