Tips for a Working Divorced Single Parent
Raising kids while married is difficult. Raising kids while divorced and single is even more challenging. When you need to work to support yourself and your family on top of all that, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Below, our experienced Alabama divorce and child custody attorney offers some tips on how to effectively cope while parenting as a working, single, divorced parent.
Keep a Routine
Maintaining structure can be a key part of effective and manageable parenting, especially as a single parent. Set rules and regular schedules for meals, bedtime, and other activities. Children adapt to routines and will appreciate the security they provide.
It’s also important to remember that your ex may have different rules and routines at their house, and that’s OK. Children can adapt to having two different routines at different houses, so long as you are consistent and firm.
Try to Maintain a Cordial Relationship With Your Ex
Divorce is likely to involve a lot of bitter feelings; no one divorces because everything is going well in the relationship. It makes things much easier, however, if you can maintain a working co-parenting relationship with your ex. Keep things professional and cordial. You might need to make a lot of decisions together about your kids’ upbringing, and if you can be at least neutral toward one another, the process will be much easier.
Of course, this is not always possible. If you and your ex simply cannot speak to each other without fighting, find alternatives. Set schedules for drop-offs and exchanges. Use scheduling apps to update one another about events coming up. If you can’t be friendly, be brief and neutral.
Forgive Yourself for Mistakes
Being a working, single, divorced parent is difficult. You will face any number of financial, social, emotional, and even legal challenges. Balancing all aspects of your life is an ongoing battle. You are capable of handling it, but it’s important to keep in mind: You will make mistakes. You can’t be perfect all the time, especially when dealing with so many complex issues. Accept the fact that you will make some missteps. You might lash out about your ex in front of your kids, you might miss a dance recital, you might forget which kid likes which foods for dinner. Don’t beat yourself up for every little mistake. Go to your friends and family for advice and support, do the best you can, and accept that not everything will go smoothly every time. Your mental health will improve greatly.
Although challenging, it’s important to take care of yourself even with everything else going on. Set aside time for you to exercise, socialize with friends and family, eat a healthy diet, and get sleep. Set aside alone time if that’s something you need to recharge your batteries. Taking some time to yourself and away from parenting each week does wonders to keep the stress levels down.
Ignore Judgmental People
People can be mean, and people will often judge. Do your best to ignore the negative influences in your life. Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends and family. When someone says something negative or judgmental about your divorce or your parenting, do your best to ignore it and not dwell on it. No one can truly understand the hurdles you are overcoming to take care of your family. If you can, open yourself to the option of cutting out judgmental, negative friends and family members from your life.