5 Struggles Single Parents Face (and How to Overcome Them)

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Navigating parenthood can sometimes be terrifying, but going through it as a single parent takes it up a notch. Juggling between work and family all by yourself while maintaining your sanity isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Read on for the five struggles single parents face and what you can do to overcome them.

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1. You are your own (and your kids’) hero

There will be times when you have to face your fears and think on your feet. That could mean having your children huddled in your room while you deal with the monsters under their beds, or waking up in the middle of the night to a buzzing sound and a smoking electrical outlet. Younger children could unintentionally lock themselves out of their rooms, while you may face a car breakdown when you least expect it. Emergency situations usually happen without warning, and it’s important that you should always keep your composure by being self-sufficient.

What you can do: Keep emergency items such as torchlights, candles, matches, spare lightbulbs and keys at a safe place. Assemble a basic toolbox and first-aid kit, and remember to check the expiry dates of medicines. Learn basic home repair skills and have a list of important contacts who will be there at your beck and call.

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2. Numbers will scare you

Managing your finances on your own can either be liberating or intimidating. How much should you save? Where should you invest? Are you financially healthy? No one will question your expenses, and the tendency to go overboard with unnecessary spending may happen. You may also have to make major financial decisions one day, from investment planning and even buying your first property. If you were not the person who managed your family’s finances before, you would find it difficult to understand financial concepts.

What you can do: If you are struggling with money and only have enough to cover your monthly expenses, do not invest and focus on finding ways to make more money. Before making any commitments, find an advisor who understands your goals but most importantly, someone who understands you. Keep your family informed regarding big financial decisions, especially if they are your children’s nominated beneficiaries.

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3. You will be a walking encyclopaedia

Your children will come at you with never-ending queries, and having another parent address your child is out of the question as you are now the only adult at home. Not only that, custodial fathers or mothers face different challenges when raising children of the opposite sex. If you’re a Dad, you may need to know how to braid your daughter’s hair for school events (YouTube will be your best friend!). And if you’re a Mum, you might scratch your head trying to teach your son proper bathroom etiquette.

What you can do: If you face difficulty answering your child, do not turn them away. Acknowledge them and let them know you’ll respond later; and make sure you do! Engage in your child’s interests and take the initiative to learn more about their hobbies. It can be difficult parenting children of the opposite gender when there isn’t a father or mother figure around, so try getting a family member involved when addressing gender-specific issues.

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4. Things can get exhausting and frustrating

It can get tiring dealing with housework and childcare alone. Sometimes, all you want to do after a long day is to take a long shower and hit the sack, but you remember that your children depend on no one else but you. Your dinner will not cook by itself, and your children’s homework will not magically complete. It also doesn’t help when you see other parents who have it all together on social media, making you wonder if managing a house alone is even possible.

What you can do: Try not to cave into the unnecessary pressure of becoming a perfect parent, or you’ll risk burning out. Teach your bigger children to help around the house; make their beds, fold their clothes, or make simple meals. If your finances permit, treat yourself by hiring a monthly cleaning service or ordering take-outs for the whole family on weekends.

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5. You will get lonely

Having been married before, you’ll sometimes crave companionship. You’ll feel lonely at the oddest of times, even when surrounded by the people you love. Your bed feels empty, the house strangely quiet, and you often find yourself at a loss whenever you need a shoulder to lean on. Your children may not understand the significance of the achievements you worked hard for, so you pat yourself on the back, congratulate yourself, and move on with your day. No matter what you do, nothing seems to fill that empty void in your life.

What you can do: Do not let your negative thoughts spiral, and live in the moment. If you are a parent without children, use this opportunity to work on yourself and the things you’ve always wanted to do. Take that solo vacation, watch a movie, and enjoy your hobbies, all with no guilt. However, if your children are with you, take them out for activities the entire family will enjoy or just stay home. No one can say no to a night in of pizza and Netflix!

There will be days that you’d want to give up on yourself. Take a moment to pause before tackling your demons head-on. Know that there is no shame in reaching out if you’re overwhelmed. Talk to like-minded parents, and you’ll be surprised at the wealth of information they have to share. You do not have to parent alone, and remember that it takes a village to raise a child, so find your people!


By Sofia*

Sofia* recently transitioned from ‘Mummy’ to ‘Mum’ and is mentally preparing for an empty nest. In the meantime, she adapts to this new stage of motherhood by taking long baths and uninterrupted naps while questioning if adopting a cat will help her cope with the dramatic change.

[*Name has been changed to protect privacy.]

From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.