The most recent study from the Pew Research Center, which looks at 130 nations and territories, found that America has the world’s highest proportion of children living in single-parent families. In the United States, 23% of children under 18 live with only one parent and no other adults, which is three times higher than the worldwide average. This only means that the number of single parents who might be experiencing stress and guilt is also high.
Challenges of a single parent
Being a single parent is not easy. You have to take care of everything on your own, from providing financially to raising your children and being both their mother and father. Aside from the physical and emotional challenges, single parents face many financial difficulties.
In 2020, the median income for families led by a single mother was $49,214 per year, far less than the $101,517 average among married couples. This isn’t even enough to meet the basic needs of a family. This leaves many single parents struggling to make ends meet.
On top of all of this, single parents often feel guilty about not being able to give their children the same opportunities as kids from two-parent homes. They might feel like they’re not doing enough or that their children are missing out.
Tips for dealing with stress and guilt
If you are a single parent, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Here are some tips on how to deal with stress and guilt:
Acknowledge your feelings
The first step is to acknowledge your feelings. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and guilty as a single parent. Don’t try to bottle your emotions up. Acknowledge them and give yourself time to process them.
Acknowledging your feelings doesn’t mean you’ll start a guilt spree day in and day out. You’re just accepting these normal emotions of being a single parent.
Talk to someone you trust
It can be helpful to talk to someone you trust about your feelings. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or support system. Talking openly about what you’re going through can help. Set a meet-up with your trusted someone in a place where you can be yourself but also feel
Some precautions in talking to people you trust: do not engage in self-pity or comparisons, and try to be positive. Also, accept compliments whenever they praise you for your hard work.
Seek out support
The second step is to seek out support. Many organizations and groups offer support for single parents. Find one that you feel comfortable with, and reach out for help when you need it. Don’t deny yourself the support you need just because you’re used to being independent.
Here are examples of support groups you can seek out:
- National Single Parents Resource Center
- Single Parent Advocate
- Single and Sober
- Single Parent Action Network
Take care of yourself
This includes both your physical and mental health. Make sure you eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. It is also essential to find time for yourself, even if it is just a few minutes each day. Take a bath, read a book, or take a walk. Do whatever you need to do to relax and recharge.
Fourth, reward yourself. Make sure to give yourself credit when you accomplish something, no matter how small. Single parenting is hard work, and you deserve to pat yourself on the back for a well-done job. You can buy gifts for yourself or do simple things that don’t have to be expensive but are something that you truly want and would make you feel rewarded.
To give you an idea, renovating your house is the ideal approach to go about it. Sam Ramos, associate director of innovation and creativity at the Art Institute of Chicago, claims that slowing down to consider a work of art can provide solace and balance. This type of therapy can help you feel better, whether you’re sitting at home or not.
The most common area that many people renovate is their living room. You may transform your living room artistically, but you don’t need to spend all your budget on significant projects. You can start small first with your furniture. Couches and sofas can often look bare, so pillows are a must so your furniture pieces are always comfortable. High-quality vintage design pillows can help you achieve a warm and comforting ambiance in your living area. This will give comfort while you stay at home and brighten up your space and make you feel more optimistic when you’re alone.
Set realistic expectations
One of the main reasons single parents feel guilty is because they have unrealistic expectations. They might expect to be able to do everything on their own or never make any mistakes. But this is simply not possible. Remember that you’re only human and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Just do your best and be patient with yourself.
Seek professional help
Finally, if you’re struggling to cope with your emotions, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A therapist can help you work through your feelings and give you tools to deal with stress and guilt.
All in all
Being a single parent is difficult, but managing the stress and guilt is possible. Remember that you are doing the best you can. You are not perfect, and no one expects you to be. Give yourself grace and be proud of the progress you’ve made.