Becoming a single parent can be a very overwhelming and stressful time in your life as you face having to raise your children on your own without the support from your partner. Most of us don’t plan to bring up children on our own but unfortunately circumstances can change in family life and the inevitable can happen.
As well as trying to keep up with day to day family routine and chores, you are also coming to terms with a recent family breakdown and a loss of a partner. It is often the case that your feelings and emotional wellbeing ends up at the bottom of your list of priorities. We often hear from parents who feel guilty if they do allow themselves some time out. This is natural, however, time out is a necessary part of surviving and coping with parenting alone. It may just be a nice relaxing bath once the children have gone to bed or perhaps the odd evening out with friends. Whatever your time out is, it is essential for a happier family life.
At times, it can be hard managing the practical things in life, such as balancing work and home, different school runs, cooking and chores, etc. Trying to split yourself in two is a common thought and possibly a wish amongst many parents in this situation. You can only do what you can do and pushing yourself too hard can result in an emotional burn out.
Support from friends and family
Some single parents have support from family and friends which is invaluable and very much needed to make life that little bit easier. However, we do hear from many parents who are bringing up children alone, without any family or friends support network. If this is the case, there are organisations such as Gingerbread which may be able to help you further and give you much needed support, please take a look at our useful links section for more organisations that can help.
Financial support for single parents
As a single parent you have probably found you are trying to live on less money. Financial worries on top of everything else you’re coping with can put a strain on your emotional wellbeing. Make sure that you find out what you are entitled to as a single parent such as benefits, tax credits and child maintenance. You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or from charities such as Gingerbread.
Universal Credit is a new benefit that has started to replace 6 existing benefits with a single monthly payment into your account. Universal Credit will help you to be better off in work, start a new job or work more hours. For more information please click here.
Top tips on getting support and parenting alone:
- Take help from relatives and friends willing to lend a hand for time out, babysitting, school runs
- Encourage older children/teens to help out around the house with chores on a regular basis
- Try to organise and plan as much as you can in advance for things like school bags, uniforms
- It may help to empower yourself by learning new skills that could assist you in your day to day life
- Get advice on your finances and what you are entitled to
If you’re struggling to fund costs associated with your own education or training, please call the Family Welfare Association (FWA) on 020 7254 6251 or vist their website at www.fwa.org.uk (main) or www.fwa.org.uk/grants.html (Education Grants).
If you want support in getting back to work or would like free and independent confidential advice and factsheets on a wide range of issues, from tax credits, to contact arrangements please get in touch with Gingerbread. They provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents.