There have been plenty of conversations about parenting during the pandemic. But what about the challenges of being a single parent in the age of lockdowns, economic crises, and social strife? Surely, this presents some very unique and daunting obstacles that linger even as vaccinations increase.
Of course, single-parenting, in general, presents some very unique and daunting obstacles. Over the past year (and counting), they have gotten more thorny. The pressure is more intense and exhaustion is more likely as the consequences of COVID-19 proves certain to change our lives for years to come.
Single parents everywhere deserve credit. They also deserve nonjudgmental support and sound, practical advice. If you’re single-parenting during the pandemic, that’s what this particular conversation is all about.
The Pressures of Single-Parenting in the Pandemic
What single parents are enduring during COVID may, at first, sound like what many parents are enduring. However, many single parents are going it alone. They may have no one with whom to co-parent or share the burdens. With that in mind, here are some of the ongoing pressures they may be juggling:
- Keeping themselves and their children safe and healthy.
- Financial struggles, job loss, health insurance costs, etc.
- Political division, social unrest, racial strife, and more.
- Having to go to work while kids school at home.
- Working from home while kids are doing remote school, perhaps in the same room.
This decidedly incomplete list doesn’t include all the usual single-parent challenges that existed before the pandemic. You may have already been dealing with issues like finding balance, academic problems, and behavioral concerns. If you or any of your children are struggling with illness, injury, or disability, the pressure intensifies.
What to do? For starters, there some basic self-help suggestions to try.
Key Ways to Cope With the Pressures of Single-Parenting in the Pandemic
It’s been more than a year. Specifics are shifting but the crises remain. Acknowledge that you are in survival mode. Accept what has become normal and take it from there.
Lower Your Expectations
You may have to cut yourself and your kids some slack. In a time like this, some things will fall through the cracks. Whether it’s housecleaning or screen-time restrictions, set your priorities and lower the bar elsewhere.
Practice Self-Care — No Matter What!
It may not look like hours-long self-care regimens you find on holistic websites. Yoga? Aromatherapy? Bubble baths? Maybe not. Still, do your best. Find time to slow down, wherever and whenever. Again, sorting out your priorities for internal clarity is self-care in itself.
What must you do every day to maintain your mental and physical health? Find ways make it happen routinely. Doing so will increase a sense of comfort and wellbeing that filters down to your children as well.
Do your best to delete the phrase “when the pandemic is over” from your thought life. The twists and turns of our pandemic season taughts us that the future is beyond our control. Instead, be present and aware. Dealing with what is happening now is enough. Do so with focus and gratitude. Recognize and appreciate what your kids need right now, in this chaotic period.
Ask for Help
There is no shortage of single parents. You can connect via video chat or online groups. In some cases, you might even be able to meet in person. Do not allow the pressure to lead you into isolation. Withdrawal will only exacerbate the problems. If you don’t have any sort of support system, it may be wise to find a counselor to consult for guidance.
Who Can You Turn To?
There is one identifiable silver lining for single parents. During the lockdowns, online therapy has quickly become the norm. This actually makes it easier for someone with a busy lifestyle to get the help they need. By eliminating commute time, you may find it easier to schedule your appointments.
Working with a therapist is a proven path toward relief and recovery. Your weekly sessions are a safe space in which you can explore the pressures you’re facing. Single parents need outside input. Let’s set up a consultation soon and see if parent counseling is the right input for your parenting decisions and the future of your family.