Being Both Mum and Dad to your Child
Being a single working mum is incredibly hard – financially and emotionally. It can be especially difficult when you try to be both mum and dad to your children. But studies show that children who are raised by one parent who is confident, loving and strong, are easily able to recognise – and appreciate - that person as the most important influence in their lives.
Children can easily survive without two parents, as long as they have one who is always there for them. That doesn't mean you have to be perfect to be a successful single mum. And you don't have to be both parents tied into one – not really.
Children get what they need from other people as well. What they need from you is a loving, central figure in their life, someone who is always there when they need it to love them and provide support and discipline.
Myths About Single Parents
Many myths surrounding single parents have blossomed, cultivated by people who propagate the two-parent-family-only ideal. But the myths are really far from reality. Here are some stereotype-busting facts sure to inspire..
- MYTH: Children of single parents grow up to have low self-esteem and become low achievers.
- FACT: A child with one parent can grow up to be successful. What is important is love, discipline and a content family environment, regardless of how many parents there are.
- MYTH: A child from a single parent home comes from a broken home.
- FACT: Often parents choose to break up to give their children a stable home environment. Kids prosper better in a one-parent home where there is peace and harmony than in a two-parent home where Mum and Dad are constantly at each other's throats.
- MYTH: Children of single mums never get enough adult time.
- FACT: Kids from single parent homes often get more individual time from their parent or parents as they are not competing for attention. And the time is often quality time.
- MYTH: All children of single parents suffer financially.
- FACT: A UK survey said less than one-third believe their kids suffer as a result of coming from a one-parent home, while many children of two-parent families also face economic hardship.
Tips to Doing it on Your Own
Being both mum and dad can be hard, and the trick is not to do it all. Get help when you need it, give yourself credit, and know that you are doing the best for your child. Here are some other tips to help you make the most of the situation:
- Don't over-compensate. Doing so will only serve to accentuate the feeling that something is missing. It isn't.
- Give your child or children one-on-one time with you. Working mums, especially those who work full-time, spend less time with their kids, especially if they rely on a childminder or nanny. Make some special time for the two of you, without the pressures of homework, school etc. Your child needs to know that he or she comes first in your life, no matter what.
- Take time for yourself. Working and being a single mum is exhausting. Give yourself a break when you can, even if that means trading baby-sitting duties twice a month with another single mum.
- Don't be rude about your partner in front of the child. If the child's father is still around, in many cases it can be tempting to belittle him in front of your child. It'll do them more harm that your ex-partner, and will only increase the anger you feel toward him.
- Appreciate being a mum. Too often we are so over-stressed we can appreciate what we have. But the old cliché is true – they are only little once! It might seem hard raising a child on your own, but before you know it they'll be gone...
Solo parenting is never easy, and many of us never imagined we'd be in this situation. But keep in mind that while children need role models, there is no steadfast rule stating that they have to come from both parents. You can be an excellent role model on your own, raising your children properly and always showing them how much you love and need them.