Parenting as a single parent during the pandemic
Every parent out there is doing it tough, but I save my greatest praise for those that are doing this on their own. Whether you and your partner are separated or divorced, or one of you is stranded interstate, overseas or in the locked study in your home you need to be recognised as absolute heroes for managing parenting in this lockdown.
The challenge of solo parenting in lockdown depends on the age of your children, how independent they can be and your work situation. None of this is controllable or is your fault. It just is. With this fact in mind I implore you not to compare yourself with others. You can recognise that the situation is more difficult in your case than in many others but dwelling on the injustice and frustration of the situation will not help. So what will…
This might sound like a strange suggestion but we need to try an accept the situation you are in, doesn’t mean you have to like it.
When you’re stuck in a bad situation, check in with yourself. What is and isn’t out of your control? Once you’ve acknowledged what you can’t control, you’ll be able move forward to improve what you can control and can accept the feelings you have including things like anger and frustration.
Have unrealistic expectations.
This is about getting through this event.
Watching people make home made bread for their children and providing endless art actives only sets us up for feelings of inadequacy. Hats off to those parents who want to or can do this……but that does not have to be you .
Lower parenting expectations
It’s hard enough to parent on your own in any situation….twice has hard now as you have ½ the resources that other families may have. Be kind to yourself. We need you managing your well being and you can’t do that if you believe you have to be in “perfect” parent mode. Whilst routines help us navigate stressful times…..it is okay to throw these out the window in order to look after you. You are the foundation that will get your family through this. So if it means that the whole family is in the pyjamas all day then that is fine. If it means that toasted sandwiches are new the dinner option than great.
Dealing with Behaviour
There is bound to be a regression in behaviour for children…and adults, during this time. It does not mean you are failing as a parent. It is a function of this event. Praise more, acknowledge when they get it right and don’t react to a tantrum with anger. Let your children know that you know they are doing the best they can.
Your child’s education is not the most important thing at this time. Your emotional health and your child’s wellbeing is crucial. No one can learn when they are stressed. You are not meant to be a teacher…..if some aspects of learning work for your child in this period…great, if not let it go.
We all have goals around what we perceive is good screen engagement for our child. When you are parenting on your own you cannot do it all and nor should you. Rethink your screen rules. Remember not everything your child is doing on a screen is unhelpful.
This probably sounds like a complete impossibility, however there are small things you can claim back during this time.
Have a 15minute sign up where no one is allowed to ask you anything,
Move bedtime forward so you get some time for yourself.
Connect with friends and family virtually.
Watch your favourite shows before you do the boring home tasks.
Hopefully some of these suggestions will make it just a bit little easier for you and your family.