Building your community of support

When you’re parenting on your own, you need to be a jack of all trades and a master multi-tasker. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything and you may find yourself exhausted. If your kids are young, it takes a lot of physical energy to keep up with their dynamic, vibrant personalities and if they are adolescents, it takes a lot of emotional strength to manage the challenges they’ll throw at you.

So how do you survive? Cloning yourself is not an option but here are tips in helping you build a community of support without the extra cost of child care.

There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything and you may find yourself exhausted.

Ride share

If you are finding it difficult to juggle your work demands with picking up your kids from their extra-curricular activities, talk to their friends’ parents and see if you can take turns and rotate driving the kids home. All you need is about 3 – 4 other parents in the pool and you can alleviate your schedule by driving only every 3 or 4 weeks instead of every week if the activity is weekly. The more frequent the activity is in a week, the more parents you will need in your car pool if you only have time once per month to drive your child to his or her activity. Of course, because of car size, there could be other limitations like the number of kids that can be pooled.

Extended family

If you have family living nearby and they are able to provide that extended support, it makes life a lot easier. Show them appreciation by inviting them to dinner or lunch or perhaps by offering to share your expertise such as doing their taxes, fixing their computer or teaching them something they want to learn.

Collaborate with your kids

If your kids are old enough to take on some smaller tasks around the house to help you manage the day-to-day tasks, give them some responsibilities. Start with simple tasks like setting the table or taking out the dishes from the dishwasher on a daily basis. Once they get used to this routine, it will become habit for them when they grow up. Create a calendar to ensure everyone knows who is responsible for the tasks and when they are doing them. Most importantly, keep it fair, evenly distributed amongst the children and assign tasks that are age appropriate.

Child care swapping

If you have a circle of friends with the same age children, you may want to consider shared child care. Like the rotating car pool, you can rotate child care. Perhaps share the same babysitter if your schedule happens to align or each parent can take turns on looking after all the kids on specific days. This will allow you to free up at least 1 – 2 nights a month so you can enjoy social activities.

If you have other ideas to add, let us know..

Chanelle Dupre

Chanelle Dupre is a writer of parenting articles and was a single parent for 20 years to two sons now in their late 20's. She had a column in 3 newspapers and this blog is a curation of old and new stories around the challenges of single parenting and ideas on how to make life easier.

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