Embracing the Change – Transition to Single Parenthood

After a divorce, everything will change – some to a lesser degree than others. Unless you embrace the change and expect a challenge ahead, you, as a single parent, will have an uphill battle to fight.

Parenting is a 24/7 job even with the spouse, now it’s going to become 48/14 as a single parent. What used to take you one day to complete will now take you two days and what you used to do on a weekly basis will become a once-every-two-week routine. You will experience a temporary imbalance for a while and an adjustment to your lifestyle will become necessary in keeping up with the demands of your new family structure.

Because single parenthood is not what most of us expect to experience, the sudden change can have such immense emotional impact. The transitional process may be a bit painful but the situation will get better if you want it to. Knowing what changes to expect can be comforting enough to let you know that what you feel is normal:

The transitional process may be a bit painful but the situation will get better if you want it to.

Emotional remnants from the past:

Bitterness, guilt, shame, anger, rebellion, remorse and vengeance. These are all emotional remnants from the divorce and custody settlement. You may want to see a therapist to work this out or if for some reason this is not the route you want to take, find another form of therapy. For some if can be yoga and meditation, while for others it can simply be talking to your close friends. Be hopeful that the turmoil will subside and the situation will get better.

Not enough time:

There will be times when you will feel sleep deprived because you are doing everything alone. You need to cut back on your activities and learn to manage time efficiently so that you are meeting all your identified priorities and getting the rest your body needs. Acknowledging the fact that all humans have limitations will help you establish parameters that will keep you on a healthy track.

Constant tiredness:

You may see your pattern change. At one time you may have had the energy of a young teenager, but now that your workload has increased, you may just find yourself needing a nap in the middle of the day to recharge. Don’t feel ashamed. Your body needs it and you’ll feel better afterwards.

Physical tension and stress level in high gear:

Because of all the demands of work, home, and family, you may find yourself becoming a bit more irritable and experiencing more physical tension causing headaches. If you find yourself experiencing some tension throughout your body, schedule a massage or go for a workout to release the tension. If you decide to view stress in a positive way, perhaps the tension will not manifest itself as illness but rather as repressed energy waiting to be expended through physical activity.

Shrunken disposable income:

With only one income, you will have less money to spend on “luxury” items like “spa treatments”, which indeed is a real necessity for some. Your financial priorities will change as you adjust to your new standard of living. If you decide to view your situation as an opportunity to learn how to improve your budgeting, you will develop good money management skills.

Your meal time will vary:

With so many things to do in the day, there will be times when dinner will be served at 9pm. To make ends meet, some of us may have to work later. You may feel guilty, but at least you are able to feed the family.

Bedtime routines will be a longer process:

As there is only one of you to carry out the routine of two people, the bedtime process may take a little longer than usual. If you start your bedtime routine earlier you may even find time for yourself. At least give yourself 15 minutes of reading time before closing your eyes so you can give your mind the chance to relax.

You may have to play both gender roles:

If your ex-spouse is living in a different city, access to the children will not be as frequent. As a result, you may find yourself having to play both domestic roles. Because of the absence of a male figure, you may have to be the handywoman around the house to repair little things and participate in your sons activities if their dad is not around. It’s an opportunity to learn new things, develop new skills and to get closer to your kids.

It may take some time, but you will evolve from the transition. We all have our limitations and to avoid frustration, you must acknowledge the boundaries. Perhaps you will not always be prepared to conquer the problems and face the challenges, but if when you embrace the change and begin to flow with the current rather than work against it, you will experience a more pleasant journey in life.

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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