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Best single parenting lessons

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Prayingforhope posted 5/19/2014 15:56 PM

Itís been over half a year since I became a single parent and I canít help but reflect on some of the life lessons Iíve learned thus far. Iím sure there will be lots more ahead on the road, but for now I wanted to share these and listen to what others have learned:

1) Donít waste one single minute with your children! Like my wife, before dday, I was also taking my kids for granted. I just always assumed they would be there when I wanted to engage and quiet when I didnít. After dday I realized how fragile and precious time with my children is. All of sudden they arenít available to me all the time, meaning I maximize every single second I am with them. Not a minute has gone by during the last 6 months that I was not talking to them, reading to them, eating with them, playing with them, etc. I feel like a dad with a terminal illness and I canít waste any more time.

2) Get your sleep! I was a night owl before dday, sleeping odd hours, couldnít get up in the morning and letting all the work fall to my wife. Not possible any longer and since dday I have been in bed early at night and up at 630am. I heard a famous athlete talk about the critical nature of sleep and while parenting is not a professional sport, raising my three boys alone makes me think about that a lot! If I sleep I can do anything: Iím patience with them, I get ahead of their schoolwork, I plan fun activities, I read to them etc. If I donít sleep, the whole equation doesnít work.

3) Cook and then overcook! I had to learn how to cook which has become a great pleasure in my life but the key lesson for me is to overcook. Since Iím only with them half the time, I have to sort out what to do with myself for the other half the time. The solution? Leftovers! I overcook at all meals I make for them and stock up for when I am alone. This has proven a great solution for me eating healthier, staying out of restaurants and saving on the budget.

Other single parents, what are the best lessons youíve learned on the journey?

BrokenButTrying posted 5/19/2014 16:20 PM

It's ok not to get it right all the time!

You don't have to be perfect. Maybe they watch too much TV sometimes, spend a bit too long on the tablet, maybe you shouted too much one particularly stressful morning. It's ok.

Everyone has bad days, don't give yourself a hard time for being VERY, VERY relieved when it's finally bedtime.

betrayedidiot posted 5/19/2014 16:28 PM

It sounds like you are doing great!!! I have to say we go out to eat a lot more often now.

The struggle for me has been with punishment. I don't have stbx around for backup and I have to be the mean mom too much about homework and curfew.

I have a bit of the opposite with the time since my DD is 16. When she goes to her dad's for the weekend, I get to enjoy a little "me" time. Sometimes it is a little lonely but I try to stay positive and do new enjoyable activities or see friends.

Jrazz posted 5/19/2014 16:29 PM

Prayingforhope, I just wanted to say how very inspired I am by your attitude. This is a fantastic post for all parents to learn from.

Proud of you.

nowiknow23 posted 5/19/2014 16:35 PM

Remember that you and your kids are a family. A whole family. There's nothing "broken" about a single-parent family.

Learn to not only accept help, but ASK for it. This is a work in progress for me.

Teach your kids what it takes to run a house and a family, and set the expectation that they will contribute, whether through chores, clean up, shopping, cooking, yard work, etc. Involve them in age-appropriate ways. And make it fun - crank the tunes, laugh, be silly, and pull together to get it done.

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