Many families have been under tremendous stress and changes since the beginning of this pandemic. However, for single parents, the sudden change of having to adjust has been overwhelming and taxing on them mentally, physically and emotionally. From getting through the day to day life under quarantine while juggling working from home, remote learning, and financial stress to name a few is demanding. There are no quick fixes that will make living through this pandemic any easier. However, here are some ways to help support single parenting during this difficult time.
Create a plan for balancing work and remote learning
Working from home and homeschooling is hard and putting them together can seem dreadful. If you are feeling overwhelmed with balancing the two, try having a conversation with your employer about taking some time off or even consolidating your work tasks throughout the week to ensure you meet the needs of work but also the needs of your children. Take comfort in knowing that your colleagues may likely be facing similar challenges themselves. Be realistic with the expectations you place on yourself to avoid burnout.
Our current situation is just as difficult for many children as it is for parents. With everyone at home together, some conflict is just unavoidable. The restrictions imposed on us, has caused children to not see their friends, attend school in person, and lose sight of their daily schedules and routines. Keep in mind that it’s expected for your children to be anxious which may result in regression and/or acting out. The key is not to engage in bad behaviors but to always praise your children when you see good behaviors which may encourage more of the same.
Although acceptance might seem unrealistic during these challenging times, accept where you are in the moment without judgement or shame. This means excepting whatever feelings you are experiencing and acknowledging that you are in survival mode and that you are doing your very best. Be kind to yourself and remember that although you may feel lonely, you are not alone. Everyone is going through this one way or another. Try to find a few minutes a day for yourself by taking small breaks throughout the day – even if it’s just to breathe.
Stay connected with your supports
If there was ever a time to ask for help, now is that time. It is important to model for your children that when you need help, to ask. Be sure to schedule regular FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Duo dates with your family and/or your children’s friends. Scheduling these times can give both you and your children a little structure and something exciting to look forward to. You can also have virtual meals with your friends who are at home with their children. Mealtimes have just gotten more fun! Remember when it comes to daily life during these unprecedented times, it’s not going to be the same or look the same for everyone. Figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. How you manage these times will depend in part on how old your children are, how independent they can be and what your work situation is like.
In addition to the pandemic, our society is also finally encouraging having conversations with children about race. This can be a hard topic for a lot of parents and caregivers to discuss. We wanted to provide some resources to help. Here is an article that discusses the importance of the issues and ways to start the conversation. This second article is about a Sesame Street “town hall,” if your children watch, we encourage you to ask them if they have questions afterwards and let them know they can always talk to you about issues surrounding racial injustice.