Having 'one of those days,' when it all feels like too much? When your kids are tearing through your last nerve, and you wish you could turn your entire household over to someone else for an hour? These moments certainly aren't limited to single parents, by any means. And yet, their occurrence can feel more difficult to manage when you're parenting completely on your own, with no backup system to temporarily 'take over' for you.
For many, the build-up of single parent stress can feel intensely overwhelming. The next time you feel like you're ready to scream, try one of these quick suggestions.
12 Ways to Fight Single Parent Stress
- Phone a friend. Sometimes you need to be reminded that you're not alone. Other parents go through these struggles, too—because parenting really is hard work. So reach out and share what you're going through with someone you trust.
- Share a hug. Grab your kiddos in a warm and loving bear hug. There's nothing like it for defusing single parent stress.
- Play. Get on the floor and play a board game together. Setting everything else aside, even for ten minutes, can make a tremendous difference.
- Dance. Yes, turn on some music and get moving. (Don't think; just do it!)
- Take a family walk. Exercise and fresh air will help to clear your mind.
- Play with a pet. Do you have a dog or cat? Getting lost in their world for a few minutes will help loosen daily tension and give you a much-needed glimpse of what really matters.
- Put yourself in time out. When you need a break, take one. Declare your own 'time out,' even if it means closing yourself in the bathroom for a quick breather.
- Change your routine. Do something backwards. Have desert before dinner or serve pancakes and eggs as the evening meal. Doing something silly like this can be just what you needed to jumpstart a little family fun and togetherness.
- Create a home spa. Take turns giving yourself and your kids a pedicure or facial. (Your kids will think it's hysterical to see you wearing a face mask!)
- Read. Combat ongoing single parent stress by spending some time each evening reading a book you've had your eye on. Or consider reading a chapter book out loud with your kids. They'll enjoy a few moments to snuggle up, and the activity will be soothing for all of you.
- Tackle your surroundings. Give each family member a set of chores to do, and work together. When the house is clean an hour from now, you just might feel a lot better.
- Let go. Finally, cope with single parent stress by giving yourself permission to be less than perfect. Allowing your kids to see the real you—warts and all—will free them from unrealistic expectations and the weight of perfectionism, too.