01 Nov Single Parent Stigma
That’s not a real thing – is what you may be thinking right now.
But I’m here to tell you that it is. The looks you get when you go into a nice restaurant with your two kids, maybe it’s a birthday celebration and the hostess doesn’t adequately hide her surprise when you ask for a table for three. Even more challenging is booking a resort holiday for one adult and two children and not be charged a huge single supplement.
And the holidays are an especially challenging time. Birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s, mother’s day and father’s day – these are all moments that used to be spent together as a family.
But what if you were to flip your mindset and look at it with a different perspective. I learned to take these challenges as opportunities to learn more about myself and deepen my connection with my children.
The holidays part can certainly be a challenge and make sure to take the time to figure out which solution works best between you and your former spouse to share these special moments in a way that is both fair to the parents and the children. The last thing your children need is to feel guilty because they are made to feel like they are picking sides. Set up a plan in advance and make sure they get quality time with both parents. For example, regarding of your custody schedule, agree that mother’s day can be spent with Mom and father’s day with Dad.
Plan special moments on your weekends with the kids like pizza and movie night spent together on the sofa. Or an outdoor activity that you can all enjoy together, hiking, swimming or maybe skating. Simple things can become bonding moments that you will treasure forever.
Equally as important, on the weekends that you do not have your kids, focus on yourself, do something special for you. This might be a nice bubble bath with a good glass of wine or it may be reconnecting with an old friend and going out for a nice meal. But don’t allow yourself to sit at home wondering what the kids are doing with the other parent. Your kids also need to redefine their relationships with each of their parents, now individually instead of as a family.
And when things have settled down, try and take a holiday with your kids. It may be a scary proposition at first but so rewarding. The first trip I took with my girls was to a ranch, and it was a special weekend for single parents and we had a great time. There are many resorts that do not charge a single supplement for single parents traveling with children, and cruise are a fantastic option too. So many options exist out there that you will find the one that fits your particular situation.
Take each day as an opportunity to deepen your bonds with your kids and strengthen your sense of self – it’s well worth the journey.
Being a single parent is not a life full of struggles, but a journey for the strong. - Meg Lowrey