On Being a Single Parent

One primary interest of mine is helping single parents to raise emotionally healthy children. Single parenting is a such a big challenge. How to juggle being single, wanting to meet other single people, date, etc. and still be a great parent to your child or children. Jealousies arise, fears arise, as your child begins to worry that they might lose the one person they can count on. Single parents have a lot of issues to deal with that isn't even on the radar for other parents.

I was a single parent from the time my child was 18 months old until she was 15 years old. I have a lot of information to share to help you learn to balance your needs with your child's needs. Since we've all been children, I have found that one's own experience as a child can help inform what is happening now with one's own children, and so I spend a certain amount of time looking back at what happened to you as a child.

I offer to work with people online because it is not always possible to get the help you need in person. Though this site is focused on single parenting, I am happy to work with people who are not parents, as well. Parenting is often a joyful and deeply rewarding endeavor, but it's not easy. It is a far bigger job than we had ever imagined. Parents find themselves stretched to the limit of their stamina. On top of this there are many societal challenges. For one, the work of parenting is not recognized as work. Economically, parenting occupies almost the same niche as a hobby. Because the work of parenting is unrecognized and unsupported, parents experience many feelings, some of which are touched on here: Shame: Parenting is done largely without preparation, someone to learn from, or resource to call upon when the work becomes overwhelming. There is an unspoken myth that a parent ought to be able to do it all herself. This creates inevitable failures which parents are ashamed to talk about, thus increasing their isolation from possibly getting the help they need. Guilt: There is a lack of consensus that parenting is a skill that needs to be learned so when parents have a hard time parenting, they feel they have personally failed, that somehow they should just know how to deal with all the difficulties that arise. These feelings of guilt interfere with parents reaching out for help and prevent parents from recognizing their successes and enjoying their children. Incompetence: Parents seriously lack information about needs of children and they receive much conflicting casual advice. Along with good information, they need a great deal of support, as they are often (hopefully) trying to break new ground from how they were raised. Fatigue: Parents have a 24 hour responsibility. They often work alone, unsupported, feeling guilty, under criticism from others or their own feelings of incompetence. When fatigue sets in, it becomes more difficult for parents to make clear decisions, be present with others or to remember to take care of themselves.

To put the situation simply, most parents have plenty of commitment and caring, but don't know what tools to use to help them turn this powerful love into a steady, appropriately nurturing environment for their children.