No question. Single parenting is daunting. No matter how few parental responsibilities the former spouse handled, after divorce, there are bound to be some holes. There may be some parenting concerns covered more sparsely than others – like a comb-over for child-rearing duties. For many newly-solo parents, that first year after divorce is all about finding the holes and filling them.
The Single Parenting list of responsibilities is LLOOOONG. Just when the cavities are filled and new sneakers purchased they need teacher gifts and SAT tutoring. Even with two parents losing sleep, the list can seem overwhelming. So it’s no wonder that a single parent just honest-to-goodness can’t keep up.
So, what to do when the Single Parenting to-do-list tramples the calendar?
First of all, trim the to-do-list. Give yourself permission to chop the list in half. After all, it’s better to do half the items 100% than all the items 50%. It might mean forgoing sorting recycling or baking muffins from a box mix sometimes but it’s worth it to spare sanity. Go in on the class gift even if it’s lame. Find the closest orthodontist that has weekend hours even if it’s not that one that “everybody goes to.” Prioritize home repairs or pair up with other neighbors that are having their driveways sealed/gutters cleaned/chimneys swept to save money and time. The website, Parents Without Partners, offers many more additional tips for thriving as a single parent.
Second, get help. The ex-spouse might seem “worthless” but hopefully there are plenty of other people in life willing to step in when the kids’ well-being is at stake. There are obvious go-tos like grandparents for babysitting and neighbor kids for yardwork. For the cost of an iTunes card, you might be able to find a reliable teenager to carpool the kids to practices. From there, get resourceful. Retired church ladies might be happy to get your first grader to Catechism classes. Remember that National Honor Society and private school students need a certain number of volunteer and/or tutoring hours.
Third, get educated. There are plenty of community-ed parenting classes – everything from Love-And-Logic to Mommy and Me yoga. These are a cheap way to kill several proverbial birds with one stone. These programs create opportunities to spend time with the kids, find a network of other single parents and learn single parenting skills.
Hire a Coach
There are also life coaches to help with the transitions in life. They can counsel career changes, mindfulness, single parenting skills, and organization. Susan Graham, a local life-coach, has several classes on her calendar. To register for any of her community education classes, contact Huron Valley Community Education at (248) 676-8390. Cost: $35.00 for residents. Her Upcoming Oakland County Classes include:
Susan Graham also schedules a variety of workshops throughout the year through community programs, community groups and speaking engagements. Available workshops include:
- Staying Career Relevant While Staying at Home
- The Top 10 Parenting Goals That Make All the Difference
- Powerful, Personalized Parenting
- More Than A Mom
- Rejuvenate Yourself/Rejuvenate Your Family
- Goal Setting Basics/SMART Goals Worksheet
- Tired of Getting the Short End of the Stick? (Change Your Outlook/Change Your Life)
- Getting the Most out of Your Stay At Home Years
- Finding Time For You
- Determining Your Passion
Give Yourself a Break
Fourth, stop feeling guilty to the point you do too much for you children. As experienced White Lake Divorce Lawyer Kathryn Wayne-Spindler says, “By the time a child reaches the age of 12 he or she should be able to pack a school lunch and do laundry. By the time they are 16 they should be able to go to the grocery store for you with a list of items. They should be able to put gas in the car. You are not going to college with them. These are life skills they need to learn and why not have them learn now and lighten your load.”
As a Genesee County Divorce Attorney with more than 20 years experience, Kathryn Wayne-Spindler knows that single parenting can be tough. The full-service law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates is committed to assisting clients through the entire divorce process including custody, support, division of assets, estate planning and stepparent adoptions. In addition, the caring staff provides connections to helpful resources for single parents including financial planning, real estate matters and wellness. Contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000. The compassionate lawyers help clients throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee and Livingston counties. The Milford, Michigan law office handles cases in Highland, Hartland, White Lake, Commerce Township, Waterford, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield, Howell, South Lyon, New Hudson, Linden, Holly, Grand Blanc and many more local communities.
Written and Posted by Christine Donlon Long, Communications’ Specialist for Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates