Historically, the death of a person was the leading cause of becoming a single parent. In the modern day, death is not the only reason someone becomes a single parent. Single parenting may result from the separation or divorce of coupled parents who decide to not co-parent. This decision gives one parent the main responsibility of taking care of the child. This extra hold on the child comes with a list of unique stresses for the single parent, and is often not seen in other parenting situations. We want to highlight some of the things we have learned from single parents as we’ve built The Village platform.
Impending sense of self doubt.
One of the main stresses single parents feel as they raise their children is a consistent, strong sense of self doubt. Every parent doubts themselves from time to time, but they typically have their partner or co-parent to turn to and share their worries about being a good parent. Their relationship with their spouse or co-parent usually allows them to compare parenting approaches and perspectives, which can provide some much needed context into their parenting. Many single parents do not get this in their relationships. Not having a partner to go to for context builds the sense of anxiety around not knowing what to do as a parent, and the much needed context they need to alleviate that anxiety is usually not present. This typically results in making the single parent feel incompetent and “not good enough”.
Loss of Identity
A common phenomenon that tends to occur with a single parent, especially as they get older, is a loss of identity. As time progresses, they become increasingly attached and dependent on their family for their sense of identity. Family ties become more important to us as we age, so this in and of itself is not problematic. However, because of the fact many single parents have so many responsibilities oriented towards their kids, their identities begin to center around being a parent. Instead of saying “I am Macy, I am into statistical research, and volunteer at the humane society, I am also Bruce’s mother” they begin to think “I am Macy, I am Bruce’s mother”. They let go of other important things in their life and sacrifice that time towards contributing to their kids. After a certain amount of time where so much of their energy is aimed towards helping their kids, they start to forget how to put their energy towards other things. Parents may begin to feel personally lost.
Another thing that can happen is the exact opposite effect on their identity. Parents may end up focusing too much on enjoying who they are and taking away essential energy towards their family. This may result in them neglecting an important component to their identity. This reaps bad effects on the family. Because there is so much to balance in the day for a single parent, they may not have the necessary energy to come back to their home in the right peace of mind. They may feel more prone to push people away and allow themselves to gain more “me” time in order to recharge. If their child tries to come to them, they can become prone to snapping at them. This may make the relationship between them and their child more prone to become disconnected.
Time Is Always An Issue.
For many adults, time is of the essence. Everything needs to be planned and ready to go in order for them to feel like they know what is going on in their life. For a single parent, this is especially true. Their time is incredibly limited, as they have to make sure the way they plan things do not affect the family unit in a negative way. It is easier for a parent to delegate a specific set of tasks to their partner so that they both balance important tasks for the family. A single parent has to figure out how to balance all these tasks on their own. This pressure and busyness may make them prone to feeling disoriented. They may feel like they lack control in their lives and can lead to them either being swamped or lead to them being absolute control freaks. Neither one of these traits is good for a parent to have to deal with. Both cause an unhealthy amount of stress.
We do not want single parents to think they are not welcome or cannot utilize HMV services to the fullest degree. Our founder, Toyosi Babalola envisions an ecosystem where parents, especially single parents, can easily and safely extend their functional families so they can cater to some of the basic necessities of life. As a single mom, she sought out to build her trusted tribe to help with child care and school runs while she attends routine therapy post spinal fusion. We offer a platform that allows single parents to expand their network to alleviate self doubt and disconnection. You can use the platform to help your kids grow. Our services allow them to explore the things that frees up the time for you to get to know yourself again and strengthen your sense of grounding as a single parent.