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Are you a struggling single parent?

 

 

 

Are you a struggling single parent? Becoming ‘second place’

 

Caution: This blog is written from the writer’s own viewpoint and knowledge/experience.  It is not a substitute for a trained counselor or medical expert in this field.   Do not follow this advice and if in any doubt, seek professional help.

 

 

‘Forgiveness is one of the most powerful medicines you can take for healing your mind, body and spirit’

S & S Ahmad

 

What is a struggling single parent?

When a person is solely responsible for the upbringing of a child or children, they deal with all of their physical, emotional and financial needs without the support of the other parent.  The role of a mother and father is one of the most difficult yet rewarding in equal or greater measure if the environment is a nurturing, loving and supportive one.  The perfect mix to create such an environment requires the right emotional strength on the part of both the mother and the father.  An imbalance either side can cause a disruption and allow emotional wounds to manifest, grow and fester. This can lead to a distortion of reality and a display of negative emotions such as anger, frustration, isolation, betrayal and disconnection from the family unit.   If this situation is not addressed and allowed to escalate, it could lead to an irreparable breakdown of the family leaving one person with entire parental responsibility.  There are other circumstances that can also result in one parent taking over the role of both mother and father such as divorce, separation, death, illness, abuse and addiction.   If you have emotional, financial and physical support from others close to you or you have the financial means and emotional strength yourself to adequately provide for yourself and your family, you are likely to suffer less than someone who has not.  The struggle we may experience can reveal itself in many forms such as lack of means to pay bills, buy the basic needs for your children, provide emotional support etc.   Behind each obstacle that single parents face, lies a personal story, pain, accomplishment, challenges, joy, tragedy fear, lack.   Depending on our story and the emotions that form the foundation of it, will impact the parent we become.  The child or children concerned will sense our state of being and respond accordingly.  If we are struggling, they will struggle, if we are angry, they will be angry, if we are supported, they are supported, if we are happy, they are happy etc.  In a nutshell, the belief of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle is that depending on where we are in life now, we need to either accept the past and learn from it to change our future or view the present with fresh eyes to change our perspective and so our experience.

 

 

Why do you struggle as a single parent?

Whether you are currently a struggling single parent, or if you were in the past and now feeling the negative side effects such as estrangement, resentment and judgement from your adult child, there is a way out.  To begin the healing and forgiveness that is required, we must first study and understand the pros and cons of why you are struggling within the journey that is yours.  It must however be understood, that The Anti-Diet Lifestyle does not in any way support or tolerate physical or mental abuse of any kind and this program does not include or address such help.  In these instances, please seek professional help.

Pros

  • You are free from a bad relationship which is unhealthy for both yourself, your children and others around you.
  • You are able to make decisions for your children and yourself without the negative influence of a partner that does not have the best interest of the family unity at heart.
  • It is easier to organize your life and reflect on the needs of yourself and your family rather than wasting energy trying to please another.
  • Being alone is far better than feeling alone with someone else.
  • Your energy levels will grow if you can begin to focus on all the positives instead of the negatives.
  • You will have more time to focus on and pursue your own hopes and dreams allowing you to explore your own personality.
  • Without being tied to someone who does not want you, you’ll be free to find someone else who can bring happiness, stability and companionship and love to your family unit.
  • Children are happier when we are happier.
  • There are more opportunities to connect to others and build supportive friendships.
  • Time previously spent with an unsuitable partner can be spent more productively i.e. you can start new hobbies, book holidays, spend quality time with the children.
  • The household budget will be completely in your control giving you independence and freedom from a stifling situation.
  • You become more self-sufficient and may even begin to learn how to carry out small repairs in the house, redecorate and take control of decisions that need to be made.
  • There will be more time to spend in helping your children with schoolwork without an interfering partner.
  • If you were previously stopped from wearing the clothes and makeup that you wanted to, you are now free to have your own style.
  • If you are happier without your ex, you are more likely to take up a healthier lifestyle that will lead you to lose weight.
  • Without the influence of a controlling or spiteful partner, your levels of stress will reduce positively impacting your overall physical and mental health and well being.
  • You may experience all of the financial benefits such as a house and child support without the negativity of the partner.

Cons

  • You may experience financial stress as your household income decreases and the ability to meet your bills becomes difficult or impossible.
  • You may turn to food for comfort resulting in weight gain.
  • The demanding needs to your children may become overwhelming as you are also trying to deal with the problems of the break up.
  • Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues may arise as you attempt to repair your heart.
  • If you work full time, it may be difficult to juggle the needs of the children over the time and demands of work.
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be increased even if your ex was not a loving a supporting person.
  • Your children may become more difficult making it very hard to bring order and discipline into the household.
  • Children tend to blame the partner that stays as they are the only person they feel they can turn to and trust. This makes it a very hurtful situation for the remaining parent causing mutual resentment to set in due to frustration, miscommunication and the grief caused by the breakup.
  • You may experience an overwhelm of negative emotions as the sole responsibility for your family is resting on you. This can result in you being snappy, moody and less tolerant with your children.  This in turn triggers children to misbehave further causing a negative vicious cycle.
  • Jealously can be triggered when the absent partner openly speaks about or allows the children to mix their new partner. This can be made worse, if the children proceed to build a relationship with and like or prefer the new partner.
  • If the absent partner is not interested in having contact with the children, this can make them feel hurt and abandoned. In this instant, the children can aim their anger and loss at the remaining parent.
  • Without child support, money worries and stress will increase leading to a less than healthy state of mind for the remaining parent. In this state, the remaining parent may begin to see their children as a burden because they are struggling to support them.
  • When the remaining parent’s life is full of worries about coping emotionally, financially and physically, they may miss out on the true joy of parenthood as their life is consumed by the need to merely survive.
  • The remaining parent may be harshly judged by others including their family. In some extreme cases, the family side with the absent partner and blame the remaining parent.
  • Children can be negatively manipulated by family or the absent parent causing them to hate the remaining parent.
  • Feelings of guilt can make the remaining parent overcompensate by spoiling the children and giving them more than they need. This situation leads to children having no value for things or for the parent that provided leading them to become demanding and selfish.
  • If the remaining parent is struggling to cope, they may turn to addictive habits such as excessively drinking, drugs, overeating, having multiple partners, over socializing and neglecting themselves and their children. This behaviour demonstrates the extent of the damage that the absent parent can cause.  It is easy to point the finger of blame on the remaining parent by threatening to remove the children or labeling them as an unfit parent with judgement instead of with love and understanding.
  • In certain cultures, no matter what the situation is or where the blame for the break up lies, it is always seen as the woman who must carry the blame and shame by being scrutinized and excluded with support being withdrawn. They are forbidden to begin a new life or meet something else making the situation even more painful for the remaining parent.
  • The remaining parent’s confidence and self-esteem can dive as they absorb all of the blame and the blows from all concerned.
  • If the absent partner has died, there could a repression of grief as the parent is forced to deal with the immediate and ongoing needs of the family. This can make it even harder for the remaining parent to cope.  The grief may then reappear much later in life causing a breakdown.

The Exercise

 

What you will need

A journal

Your affirmation – ‘I love and forgive myself totally and I am releasing all guilt’

If you are currently a struggling single parent or are experiencing estrangement or isolation from your adult children, know that the situation you are in is very common because it is extremely difficult to bring up children on your own.  It is OK for you to acknowledge your pain and the struggle you are in.  We can begin to heal and let go of some of burden by releasing the need to be perfect, forgiving ourselves for mistakes and knowing we are enough and doing our best with what we have.   Hope for the future, the ability to cope better and greater love for ourselves and our family can be found if we allow ourselves to begin the journey of acceptance of our situation with grace.

 

Step 1 – Take a journal and write down at least 50 things that you are managing on a day-to-day basis or that you did manage on a day to day basis on your own as a single parent.  Nothing is too small to mention, for example, having to bring the hoover from upstairs to downstairs when you are cleaning, here are some more to get you started:

 

Washing clothes

Ironing uniforms

Ironing work clothes

Making breakfast

Paying the phone bill

Sewing on buttons

The school run

Going to parents evening

Helping kids with homework

Taking children to activities

Paying the childminder

Finding a childminder

 

Step 2 – Take a journal and write down at least 50 things that you have sacrificed or are burdened with on a day-to-day basis or that you did sacrifice on a day-to-day basis on your own as a single parent.  Nothing is too small to mention, for example, you don’t have time to call a friend, here are some more to get you started:

 

No time for a relationship

Do not buy clothes for yourself

You may not eat so your children can

Giving up spare time to work longer

Sacrificing socializing to take on a second or third job

Watching TV shows you want for your children

Your own happiness and freedom to maintain contact for the children’s sake with the absent partner

Being you

100% responsibility for your children

Juggling multiple tasks

Having a bath without interruption

Reading a book

Going to the gym

Freedom

Negative judgement from others

 

Next, deeply reflect on your lists and honour and respect yourself for your achievements and challenges.  Commit to reviewing and adding to your lists regularly.  In times of struggle, reach for your lists and immerse yourself in them.  Use your affirmation as an additional tool to continually forgive yourself

 

Step 3 – This exercise can be taken a step further, by framing your achievements and hanging them on the wall for you to see.

 

Preparing yourself

Take three deep breaths in the morning and think about your intention for that day.

 

Step 1 

Take a deep breath and say your affirmation ‘I love and forgive myself totally and I am releasing all guilt’

Step 2

  1. Look at your reflection in the mirror
  2. Focus on your eyes, notice their colour and shape

Say the affirmation out loud several times

 

‘Don’t look back in anger’

Oasis

 

Caution: This blog is written from the writer’s own viewpoint and knowledge/experience.  It is not a substitute for a trained counselor or medical expert in this field.   Do not follow this advice and if in any doubt, seek professional help.

 

Written by Sherry Taylor

Author of the Anti-Diet Lifestyle, 4 Crazy Steps to Weightloss Success!

 

 

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