7 Ways to Deal with Overwhelm as a Single Parent

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Parenting is one of the most brilliant things we can do in life, and it’s also one of the hardest – doing it on your own can feel bloody lonely… and sometimes completely overwhelming.

Here are 7 ways to deal with the stress.

It can be challenging enough when there are two parents around so if you’re feeling like it’s all too much as a single parent, the first thing to know is that the way you’re feeling is totally normal.

And there are things you can do to deal with the overwhelm. Because it is a particularly stressful time of year, we're here to help. Try these seven ways to reduce the stress and get everything back on track so you can breathe again.

How To Reduce Single Parent Stress

1. Ask for Help

So many of us are terrible at asking for help. We think of it as some kind of failure – it is not!

It can help to imagine the situation being switched around – if a friend came to you asking for help because they were feeling overwhelmed, would you think they were weak or pathetic? No, you probably would give them the support they need in a tricky time.

Other people are usually more than happy to help – and it can help strengthen your relationship with a friend, neighbour or family member.

Being a single parent is hard enough, don’t make it even harder for yourself by trying to do it all yourself.

2. Take care of you

You’ve probably heard the expression ‘You can’t drink from an empty cup’? Well it’s true: you can’t take care of your children until you take care of you.

This isn’t about having to have elaborate lengthy me-time – sometimes that’s just not possible as a single parent.

Instead incorporate daily self care routines into your day – a nap when you are tired, a walk to clear your head, going to bed early. Do what you need to do to preserve your sanity – prioritise this!

3. Create a schedule

When you don’t have things written down, all that information is racing around in your head all the time instead.

Depending on the ages of your child(ren), your schedule could include just the big things like after-school and weekend activities, or it could be super-detailed including things like ‘brushing teeth time’ and ‘getting dressed time’.

You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save by not having to repeat yourself a hundred times a day.

4. Create a meal plan

Another way of clearing space in your brain: not having to constantly think about what the next meal is going to be. Make the meal plan easy – include quick meals and no-effort-bung-it-in-the-oven dinners.

Simplify everything when you’re feeling overwhelmed: simple meals = simple shopping = less stress for you.

5. Be honest with your children

This doesn’t mean going into all the details of your situation, but you can let them know what’s going on in an age-appropriate way.

It’s ok for them to know that their mum or dad is not a superhero (all the time!).

You expressing your emotions and communicating about hard things shows them that it’s ok for them to do the same. Try to be open but positive.

6. Ask your child(ren) for help around the house

While it might feel quicker to do it yourself, getting your kids to help with chores is absolutely worth it in the long run.

By talking to them about how everyone in a family has a responsibility for making the home a pleasant place to be in and asking them to help out, you’ll be empowering them and teaching them essential life skills.

You’ll also have one less chore to do yourself 🙂

7. Connect with other single parents

There’s nothing like talking to other people who just get it. Find other single parents who are going through a similar experience to you – with around 2 million single parents in the UK and Ireland, there are plenty of us around!

One of the best ways to connect is by joining the free Frolo community where you can always find friendly support, advice and chat, as well as in-person and virtual meetups every day of the week. It’s totally free to join, just download the app here.

Most importantly if you are feeling overwhelmed, remember you are not alone, and reach out.

To connect with local like-minded single parents and the wider Frolo community for advice, support and friendship simply download the Frolo app.