Shortly after becoming a single parent, I noticed that my daily life had changed, and peace was far from my home. There were days that I struggled just to make it through; I was exhausted. So I cried out to God for help, and the answer was clear. I needed to seek peace until I found it. On the surface, it didn’t seem possible. But, step-by-step the turbulent atmosphere in my home began to change. Peace transformed our single-parent home as I took control of key areas of my life.
Make a connection
I found great encouragement from meeting others in a similar situation to me. Most cities have active single parent groups. Contact your local church or community centre and they should be able to put you in touch with one. You can also get in touch with Focus on the Family too, we’ll be able to put you in touch with a group.
Look out for your needs
Remember the airplane message? “If you are travelling with children, attend to your own oxygen mask first. After securing yours, you should then attend to your children.”
Well this concept applies to single parenting. You need to look after yourself first. Try to find ways to incorporate exercise into your routine and include your children. Taking walks together or go roller-skating with them. I found that taking care of myself made taking care of the children less stressful.
Learn to say no
In a world that seems to be spinning faster, we are pulled in many directions, and so are our children. When too many demands tug on our families, stress increases and peace is harder to find. I learned I had to carefully control the number of commitments that came between my children and me. I let go of things that were less important and my family had time to recharge the batteries.
Get on a budget
In order to gain financial peace, I put myself on a budget. Statistics show that nearly all single parents struggle with finances. My budget has enabled me to accelerate my debt payments, and in just two years I have gone from nearly 50 percent of my budget being debt to nearly no debt at all.
I also found that by giving my children a small allowance and allowing them to save for a treat, I spend less on small items.
Establish family time
No doubt, single parents spend time with their children. But if you are like me, much of that time is spent getting done only what needs to get done. One way that we have changed this is to schedule special family times. I organise a family game night. Making time for fun together has strengthened my relationship with my children.
Forgive their father/ mother
I have saved the hardest item for last. I realised, if I truly wanted peace to abound in my home, I had to forgive my children’s father. Anger and unforgiveness was eating away the peace I needed to be a successful single parent. I asked God for help, and as I forgave my ex, I realized that forgiveness brings the purest form of peace I can ever find here on earth.
Are you struggling with daily life as a single parent and feeling robbed of peace? Evaluate your priorities, routines and practices to find where you can make changes. Start small. Make adjustments as needed. And never forget that with God, all things are possible.
Adapted from an article on the Focus on the Family website. Copyright © 2005 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.