4 Steps to Help When Solo Parenting Gets Hard

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Dear Solo Parents,

Y’all are rockstars. I want you to take a moment and pat yourself on the back, and congratulate yourself on being awesome. 

Seriously.

As a former oilfield wife, I know the daily battles. The struggles that we wish we could tag our partner in to help us handle, the exhaustion at the end of the day after meeting all the demands of…everything…for everyone in our little nest. 

We recently got out of the oilfield lifestyle, and I’ll admit it’s been much more of an adjustment than I thought it would be. But, my husband is traveling again this week, and boy, did it bring me right back to all those struggles I thought I’d left behind! 

What’s even more foolish – I almost laughingly thought it wouldn’t be that hard. Sure, it’s a busy week, but I had five years of practice, right? … Right?

Apparently I have a short memory because, the truth is, it was never easy. I just got used to it. 

Seriously, I almost threw in the towel on the first day this go-round. Running through my mind were thoughts like, “You can’t do it. It’s too hard. You aren’t good enough. You cannot do it. You need help, because you are so weak.”

Sound familiar? 

I didn’t give up. I didn’t ask for help. This time, I needed to make it through doing it on my own. And I did. 

Then, day two hit. 

It was relatively low-key, and yet, my nerves were shot. The overwhelm was drowning me. There was simply too much to do before the next day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it all done, and it was just too much.

But, we did it. 

One of my passions is helping moms overcome overwhelm. From my own experiences, I know how deeply it can affect us. Especially those of us who solo parent for one reason or another. 

So, if any of this resonated with you, I’ve put together 4 steps to help when you are in the midst of your struggle.

1. Support Groups

As cliché as it is, first, remember that you are not alone! There are so many support groups available now on social media, full of people who absolutely get it, in a way that maybe the people in your “real” life can’t. They are there to commiserate, offer advice, and just be a digital shoulder to cry on, a safe place to vent the frustrations, and not “bother” the people in your circle. 

I know for some of us, solo parenting is a lifestyle we chose and because of that choice, people have little empathy. Discussing the things that are hard are often misconstrued as complaining about it, when all we’re trying to do is share experiences. As a result, it’s off-putting, and we learn not to talk about the hard parts.

These support groups are a great alternative. 

2. Acceptance

I preach this from the hill tops. 

We have to accept our situation, the good, the bad, the ugly. More importantly, we have to accept that:

  • We are enough. Period. As we are. We don’t need to strive to be anything other than ourselves. You are just who your kids need today. 
  • There is no way that we can get everything done. Ever. I’m not being dismissive. As the solo parent, I know we carry the mental load for basically everything it takes to run your home? (Anyone else not remember why they walked into a room, but can sort all 2983740 little pieces of toys with absolute precision?) We have to accept that we may just not get to everything. And that’s okay. It didn’t mean we failed. It meant we prioritized. 
  • We might not be showing up as the woman or the mom or the parent that we want to be. It’s a hard truth, but we can’t make positive changes without first admitting that we need to make those changes. If you aren’t the parent you want to be, what do you need to change so you can become that parent? 
  • Overwhelm is part of it. We’re never going to be completely without it, no matter how much control we try and have over our lives, our kids, and everything else. It doesn’t have to paralyze us though, or shape our parenthood. 

3. Routines/Schedules/Systems

We have to find what works for us to get through the day. Whether it’s a strict schedule, a daily routine, or streamlined systems that keep us going. I don’t think there is a wrong answer here, and maybe it’s a combination. I’m a fan of systems. I like knowing the exact process I’m going to use to do a task, so that when I have time, I can do it efficiently. 

If you don’t know yet, try different things until you find something that feels normal to you, and sets you up for success. Your routine, schedule, or systems should not cause you stress to maintain. If they do, adjust and fine-tune. 

4. Find Something That Grounds You

Get out of your head. Stop replaying the day or going through your to-do list. Find something that helps you unwind and bring you back to center. If you aren’t sure what that is, here are some things to try.

  • Meditate/ Mindful Breathing 
  • Rewatch Your Favorite TV Shows- something you’ve seen before so you know what to expect
  • Clean/Organize/Declutter/ Take care of business/ Set yourself up for success. Start taking action and making the changes you need. These tasks help us mentally declutter as well. Creating a safe and calming space is incredibly important. 
  • Brain Dump/ Journal- write down everything that’s jumbled in your brain. By writing it, you are literally getting it out of your brain, which frees up that mental space, and provides a calming effect.
  • Focus on your senses- in the moment, shift your focus and change as many of your senses as you can. Touch your thumb to your fingertips, squeeze your fist, step outside and breath deeply, find a dark and quiet corner, smell your favorite candle. 

We all know that parenting is hard. Give yourself grace when you don’t know how you’ll make it through the next thirty seconds, let alone until bedtime. You are doing extraordinary work, and your little ones are so lucky to have a parent giving them their all.  

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I’m a SAHM of 3 kiddos, two boys and a girl. I married my high school sweetheart- we’re approaching 20 years together, and 10 years of marriage. I’ve been blogging since 2019 and have a passion for helping moms overcome their overwhelm. I’ve lived in the OKC area most of my life, and love it here!

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