Co-Parenting As A Working Single Mother
With thirty percent of first marriages ending in divorce and eighty percent of single-parent households being run by single mothers, it’s sometimes hard to get over resentment and feelings of failure as a busy, working single mother. Hopefully, you already know how much of an extraordinary woman you are just by keeping you and your family’s heads above water, but likely you are doing much, much more than that! You’re juggling career, playdates, extracurriculars, making dinner, packing lunches, and somewhere along the line co-parenting with your child’s other parent. It can all feel overwhelming at times, that’s for sure. But, there are ways to get past the negative feelings and have a peaceful co-parenting relationship without resentment. Achieving this makes everything else smoother for everyone involved, so let’s look at some ways to make this happy and your life feel more zen.
Long gone is the reality that the two of you will work out if you were even together in the first place. We’re talking about accepting the truth of what and who people are. Maybe you wish your co-parent was a more assertive communicator. If you’ve already asked amicably for them to communicate more with you and they still aren’t, surrender to that. Communication regarding the wellbeing of your children is a must, but outside of that, leave the unanswered texts where they lie. Resigning to the fact that you are the one who does most of the heavy lifting can feel like a burden at times. Instead, try acknowledging that it’s not only a blessing that you get more time with your children, but it’s also a testament to how strong, capable, and loving you are as a mother.
Any realities that may have bothered you or caused you anger in the past, like other people in your child’s lives (stepparents, new boyfriends, or girlfriends), are not worth the stress it causes you. Unless this person is a threat to your child, it’s better to meditate, pray or speak to a therapist about what’s bothering you. You can find helpful tools to help you move past it.
Focus On Yourself
When your child or children spend time with their other parents, it can be tempting to start knocking out your mile-long to-do list. But, the reality is, you need some time to do things that make you feel good. After you’ve been parenting and working all week long, the to-do list can wait. What are hobbies that you enjoy? Interests that you’ve wanted to start participating in? Movies you’re too tired to watch at the end of the workday? Start all those things when your child isn’t home with you! Get the pedicure, go splurge on a new handbag! Remember when you two were together, and you would do things like shop for men’s Balenciaga shoes? Now you’re shopping for women’s Balenciaga heels!
Also, take the time to nourish your body, not only when the children are home or away. Make sure you’re eating as nutritious as possible. Besides, your job as a parent is to ensure that about your children, why would you feed yourself anything less healthy? Working full time, being a single mother, and being a good parent require fuel. So, ditch the overprocessed, sugary convenience foods and go for something healthy with each meal and snack. Try out new recipes or eating lifestyles. Try going plant-based! And, don’t forget to get your eight glasses of water a day and your eight hours of sleep a night!
Stay Connected As Family
If you’re already friends with your co-parent, this should be easy. If you’re not already friends and close, you need to work towards that before you can get to this point. But the end game, what’s in the best interest of your shared children, is for you two to get along and be close enough that your child knows that you’re all still family. If you can blend birthday parties peacefully, why not blend holidays? We’re all adults here, and we are already juggling a million things at once. Why try splitting up Thanksgiving so one can get one up on the other? Consider spending the holiday altogether – including new significant others on each side (if the relationships are serious). Go out to lunch together as a family, go on vacations as a family. Can you imagine a better feeling for your child than to see everyone still loving one another? And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about – your children.
Maybe you scoffed at some of the things on this list like you would never do that. Set your pride aside, mama. I know it’s hard – you’re working a career, staying up after they go to sleep to pack lunches, and trying to have a life outside of single motherhood. But, if you focus on the positive and doing the right thing, good things will come back to you. You got this!