Few folks would call it the ideal situation; but there’s no shame in raising a baby as a single parent. Whatever the circumstances that lead to this were, you made a brave decision by choosing to enter into parenthood on your own. Maybe your circumstances will change down the road; but for now, here are a few tips for bringing up a newborn on your own.
Long-term saving, of course, is important for any new parent; but for a single parent, it’s essential.
With only your own income to support you and your child for the foreseeable future, then it’s best to be especially prepared for financial emergencies. If at all possible, start the planning and saving before the newborn even arrives. Draw up a financial spreadsheet, and consider your monthly expenses. Make appropriate plans for what you can cut out, what you’ll have to spend on expenses for the newborn, and, finally, how much you can put away in savings. Besides the fact that you need to save for things like college tuition, you need to be prepared for the eventuality that your income – the only one in the household – might temporarily stop. It’s the sort of thing that we all pray won’t happen, but need to be prepared for anyway.
As a single parent, you are far from alone. In the US alone, the 2018 Census Bureau calculated that there were around 11 million single parents with children under the age of 18 in America.
In other words, wherever you may live, you almost certainly share the area with other parents, and there’s a decent chance that at least some of them are also single.
Seek out local parent groups – they almost certainly exist in some form, be it for parents of newborn children, mothers or father specifically, or just parents in general. And if there isn’t one locally, then take the initiative, and start one.
The benefit of this? Well, for one, there’s a decent chance that you’ll find other single parents with whom to swap grievances and tips. But more importantly, you’ll develop a support network. Being a parent, especially a single one, is a process that is tremendously rewarding, but which can also be physically and emotionally exhausting. Being in contact with other parents, single or otherwise, who understand what you are going through, and who can offer you advice and emotional support when necessary, is a tremendous source of comfort, and can, in many ways, be what keeps you sane in those tough early days.
It’s often said that you’ve got to take care of yourself if you’re going to take care of a kid; and this is all the more true when you’re a single parent. Fall ill, or get hurt, and you leave both you and your baby in a tremendously precarious position – after all, nothing’s worse than a newborn child with nobody on hand to give it full and proper care.
Yes, looking after a newborn is demanding; but that’s no excuse not to take proper care of yourself. As much as reasonably possible, keep a regular sleep schedule, eat healthily, and get exercise. You owe it not just to yourself, but to the child for whom you’re fully responsible.
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