Solo parenting: navigating the challenges

by Tshepy Matloga-Malope
Being a parent often comes with multiple challenges, but when you are a single parent everything comes twice as hard.
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Being a parent often comes with multiple challenges, but when you are a solo parent everything comes twice as hard. Single mothers often face financial strain, emotional distress, and physical exhaustion while raising children. We hear from single mothers who successfully confronted and overcame these obstacles. By Tshepy Matloga-Malope

Emotional challenges

The emotional toll of single parenting can be immense. Single moms often face feelings of loneliness, stress, and guilt as they’re solely responsible for providing emotional support to their children. Balancing work, household responsibilities, and parenting can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed.

Beulah, a single mother of two, says self-care is a vital part of parenting although it is quite overlooked. It took her some time to realise that she needed to prioritise her wellbeing and is fortunate enough to work at a company that provides employee wellness services like therapy, which she uses to manage her emotions. She explains, “The biggest self-care effort, though, was finding a helper, as this allows me to take time off from my kids, and I rarely have to worry about cooking and cleaning. Also, just utilising help from family and friends. I also do things that make me happy, like reading books, going hiking, and attending events.”

READ ABOUT The importance of looking after your mental health

Financial challenges

Financial problems are common for single mothers, as they are solely responsible for taking care of their family’s financial needs. Without extra income, it can be difficult to take care of children and maintain a stable household. Budgeting, finding affordable childcare, and securing proper employment are key.

Bella, a single mother of two, says that apart from her full-time job, she has resorted to side hustles to supplement her income. “I’ve had to make some adjustments, learn to budget, and cut on things I feel are unnecessary while doing double duty–my everyday job and side hustles.”

Morongoe, a single mother of 1, also stressed the importance of preparing for rainy days, stating that as a single mother, you must financially prepare for the present and the future. “I have life insurance; my workplace also provides for life benefits, so if I die, I know that his school will be taken care of until university. Over and above the fact that his schooling will be taken care of, I have general insurance but also have things like income protection, dread disease coverage, etc. So whether I’m here or not, I’m making means to make sure that his future is taken care of,” she says. Single parenting baby yum yum - BabyYumYum

Physical challenges

Single mothers often find themselves overwhelmed with demanding physical responsibilities. The need to juggle household chores and children’s needs can lead to exhaustion and burnout.

Mokgadi, a single mother of three, highlighted the importance of setting realistic expectations and admitting that she can’t be everywhere at all times. With one child in high school and two in primary school, she’s found it daunting to be there for everyone, especially during school meetings and extracurricular activities.

“Sometimes I feel like if their fathers were around, I wouldn’t be going through half the things I’m going through, especially with chores, homework, and dropping and picking them up from school on weekends when they have extracurricular activities. To keep my body fit, I go to the gym and eat a balanced diet. I also take my time at the gym as a me time,” she says.

READ ABOUT The shocking impact of SA’s absent fathers

Overcoming obstacles

While the challenges of single parenting can be tough, many single mothers find ways to overcome them and provide their children with nurturing environments.

Rose, a single mom of one, emphasised the importance of a strong support system both within and outside the family: “This journey has taught me that it is okay to ask for help; you cannot always be a superhuman who gets everything done. I have also forged friendships with other single moms, and we offer each other support.”

Single parenting presents so many challenges encompassing financial, emotional, and physical aspects. However, by creating a solid financial plan, seeking emotional support, and ensuring self-care, the load can lessen.

Some of the single moms have also found solace in leveraging technology and online communities for advice and resources. Online platforms and social media groups have become valuable sources of information and emotional support. Through support networks, community resources, and personal development, single mothers can navigate the ups and downs providing a nurturing environment for their children.

READ The single parent’s survival guide

 

Are you a single parent? Share your story with us in comments. 

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1 comment

Priscilla Mdintsi April 27, 2024 - 2:39 am

This news helps a lot because im also a solo parent and going through a lot alone. Im so happy beacuse thise news gives me strength to work hard on my kids.

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