Solo and Successful: Meeting and Beating the Challenges of Single Parenthood by Daniel Sherwin

When we set up ScratchSleeves it was with the aim of helping parents who are having a hard time. We appreciate that a lot of parenting advice is slanted towards mothers, but we know that dads have an equally important role to play. Single parents already have to be superheroes and adding sleepless nights with a poorly child and no back up presents even greater challenges. We teamed up with Daniel Sherwin who has set up a website aimed at helping single dads using his own experience and top tips that he’s picked up along the way, just like we have done with eczema experience in our blog. He’s got some great advice. 

As a single parent, keeping everything together can feel pretty complicated.  It may seem like you’re always running on empty—out of time, money, and energy, with no end in sight.  With a few changes in strategy, you can successfully achieve a healthy balance.

Making ends meet.  

Financial strain can equate to stress throughout your daily life.  CNBC suggests getting a handle on your finances by taking these steps:

  • Make a budget.  Identify all of your monthly financial obligations and tally each one.  Calculate your income and subtract your expenses. What is left is the amount you can distribute to fluid expenses, such as entertainment, clothing, and savings.  
  • Set automated payments.  By scheduling electronic payments, you know your bills are being paid on time.  
  • Build savings.  Unanticipated expenditures are part of life.  Establish a savings account so you can replace appliances as they break or make vehicle repairs.  

Finding time.  

With some basic time-management strategies, you can bring order to your days and even squeeze in some “me” time.  Here’s how:

  • List.  If you’re trying to manage your time on the fly, chances are you’ll always be on the run.  Just as with your finances, list your obligations, then allocate for flexible tasks. Don’t forget to plug in some time for yourself.  
  • Routine.  Structure brings security to children and allows you to find time for all of your daily tasks.  Some experts recommend establishing a set time every day for children to rise, eat, and go to bed.  You can set certain days and times for certain activities, which eliminates disagreements since everyone knows what to expect.  For instance, if Tuesday evening is your lasagne night, there is no discussion regarding what is for supper.
  • Organise.  Organising your home is a key to time management.  If you don’t need to look for items, you streamline how you function.  Redfin explains you should store items in the area where they will function.  Also, do some decluttering. You won’t need to sift through things in their storage bins or drawers if the only items there are necessities.  Items should either serve a purpose, be thrown away, or be donated to charity.
  • Flex.  If your work schedule is not accommodating your child’s school or childcare schedule, one suggestion is to discuss the situation with your employer.  Oftentimes modifications can be made if you explain your needs.   
  • Multitask.  Be creative in how you accomplish chores.  For example, folding laundry and playing with your children can be a joint event. You can settle in with your youngsters and fold while routinely engaging in their games.  You can even quiz little ones by holding up laundry items such as towels and asking what the colours are.
  • Connect.  Developing a support network is vital for successful single parenting.  Family members and friends can help with juggling your responsibilities, and some experts recommend reaching out to other single parents to trade off tasks.   

Finding energy.  

Once you establish a good programme for your money and time, you will find your energy levels can improve.  You’ll be less concerned about money with a firm budget, and you’ll have more time for eating right, fitness, and getting sufficient sleep.  Try these tips to pull it all together:

  • Meals.  Plan your meals ahead of time.  One idea is to do meal planning and preparation on a day your schedule allows and make large batches of food.  Freeze portions for meals so you simply need to thaw and heat.
  • Fitness.  If you’re struggling with a workout routine, chances are you just need to rethink it.  Try squeezing exercise into the day in short spurts. Some professionals suggest plugging in a 10-minute walk or some chair exercises throughout your day.  It’ll allow you to work out when it’s convenient.

Successfully single.  

Flying solo can be complicated, and you may feel you’re often low on money, time, and energy, but you can keep your tank full.  Establish a budget and manage your time thoughtfully. Rethink your meal planning and fitness programme. Single parenthood is challenging, but with solid strategies, you can come out a winner!

For more of Daniel’s great advice and some fascinating reads (I have just lost myself in one whilst linking to the home page!) visit www.dadsolo.com