Being a single parent usually means doing it all on your own. The household and childcare chores that ensure life runs smoothly are no longer divided between two adults. You may find yourself overwhelmed with carpooling, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and helping with homework. With all that going on, you probably don’t get out much. Even during the times that your child is with their other parent, you probably just pass out on the couch from sheer exhaustion.
Appointments For Your Social Life
So what is a single parent to do to stay connected to other adults and actually have some semblance of a social life? Everybody needs to cut loose and have a little fun from time to time – single parents especially. Even if the other biological parent is completely out of the picture, and alone time is practically non-existent, do your best to make social time a priority. All work and no play makes for too much stress that, quite frankly, your kids don’t need to see and you don’t need to experience.
As a single parent you book all kinds of appointments: doctor visits, parent-teacher conferences, work meetings … the list goes on and on. Just like those important appointments, you need to set aside time to get together with friends for dinner and a movie, enjoy some retail therapy or simply sip your coffee in peace. Plan in advance and put it in your calendar. Try to get away from the house and kids at least once per month for a few hours. Think about it: three hours each month for 12 months is only 36 hours. There are 8,760 hours in a year. That is less than 1% of your annual time. These small investments of time for yourself will benefit not only you, but your kids, too.
It is so important to connect with your friends on a regular basis. While raising small humans is definitely rewarding, you need time away to recharge in order to be the best parent you can be. By getting out of the house and away from your daily routine, you are given an opportunity to relax, let your guard down for a while and have some fun. Remember fun? Fun is that thing that helps you reset your attitude from being an over-stressed single parent to being more relaxed. This will have a lasting positive impact on your children.
Having a social life as a single parent isn’t just about dating. Although dating can be an important part of a healthy social life, it’s more about simply connecting with other adults. Not everyone in your social network needs to be a single parent. In fact, it may even be healthier if they aren’t. By broadening the circle of adults you connect with, you open yourself up to learning new things. Make friends of all ages and all walks of life. Your social life will flourish and you will be enriched by your effort.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, there are limitless fun activities for you to try. Take a painting class or golf lessons with a friend and get some quality one-on-one time. Hang out with a small group of friends and try a new restaurant together, or help an elderly neighbor with chores on a Saturday. A free summer concert in a local park is a great way to connect with your larger community. Not all things on your social calendar need to be done without the kids; getting together with other single parents and their kids is always a great idea. The main point is that you need to make it a priority to get out there and have some much deserved downtime!
As a single parent, there will always be a to-do list. That list isn’t going anywhere, so you might as well add a few fun things to it and enjoy yourself. When your kids see that Mom or Dad is less stressed because you are investing in your social life, they will thank you for it.
You may also be interested in 5 Tips For Single Parents Who Feel Overwhelmed