Some single parents choose to adopt or foster and others will gain a child through a family member who cannot care for the baby as needed. When these situations occur, as a single parent, you will need a strong social support system in place to help you in your everyday life. These can be chores like chauffeuring a child to and from daycare on a late work day or providing a few hours of babysitting while you take some time for a much needed break.
Social support systems can be the saving grace for single parents, but creating one takes time and the right people coming together to make it work for your purposes.
Ask for Help
Many single parents try to do it all on their own: grocery shopping, daycare, sports practice, band rehearsal, holding down a job, cooking, cleaning, visiting family and friends, and doing the laundry. Even for two parents, completing these tasks on a weekly basis can be difficult. Also, single parents don't have anyone to commiserate with them about these challenges, so it can become doubly hard.
Asking for help from family members and friends is a good place to start. It can feel awkward to take that first step, but talk with people whom you trust and you know are eager to see you succeed. If you have a family that isn't supportive, talk to your friends, and vice versa.
Asking for help is a step towards self-care, and no one can parent successfully without a supportive network. Seeking a healthy way to get the assistance you need is a positive proactive way to parent and to care for yourself along the way!
Find Assistant through Other Single Parents
You may be able to find a group of single parents who meet to discuss the challenges they face on a daily basis. This can be cathartic and enlightening. If you can't find a group in your city or town, reach out through the internet.
Finding a community of like-minded individuals facing the same challenges can be incredibly helpful. They may be able to help organize and point you towards child care, car ride assistance, and emotional support for you as you single parent, foster, or raise a kinship child. You may even find a friend or two who is eager to help you discover new ways to network as well as provide a new friend for your toddler to play with.
Community, School, and Other Networking
There are other resources to help you find the support you need as a single parent. Many people have reached out to these trusted organizations:
Your local YMCA
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Boy's Club and Girls' Club
Your local religious church for children's activities
Before and after school programs to build skills and learn new hobbies
The important thing is to build your network with as many avenues for help as possible. There is strength in asking for help and organizing your strategies for parenting in a way that suits you and your child. We all would like to think we can shoulder the weight of the world on our own, but it's not necessary. In fact, it can be rewarding to everyone involved to become part of someone else's network, where you can both benefit in ways to suit your specific needs.