Is it possible to build a life you love for you and your children with just one parent at home? Country & Town House’s Online Content Director Rebecca Cox certainly thinks so. Her book, How To Be A Happy Single Parent, is out today.
When I became a single parent, I wasn’t sure how I would make it work on my own. From childcare to finances, holidays to dating, everything felt unmanageable and scary, and I was grieving the life I thought I’d have. Slowly, I unpicked all the problems standing between myself and emotional, financial and physical security and independence, and built a life I love, for myself and my son. But it isn’t easy going it alone. It takes a village to raise a child, whether that support be physical, virtual, or found in the pages of a book. Together with my co-author Zoë Desmond, creator of the Frolo app for single parents, I’ve written the book I wish I’d had to guide me. Here’s a taster of what single parents can expect to find in its pages…
How To Be A Happy Single Parent Book
The Ultimate To-Do List
The first chapter in the book talks new single parents through creating the ultimate ‘fareway to freedom’, an enormous list of everything that will need figuring out, whether you’re having a child alone, or have lost or separated from your children’s other parent. The List is based on Zoë and my experiences of feeling completely overwhelmed by the tasks ahead: because managing overwhelm is essential when you’re a single parent.
No single parent is an island, and finding the right childcare set-up for your child/ren is essential to allow you to find balance in your life. From getting to work to having the occasional night off from parenting, knowing your options is key.
Finances & Work
Is it actually possible to run a household on one income? And how do you even manage a career when you have full-time parenting responsibilities? In the finance and work chapters there’s advice on achieving financial independence, increasing your capacity to earn, making spending cuts and your rights in the workplace, too.
There are a host of extra legal considerations when you’re a single parent. How do you navigate divorce? The family court system? Make a will, or put a guardianship plan in place? I had no idea until I became a single parent and figured it all out on my own. The legals chapter contains everything Zoë and I learnt along the way, plus a host of expert advice.
Dealing with your children’s other parent is never easy, especially if there are some very serious reasons that you’re no longer together. Psychologist Charlotte Fox Weber offers advice on dealing with an emotionally abusive ex, while co-parenting advocate Aaron Dale has excellent tips on communication and boundaries.
Taking a holiday with kids as a single mum or dad might sound like a bit of a misnomer. Thanks to my work at Country & Town House, I’m a seasoned solo traveller, and there are plenty of ways to make sure trips with little ones are not a ‘grin and bear it’ experience.
One of the most common concerns for single parents is how and when they might be able to think about dating. Dating expert and single mum, author of Block, Delete, Move On @lalalaletmeexplain told us: ‘If you’re trying to fill some kind of void, it’s likely to lead you to date in a way that is not as considered or thoughtful as it might be if you’re dating because you are at the point where you want human connection and love, and you’re alright with being on your own.’ We run through how to get to a place of being ready to date, and then how to do so successfully.
Self-Care & Moving On
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than looking after yourself when you’re a single parent. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself and taking things one step at a time are key. Little by little, you’ll go from surviving to thriving.