It’s unfortunate, but sometimes guilt can be a part of single parenting. Regardless of the specifics of your circumstances, it’s only natural to feel some guilt about your situation. But most of the time, that guilt is misplaced.
Here are some tips on overcoming the guilt of single parenting.
1. Recognize Your Imperfections
It’s so important to acknowledge the fact that you are not perfect. Neither is the other parent. Many of us can accept imperfections in ourselves in other areas, but not with regards to parenting. This is probably because we love our kids so much, we can’t believe we’d make mistakes in raising them. But we all do! Give yourself some compassion and realize that, no matter how much you wish it were otherwise, you just can’t be the perfect parent.
2. You Can’t Tell the Future
Sometimes guilt comes from past decisions. Maybe those decisions didn’t play out like you hoped they would. Don’t beat yourself up; you had no way of knowing how the future would play out, and you made those decisions to the best of your ability. You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. Try to learn from this experience and move forward.
3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is so tempting as a single parent, whether you compare yourself to other single parents or married ones. Only you know your child(ren), and only you can make decisions that are right for them. Other people’s parenting advice may help or hinder, but it doesn’t need to define what you’re like as a parent. Remember, even if you can’t afford to give your child all the latest electronics and gadgets and toys like those other parents you know, your love is the best thing you can give your kids.
This also means not comparing yourself to your own parents. You may feel like you have to measure up to the parenting you received as a child, or improve on it if it was less-than-stellar; but your circumstances are just not the same as your parents’. You can create wonderful memories with your kids, too; they don’t have to be the same as the ones you experienced growing up.
4. Missed Opportunities
It can be painful if you have to refuse to let your child take advantage of an opportunity because you can’t afford it. But don’t feel guilty – after all, to afford all those lessons and activities, you’d probably have to work more hours, which would mean more time away from your kids. And on a practical note: look for financial aid for some of these extracurricular opportunities. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what help is available.