Single parents have important (and seemingly endless) responsibilities. Unless you have super powers, the stress of doing it all yourself can be overwhelming. But asking for assistance isn’t easy.
“It can be an act of tremendous courage, humility or coordination to seek out help,” says Suzanne Harrington, M.A., a family counselor in Kelowna, BC. Asking for help can make us feel weak or inadequate.
“Today’s families are quite isolated from extended family and community,” says Harrington. People we might ask for help are not always accessible. Grandparents may be far away, busy with their own lives or unwilling to take on childcare responsibilities. Feelings of mistrust may prevent you from seeking an ex-spouse’s assistance.
Studies show social support diminishes the negative health effects of stress, including coronary disease and immune suppression, and boosts your sense of personal balance and well-being. You’ll have more energy and a more positive outlook if you develop a team of trusted helpers around you.
“It benefits children so much to have other adults interacting with them,” says Tammy Gold, MSW, a parent coach and psychotherapist. This is especially true when a single mom gets help from her father, Gold says, because the child is nurtured by both female and male family members.
The helping community you create for your kids will likely inspire them to pitch in, too. Pitching in builds kids’ competence and provides a sense of