This blog article is part of a sponsored content partnership with Miami Mom Collective.
Parenting is hard enough. Now, let's combine being a single parent and a pandemic, and you’ll have more gray hairs on a daily basis. Granted, I have had my moments where a time-out, for me, is imperative. However, the blessings have surpassed the challenges. This has been a wonderful bonding time for me and my two kids.
We have used this time to cook together, play together, and find new ways of interacting with family and friends from across the globe. Even though resources like Zoom and FaceTime have been around for a while, we never made it a habit to create weekly encounters with friends. We have now taken part in a few cooking parties, meet-ups and so much more. My kids have reconnected with family members and friends on a much more consistent basis than when we could have met face-to-face.
I look back now and realize that the challenges were not as difficult as I first thought. When the pandemic started, I lost all of my business and clients in one day. Never have I experienced anything like this in my life. I remember sitting in bed wondering what my next step would be. Would I run out of money and what would the future hold? As a single parent, I have a responsibility to my kids and the decisions start and end with me.
No longer is there a mate to hash things out with, it's about me making the right plan for us to flourish. I immediately placed my kids in virtual school and transformed my entire business to a virtual wellness program for corporations worldwide. I went through one month of STRESS, getting my kids accustomed to the virtual world of schooling, and praying for someone to reach out to me for a program. Fortunately, the stars aligned! I feel very blessed that we can all work together and create family moments even with a pandemic around us.
The next big hurdle as a single parent is how to deal with all of this on an ongoing basis. As they say, "It takes a village." I agree with this wholeheartedly, but a pandemic does put a little damper on things. Everyone is processing the pandemic differently. You have those who mask and those who don't. I have had to reevaluate my tribe and figure out those who are aligned with my view on health and safety.
We have now been in this virtual space for nine months. It's crazy how this time has passed by. By now we should have our daily lives all figured out, right? Hmm, it is still filled with ups and downs. With virtual school, my daughter loves it, however, my son misses the in-person interactions. Juggling these two personalities and providing enough social interactions - not to mention school patrolling and work - keeps this proud mama on her toes.
With all this said, there are a few lessons that I have learned, as a single parent, that have helped me stay sane and on my game:
1. Perspective is everything.
If you feel like this pandemic is horrible, virtual school is anti-social, etc... Guess what? It all will be. I learned to change my perspective and make the best of it all, one-step at a time. We think out of the box and this has given us memorable moments to cherish.
2. Create new routines and new rituals for you and your kids.
The pandemic stopped everyone in their tracks. Think of this as a reset. For the first time you don't have to rush out the door and you can create the dream routine for you and your family. Many families I work with never cooked before the pandemic. Now they are cooking as a family and their kids are learning right along with them. Kitchen skills are an amazing gift to pass on to your kids. Getting them into the kitchen is correlated with healthier eating as well. Create family workout times. I am not a swimmer, but I now swim laps because we created races back and forth in the pool - who knew!
3. Take time to LISTEN.
We have never been through anything like this in our lifetime. We have no rule book and no troubleshooting guide. Our kids are at a loss. They have stopped play dates, sleepovers, and so much more in an instant. Creating times during the day to sit with your kids and LISTEN, will bring you closer. You will learn so much about their needs, wants, and desires, and you will be there to help them navigate this strange time. With all the craziness in the world, you have this moment to truly connect with your kids. Don't let it pass you by.
4. Create a NEW village.
Funny enough, we all probably needed to do this but were too busy, didn't want to hurt feelings, yaddy yaddy. Everyone has a different view of the pandemic, parenting, schooling and life. It's time to align yourself with like minds who care for you, your family and your well-being.
5. Take time for self-care.
By now, you are probably thinking... “I'm nuts, who has time for this?!” MAKE THE TIME. If we want to be there to support our kids through all of this craziness, we need to be at our all-time best. This is not the time to eat Cheetos in the closet. Now is the time to eat better than ever, to keep your immune system strong. Workout, de-stress and clear the mind. As a single parent, we have to be the role models and we have to be healthy to keep the family strong.
6. You need to socialize too!
Here we are facilitating school, virtual play dates, and whatnot. No one is there to set up our play dates, so guess what... It's up to you. Make it a weekly or daily ritual to chat with friends near and far. I have a few tea dates, dinners, and game nights every week. This is my time to chat with my friends, create new ways of doing things, and listen to how others are getting by so I don't feel so alone. When we are faced with challenges, we forget that we are not alone. Chatting with a friend or two can make you feel more normal than you can imagine.
As a single parent during a pandemic, I can tell you that there are challenges, but your perspective will get you through the tough times. Instead of looking at everything you have lost, look at what you have gained. Several friends lost jobs, but in actuality it was time for them to look at doing something different, this just gave them that push. If you haven't done so already, give yourself a time-out to reevaluate your journey in life. Take this opportunity to create a new future for you and your kids, and make it a good one!