Sarah is shaken awake from a sound sleep at 2 a.m. by her 4 year old who is crying with what turns out to be a fever, which has skyrocketed over 100 degrees.
“Oh no,” she thinks, “I already took two days off this week and my boss is at the point of firing me if I miss any more days.”
This is just one example of the life of a single parent. Often, they are the only ones available to care for their sick child.
For a single parent, taking a day off might mean less money in their paycheck. Seeking help from Family or friends may not always be feasible, either, if they are not keen on taking care of a sick child who might spread germs to their own children.
Terry, another single mom, feels like she never really has a day off. She has to work full time or risk not having enough income to afford even the basic necessities. All mothers tend to have less “me time,” but single moms have even less.
Robert is a single dad who remembers finding out his 10 year old daughter had asked their neighbor to help her figure out how to get her first bra. It made him feel like he wasn’t there for his daughter.
Single parents struggle with having to take the place of both the mom and the dad for their kids. It can physically and emotionally wear a single parent out at times.
But they still can’t rest.
They have to put their child in a car seat in the bathroom simply to take a shower, or struggle just to have simple repairs done. They have to learn to buy school clothes for a daughter or a son.
They have to pay for daycare before school, after school and nine hours a day during the “wonder years,” and they often feel guilty over shortchanging their kids or neglecting themselves.
Most successful single parents say it is absolutely life changing to have friends, co-workers and Family members who can help them or trade times to watch the kids on a weekly basis or for those emergency events.
They also find it to be a relief to hear how other single parents cope or simply to see that their child isn’t really as bad as they think he or she is.
Other parents at daycare, church, work, neighbors, Family Readiness Groups, Fort Bragg Play Mornings and parenting workshops are all great ways to build a support network.
But don’t forget to always be careful to consider the backgrounds and skills of supportive friends, daycares and even Family members if they are going to be alone with your kids.
April is Child Abuse Awareness month, which on Fort Bragg is a time Army Community Service uses to distribute all the many resources that are available at the installation for parents — especially single parents.
The New Parent Support Program offers kind and skilled home visitors who have experience with new parents and understand the unique challenges of caring for a newborn.
Fun play mornings are also available every week. These can be a great place to find someone to listen and maybe give a great idea. Call Army Community Service out for more help at 396-5521 or visit the website https://bragg.armymwr.com/us/bragg/programs/acs.