It's just you. For whatever reason, you've become the one and only caregiver to your child or children. When you're flying solo through something as complicated and inconsistent as parenting without a co-pilot or navigator, you worry you'll lose your way or crash and burn. Take a deep breath. Two is not necessarily better than one in this situation. In fact, two parents can jointly agree that they're struggling just as much as you. You can look at your situation and stress, or accept it and begin to enhance all the positives until the bright side is all you see.
Good role models: First of all, you should know your kiddo looks up to you even if they have a funny way of showing it. It's important to share other influences with your growing child, including friends and family members who can offer growth to your child. You can find a music teacher, coach, dance instructor — someone you child has access to and can build a relationship with as they develop into adults. There can also be fictional or historical role models you teach your child about or perhaps your child educates you about them! Let these people into your life — after all, it takes a village.
Work comes second. Easier said than done. Sometimes any job, any where with any schedule is good enough because it pays — bottom line. If you can manage to alter or create a work schedule that allows you to pick up or drop off your child from school, be there for extracurriculars like recitals and games and so forth, make it happen. Don't hesitate to express your needs to your employer. Let this person know why you're asking to rearrange your schedule. Open communication is key. Take it day by day.
Accept the bad days. Sometimes beds go un-made; lunch and dinner are the same meal; you miss a game. Let it go. Life is going to happen and they haven't mastered cloning (yet) so you're going to deal with days like this. It doesn't make you a bad mom; it makes you human. The point is that your child will see how hard you work and try and how you make it up to them, if you feel the need.
>> Read more: 10 Parenting Truths We Share with Moms Around the World
Open up to support. Share your frustrations and successes with other moms. They don't need to be other single moms, but that might help you relate a little more. Spend time with these mothers by finding them in your neighborhood, looking up a local group or tapping into the parent pool at school or soccer. You don't have to do everything on your own, and talking to other adults who happen to be parents can really put your mind at ease.
Be ready. Sometimes you'll be running around like crazy without realizing you and your kiddo haven't eaten in hours. Stockpile snacks in your car and purse. Bring a spare water bottle or sippy cup with you to keep your kid hydrated. Hand wipes, sanitizer, crayons and coloring books, a deck of playing cards (Go Fish?) and so forth can really save some sanity. It's not like you can push your kid's meltdown onto the other parent. It's all on you, so stack that arsenal! Click here for tips on meal preps and grocery lists.
Grow another arm. Not quite possible, so multitask when you can. Make it make sense: pack lunches while prepping a dinner casserole (click here for tips on meal preps and grocery lists); send emails while paying bills and checking the forecast; stretch your legs while you read a book at bedtime. You have quite a bit to do every day, so mash up your to-do list where it's appropriate and spend more time with your favorite people.