Celebrating single parenthood
Whether you find yourself in the position by choice or circumstance, being a single parent can be an incredibly demanding job. Without another parent in the house to spell you off, help you make decisions, and share all the day-to-day duties of parenthood, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Of course you feel grateful for having the privilege of raising children that you love, but wouldn’t it be great if there was just a little more recognition of all that you do day in and day out?
That’s what National Single Parent Day is all about. Celebrated on March 21, it’s a day for friends and family members to offer support and say “thank you” to the moms and dads doing double duty.
If you know a single mom or dad, consider making an effort to let that hard-working parent know that you notice how much they do, and that you truly care. There are lots of lovely ways to show your support. It could be as simple as sending an email saying, “I notice what you do and I want you to know that I think you’re an awesome parent.” But consider one of these thoughtful ideas too:
- Send a note. Write a letter of support and perhaps tuck a gift card inside with instructions for the parent to use it to spoil themselves.
- Make dinner. Make a freezer meal that the parent can pull out on a particularly busy day. Remember, depending upon the age of their children, chances are they are responsible for dinners 100% of the time, so a home-cooked meal they didn’t have to make would be much appreciated.
- Host a dinner. Invite the whole family over to your place for a meal. Childcare is expensive and not always easy to find, so having their children included makes it easier to get out and socialize.
- Offer to babysit. Single parents don’t necessarily have the same opportunities to socialize with friends, so giving a single mom a chance to have a girls’ night out or a single dad the time to go grocery shopping on his own is priceless.
- Invite yourself over. Those hours after all the kids have gone off to bed can sometimes be lonely for a single parent. Bring over some snacks and a movie, and spend some time catching up and keeping each other company.
- Be inclusive. Make a point of not excluding your single-parent friend. It’s true that single parents often have to refuse invitations, but don’t assume that your friend will never be able to hang out and stop asking altogether. Invite them anyway – even if it’s to an event where there will be lots of couples – so they know you still care and still want them to be part of your life and your circle of friends. This is particularly important after a divorce when friends are often divided and lost in the post-breakup shuffle.
- Lend a hand. Offer to help out with a task or project your friend never seems to have time to get to. Maybe it’s a two-person job like moving furniture or carrying large items out of the house for disposal, or perhaps it’s just sorting out a spare room or a messy closet. Two can get things done faster than one, and your friend will appreciate the hands-on support and the company.
- Make a care package. Single parents probably get less adult time than most other people, so make up an adult care package filled with treats that they don’t have to share with their kids. A bottle of wine, a bar of dark chocolate, an action movie, the latest bestseller or anything else kids wouldn’t want or can’t have would be perfect!
Everyone needs to feel that they are appreciated and important. Make a point of reaching out to a single parent in your circle of friends, family or community on March 21 to let them know that they can count on you for moral support. Knowing that you care and that you are aware of the sacrifices they make and challenges they face everyday will mean the world to a single parent in the trenches.
413359C CA/US (03/16)