One of the grief struggles we face when we lose our spouse is another title we gain, solo parent. We used the term solo parent intentionally. We aren’t single nor divorced parents, we didn’t get to choose this. We started the parenting adventure with our spouse and we weren’t planning to do it alone. Now, all the decisions to be made are ours alone. Along with grieving the loss of our love, we are doing all of the child rearing and parenting on our own. It can be exhausting and overwhelming.
Now that we’re a solo parent, there’s no one to bounce ideas off of or collaborate on how to parent. We worry and wonder if we’lI mess up the kids. We wish our loved one was there to help us and help the children. It can be overwhelming to add this grief struggle to your grief journey.
There is no right or wrong way to do solo parenting. Please know you’re doing the best you can. Even when we had our partner, we could make decisions that we would later question together. You are making the decisions that feel right in the moment and the ones that work for you.
While doing the hard work of solo parenting, you will manage many challenges and survive. There will be ups and downs as you manage the children, life and household. You may even surprise yourself at your ability to handle it all and find you’re thriving down the road. You may also realize that there are some areas where you need assistance and look for support in those areas.
Here are some tips:
- Look for support. If you have a trusted friend that can help in a way you need help…let them.
- If you or your children are struggling, not only is it ok to seek counseling or therapy, it can really help to process your emotions and feelings.
- Surround yourself and kids with positive, loving adults and role models.
- Know that, even when there was two of you parenting, mistakes could be made.
- Each child is unique and will grieve and grow in a unique way.
- Finding routine and giving the household consistency can be a balm to everyone.
- Remember to take care of yourself. It will help you to take better care of your children.
- Ask for what you need and share those needs with others willing to help. Remember, as well, that you can let others know what you don’t need.
- Consider setting boundaries for yourself and children and communicate those.
Something to consider is that your children are grieving as well. We have learned through our journeys that hiding our grief from them is not always the best option. They need to know that it is ok to grieve. Unfortunately, grief is a part of life and this can be a time for modeling and teaching children how to deal with a death. A great friend of Teresa’s reminded her you cannot grieve for your kids. We need to allow them to grieve in their own way and support them the best we can. It’s also important that the kids see you grieve and how you get support for your grief.
We wish you all the best in your solo parenting role. Do the best you can and give yourself grace. Love your children the best you can. You can do this.
Please contact us and let us know of any grief struggles or topics you’d like us to explore. We appreciate your support and input.
Peace & blessings,
Jeni & Teresa
PS: For additional support, you can download our free copy of 10 Ways to Move Forward After Loss
Torn in Half: The First Days as a resource for the first days after a loss – available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.