In speaking with many single parent families, there is a common thread of guilt and/or shame when it comes to asking for help. The truth is that so many families are facing tremendous ruin of some kind like abandonment, divorce, death, disease, disability, or economic duress; and, it is very difficult to prosper in those conditions.
Furthermore, Single Parents must earn more as an individual to be self sufficient than dual parent two-income households. In fact, it takes about $45,000.00 annually for a single parent to raise 2 children on a conservative budget and do so self sufficiently. Most available jobs do not provide that level of income.
Therefore, single parents MUST educate themselves about their corporate, community, faith based, and charitable resources. Not only that, they MUST use them responsibly.
Faith based, community based, and civic organizations have a TON of support for families. This is not always in the form of cash to pay a bill, but may be in the form of job education and advancement plans, work/life balance resources for affordable childcare and flexible scheduling options, and health and savings resources. Often, by communicating concerns and needs, a family finds they develop help, and also, potentially, a good friend, and a helping hand.
So, single parents, we want to encourage you. If you need food, go to the food pantry in your area. If you need clothes, go to the Goodwill or a Thrift Shop in your area. If you need shelter, seek a job at an apartment complex and reach out to your civic housing authority or HUD. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THIS. Typically, as single parents, our hearts have been sliced a bit by life, but we cannot let it affect our heads!!!!
Single Parent Families can do many things themselves to create community like create a babysitting network, a Sunday School or Bible Study, a social outing club that is family friendly. SPEAK UP about how you are seeking flexible job solutions, and boldly pursue your options, and even ask for new options to be created. Be ready to hold up your end of the bargain in all this with your employers. Position things carefully so it is clear that you are not seeking a hand out – but that you are seeking a hand UP.
Whatever it is we are looking for, sometimes we feel like there is no where to go – but that is not always the case. Be steadfast and don’t quit or give up in your pursuits. If you quit – you teach your children to quit. Be smart, be resourceful and engaged with your talents and USE THEM. Speak UP when you need help – shelve pride for the sake of your kids if not for yourself. If pride comes before a fall – You MUST lay down your pride – ask for help when you need REST, or WORK. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. Ask for practical assistance, so your child doesn’t have to do without.
Parenting education, safety education, resource education (USA.gov, United Way, Salv. Army, Goodwill, YWCA, YMCA, BBBS, Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, HUD, Workforce Commission, Nemours, Care.com, CCCS….all offer suitable aid). There sometimes seems like there is nowhere to turn and that there is not a hope, but do not be discouraged. There are many working to make better lives possible for single parents and their children of all ages.
If you are seeking resources, please visit the Resources page on the Single Parent Advocate website. It is a great place to start. We are researching and looking to add more too just for all of you. Take heart and have courage. You are not alone, and this is not impossible – it is just challenging. Believe in yourselves!! We believe in you!!