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Single parents can be created by chance or choice, and while some would rather not be single parents, others are very happy to be raising kids on their own.

There are bound to be some difficulties ahead that coupled-up parents won't face as much though, from childcare issues to loneliness and yes, there is still a bit of a stigma attached to being a lone parent in many places. How do you stay sane through it all? 

The village?

"It takes a village to raise a child" may just be the single most over-used phrase around, and it is used even more frequently in the context of single parenthood. It is true that all parents (and all people for that matter) rely on the community in some way. At the very least, we all use shops. Many of us use daycare facilities, and then there are pediatricians, playgroups, neighbors... the list can go on and on. The community will be involved in the life of every child and every parent.

Don't let the "village" thing bully you into believing being a single parent means you should let other people decide how your child should be raised. It takes you to raise your child. Everyone else is just a handy extra. Do you crave company the company of loving relatives and great friends? It's wonderful if you have those. Throw the nosy busybodies that bug everyone but seem to have a particular knack for bossing single parents about out of your life where possible, and ignore them the rest of the time.

Don't neglect your own needs

Yes, your baby/toddler/kid comes first. That doesn't mean you should offer yourself up to the altar of Martha Steward and picture-perfect parenthood though. You don't have to bake your organic bread from scratch, to play with your toddler all day without taking bathroom breaks, or buy your kid the best clothes while never having a haircut yourself. Don't forget to take care of your own needs, because you need to do that to feel good about yourself and to feel good about being a parent.

Unless you feel good, you won't be able to be the best parent you can be. That's quite a decent excuse, isn't it? It's true, though. Figure out where your priorities lie. Would you love to go to the gym sometimes, or do you really miss getting your hair and nails done? Make it happen somehow. Would you like to go dating, or do you simply want some nice adult conversations? Leaving your baby with a sitter now and then is really not a crime.

Connect with other parents

Connecting with other parents who have similarly aged kids and are in the same life stadium can really lift your mood. These folks offer something great playmates for you and your kids, all in one! People who understand what you are going through with your kid right now, whether it's diapers, weaning, or choosing a school, are invaluable. Being able to discuss these things with others who know exactly what you mean is a relief for anyone. If you can't share your kid dilemmas with the other parent of your kid, another parent of a same-aged kid will definitely understand.

Accept/don't accept help

"Don't feel guilty about accepting help", people say. Sure, but be careful where that help comes from. Grandma, your sister? Great? That couple who just moved in next door and who insist they love kids? Not so great. That new date that wants to bond with your little one? Run a mile and call the police. Sexual and other predators are more likely to target single parents because they think that you might have logistical or emotional difficulties they can exploit. Just be aware of this.

You are not inferior

Being a single parent is not inferior in any way. It may come with some difficulties that partnered parents don't have, but then again... you can't see that deeply into the lives of many couples you know and who seem perfect on the outside. Being alone is most definitely preferable to being stuck in a bad marriage, and it has its charms. You have freedoms that partnered parents will never have, even if they also have freedoms that you don't have. No parent is inferior or superior based on material or relationship status. If anyone ever tries to make you feel that way, remember that they just suck.

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