If you are a single mum, you will agree with me in saying that it is one of the biggest challenges you have ever faced in all your years. However, while not without its difficulties and struggles, it is likely that you also consider it the most beautiful and most rewarding task you have ever been handed in your life. Motherhood, whether experienced with a partner or on your own, is truly a gift unlike any other. In essence, it is the privilege and responsibility of having a personís life, growth and development entirely in your hands, dependent on your love, care and provision.
And that is why you want to make sure you get it right the first time. Being a single mother is especially challenging as you will not have the luxury of taking turns with your partner to pick up your child after school, take him to the dentist, or pick her up after ballet lessons. Unless you are lucky enough to have a sibling, friend, nanny or a grandparent who is willing to do it for you on a regular basis, or an amicable arrangement with the father of the child, it is more likely that you will have to do it on your own.
If you do share the responsibility of raising your child with their father, then you will need to learn how to work out a balanced schedule that suits everyone, and enables you to make the most out of your time with your child. After all, life is short and you want to make every moment count. As they say, kids donít stay young forever.
Having said that, how do you make each experience with your child meaningful? Whether your child is 6 years old or 16, what counts the most is the quality of the time that you are spending with him or her. While the quantity of the time that you spend with your child is important, the quality is even more so. After all, what is three hours a day spent in each otherís presence if not a word is spoken? Take the time to get to know your child and find out what he or she likes. If your child falls in the younger age brackets, take him or her for play dates each weekend. Whether this is a trip to the park or to the museum, make it a regular part of your time together. Children need stability. If your child is a little older, going to the movies each week or having him or her pick out a restaurant he or she wants to try is a nice idea.
Feel free to get creative. Bake together, go shopping together, work out together, or run to the supermarket together. It doesnít really matter what you are doing, so long as you are both having fun and savouring each otherís presence. Make sure to keep your mobile phone away while you are bonding with your child so that he or she knows that they have your full attention. Children are smarter than we think.
The holidays are the perfect time for the ultimate bonding experience. If itís Valentineís, make cards together and give them to the ones you love. Or bake heart-shaped goodies side by side. For Christmas, decorate your home as one, and celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree together. Visit the beach in the summer and snorkel, sunbathe, and sip fruit shakes together. There are countless activities to partake in so long as you are willing to put in the hours. Your child will surely treasure those moments for the rest of his or her life.
Olivia Nicholas is a writer and busy mum. She is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her work, and in her spare time works as a freelance writer for Storkie.