Parenting is hard enough, but imagine having to do it on your own. While in traditional families, there are two people who can work together to raise their children, there are those who, for one reason or another, have to do double duty as breadwinner and primary caregiver of the family.
The good news is that attitudes have changed through the years and the stigma that was previously attached to being a single parent is largely gone. In its place is empowerment, from government initiatives such as the Solo Parents Welfare Act, which was passed in 2000 to offer benefits such as parental leaves, educational and housing benefits, and medical assistance. What is also important is that the law protects single parents from discrimination in the workplace.
This is currently being expanded in the Senate to include more benefits including a P1,000 allowance for solo parents earning minimum wage, additional educational benefits and PhilHealth coverage for medical expenses. While this is being put into place, apply for a Solo Parent ID so that you can start getting the benefits that are already available.
Even with this societal shift in place, being a single parent is still very challenging. You will, as many other parents do, second-guess yourself if you are doing the right thing. Then again, there isn’t just one path to proper parenting. As long as your children grow up happy, and bring with them good memories into their adulthood, you’ve done your job well.
Here are some tips that may help you on your solo parenting journey.
- Spend time with your children
With the family finances falling squarely on your shoulders, your priority will naturally be to work so that you can cover all those expenses such as their education and all those bills that need to be paid. However, it is important to keep those lines of communication open between you and your children. This can be through setting aside a part of your day to play and talk with them.
Quality time need not be expensive. You can make it a point to have dinner with them to share the events of the day. This encourages them to open up to you about anything. The main point here is to listen. Put the phone down, avoid other distractions, and show that you are interested in what they have to say.
- Make time for yourself
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to practice self-love in order to take care of your family’s needs and nurture your mental and emotional wellbeing. Take some time off for yourself, even if it is a few minutes of meditation or a quick workout that you can establish as a regular routine. Not only will this keep you healthy and mentally strong, this will also help your kids see the value of taking care of themselves which will help them develop good self-esteem.
- Ask for help if you need it
If you are feeling overwhelmed or unbalanced, let family and friends know about your situation. There will always be people who will rally around you and give you support when you need it most. It may not always be material support—a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to lean on can do wonders when you feel frazzled. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a show of strength.
- Look for role models
You may feel anxious about the lack of a parental role model of the opposite sex. To offset this, let your children spend time with family members or friends that they can consider as positive role models, so that they can grow up to have healthy relationships of their own.
- Invest in their future
Every Filipino parent’s dream is to have their child finish schooling so that they can have a brighter future. However, education can be expensive, so it is important to plan ahead for their tuition fees.
As a single parent, you also have to plan ahead for future needs such as healthcare, as getting sick and hospitalized can place an additional burden on your family finances. It is always important to have some savings tucked away for emergencies, and an investment plan that can cover your needs in the future.
To protect your family’s health and wellbeing, check out FWD Life Insurance’s Health Bundle. This plan consists of a VUL base plan of either Set for Life or Manifest with LifePro and SurePro for owner or insured. Because when it comes to your health, it’s crucial to have all your bases covered. This covers you should there be any health risk while building your financial health too.