March 21 is National Single Parents Day. In 1984, President Reagan issued a proclamation declaring the day to recognize the effort of our nations single parents. And while most of us will tell you that we don’t need a special day to celebrate, it is meaningful that we have a time that we can reflect on the effort it takes a parent to raise children solo.
Here are a few everyday things that you can do to celebrate us, not only as moms and dads but as people.
1. Become a part of their tribe.
As a single parent, I really am on my own. It’s really easy for us to get caught up in the day to day art of survival. Joining our team will help us feel like we don’t need to feel alone.
We need someone to bounce ideas around. We need human interaction from folks that truly have our best interests in mind. Trust me, I sound a little wonky if the only interactions I have are with a 12, 8 and 6-year-old clan of boys whose sole purpose is to wreck every room with their inventions as soon as I have finished cleaning them.
2. Offer to help with little things
Offer to watch my kids for an hour. Would you be surprised if I told you for the first three years that I was on my own, for the most part, I never went anywhere on my own unless I took time off from work to do so? It’s true. It is super expensive to get a babysitter for three boys.
The times when I had folks help out in an emergency were invaluable to me. If someone offered to watch them for no reason but kindness just so I could have some “me” time, I would be more excited then I could explain.
If you are stopping at Starbucks, or another favorite coffee shop today, pick one up for me – no matter what time of day. I will feel so entirely appreciated. Remember I said we were fueled by caffeine? It’s totally true. I’ll take a triple venti, coconut milk, peppermint white mocha, no whip. Thanks!
3. Celebrate who they are as a person.
A lot of who I am is wrapped up in my identity as a parent. For me also a single parent and a special needs parent. But I am so much more than that.
I am a businesswoman and author. I am a person who likes movies, going out to lunch, empowering women AND watching The Real Housewives. Talk to me about Teresa Giudice or Erikka Girardi and I will know you are one of my people.
4. Be a role model and mentor
There are just some experiences that, as a woman, I could not have understood until I became a single mother. I’ve had to learn it all by doing.
I had to teach my kids about sports, to ride a bike and even to pee standing up (that was an adventure). Most recently my oldest son joined an organization where he must wear a coat and tie to meetings. Instant Panic. I was going to have to learn to tie a tie. Thank goodness for Pinterest!
I would have loved for him to have the experience of someone showing him other than his mom. It also would have saved me from binging on all the different ways to tie ties on Pinterest.
5. Bring flowers – Just because
6. Make me a meal/order a premade meal
Dinner. I haven’t figured out how to clone myself yet. And while I really hate to admit it, we have spent too many meals eating from a drive-through menu. Not because I don’t want to make home cooked meals for my children; but because we literally would be eating at 8pm, by the time we got home. Having someone make me or send me a meal would be awesome!
7. Check in on holidays
Many single parents have to give up all or some of every holiday with their children. Every year I make a very large Thanksgiving breakfast for my kids. Then somewhere around 1pm, they get picked up and then I have nothing else to do with my day. Same with Christmas and Easter.
While I am fortunate enough to have my kids in the mornings to celebrate, I often feel lonely when they leave. I haven’t had turkey and pumpkin pie in years.
8. Tell me when I’m are doing a good job.
This is one of my favorite compliments. Navigating boys is rough territory, and sometimes I very much look the part. Getting positive affirmations lets me know that it’s all worth it.