Single parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We take inspiration from some prominent people who seem to have got it right.

Model, singer and actress Zoe Mthiyane understands the challenges that come with being a working mother, and believes having the right support is crucial.

Mother of Awande (6) and Lulonke (1), Zoe has a hectic shooting schedule with popular soapie Generations – The Legacy. She starts shooting at 7am and finishes at 7pm, leaving precious little time for anything else. It doesn’t make it easier that her mother, who was her go-to person in any emergency, has passed on. But she enjoys making time for things that her children love, like being read to. It also helps that she has a nanny. She says it’s difficult to find the perfect nanny, but the most important thing is that the children love her.

The proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ resonates with Dineo Ranaka. The fashion designer, radio and TV personality is also a single mother of two and she believes that it takes many people in a community in order for a child to develop healthily and thrive.

The term ‘single parent’ is not one she subscribes to. ‘No one is ever alone in parenting,’ she says. ‘We are constantly co-parenting – with the teachers at school, immediate family members and close neighbours.’

Randburg educational psychologist Ken Resnick says what is important is that parents support and guide children properly.

‘Parents must understand their parenting roles,’ he says, adding that unfortunately, parents often choose to overcompensate and be overprotective of their children. ‘This does not prepare them for the future,’ he says. ‘There is no way a parent can be a mother and a father. What parents must realise is that all children are creative and it’s important for their creativity to be nurtured.’

American reality TV star Amanda Stanton once wrote: ‘I decided instead of being ashamed of being a single mother, I was going to own it. Being the best mother you can be and giving your kids the best life possible has nothing to do with your relationship status and you don’t have to be happily married to have a “picture-perfect” family.’

Shonda Rhimes, an American TV screenwriter and producer of shows such as Scandal, is also a single parent. In an interview with Business Insider, she said, ‘If I’m on set … then I am missing my daughter’s science fair. That’s what happens. Those are the trade-offs. You have to make a decision that you’re going to miss one thing and be good at another.’

  • Experts at Babycenter and Mayo Clinic’s advice on single parenting: 
  • Take care of yourself. Arrange to do activities you enjoy, alone or with friends. Give yourself a ‘time out’ by arranging for child care at least a few hours a week. 
  • Set limits. Explain house rules and expectations to your child – such as speaking respectfully – and enforce them. 
  • Build a community. A strong community can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging – the perfect antidote to the isolation brought on by solo parenting. Don’t just focus on other single parents. The more varied your community, the richer it will be. The kids can have play dates while the adults socialise too. 
  • Creative childcare. Cultivate a babysitting network so there is always someone on hand if another member needs emergency assistance, for example with picking up from school or taking a child to the clinic. 
  • ‘Emergency list’. Develop a network of friends and family members you can call on in unforeseen circumstances. 
  • Routine and structure. Regularly scheduled meals and bedtimes help your child know what to expect and give them a sense of security. 
  • Stay positive. It’s okay to be honest with your child if you’re having a difficult time, but remind him or her that things will get better. Keep your sense of humour when dealing with everyday challenges. 
  • Don’t feel guilty! Don’t blame yourself or spoil your child to make up for being a single parent.

By Thembisile Makgalemele



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HOW TO SINGLE PARENT LIKE A PRO HOW TO SINGLE PARENT LIKE A PRO Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on April 12, 2018 Rating: 5
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