It's been said it takes a village to raise a child, but for the nearly 13 million single-parent families in the United States, creating such a village of resources can be an incredibly daunting task [source: U.S. Census Bureau]. The responsibilities that come with parenting in general are demanding enough as it is, but they're even more so without the consistent help of another partner in the home.
In homes where there is only one parent, the to-do list can seem endless. What is usually a shared set of challenges -- from learning how to manage finances and making quality time for both kids and yourself to establishing structure and enforcing rules -- rests solely on one set of shoulders. On top of that, single parents who can't afford outside help also carry the burden of managing day-to-day household duties: cooking, cleaning and making sure everyone gets where they need to be on time.
However, this doesn't necessarily mean there's no help to be had. In fact, one of the most important first steps every single parent can take in terms of building healthy parenting practices is to consider who else they can turn to for help outside of a traditional spouse, including family members, friends, co-workers, other single parents, support groups and more [source: Frisbe, David & Lisa].
No matter how large your network is, this article will examine some core strategies that can help make your single parenting journey a successful one, including ways to keep the housekeeping "to do's" under control, while also using them as an opportunity for teaching responsibility. You'll also learn about the best methods for mastering time management, as well as tools for creating schedules. First, read on to find out how you can make meal times work economically, efficiently and emotionally -- even if you're not an expert chef.