7 Things Single Parents Need to Get Over Immediately

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Unrealistic Expectations

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I have a friend who likes to use the phrase "get over it," as in "I just need to get over it." Or, "Get over it, already!" And most of the time, she's being playful -- even laughing at herself.

But when you think about it, there are a lot of destructive behaviors single parents -- moms and dads, alike -- need to get over, like harboring unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Think about it: who's telling you that what you're doing is not enough? That who you are is not enough? Is it you? Society? Your ex? The answer may very well be "all of the above."

It's time to let go of the expectation that you have to perfect or sacrifice everything you always wanted for yourself in order to be a good parent. Sure, there's a lot of hard work and sacrifice in parenting, but there's also a lot of "good enough is good enough." (And that's not a bad lesson for your kids to learn, either, so they don't grow up with unrealistic expectations!)

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Other People's Opinions

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Here's the thing about what other people think: we have no control over it. Zero. Zilch. So you can do everything right, down to dotting every "i" and crossing every "t," and there will still be haters who pass judgment on you.

So don't give them the power over your happiness that comes with fantasizing about what they think of you. And most of the time, that's all it is -- fantasy -- because you never really know what they think, anyway.

Instead, decide here and how to let go of that tendency to ruminate on others' opinions and ask yourself what you think. "Am I a good parent?" "What do I love about our family life?" "What would I do differently if I could?" These are the types of questions that will point you in the right direction!

of 07


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We all have moments where we feel lousy about our efforts at work, at home, or in our relationships. And when that happens, the insecurity often bleeds into other areas of our lives -- until we're feeling pretty lousy, in general.

So "getting over" this tendency is two-fold. First, you have to exercise your mental toughness by refusing to allow one bad day to become many, or to allow feeling insecure at work to cause you question yourself in other areas.

Second, when you recognize genuine insecurity, based in a weakness that could be addressed, take steps to deal with it. That might mean taking an online class or seeking professional help if needed.

And remember that we're always growing. You don't have to be the best at everything in order to be enough to those who need you!

of 07

Your Ex's Choices

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Here's something else you can't control: your ex. Certainly, pointing out what he (or she) is doing wrong won't bring about a positive change in behavior, and neither will withholding child support or visitation.

Instead, look for opportunities to rebuild trust when you can and model what's working for you, like setting enforceable house rules with your kids and establishing routines that support your kids' needs (while also lightening your load a bit).

Modeling the very things you'd like your ex to do might be your best shot at making a real difference!

of 07

Leftover Anger

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I'm not saying you have no right to be angry, because you probably do. But if you're holding on to leftover anger -- anger you've already processed and dealt with -- then it has the potential to morph into something toxic.

So start letting go of that anger today. Grab a journal and write it down, so it's out of your system. Or write it down on a piece of paper, and then burn it in your fireplace or outdoor fire pit. (Always use safety precautions!)

If you're skeptical, try giving it up for one day. 24 hours. Even 12 hours! And see whether you notice a difference in how you feel and how you relate with your kids.

The best motivation for leaving that anger behind you is starting to leave it behind you and noticing how good you feel! 

of 07

Past mistakes.

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We've all made mistakes. It's part of being human. But holding on to them brings you down and could even contribute to depressive thoughts and self-doubt.

Remember that each day is a new day. So whether you need to bid farewell to negative experiences with your ex or a bad day with your kids, give yourself the benefit of the doubt and be as forgiving of you as you are of those around you. 

of 07

The Desire to Please

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Finally, say good-bye to the pressure you've put on yourself to please others.

You may be in a situation where those around you -- including family members and your ex -- are used to you going out of your way, bending over backwards to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Examine this trend more closely and ask yourself whether you're doing things for them that they could (and perhaps should) be doing for themselves. Remember, your value is in who you are -- not what you do to make other people happy!