10 gymnastics, etc. Belonging to a group helps children in these ways: • Helps build confidence; • Provides positive activities; • Establishes new friendships; • Connects with other caring adults; • Presents opportunities for releasing emotions; • Receives support and understanding from peers. 6 Nurture Yourself In her book, Healthy Parenting, Janet G. Woititz, Ed.D., a counselor, shares a moment when she was a single parent. “I remember visiting my internist because I simply couldn’t breathe. He checked me out, found nothing physically wrong, and started to laugh. Of course, I saw nothing funny about the situation. Finally he said, ‘Well, I’d think in your line of work you’d have this one
11 figured out already. Where’s your breathing space?’” Dr. Woititz realized her physician was correct. She had no breathing space for herself. “Along with my usual responsibilities, my children were needy and needed Mom’s ear. And Mom’s ear was always ready. I had reached a place where I simply had no room to breathe. All my priorities were in order, except me.” From her own experience as a single parent, Dr. Woititz learned how easily life can become unbalanced. Now she offers this advice to other single parents: “If you need time alone, say to the children, ‘If you’re not bleeding, don’t knock on the bathroom door when I’m taking my bath.’ Your time alone doesn’t have to be dramatic. It just has to be private.” That is sound advice. Try to have a life outside of parenting. If possible, join a health club and work out. Many clubs even provide child care. At home, cultivate moments when you can be alone, without the demands of children. This can be something as simple as soaking quietly in a tub or reading a chapter from a book in the privacy of your bedroom.