January Jones has recently spoken out about her difficulties being a single parent and a working mum, but she has the cast and crew of Mad Men to help her.
The 34-year-old actress from the hit US drama series Mad Men has left us questioning as she has never revealed the identity of seven-month old Xander's dad. Without the support of a partner, she didn't have time to take maternity leave because filming resumed on the show following a 17-month break.
January said of early motherhood: “''It was difficult to be a working mom and just juggling all of that. But everyone made it work and it was great. They made it baby friendly for me, because I'm the first female on set to have a baby so I got to bring him. He had his own room and I was able to work around it because I was nursing.''
January Jones seems to have identified how to be a good parent by surrounding herself with people who understand the needs of a woman who has just had a baby.
Another celebrity parent who has just announced a split from her baby’s father is British Silent Witness actress Emilia Fox. Emilia gave birth to baby Rose 18 months ago and had been with partner Jeremy Gilley for 3 years. She said of the separation:
‘It happened several months ago. I am a single mother – that is the reality. But our priority is our love for Rose and her wellbeing. I want her to have the best in life that we can provide, and I am sure her dad does as well. So there is no sadness,’
Emilia also credits the support of her family as to why she has been able to cope as a single mother. Her parents have taken care of Rose whilst she has been working so she hasn’t had the worry of childcare, at the same time as knowing that Rose is being loved and cared for.
For single parents January and Emilia, life can been tough without the support of a partner right there. Both celebrities have turned to their family and friends to help them to be a good parent.
Gurgle Guide on How to Be a Good Single Parent.
1) Don't be selfish. (Even if your partner has been) Although you probably don't feel like hearing it right now, occasionally you need to listen to a few home truths. As soon as you become a parent, you're no longer number one - your child is. Be there for them.
2) Don't bottle things up. If you need to cry, go ahead, but try not to let your children see. Set them up with a game/activity and go have a few minutes to yourself.
3) Allow yourself some 'me' time at the end of the day. This could take the form of having a long hot soak in the tub, reading a magazine or good book or watching a film you've been meaning to see for ages (a word of advice - avoid rom coms!) The positive side to being on your own is having time to yourself at the end of the day when your children have gone to bed where you get to choose what you watch or read.
4) Be honest with your child/children. This doesn't mean that they need to know every tiny detail of what went wrong in your relationship, but if they ask you questions, try to answer as truthfully as possible. Most children are more perceptive than their parents think and the chances are they will have some idea of what is going on, or at least have been picking up on the emotions in the household.
5) Spend quality time with your child/children. Even though you might feel as if you don't have the energy, you'll gain strength from seeing them enjoying themselves. Watching them laughing and playing in the park might be enough to put a smile on your face.
6) Don't badmouth your ex. However tempting this may seem, you must refrain from saying anything bad about their dad. Children will pick up on this - don't fill them with your bitterness. They're the innocent party. As they get older they will make their own minds up about their family and won't need help from you. As much as you are hating your ex, try to reassure your children that he/she still loves them and that your break-up is nothing to do with them. Many children think that their parents' break up in their fault and this ccan have an effect on your child in the future.
7) Try to make handovers between you and your child's father as amicable as possible. Never argue in front of a child. If you really can't get on with your ex partner, you may need to organise a go-between - a friend or family member for example.
8) Talk through your feelings with your friends and family. Though you may feel like hiding your head in the sand, you have to accept what's happened and express your emotions. You're grieving not only for your past but also for the future you thought you were going to have. Don't worry about boring your loved ones - they want to be there for you. The more you build up your support network, the stronger you will be. You might find that a few sessions with a counsellor will help; although it's great to talk to your nearest and dearest, sometimes you need someone neutral who will just listen to you rather than give their input and offer you advice, as friends and family will do.
9) Laugh! Though this may seem like the last thing you feel like doing, you have to keep your sense of humour. Surround yourself with people that make you happy.
10) Why not try something new? If you've always wanted to learn a new language, take acting classes or do a cookery course, now's the time to do it. I went back to university to study an MA, for example. This will really boost your self-esteem, as after a relationship breaks down it's easy to feel like a failure.
11) Remember, you're not alone - so many people are in the same boat as you. Try to put things in perspective; worse things happen and you must count your blessings. It might help to join a single parents network (why not join gurgle.com's chat forum to meet other parents in the same situation as you).
Whatever your route into single parenthood, be it through divorce, separation or the death of a partner, single parents face a very different set of challenges to those who are entering parenthood as part of a couple. Being a single parent carries with it a burden of responsibility which can at times seem overwhelming – not only do you not have anyone to help with the practical bits of parenthood, but you don’t have anyone with whom you can share the emotional highs and lows of the parenting experience either. It can at times seem a very lonely and unfulfilling journey, but you’re not alone and there is more help and support out there for single parents than ever before.
If you are a single parent and are struggling with bringing up a child/children on your own, we’d love to hear your thoughts/concerns. To comment on this article, please see below.