When you’re a single parent, you wear many hats. From driving your kids around to preparing meals and from doing laundry to helping with homework, life can feel a little overwhelming at times. That’s true for two-parent households. But, when you’re doing it on your own, it’s easy to get weighed down by stress.
Unfortunately, that stress can become even heavier if you’re trying to buy a house on your own. Almost a quarter of children in the U.S. live in a household with a single parent. So, you’re not alone in your feelings. Because single parenthood is so prominent, there are also tips and resources you can use to your advantage when buying a home.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you should be prepared when buying a house. When you feel more confident in the process, you’ll be able to enjoy the excitement that comes with it, rather than the anxiety and stress.
Plan Ahead As Much As Possible
If you don’t want to feel like you’re in over your head while buying a house, planning ahead is crucial. The first thing you should do is create a budget. That will give you a starting point for what you can afford and where you should be looking. It will also give you an idea of where you might be able to cut back if you’re trying to save money for other things.
As you look at your budget, add a mortgage into the equation, and everything else that goes with home buying. That could include downpayment costs, insurance, and property taxes.
If the financial side of buying a home seems overwhelming, use the many resources available to you. If you’re a veteran, you might qualify for a VA loan. If not, talk to a HUD counselor or look into homeownership vouchers. If this is your first time buying a home, you might even qualify for certain tax credits that can help offset the costs.
Dealing with financial issues can be one of the biggest stressors when it comes to buying a house. The more you dive into your budget and know what you can afford ahead of time, the easier finding a home that works for your family will be.
Prepare Your Kids
If moving is stressful for you, think about how stressful it can be for your kids. That’s especially true if you’re moving to a new town where they have to make friends or go to a different school. Making sure they’re prepared will make the process easier on all of you. But, how can you do that?
First, discuss the move with them. Use age-appropriate language and methods to make sure they understand why you’re moving and how it will benefit everyone. Some ideas that might make the transition easier, especially for younger kids, include:
- Visiting the new house before officially moving in
- Keeping your child’s bedroom furniture for the new place
- Avoiding other big changes during the move
- Listening to their concerns and addressing them appropriately
Does all of this ensure that the move will be completely smooth for your kids? No. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep checking in with them, even after you move into your new place. Talk to them about how they’re handling things and what they need. Offer as much support as possible, and let them know their feelings are valid. It might take some time, but once they start to adapt and make friends, it will get easier.
This might seem like an unimportant tip when compared to the others. But, it might actually be the most crucial preparedness step of all. Single parents tend to be at a greater risk for mental health conditions. One study found that 30% of single mothers reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, compared with 14% of mothers with partners.
On top of the everyday pressures that come from raising a family on your own, home buying is stressful. It can cause symptoms of anxiety if you’re worried about finding the right place, how you’ll afford it, or just tackling everything on your own. Finding ways to take care of yourself – mentally and physically – will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed about the process.
If moving is stressing you out or you just need a break, try some of these self-care tips:
- Take your time and don’t rush the process
- Exercise each day
- Spend time outside
- Schedule time every day for yourself to relax
- Practice mindfulness
When you’re able to reduce stress, you’ll have an easier time balancing all areas of your life. Keep these self-care tips in mind while you’re buying a house to have a better handle on your career, your family, and your overall well-being.
Buying a house should be exciting, no matter how stressful it is. Consider this process the next chapter in your life, and be as prepared as possible to enjoy the experience at every turn.