Parenting has never been touted as the easiest job on the planet, but single parents face unique obstacles that make the day-to-day of raising children even more difficult. Sure there's less money to go around, and you'd give your right eye for someone else to handle the tantrums just once, but here are four single-parent problems you may not have thought of yet. 1. "Quick" Trips to the Grocery Store When you're a single parent, there's no running into the store for just one or two things. At the very least, you have to bring everyone in with you (lest anybody in the parking lot feel you're endangering your 12-year-old's welfare by leaving her in a locked car for 15 minutes on a 62-degree day) and endure the why-can't-we-have-pizza-for-dinner whining. At worst, it's below freezing outside and your kids are still in car seats, which means you end up skinning a couple knuckles trying to unbuckle straps just to wrestle your toddler-turned-angry-octopus into a coat and walk ever so slowly while she counts the tiles on the grocery store floor. This will quickly make you question whether toilet paper and shampoo are really necessities. 2. Late-Night Fast-Food Cravings The house is clean, the dishes are done, and the kids are tucked into bed. You are a rockstar — a rockstar who suddenly must have a triple venti caramel macchiato and a Hershey pie. Rockstar or not, you are out of luck. There's no one to go take advantage of the loveliness that is a midnight drive-thru, and it's not likely to ever be socially acceptable to leave small children alone at night because you're craving a cheeseburger. Looks like it's apple juice and leftover pizza crust for you. 3. Illnesses of Any Kind Dealing with sick kids is the worst for any parent, but single parents experience a special level of panic at a random sneeze or before-bed cough. Do we have tissues? Ibuprofen? Gatorade? Fever stickers? An emergency stash of chocolate bars and trashy magazines for when you just can't take the coughing anymore and have to hide in the bathroom? If not, go now because it's much easier to take a just-getting-sick kid to the store without getting judgmental stares than when he sounds like he could be in a pertussis vaccination commercial. 4. Unsolicited Relationship Advice One of the great myths of single parents is that they are constantly on the hunt for a romantic partner. Your next-door neighbor's cousin is trying to set you up with her daughter's son, and your mother tells you not to worry because she prays to St. Anthony every night to bring you a husband. In reality, your first thought after you put the kids to bed is "Oh, thank God no one else lives here," and you know for sure if you had to answer the question "So, Honey, how was your day?" you'd need bail money. Can you relate? Are there any other issues unique to single-parent households?
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