Parenting is a job-the most important on Earth. However, the wonderful job of parenting can seem more like a chore when only one parent is involved. There are no sick, vacation, or personal business days when you’re raising a kid on your own. Without two parents, the job loses some of its perks and sometime leaves single parents feeling burnt out.

Yet single parents are doing it despite the obstacles. As of 2005, the number of single parents living with their children in the United States was 12.9 million. Of those, single mothers make up 10.4 million. The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that African-Americans make up the highest percentage of single-parent families with 65 percent of all African-American children living at home with a single parent.

If you are one of the many women or men raising a child alone, you know the challenges a single parent faces. Many popular programs assist those raising children alone, such as WIC and All Kids. However, there are other resources that are equally valuable to single parents, but less well known.

Kid-friendly restaurants

While restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s are great for adults, they don’t always keep children entertained enough to stop them from running around the room.

However, the Rainforest Café, located in Downtown Chicago, is a great place for kids. The tropical rainforest-themed restaurant is equipped with tall trees, tropical fish, and the mimicked roars of elephants and gorillas. Not only will your children love the rainforest environment, they will also learn all about the animals and plants that live in a rainforest.

The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor on Madison Street in Forest Park makes eating ice cream even more enjoyable. The Brown Cow serves old-fashioned favorites like the Banana Split as well as distinctive delights, such as Ellie’s Turtle Temptation. On Tuesday evenings, the Brown Cow hosts musical performers and, on Monday mornings, a noted storyteller. Just two of the many kid-friendly restaurants in the Chicago area, these eateries will entertain you and your child.

Family-friendly fitness center

Looking for a place where you and your child can get fit for the summer without paying a fortune? Try Lawndale Christian Fitness Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave. Lawndale has a basketball court, weightroom, and fitness classes for kids and adults. Single parents with up to two children pay only $25 a month. Each additional child is $5. Children’s fitness classes include Hip Hop Dance and Youth Cardio Mix. Adult classes include Full Body Toning, and Cardio Punch. So while you get your workout in Cardio Punch, your child can get fit in Cardio Mix. For more information, contact one of Lawndale’s friendly staff members at 773/843-3219.

Pharmacies with
low-cost medicines

Colds, flu, and allergies often hit at the worst possible times, and when prescription prices are factored in, the whole situation can be a headache. Two resources can make purchasing prescription drugs less of a sacrifice.

Meijer’s pharmacy now has a free antibiotics program. Just take your prescription to any Meijer pharmacy and receive your designated antibiotics free of charge. For more information, contact or call the nearest Meijer in Rolling Meadows at 847/690-1500.

Wal-Mart and Target offer generic equivalents of your prescriptions for just $4 per prescription fill or refill. Not all prescriptions have a generic equivalent, so contact your nearest Wal-Mart or Target. You can also access their information via the Web. Just click on “pharmacy” at and click on “health” at

Parent support groups

Single parents need not only financial support, but also emotional support. Whether it is from a close relative or friend, single parents need someone they can seek advice from or just to vent about their day. If you lack an outlet, try joining a single parents’ support group through, an on-line organization that allows you to connect with others in your community who share similar interests. Many parenting groups have been established in the Chicago area. You can even create a group of your own.

Being a single parent can feel overwhelming, but the resources above can lessen the weight. After all, a great worker knows how to delegate responsibility. And who needs to delegate responsibility more than a single parent? Clip this article from your newspaper and post it on your refrigerator just in case you need to contact any of the organizations above.

Yesterday, by the way, was Single Parent’s Day.