Every mom wants to do the best they can for their child. However, single parents have extra hurdles to jump over as they balance the role of breadwinner, mother or father, single woman or man and responsible adult. It can be more challenging when the other parent wants to re-enter the picture.

Luckily, you can develop a parenting plan – a document that establishes the arrangement between two parents as they raise their child. There are three elements single moms should consider before creating an official plan.

Establish your concerns and tackle them immediately

Most parents have a strong bond with their children and want to protect them at all costs. So, it feels threatening when the other parent demands parenting time without addressing your concerns. Luckily, custody cases allow you to vocalize any concerns and tackle them in your plan.

Create a list of concerns such as shared responsibilities, financial support, specific scheduling and how to modify the agreement if a change is necessary. This will prepare you to draft a parenting plan that resolves your concerns and addresses other problems you may not have thought about previously.

Have support during the planning process

Whether it’s friends, family or legal representation, you need to have support while writing the parenting plan. You will need reassurance that you are making the best decisions for you and your child, and possibly guidance on what to do with holidays and other matters.

The right people around you will make the process easier. They also give you the strength to stand up to a co-parent if they are too demanding. Rely on those people around you who want to see your family succeed.

Consider what’s in the best interest of your kids

Parents continuously think about their children and how to meet their needs. The same is true while developing the right parenting plan. As a parent, you need to analyze the role your co-parent plays in your child’s life and how to design a plan surrounding your child’s interests.

For example, most parents know that their children should have both parents active in their lives. It may feel natural to seek sole custody and cut the other parent out altogether, but that would only satisfy your needs – not your children’s needs. Consider a schedule where your co-parent engages with your children while you maintain your parental role. This will promote consistency, which all children need.

The best thing you can do is not to rush the process. If you try to push through the parenting plan, you may make a mistake that affects your family negatively. Take your time and rely on your support system to help you through a stressful situation.