One of the most challenging tasks a woman may undertake in her life is motherhood. Being in charge of fostering another human being is a huge undertaking to undertake, whether this occurs the “natural” way, with the aid of science, or through adoption. Usually, when we consider parenthood, we picture two parents sharing the load and being there for one another. Nonetheless, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau. This is a sizable section of the population that is frequently disregarded.
You are definitely aware of the additional difficulties that motherhood has imposed on you if you are one of these mothers parenting your children on your own. These difficulties include the ongoing fight to find enough time, energy, money, and support. Don’t let the idea that you have to do everything fool single mothers who are overwhelmed by their everyday obligations and struggle to keep afloat. If you utilize all of the resources at your disposal and modify your priorities in light of your circumstances, it is possible to thrive and survive as a single mother.
1. Find your community and ask for help
Going through the ups and downs of parenthood as the only person responsible for your children can feel lonely and alone. You’ve probably grown very independent as a result of having to handle things on your own. Being independent is important in many situations, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you don’t need help from others. If your family is close by, make an effort to communicate and see them more frequently. Make time to keep up with former friends or coworkers; even if they aren’t parents, don’t assume they won’t want to hang out.
Would you rather make mom friends who are more like you? To meet local moms in your region, use tools like apps, Facebook groups, and neighborhood events. Don’t be hesitant to seek assistance once you have built a support network you can rely on. Admitting you can’t do it all is NOT a sign of incompetence or weakness, and you’d be surprised at how willing other people are to help. If you don’t like burdening people, propose doing favor exchanges like rotating who watches the kids. Because at the end of the day, community is all about assisting one another.
2. Make peace with the past
Making peace with your past and refusing to let it define you or take control of your life is a must for moving forward. It is imperative that you let go of any feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be coping with, regardless of how you came to be a single mother—whether it was through divorce, a death in the family, or never having a relationship with the father. You cannot alter the past or the pain you experienced, but you can try to improve your life and the life of your kid by drawing on the strength you gained from conquering those challenges. Thoughts for the future should be kept in mind while living in the present.
3. Make plans and set goals
You can experience a sense of being on autopilot as a result of the daily routine of attempting to combine work and home life. Setting priorities for yourself and continuing to work on improving yourself are essential. You can create a personal goal to become in shape (train for a 5k), read 20 books in a year, or go on a trip (take a trip to Europe). You might set professional goals at work including getting a promotion, gaining leadership experience, or getting a degree or qualification. Spend some time coming up with a practical plan for how you may go about reaching these objectives.
4. Look for role models
Finding a role model or mentor who is more experienced in their life or work is a terrific method to kickstart your future aspirations. When you need advice on the kinds of objectives you should establish for yourself and how to attain them, this person can be a terrific resource.
Also, it’s crucial to have individuals you can lean on for support during trying times. The sincerest assurance that difficult times will pass and that maintaining a good attitude is the best course of action can come from someone who has been there before.
5. Rethink your priorities
Priorities and expectations must be modified in order to accommodate the double the number of duties that single parents must manage. Realize that you are not Superwoman and that attempting to maintain a spotless home, clean clothes, and daily homemade meals for your children is not a reasonable goal. It’s acceptable to occasionally take short cuts, such as giving your children cereal for dinner or delaying dishwashing until the next day. Avoid comparing yourself to others and let go of whatever guilt you may be experiencing as the only parent your children can rely on. Take a break and stop worrying about the little things.
6. Make time for me time
Making time for yourself, despite the fact that it can be challenging to do so, is essential for your mental and physical health. Finding time to be away from the kids must be done purposefully and planned in advance when there is no built-in spouse to take care.
If you have joint custody, make the most of the time away from your children by working hard and taking care of yourself. You cannot put sleep, exercise, or a healthy diet at the bottom of your list of priorities. Make time for enjoyable pursuits as well, such as hobbies and creative pursuits. Don’t let being a mother define you alone, even though it is the most significant job you have. If you are the sole caregiver for your children, finding time for yourself will be more challenging.
You and your children will eventually appreciate you for using the resources you have to spend time to self-care.
7. Stay organized
Excellent organizing skills are a necessary in order to keep everything running smoothly when there are so many things to manage. Employ Cozi as a family organizer for anything from appointments and grocery lists to after-school activities, Mealime for meal planning, and Mint for your finances. If you share custody, keep in touch frequently so that it is understood who will be in charge of what for your children. Have consistent morning and evening routines so that your children understand what to anticipate every day.
8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)
Even while it’s crucial to remain organized and prepared, things don’t always go as planned. Provide for flexibility by establishing a backup plan for childcare and with your employer in case your children become sick and need to stay home or babysitters need to cancel last-minute. Have a list of people you may contact, for instance, or discuss with your boss the possibility of working from home in case of crises. Above all, avoid letting unforeseen developments overwhelm you and ruin your day.
9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)
Families with two parents would not be able to comprehend the limits that single mothers face in terms of time, energy, and resources. It’s critical that you quit feeling guilty about these conditions and stop attempting to accomplish everything and be everywhere. You don’t have to accept an invitation to every birthday party that your child receives. There is no requirement that your children participate in sports and extracurricular activities every evening of the week.
Just undertake the activities that you and your family will find most fulfilling and pleasurable. Doing more merely makes you more exhausted as a mother, not a better one.
10. Live within your means
Budgeting and living within your means become even more crucial when you have to support your family on one salary. Make it a goal to pay off any unpaid debt that is racking up interest as soon as you can. The easiest method to see how much money is being spent each month on different things and what is left over is to lay up a budget.
Learn strategies to save money on the essentials by shopping during deals, buying certain items used, and making a meal plan. Decide how much can be spent on luxuries like dining out, vacations, and movie tickets once the required expenditures have been paid. Do not let your family’s finances be a source of stress. Maintain a healthy bank account while instructing your children on how to handle money appropriately.
11. Spend quality time with your kids
As a single mother, your time with your children is considerably more valuable and constrained. Make the time you have with your children matter. Instead of letting kids watch TV, take children on enjoyable and inexpensive outings to the park, playground, or museum. Utilize mealtimes as the ideal opportunity to inquire about their academic progress and social relationships with their peers.
Instead of viewing it as a chore or a waste of time, when your children want you to play with them, consider it a privilege and a chance to strengthen your relationship with them. When you are with them, be fully present without thinking about your work or multitasking. There will be no doubt that this will improve your relationship with your children.