A Single Mother’s Survival Guide

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Being a Single Mother

I don’t believe any mother or soon-to-be mom has ever made it her life plan of going through parenthood alone.  It’s not like you are waking up one day thinking, “Hey, you know what?  I got this parenthood thing down, I could do this easily without a partner That’s right, being a single mother.  Living on a single income is easy-peasy!”  Then you leave your husband to the forever bachelor life he has always dreamed of while you and your kids take off in the sunset with your own dreams of financial struggle and the crazy life of single parenting.  They all say raising kids takes a village so there is a reason why you feel like you are drowning.  There should be more of you.  Even with two ample body parents, you need more help.  All of our situations are different and whatever way or reason we have found ourselves in this single parenthood, it is doable and you can still raise absolutely wonderful kids.

So where do you go from here now?  Well first thing is first – your ego may be a bit bruised, your self-esteem a little marred.  But the most important thing for you to do is regain back your confidence.  You can survive this and flourish from it.  If you asking yourself how then know this: you can do this simply because you are a woman.  Being a woman is pretty amazing.  The ability to grow your on child and birth them out of your own body should be cause for some sort of metal or trophy.  If you survived 9 months of pregnancy and then labor, then you can pretty much survive anything.  Without the confidence and trust within yourself, you will be fighting an uphill battle.  You can do this!

Now, onto the fun topic of money.   Sure money can’t buy you happiness.  But we do need it to survive and it does help provide a comfortable lifestyle.  There are so many programs out there that offer financial help that you, being a single mother, should really take advantage of. There are Available Programs for singles mothers  where they have a variety of financial resources available for single mothers.  This is not a hand out and don’t be ashamed to take the help.  It is why it’s there and your ultimate goal should be making life easier on you and your family so that you can focus the attention onto those precious kids of yours.

If you are lucky to receive child support, do not rely on that money, even if you have been getting it for 10 plus years now.  Don’t make large financial decisions by including this part of your income.  Things can change quickly.  Your ex-spouse could lose his job or simply decided out of nowhere to stop paying child support.  Then the cost of a lawyer will be daunting enough.

Be realistic.  Sometimes what you are currently making is just not going to help make ends meet.  Or you may be entertaining the workforce for the first time in years.  Choose a career that is going to help you financially and remember sometimes the struggles are worth the payout in the end.  If working and going to school at the same time seems way to hard, remember the benefits you will receive after.  You will have better pay and probably even better benefits.  Look into your state as some make provisions for college grants for single mothers.  There are many options out there for single mothers who are looking to start or finish their degree.

Seek out other single moms.  Sometimes it can be a lonely place when you feel like you are surrounded by other people who have a two parent support system.  It’s hard for them to relate to your struggles and know where you are coming from.  Find some single parent friends.  It is so lovely to really vent to someone who knows exactly where you are coming from.  So where can you find these lovely people?  Try meetup.com.  There are a lot of groups out there dedicated to single parenting and may even have activities and playdates to do with your children.  Plus, if you have shared custody, it can be lonely on your night off.  Having great friends to hang out with occasionally on your off nights is a lot of help.  They are a good support system to have.

Now this doesn’t mean give up your married friends because you need them just as much too.  Yes, sometimes it can be hard to be around them, watching their marriage be successful when yours had failed.  But friendship is more than having the same life situation.  By only aligning yourself with single parents, you are showing your children only single parenting.  Give them an opportunity to see what marriage is supposed to look like so that they know that marriages can be successful and good.

Pick up a hobby.  This is especially important when surviving those nights away from your children.  Whether it is painting or some new crafting project – this is the opportunity to find something to do that makes time go a bit faster.  If you ever need any inspiration, Pinterest.com will keep you occupied for hours.  You can meet new people through hobbies and it will take your mind off of something other than counting down the time to when your kids come back home or wondering what they are doing.  It’s going to be hard in the beginning when you realize that you’re not going to be able to tuck them in every night.  You may even want to punch something when this realization hits you.  Take a kickboxing class.  I promise you, you will feel a 100 times after punching and kicking that bag for an hour.

Get over your dislike of asking for help!  You may feel too proud or feel like you should shoulder all of the responsibility but you need to know that it is okay to ask for help.  You family and friends are there for you for a reason and those people want to see you succeed.   Take their help – especially when they offer.  Remember to always tell yourself “those who mind don’t matter and those you matter don’t mind.”  Make that your mantra!  As a single mom, we need to know when to swallow our pride.  If someone offers help – TAKE IT!!!

Remind yourself that it’s okay to have dirty dishes in the sink, it’s okay for the laundry to be sitting in the basket and its perfectly fine if you can’t quite remember the last time you mopped the floors, especially if it means that instead of doing all those non-fun household things means you got to play and be with your kids.  It will get done …eventually.  The time with your children is so short and yet so very important.  Spend as much time as you can with them and focus on teaching them that spending time together is what is important.  I promise you that you will never get a best mom award from your children because the kitchen counters were cleaned every night and their laundry was done.  They will give you an award… or at least remember and look back fondly that you were always there for them and spent as much time as you could.  But when they get older you should let them know that you want a reward someday… a nice big trophy that says “World’s Best Mom.”

It is okay to date again.  Just because you made mistakes in the past, this does not define you and you have not lost your ability to have a long lasting, healthy relationship.  Be open to love again.  Yes, it will take time and only do this when you are truly ready but know that it can be done.  If anything take solace that you’re past relationship experiences have only made you smarter and more knowledgeable of what type of love you are looking for.  You know what you can and cannot put up with.  Know your self-worth: priceless and never let anyone make you think you deserve any less.  Being a single parent does not make your dating stock go down.  Everyone has a second change… and even a third chance at love.  Just look at Jennifer Lopez.

Always remember that everything will pass.  Yes, you will have really crappy days but you will also have fantastic ones too.  Don’t stress out about things you can’t control and keep positive with the things you can.  It may feel like you are climbing a huge mountain but with enough persistence and perseverance, you will get to the top.  It will be your kids who will be able to reap the benefit from this.

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