I was born into single motherhood kicking and screaming. When my ex left me to raise my son by myself, I thought being a single mother was a curse. In the beginning, there was nothing I loved about the idea of being a single mom or a single woman in my thirties.
For more months than I care to admit, the phrase “single mother” loomed over my head like a terrifying black cloud; so I hid from it under a rock, in a hole I’d dug myself into filled with depression and anger.
At the time, blame was easier for me to deal with than forgiveness.
Three & a half years later, some days it still is – but I try to remind myself that “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Single mothers all have different stories. Some become single moms by choice, whether it be their choice to leave an unhealthy relationship or to have a child without ever being in a relationship at all.
Others become single moms by circumstance, whether their partner is unfaithful, chooses to leave them, or was never there for them or their child(ren) to begin with.
Regardless of how a woman becomes a single mom, she will always have good and bad days. I think it’s how she chooses to look at single motherhood that will determine whether or not the good days outnumber the bad.
Here are my five tips that will help you love single motherhood, instead of being overwhelmed by it.
1. See Single Motherhood As An Opportunity – How lucky are you to have the freedom to call all the shots and raise your child the way YOU want to? Be grateful for this time in your life, because there may come a day when it’s not just you anymore. Being a single mom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t forget that! Use it to develop self-confidence, courage and strength while you provide for your family alone. Cherish the special bond that you and your child are creating while you have their undivided attention.
2. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – Let go of old attachments to perfection. They will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and anxious. No one is perfect. Not you, and certainly not your child. Invest your time and energy into the things that really matter and leave the rest with the dust bunnies collecting under your couch while you’re making memories and raising happy kids.
3. Together You’re A Family – The idea that there needs to be a mother and a father to make a family is outdated and just plain ridiculous. The moment you realize that and truly BELIEVE IT will be the moment you set yourself free from unnecessary single mom guilt.
4. Take Off Your Cape Once In Awhile – We all want to be super mom, but even super heroes need to regroup and recharge sometimes. Single moms experience more stress than the average person since they have so many responsibilities to handle alone. And when we’re stressed, overwhelmed and tired we’re more prone to turning into “Mean Mommy.” You know who I’m talking about – the crazed, frazzled and irritable lady who loses her shit with her kids over something silly. Whether it’s locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes of peace each day, accepting help from a family member or friend or scheduling a monthly night out with friends, DO IT. You deserve it, super lady.
5. Save Money How And When You Can – One of the biggest stressors for single moms is money. Raising a child on a single income is certainly no easy task. Since money is tight for most single mothers, putting a large chunk of money into savings each month isn’t usually realistic, but there are a lot of smaller ways to save money. Even putting a few dollars a week aside can add up over time. I use inexpensive shampoos, conditioners and soaps instead of fancy name brands and I’ve never been able to tell the difference. I currently get WiFi from my smartphone rather than an internet service provider, which is about half the price of paying for Hi-Speed internet in my home, works just as well, and I can take it everywhere! Every little bit of money I save counts and I put the $5 – $10 extra dollars I have a week into my savings. I may not have much now, but if I keep it up I’ll have a nice cushion to fall back on someday. Developing a savings will relieve you of a significant amount of stress, making you a much happier single mom!
My 6th tip is to always carry a flask… Just Kidding. Probably.