The phrase rings through your head, and it kind of sounds like a scary thing. But your mind’s playing tricks on you — being a single mom is not an impossibility.
In fact, you can flourish as a single parent and a woman on her own. Here’s how to get over the hump and live your best life with your kids:
To move forward, you have to let go of the past. That may mean grieving the past, especially if you’ve become a single mom by way of divorce.
There will be steps to take to grieve your divorce, and much of that requires you to accept your feelings. Find a trusted friend or family member to talk to, or enlist in therapy sessions to do the same.
You have to grieve thoroughly to close that wound once and for all. Only then will you be okay with your new title, “single mom.”
Every newly minted single mom will have it — the feeling of lingering uncertainty as she puts everything in place. It may feel uncomfortable to live with, and it will be at first. But your worries about the future shouldn’t get in the way of you living your life from here on out.
The truth is, you don’t have to decide what your future will look like right away. Give yourself time to find your footing. Make your place feel like home, focus on work, spend time with your brood. All of these things will help you feel like yourself again — and slowly block out the anxiety that comes with an unexpected life change.
Not all single moms come from divorce. Some choose to adopt on their own, or they hire a surrogate in their state to carry a child for them. Either way, one thing is for sure — raising a child or children alone is tough work.
You might be able to flourish solo, balancing all of your responsibilities with zero help. However, if someone offers a hand and you need it, don’t be shy about saying “yes.” Perhaps a friend offers to carpool your kids home or your parents offer a weekend of babysitting so you can have some time to yourself. If you want help, accept it. You’ll be a better, less-stressed mom for it.
Budgeting as a single mom is even more important than it was as a woman on her own. Flourishing doesn’t just cover your emotional or physical state, after all. You can succeed financially too, so it’s time to learn to create a budget — and stick to it.
Your best bet is to calculate your total income, which may include your paycheck, cash from a side hustle, child-support checks and more. Next to that, work out your total expenses. The necessities — rent or mortgage, food, bills, health care — come first. Then, you can suss out the extras, such as children’s activities, gym memberships, eating out and whatever else you and your family like to do.
You’ll probably have to finesse your budget so that it fits within your income bracket. Try and save some cash each month for unexpected expenses, too. That way, you’ll always have what you need in a pinch.
Your kids are your life — there’s nothing that can change that. However, this truth doesn’t mean that you should put your own needs aside to care for your children. You will be a better mom if you take a breather every now and then.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of accepting help. If someone wants to schedule a playdate or pick up your kids from school, sneak those few minutes or hours for yourself. You might also find some time after the kids go to sleep or while they’re in school to take care of your needs.
Self-care takes countless forms, and your definition may be different from the next single mom’s. You can try taking a long bath, getting outside to exercise, reading a book, watching a grown-up TV show — the possibilities are endless. Whatever makes you feel like yourself is the best way to spend your alone time.
Best of all, when you’re back with your kids, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to be your best mom self. And that’s precisely how you flourish as a single mother.
Times are tough. They may not be how you imagined. And such realizations will do nothing but drag you down.
You’re allowed to grieve, but you should also give yourself the chance to move forward with your life. Choose happiness and, soon enough, you’ll be flourishing as a single mom, just as you envisioned.
Treat yourself well, spend wisely and accept help when you need it. Evolve, talk to people and let go of the titles you may have held in the past. There’s nothing wrong with being a single mom — in fact, you’re a prime example of how well it can be done. So, get out there and lead the best life for you and your kids.