Surviving Single Motherhood
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Gripping the edge of my bathroom sink, kids pounding on the locked door, I was stressed to the max and overwhelmed. I knew I needed help! Help!! My silent tears and cry for help barely escaped my mouth as I prayed for God to rescue me. Every parent needs parenting advice at some point in their child’s life, whether they’re a first-time parent or they’re raising their third teenager. Single moms have it harder than most parents, though. I’m a single mom and here are my tips for surviving single motherhood.
Single moms are often raising their children without a second parent in the picture – or at the very least, the child’s second parent isn’t as involved as they should be. That leaves single moms with double the responsibilities of partnered parents.
Seasoned single moms have some wisdom to share with those who might still be struggling to make it work. These parenting tips are written by single moms, for single moms. After all, the best advice often comes from others who have been through similar experiences as you!
Surviving Single Motherhood
Find “Me Time” – And Take It
Single moms are often busier than partnered parents, so it can be much harder to find much-needed “me time.” Single mom Vicky Charles suggests squeezing in personal time while your kids are already busy, like when they’re at a birthday party. She also recommends setting your kids up with after-school activities, like scouting organizations and recreational sports. You may have to get creative, but it’s still possible to get personal space as a single mom!
These bible verses have helped me during this Single Mom journey! Read these Bible Verses when you feel exhausted and weary.
How to be a Successful Single Mother
Be Open and Honest with Your Kids
Some single moms may dread the day when their kids ask who their father is, or where he is. Marsha from Single Mothers by Choice recommends telling your child the truth, watered down to be an age appropriate conversation. The more you normalize the situation, the easier it will be for your child to understand and accept. When your child is young, you’re probably more worried about it than they are! Simply explain that their family dynamic is a little bit different, and they’ll move onto the next thing.
If you loose your cool, apologize to your kids. They know you aren’t perfect and by being open and honest with them, apologizing when needed, you are teaching them much needed communication skills and taking responsibility for your own actions.
Believe in Yourself
It’s hard to raise kids by yourself, but here you are doing just that. Rocking it! You aren’t just capable of being a great parent – you already are one! Single mom blogger Anna Wood reminds her readers of all the ways in which single moms are doing enough already. You know what you want for your children, and you don’t have to compete with anyone else over what’s best for your kids. You’re your child’s go-to person for advice, reassurance, and rescuing. In their eyes, you’re a hero. Give yourself the credit you deserve! Check out my Identity in Christ article.
Take Criticism with a Grain of Salt
There will always be people who don’t have nice things to say about your family dynamic. Jennifer Maggio from The Life of a Single Mom is here to remind you that oftentimes, outsiders don’t know your struggle. They don’t see how hard you try to raise your child, and they don’t see how happy your child truly is. All they see is their idea of what a family should look like, and the fact that yours doesn’t fit their standards. That criticism often comes from lack of knowledge, but may also be from bitterness or regret. Try not to take it personally, especially when it’s coming from people who have no idea what they’re talking about!
Put Down Your Phone
A study showed that almost 73% of parents who used a mobile device during a meal paid less attention to their children. Single mom blogger Amy Williams points out that young children need face-to-face interaction to strengthen their vocabularies and social skills. She recommends setting aside time to use your devices to focus more on your family. When technology comes before your child, they notice!
Don’t Center Your Relationships Around Your Kids
Once you decide to date and re-marry, it might seem counterproductive to not put your kids first when you start dating (if you choose to). Believe it or not, your relationship with your partner should come first, according to sex therapist Laura Berman Ph.D. and mom blogger Emma Johnson. That’s because a child’s life orbits around their family dynamics, so if you bring a partner into the picture, a healthy relationship with them will benefit your child. Think of it this way: how will your child feel if they overhear their mother and her partner fighting over how they’re interfering with their mom’s relationship? Putting your partner second and your child first will undoubtedly bring about resentment, which will only make things harder for your child.
If your focus is your child, when they grow up and leave home you may be facing a damaged marriage because of the years of improper balance. Your spouse needs to be a priority to keep a healthy relationship with each-other.
Single moms have less disposable income than coupled parents, since there’s only one income in the home instead of two. Avoid unnecessary spending, and cut back where you can. For example, Netflix and Hulu combined are cheaper than a cable subscription, so it’s likely worth it to ditch your cable box. Single mom Kaywanda Lamb offers some advice on how to cut back on your utility bill, like using natural light when possible. She also recommends comparing prices online before shopping and eating before going to the movies. Think of all the money you can save on popcorn! Check out my Money Saving Tips.
Use a Planner
You have so many responsibilities as a single parent. It can be hard to keep up with them all! Kairen from Confessions of a Single Mum wants parents to use a planner for this reason. You can use your planner to keep track of appointments, birthday parties, school events, to-do lists, and personal events. Everyone has a good reason to get a planner, but as a single mom, you shouldn’t live without one!
Help for the Single Moms
Look to the Bible for Guidance
Our walk with God, leaning on Him during this journey, can often point us in the right direction when nothing we try works. Single mom blogger Dr. Sophia Reed is a Christian, and she offers up some faith-based reminders for other Christian moms who may be struggling.
The unofficial tenth item on this list would be to stop taking advice from partnered parents. Their advice might not be applicable to you, and they may even become judgmental. Look to family professionals and other single parents for guidance when you feel lost – they’ll know how to point you in the right direction. Lean on God and His word everyday!! Remember, you’re already doing great!
Are you a single mom? What is your best tip for surviving single motherhood?