Being a mom is one of the most rewarding, yet exhausting jobs on earth. It can be even harder if you find yourself as a single mother in your current stage of life.
You spend all day working, preparing, caring, nurturing, and raising other human beings. Your kids look up to you as their role model. You have an immense responsibility and what you’re doing is so important. And while you need to be there for your kids as much as possible, you also need to be there for yourself. Read on to find out our ten tips for single moms.
Don’t Do It Alone
It can be incredibly helpful to have a support system in your life. Whether it is a family member, a close friend, or another mom from a single-parent support group, you need people on your side. Not only will your support system be there to cheer you on when you are feeling burnt out, but they can also be there to help babysit. You need a listening ear to talk to, and it will be so beneficial to hear other parent advice. It’s tempting to try to do it alone, but parenthood will be so much more enjoyable if you let others help you.
Do Not Be Too Hard On Yourself
It is easy to let mom guilt take over and beat you up. But this does not help you feel better, and it will come off to your kids in some way. Encourage yourself, celebrate victories (even if they are small), and continue to move forward. Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t do or don’t have, focus on the things you can do. Nobody is perfect, and no one has it all together, even those who may act as they do. By keeping a positive attitude and looking on the bright side of things, your children will learn to do the same.
Do you have any hopes and dreams for your future? There’s a common phrase that is so true that says “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Goals motivate us to be the best version of ourselves. Set goals for yourself, your life, and your children. And then make a plan to get them accomplished. Seek out a role model or a mother whom you would like to be like, that way your vision as a mother is clear. This is where your strong support system would be helpful as they are there to see these goals come true.
Create A Realistic Budget
One of the hardest parts of being a single mother is having to live off of one income. Life is hard and expensive. Even when you have child support, finances can just be overwhelming. Sit down with someone you trust to help you develop a budget. This will guide you to know how everything will be paid and what money you have leftover. Planning will also help you to learn about possible investments, college savings for your child, saving for retirement, or possible school opportunities for you. Although this one may be overlooked and thought of as unnecessary, it could potentially be life-changing.
Find A Flexible Work Place
Balancing work and home life as a single mother is hard. You will have to find a place of employment that not only understands that you are a mother, but that will be flexible with your hours. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can come in later if that works best for your child’s daycare schedule. Communicate your needs with your boss and try to work out a plan.
Stick To A Routine
Maintaining a daily routine can be hard, especially if it’s not in your personality too. But routines are incredibly important to children. When a child knows what to expect next, they feel more secure, confident, and it sets them up for success. It will also help you to feel less stressed because you’ll have a better handle on things.
Discipline Your Kids
As a single parent, you are bound to get frustrated with your children’s behaviors. You might respond by being permissive and letting the child do whatever he/she wants. Or you could respond with the more strict, authoritarian style where what you say goes (no matter what). Neither way is beneficial to your child.
It is essential to set loving boundaries for your kids and to stick to them. Explain the rules, set up consequences, and be consistent. If they broke a rule or disobeyed, there needs to be a natural consequence, one that matches the misbehavior.
As crazy as it sounds, children actually crave discipline. It shows them that you care. I honestly understand the temptation to let things slide, but broken rules need consequences. Do so with love, and they will grow to be healthy individuals. For more information on parenting styles, read my blog post about the four different types.
Respect Your Child
Respect your child by being honest (in an appropriate manner) with answers to life’s questions. Your children will ask you about their dad at some point. Remember to be there for your child emotionally without dumping all of your baggage on them to handle. Get them the loving support or counseling if needed and talk to your child’s school as necessary.
Because you are a single mom, it may be tempting to rely on your children for comfort or sympathy through life’s trials. It’s okay and good, to tell the truth about problems, but remember that your children are children. They do not have the emotional skills or the life experience to take the place of an adult partner for you.
Another way to respect your child is by waiting to introduce anyone you are dating to them unless you know it is serious. Your kids are already dealing with hurt from the divorce/breakup with their dad. Adding and subtracting other men to their life will only add to the pain. Be sure that any man you date will be a positive addition to your child’s life. Otherwise, it is just not worth your time. With that being said, try not to focus too much on dating. Your children are your priority and want your attention.
Have Fun With Your Kids
Enjoy your children while they’re still young! There is always housework to do, and you may be tired from work, but spending time with your children is truly priceless. Eat dinner together at the table without any media. Sit down with them while they are doing homework. Or have them hang out in the kitchen while you do the dishes and chat. Read, play, talk, walk, dance, AND HAVE FUN! Be creative with your activities. Remember that having fun does not have to be expensive. Children will remember the memories and bond you create more than toys they receive.
Take Care Of Yourself
This is one of those “it’s easier said than done” tips. Even though you may feel like you do not have any time for yourself, you need to take care of yourself. Find time to participate in hobbies you enjoy; even it’s a simple thing like reading or taking a warm bath. Set aside time for yourself because you need to recharge. You will be a better mom when you can unwind as well.
It’s possible that you are feeling very stressed or even hurt by whatever has happened in the past. Exercise, a healthy diet, sleep, and appropriate balance between everything are all meaningful ways to manage your stress. And remember, it is good to see a counselor as needed.
Remember You’re Amazing
I hope this was encouraging for all you single moms out there. If you are working hard to provide a safe and happy home, be proud of yourself. It is incredibly challenging to be in your shoes, and your children will always remember how much you are doing for them. You will have times that feel like you can no longer do the single mom life. And then you will have other days when you are reminded how blessed you are. Cherish the good moments and remind yourself of all the good. Your kids need you, and they love you. You can do this!