How to Cope with Being a Single Mom
In the words of Hope Hicks “There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting.” The same principle applies to being a single a mom. It is hard work. But, we can’t give up! We have to keep believing and we can’t stop fighting for our children or ourselves.
Not many women set out to be members of the “single mom’s” club. I know I didn’t. When it happens, It can be scary, overwhelming, downright stressful, and even embarrassing.
In this day and age it’s not unusual to see moms raising children alone or handling the daily care of their kids while co-parenting. Society’s familiarity with the situation doesn’t make it any easier to navigate. If you find yourself being a single mom, here are 5 ways to help you cope.
1. Be honest about your situation
Everyone I work with knows that I’m my daughter’s primary caregiver. This means I no longer have flexibility in my schedule outside of work. Unfortunately for me, my job comes with a mandatory amount of call per schedule. My call shifts are 16 hours and follow my regular 8 hour work day. I have no way of knowing when or if I’ll be called in and I have a 30 minute response time. On those days I can’t be home alone with my daughter. I also have to have a backup person to get her from daycare. There’s a possibility that I won’t leave the hospital before daycare closes or get to leave at all.
My circumstance does not excuse me from the extra responsibilities that come with my position. However, my boss does work with me. There are specific weeks out of the month where Kenz’s father can come to town and look after her. My boss is aware of this and therefore schedules my call shifts during those weeks.
If nobody knows what you are going through, they can’t help you.
If you find yourself in a situation that’s unique to being a single mom, be open with those involved. You never know what allowances they can make for you.
2. Don’t turn down help
I’m a real hands on mother. I think part of it is me overcompensating for doing this alone. Or, it could just be my Type A personality. Either way, it is hard for me to entrust the care of my daughter to someone else, even my own mother!
Knowing my situation, I have friends and family constantly offering me help. At first I didn’t always accept it.
I felt like my daughter was my responsibility and I had to figure it out on my own.
I have loosened up a lot and now I allow people to help me in my own way.
My cousin comes by at least once a week. When she’s here, she plays with my daughter and entertains her while I get stuff done. I use this time to take a shower, make bottles, wash dishes, and use the bathroom alone!!! At times I felt guilty because I never got a chance to interact with my cousin during her visits. Eventually, I realized that she purposefully came over so I could get things done. She knew I would turn it down otherwise.
3. Balance, Balance, Balance
Becoming a single mom does not mean that your life has to stop. It’s so easy to be consumed by our children’s needs that we neglect our own. Balance is key!
You have to make time for mom too!
How do you balance? You make time for your kids and the things that they want to do. But, don’t forget about you! Incorporate your kids into things that you enjoy. If you love being outdoors, let them go on a walk or run with you. You can push a baby in the stroller or let a child ride a bike beside you.
Doing things that you enjoy doesn’t mean you have to neglect your kids. Just like being a single mom doesn’t mean you have to neglect you. This brings me to my next point.
4. Take time for yourself
As a single mom it can be challenging to find time to take for yourself, especially if the other parent is absent. Take a day off of work and send your child to their childcare provider. Use this time to do the things that you enjoy. Read a good book, take yourself out to eat for lunch, watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, or just take a nap.
I recently took a week off of work and sent my daughter to daycare everyday. We did get to sleep in which was a nice break from our normal 4:30 am wake up. I enjoyed the extra morning time with her but I loved seeing how excited she was when we got to daycare. It was refreshing and removed any guilt I had about taking her.
I was able to do things I wanted to do. I caught up on tv shows, perused Barnes and Nobles and even went grocery shopping! I’m embarrassed to admit how I excited I was to grocery shop by myself.
5. Have a routine
I’ve always had some sort of daily routine with my daughter. It wasn’t anything set in stone. We sort of did the same thing everyday once we got home.
I recently started trying to sleep train her. The program I’m using forces us to develop a night time routine. I’ve found that the night time routine also dictates what we do during the day once we get home.
After instituting the routine I was amazed to find that I’m left with a couple of hours of time for myself. This should have been done sooner! Now I get to interact with my daughter during the day, get her off to sleep, and then have me time! I feel like an entirely different person now. It’s amazing.
My daughter is loving the routine too. She keeps me on track!
Being a single mom isn’t for the faint of heart but it is not the end of the world. You can do this! Remember your children are watching you and counting on you. You got this!
You May Also Like: Rediscovering Myself as Mom
Are you a single mom? What do you do to cope with your situation?
Like this? Pin it!