No one plans on being a single mom when they get married. I also bet you didn’t plan to raise your kids by yourself without a man until you became young adults either. But sometimes God laughs while we’re making plans. Whether you’ve chosen single motherhood or found yourself raising a child alone unexpectedly, the struggles of being a single mom are inevitable.
The struggles of being a single mom can hit you hard, both financially and emotionally. How you handle some common single mom struggles will determine the quality of your experience and what you get to teach your kids. As writer Shonda Rhimes, author of Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person says –
“You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring, and dreams are not real. Just . . . DO.”
Struggles of Being a Single Mom
Being a single mom is hard. If you are a working single mom, it can bring added pressure and stress to the job of raising children alone. With no one to share your daily responsibilities or decision-making, you often feel guilty about leaving your kids in the morning. Becoming a single mother means you have to balance parenting, working, household responsibilities, and dating that more often end up disastrously.
Lack of Social Support
Life is indeed much harder for a single mom who has to navigate life without the many wonderful benefits that a two-parent household provides. In addition to the normal challenges, the single mom has to struggle with issues related to our society, as well as a lack of emotional support. The kids also suffer from emotional support and parental involvement because the mom is busy working and attending to her “new” lives.
The Single Mom Guilt
A mom’s mind is a dangerous thing. It can overpower you with guilt and feelings of overwhelming responsibility to make everything perfect. As a mom, you often identify something you wish was different in your children’s lives. It’s entirely too easy to feel guilty and beat yourself up over the “What Ifs?“. You even carry that feeling at the back of your head whilst working. It does not end.
The Difficulty of Organizing Life
The challenge of organizing daily life as a single mom is a tough one. You often feel stressed and anxious about making all the decisions on your own. The domestic duties like preparing homemade meals, tidying up the house, and the likes, can put a lot of pressure on yourself. But then there’s putting kids to school and providing them the resources to learn and grow up. Imagine not having the time and resources to give the kids worthwhile experiences: fishing, camping, coaching them with their sport, especially if you have a son. Life as a single mom is a pretty tough one.
Financial Stress and Anxiety
Being a single mom, you may also struggle financially. You may feel pressured to give your best to support your kids, ultimately you exhaust all your means of getting enough finances. If you have older children, you may also struggle with their spending habits.
The Feeling of Loneliness and Isolation
The juggling of all the things on your own can take its toll on you as a parent. The stress of raising a child alone can bring on loneliness and depression. And being fatherless can take an unfathomable toll on your kids as well. Being abandoned by their Dad at any age is a loss that just keeps hurting them throughout life.
Fear and Anxiety
Sometimes, you may feel constant fear: fear of failing as a mother, fear of your kid’s safety, and the overuse of technology. You feel anxious when they’re ill. You may also wonder when you should stop breastfeeding your kid and stuff like that.
Ways to Manage the Stress of Being a Single Mom?
It is the hardest in the initial stages, and imparting basic life skills to your children is crucial to making the journey easier. The following advice may help reduce stress as a single mom:
Take Care of Yourself
Most single moms have a tough time taking care of themselves. But there’s so much at risk if you don’t! You need proper sleep, time to relax, and exercise to stay healthy. You also need a good laugh and a good cry sometimes. Stress affects your body, mind, and spirit if you don’t give yourself attention and self-care. Eventually, it will ruin your relationship with your kids.
Talk Early and Often
Let your children know about the changes in the family. Sit quietly with your children and allow them to talk about their feelings. Enroll your kids in doing yoga or meditation with you; get on bicycles together. Visit a park and walk under the trees.
Find Support and Use It
Life as a single mom is riddled with difficult moments. Don’t try to handle everything alone. Reach out to other single moms that you may know. It is important to surround yourself with a support group of family and friends in both times of joy and distress. Your pediatrician can help you make a better choice when it comes to your child’s well-being.
Slowly you will find your strength, determination, courage, and identity. And maybe single motherhood had to happen in order for these traits to surface. At some point, your child will tell you that you were the only parent she ever needed and that you gave her all the love and support she needed. You see her succeed – and guess what? You can take the full credit – you did it on your own. That is what you should focus on.
Life is never a picnic. You take the good with the bad. Enjoy your little one. You will both be just fine.