Being a mom is one of the most magical, sacred moments a woman can experience, but it is also…
…and requires you to be all things 100% of the time…
…try being a single mom.
You find yourself forced to embrace what many would call one of the hardest jobs to have. Goodbye to sharing the responsibilities and hello to life-altering challenges.
When I became a single mom, I was terrified, overwhelmed, and really wasn’t sure how I would make it happen.
Most days consisted of worry and a whole lot of prayer.
But as much as I was pushed to limits that I didn’t know existed, I made it.
I reclaimed my life, refused to be defeated, and embraced my new normal. You can do the same too.
I’m sharing five things I learned that may help create a pathway to survival through your single motherhood journey.
1. It’s Ok to Ask for Help
Although you have unique superpowers of getting things done, you shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone all the time. This behavior will get you nowhere fast and the inability to be the great parent you desire to be.
This took me a very long time to come to grips with.
Oddly, I thought I could do it all and still maintain my sanity. Not sure if I wanted to prove a point to the outside world or if my A-type personality wouldn’t allow me to let go.
Either way, it left me many days exhausted and not sure if I was coming or going.
With that being said, reach out for help, will ya?
I know you regard yourself as the “real” Super Woman, and I would agree that you are Mama. But, you shouldn’t feel ashamed for needing extra help, parenting wasn’t intended to be a one-way street.
Reach out to family and friends to help you get through the highs and lows.
Trust me, they see your struggle, admire your spirit, and are more than happy to help you along the way.
2. Build Your Mommy Tribe
As a single mom, you are faced with loneliness quite a bit.
You will notice a divide amongst your non-single friends as they don’t really understand what you are going through. You find yourself questioning your friendships, solely because of your situation.
Don’t ditch your friends because of a lack of understanding.
Instead, build you a new tribe, supporters if you will.
Connect with other women who get where you’re coming from and understand your truth. This level of support will help you get through what may be some of your toughest moments.
3. Give Your Mommy Helpers Control
Growing up, my mom taught my brothers and me very early the fundamentals of chores.
At times, I wondered about applying the same in my household. But then my Mommy guilt would kick in and I would feel like crap for “robbing” their childhood.
It was bad enough that they only had one parent, right?
However, despite my moments of guilt, I realized giving my kids chores created a tremendous amount of benefits not only for myself but for them as well.
I quickly discovered that having chores made them feel important and a part of something big.
Implement simple tasks that they can carry out such as:
- Taking out the trash
- Loading the dishwasher
- Drying the laundry
- Cleaning their rooms
All the little things that they were so eager to help with, I was able to subtract off my list of must-dos.
Not to mention, you are building a skill set that will serve these little people for the rest of their lives. Win-Win!
4. Self Care is #1
Every day I would drop the kids off at school and head back home to pump out 7-8 hours a day to my full-time job.
I would later, pick up the kids, cook dinner, get everyone settled for bedtime and then dedicate 4-5 hours to building my business.
I went through the motions for many months until one day I slipped on a pair of my favorite denim. You know the ones that fit your body perfectly even if you have worn them 100 times. Yeah, those!
Well, something was wrong, they no longer fit me the way they used to.
I quickly hopped on the scale, and shockingly I was down 20 pounds in a matter of months. Eeeekkk! Now, for some this would follow with a happy dance, but for me, not so much.
I took a look in the mirror and the woman staring back at me was unrecognizable.
All those late nights, the skipped meals, and ripping and running.
That is when I had an a-ha moment about the rabbit hole I was digging myself into.
I was so focused on the kids, work, and building a solid financial situation I totally neglected myself. I knew this was not the type of life I wanted for myself or for my children.
If I fell ill, who was going to be there for me? Who was going to take care of me?
As much as we love our kids, they are not the end all be all of our happiness and health.
Take some time for yourself. Remove the “mom” hat and replace it with the “all about me” hat for a moment. Enjoy a spa day, check out a matinee, take a stroll through the park.
Do something for you, without the kids, to help rebalance you mentally and physically.
5. Let Go Of the Stress
It’s Sunday and the laundry is not done…
You don’t know what you are going to cook for dinner tonight…
The house is a mess…
Your child’s school project is due in two days and nothing has been started…
Take a deep breath…you are only causing unwarranted overwhelm that really isn’t necessary.
It’s okay to not be perfect, no one expects you to be THAT girl.
It’s okay to make mistakes and it is okay to let go of the stress.
I found, the moment I stopped worrying about the smallest things, I discovered peace and balance for myself.
Make a Choice
There will always be a to-do list, there will always be a struggle, and there will always be something that you just don’t have control of. LET IT GO!
Every mother’s path through single parenthood looks different. But you have a choice…a choice to embrace the ups and downs, the fears, and the joys.
I chose to take the bad and turn it into a glass half full situation. Don’t allow this moment of struggle to define your life, your child’s life, or the future that awaits you. You are awesome, and I know you can do this!
What are some ways you are coping with being a single parent? Feel free to share your journey in the comments below.