Finding yourself facing the challenges of being a single mother is something that no woman is ever really prepared for. Juggling your professional life and responsibilities with the task of raising youngsters, all without support from a spouse can easily become overwhelming. But mastering single motherhood can be done – and here are our top ten tips to get you started!
10. Don’t try and do it all
One of the most common mistakes single moms make is trying to run their household exactly the way they would with a working spouse around – but in reality this isn’t possible or even necessary! You don’t have to have all the beds made and house cleaned before you take your little one off to school, and you don’t have to have dinner ready before they get back – you can get it ready together! Tackle the big jobs first and don’t sweat it if a few things fall through the cracks. Don’t try and tackle on your own just because you feel like you have to be ‘dad’ too.
9. Always be prepared
Have an ‘emergency’ kit with you in the car or wherever you go with your child with a few useful items for delays or mishaps – a change of clothes, a few toys or crayons and a healthy snack or two can work wonders when life gets in the way.
8. Have a support system
Whether it’s reaching out to friends and family or even getting help from a local online support group, you don’t have to tackle everything on your own. It’s not fair on you or your child to be the only other person you spend time with, and you need to be able to talk to other grown-ups too. Foster and maintain relationships with friends who can step in during a crisis.
7. Get smart about money
If you have any kind of legal recourse to get maintenance or child support payments from the father, do so – don’t be too proud to explore all your options. Spend time educating yourself on how to budget correctly, how to save money for emergencies, and maybe even turning a hobby into a potential form of extra revenue!
6. Try and let go of guilt and be proud of yourself!
Single parents – male and female alike – are often wracked with guilt about the upbringing they are giving their child. This is completely unproductive. The situation is what it is, and all you can do is make the best of your situation. Make sure to congratulate yourself regularly on how well you’re doing – every milestone your child achieves, whether it’s taking their first steps or getting a glowing report card – is a reflection on you! Take pride in all the small things because you really have earned them!
5. Consider your options about working from home
While it’s just not possible in some careers, many women have been pleasantly surprised at how accommodating their employers will be about letting them work from home at least some of the time. You won’t know unless you ask – and the worst thing that can happen is they say no.
Some women find that changing careers entirely is their best option – working online for a new company or on a freelance basis, while not for everyone, is an option too. Removing the hassle and stress of a daily commute can make your life a lot easier.
4. Have a solid routine
Enforcing bed times is one area where it really pays off to be strict – well-rested kids can make your life immeasurably easier, and give you some time in the evenings for yourself too. Sticking to a morning routine, daily bath times and play times is good for you and the little one too.
3. Never compare your situation with other people
If you try and live up to the standards set by wealthier people or married couples, you’re always going to find yourself wanting, and that doesn’t get you anywhere! Only the health and happiness of you and your children is truly important, set your own standards.
2. Trust your instincts
There’s a world of conflicting information and advice out there – learnt to trust your gut. When it comes to raising your kids, there’s no better compass to follow than your maternal instincts!
1. Remember to make time for you
Being a great mom is a lot easier when you take time to keep in shape, eat well and look after yourself. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member to babysit once in a while and spend some time on you! It will help you center yourself and recharge your batteries – and that’s good for you and your child.