Are you facing life as a single mother? Being a single mom is a momentous challenge. You’ll feel like you need to be the breadwinner, the bruised knee kisser, the homework expert, the social calendar organizer and so much more. It’s tough going – but with some good coping strategies in place you can keep it together, and be a fantastic mom to your kids, too.
If you’re a single mom, it’s easy to get burnt out and overwhelmed. If things are getting on top of you, don’t despair. Try some of these coping strategies to help you get through the tough times.
Being disorganized is the enemy of serenity! If you’re constantly scrabbling to find the right piece of paper, or every morning is a battle to locate gym shoes and lunch boxes, it’s time to get more organized.
There are a wealth of resources online about organization and productivity systems. No two households are the same, so what suits someone else won’t necessarily suit you. The trick is to find a system that works for you and your child.
At the very minimum invest in a day planner or use a phone app, and keep it up to date. Create a filing system for all those bits of paper so you can lay your hand on important paperwork whenever you need to. Make friends with to-do lists. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to cope.
Be the queen of budgeting
Household finances are a key source of stress, especially for single moms. Transitioning from a two-income household to being the sole bread winner is tough, and you might well find yourself feeling overwhelmed.
A good, realistic budget will help combat overwhelm and keep you sane. Get clear on your monthly outgoings and make sure you set aside money for them. Put your bills on autopay so you don’t risk going past due.
You’ll also want to go over your finances with a fine tooth comb and figure out where you can cut back. It’s better to cut back on a few luxuries and live comfortably, then to try and maintain your old lifestyle and have to struggle to account for every cent.
Make time for you
As a single mom, there are a lot of demands on your time. Before long you’ll be feeling frazzled and over stretched, which will negatively impact your mood, concentration, work performance and more.
Reduce your stress by making regular time for you. It can be hard for single moms to do this – it might feel selfish – but you truly can’t pour from an empty cup. If you want to be the best parent you can, you need to recharge sometimes.
Set aside a little time each week to do something just for you. Go for a walk, get your nails done, watch a movie or grab coffee with a friend. You’ll cope so much better as a result.
Build your support network
Being a single mom doesn’t have to mean going it alone. The right support network will make a world of difference. No matter how busy you are, don’t let your network go – keep in touch with the friends and family who you trust and know are there for you.
Building your support network doesn’t just mean having someone to talk to. It means not being afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you’re struggling with covering babysitting duties or getting your finances straight, reach out and ask for help. Turn to people who have the skills or expertise you need and let them help you.
Find your confidence boosters
A little confidence boost can make all the difference in the world. Have you got a favorite top or shade of nail polish that always makes you feel better? Dig it out and wear it more often!
Being a single mom can be draining. If you can find ways to boost your confidence, you’ll be able to tackle each day with more energy, and feel better. Congratulate yourself for every achievement, no matter how small.
Look for things that help you center when you’re beset by doubt. Whether that’s taking a bubble bath, belting out your favorite song or phoning your bestfriend, know the tricks that work for you, and use them regularly.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms
It’s all too easy to compare yourself to other single moms, but that way lies trouble. Remember, when it comes to the schoolyard or what you see on Facebook, everyone likes to put their best foot forward. Everybody emphasizes the good parts and does their best to look like they’re coping.
But behind the scenes, everyone has good days and bad days just like you. Every single mom has moments of doubt, or moments where she can’t find the keys or her kid just spilled red sauce on her pale colored couch. You’re not doing any worse than anyone else.
Being a single mom is challenging, but you can do it. Build up a repertoire of coping skills that work for you and make it easier to navigate single mom-hood, and remember to turn to them every day.