Single mothers. We are not quite sure if there is a more admirable status. Whether becoming a single mom has been welcomed with open arms or a choice that was incredibly difficult to make, those who take on parenthood solo deserve an immense amount much respect and love. Some moms do not “choose” to take on motherhood alone. Some know from day one of their pregnancy and/or adoption that this is an adventure that they will independently embrace.
Whether the parent feels ready or not, we have consulted with a few single moms to curate a list of 10 life-saving hacks for the single mother. Read below for some reassurance, support and tips to keep your head above water (the best you can)- and to remember: you’re not alone.
10 ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED
First thing's first: put pride aside. Whether we are doing this with a partner or not, "it takes a village" can be literally applied: raising a child is a collective effort.
The difficult part while raising a child independently can be recognizing when to ask for help. The more you parent alone, the more you will learn about yourself. You will come to terms with when to ask for help; whether that be picking up your child after school or passing on an extra work-project if feasible.
If asking for help comes easy to you, don't ever feel like you're not strong enough when you do need the help. You are enough and we can not go along this life alone; especially as a single parent. It takes a village.
9 JOIN A MOM CLASS
It can be intimidating joining "Mom-classes," because let's face it: making friends past high-school can be difficult and awkward. Luckily, our babies can be a great excuse to get out, get social and get involved with community classes along-side like-minded individuals.
Simply take up Mommy and Me Yoga or a Baby and Mom Music Class to embrace your child's creativity. Be active with your child and meet friends along the way.
8 JOIN A PLAYGROUP
There are many community buildings that offer slotted times for your tots and toddlers to play. Whether you find these centers helpful by taking up the opportunity to go hang out with other parents, or you meet a community on an online platform, joining a playgroup is a great idea.
Playgroups are a great chance to provide a valuable social setting for both you and your child. As a mother (whether single or not), finding "mom friends" can be a whole new ball-game. Knowing it's just as important for yourself to be social with other, fellow mothers as it is for your child to be around other babies, is reassuring and very rewarding when you've successfully done so.
7 PHONE NUMBERS ON-HAND
Emergencies happen. It's a no brainer to have a list (both tangible and technical) of emergency contacts on-hand.
But, having the cell-phone number of an adored neighbor or friendly co-worker can come in handy, too. Especially when a sudden opportunity pops up where you need to pick up and go...child free. It's important to have trusted people who are only a call or text away.
Firstly, taking that step into single motherhood was likely the scariest and bravest thing for you to achieve. Each moment brings a new realization of the opportunity to recognize the lessons that can be learned by both you and your child.
Continuing to build courage through all of these moments that you share with your child(ren) is immensely important. When you are the sole provider for your child(ren), you must be brave enough to bare their emotional needs along with your own. You are their rock and it takes a lot of courage to continue to do so with grace. And you will.
Baby-see baby-do. It can be as simple as that. Practicing affirmations, ensuring you get self-care in mental and physical ways, and exuding your self-confidence will sure to benefit both you and your child in the long-term.
Taking on parenthood as a single mother can be horrifying yet so incredibly empowering. Making sure that you channel your strengths and deny that "mom guilt" when it tends to creep up. This is key for providing the confidence you need to shine as a parent.
Practice self-care (in numerous ways) to make sure you love yourself (and everything you can do) by your fullest. Your life will thank you in many ways. Including the ability to raise a very well-rounded human being.
4 QUIET ME-TIME
When you are the provider of so many things for your household and family, putting yourself last tends to be (at times) better than not putting yourself in at all. If your schedule is incredibly hectic, you may have to sacrifice another (pretty necessary) activity to squeeze in some quiet time.
If your child is a baby, that means leaving those dishes to pile up for two days while you read a book that you've been meaning to get to for an hour.
If your child is in school full-time and you're unable to even take a lunch break at work, ask for a friend's mom to take your kid after school for two hours so you can go home and prepare dinner while listening to classical music- alone. There is absolutely no shame in taking this time for yourself; no matter which way you do so.
3 THE SAFE-WORD
One of the most valuable tips we received from a single mother was learning about the "safe word". Because there will be many times where the mother will be unable to pick the child up from school (due to work or personal reasons), they may have a list (as mentioned above) of trusted family members and/or friends that need to pick up the child.
If the mother is caught in an emergency and unable to warn their child(ren) that someone other than themselves will be collecting them, this word is a necessary step into forming safe child-caring.
If there is no additional, adult supervision to appropriately dismiss the child from their current activity, ask the child to demand the adult to tell them their "safe-word". This "safe-word" could be anything from Garden Hose to Fire Place- but, as long as the adult gets this word or phrase correct, the child knows that they're safe to go with this designated individual.
2 DATE- YOURSELF AND/OR OTHERS
Mothering comes first, for many who take it on. Though the first few years of motherhood tend to be a blur and catch up to you quite quickly, when you are parenting independently your love life may not even feel like an option. Dating is ok. Introducing your new partner to your child (age permitting) is also an incredibly personal choice (as is dating); however, dating is ok.
Whether you take this advice as to date another person or simply taking your self out on a nice, fancy dinner (because that is very ok, as well), don't put dating on the back burner. This could mean going out for a nice dinner with a friend, with a lover or by yourself. Just make sure you at least do it for "the wins" no matter how big or how small. For example: Got that job promotion? Steak dinner with wine. Received blood work that was clear after a minor scare? Spa date for the day. Survived an entire weekend without TV? Go on a vacation.
(We were kind of kidding about that last one...but if that resonated, maybe it's a sign)...
1 FINANCIAL SPREADSHEETS
Having a financial spreadsheet is essentially a must for any adult, whether a parent or not. But, as a single mother, you will want to have your "money ducks" all in a row. When you are the one bringing in the main income, it will come in handy to know exactly where that money is spent.
When it comes to bills, expenses and food costs, the older your child and/or children get, the more important it is to know your money situation in detail. There are many online tools to assist with this need. Or, ask a friend to recommend a book-keeper and/or financial advisor. It's not as scary as it can appear. If you can be a single mother, we're pretty sure you can be anything you set your mind to.