Start Living Your Best Life Right Now-Hope for Struggling Single Moms
Here are some things that I’ve learned to help combat the challenges I listed in my previous post 5 Challenges Single Mamas Face.
Single Mom Spot was founded to inspire, encourage and equip single mothers. We believe that to achieve this being honest about the circumstances of single motherhood and the feelings, experiences and responses that you have are a part of changing the narrative. In our lives as single women and mothers we have the unique opportunity to tell the world the true story of single motherhood: the imperfections, the struggle, the triumph and the strange beauty that surrounds everything you have survived.
If you are struggling with single motherhood, we want to help. Here are a few ways that can help you live your best life as a single mom right now:
- Understand the stigma associated with the term ‘single mom.’ There are a lot of them. I didn’t realize until I officially entered single mom status that there is a brick wall of ideas associated with single mothers. Single mothers in my experience are often seen or categorized as ‘bad decision makers,’ ‘sexually deviant,’ ‘struggling’ (financially and emotionally), ‘abandoned women,’ and the list goes on. Choose to refuse and refute these ideas boldly when you encounter them. Just because you became a single mom by accident, by choice or as a by product of divorce doesn’t make you less of a woman or mother. You are not less desirable and your future is not limited by that fact that you are handling a child or children alone. Make sure that you are actively telling the world and the people in it WHO YOU ARE by showing HOW YOU LIVE. Doing this helped me alter the course forward. It helped me regain my footing in my life and stabilize a shaken sense of identity. The opinions of society do not deserve a seat in your home with you and your children.
- Accept that dating in many ways is the same (and that it many other ways it isn’t!). I know you want to challenge this idea and start pushing back. ‘Dating with kids IS HARDER’ you might be thinking. I agree 110%. Its crazy hard. What I’m about to say is something that radically changed my perspective about my dating life once I realized it. The process of dating for you as a single woman seeking a husband and a single mother caring for your child has the same end goal in BOTH roles: The end goal of dating is for most falling in love and building a committed relationship or ultimately marrying the person that you love and want to build a life with. Are you still with me mama? This goal DID NOT CHANGE when you became a single mom. The man for you will recognize you and love you as a woman AND a mother. The man for you was always, from the beginning, going to be the man that sees you for the woman that you are and loves the people that you love (your children). Once I truly understand that dating didn’t completely change and that being a single mom didn’t change my odds of meeting the right man for me my spirit calmed down. I stopped panicking that ‘my choices’ and circumstances were piling into a mountain that was too difficult for any man to want to scale. NOT true. That’s all I will say in this post but I will expand on this topic more as I share my story with you.
- Establishing a sense of home–in the heart and in the house–matters. Creating a home without a husband is arguably more important and necessary for you and your children than creating one with one. The sense of ‘home’ that you are creating in your life as a single mom is made up of tangible things (the people you surround yourself with, where you live, what you eat, the ambiance you create with what you have) that create intangible senses, feelings and memories for you and your children. This is something I will write more about also, I’m passionate about this. Create the home and home life you’ve always wanted and even if you are missing a major play (ah hem, a man) go ahead and get on with the hard word of building your home without him. He’s late to the party. Its okay. You’ll still love him when he gets there, I have no doubt. But you and your children need a home NOW. Home can’t wait.
- Creating balance between your life with your kids and your work. This is ESPECIALLY challenging in a home that is managed by one parent. You are doing a job for two so it is very easy for the scale to feel out of balance in your life. As a single mom, I know that your job is likely the TOP PRIORITY (next to your actual kids) because you are the primary provider for your children. There have been many times in my life as a single mom when I felt guilty because my work seemed to demand all of my attention. This was a difficult problem to solve–the solution doesn’t come instantly or easily. The first thing that I did to help establish a sense of balance between my children and my work was to begin talking to my kids about the purpose of my work for our family. When there was no immediate solution to reducing the number of hours I needed to pull to make ends meet, communicating with them about WHY my work is important for our family was vital. I will continue to provide additional support and ideas on how you can establish a work life balance so that you can be the mom you want to be while holding down the fort.
- Acknowledge that how you feel about your life matters. As a single mom your mental and emotional health is a top priority. There are so many things pulling at you throughout the day–from the little person or people that need you the most to your work and your relationships with friends, families, boyfriends and or ex husbands or boyfriends. The lives of single moms are extremely dynamic and sometimes–even when you don’t want it to be–your life can feel more complicated than most. Your feelings and your state of mind matters so much to your children and to your ability to lead and love them. Learn to listen to yourself and identify your needs. Communicate YOUR REAL FEELINGS within the safety of trusted friendships. Do not isolate yourself. Be willing to share your experience as a single mom with other women and with the people that love you. If you are having a hard time holding it together because of circumstances beyond your control, seek the support you need. Self care can go a long way but it isn’t always enough to deal with the deeper issues that you might be struggling with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or a professional that can help you care for yourself and protect your heart and mind so that you can remain strong for the journey ahead. That’s right. Single motherhood is a journey. You and your children are going somewhere together and they need their mom at her very best.
Single Mom Spot™ is a connection point for single moms. Our online community is designed for real, offline change. If you are a single mom or know a single mom, send her our way! Our community is growing and adding to our resources for single moms on a weekly basis. You can subscribe to In Full Bloom (our digital mag exclusively for single moms), join the our single mom collective and discuss relevant topics and find encouragement in the forum, submit a prayer request and so much more.
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