Being a single mother isn't easy.
With all the demands on your time and attention, it's normal to feel lost and lonely. It's easy to feel like your life doesn't matter any longer because everything is all about your kids. While most parents would admit to feeling that way, not having another parent to share the load with can be downright excruciating.
So, how do you take care of yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Here are 8 steps for success to not only help you survive, but also thrive!
1. Put yourself at the top of your list. You have got to take care of yourself first, before you can fully expect to take care of anyone else. If your child was hurting, you'd show him/her love and attention show yourself this same kind of attention. Make sure you're eating well, getting rest, and making time for fun with friends. You'll find you have more hope and strength to be able to tackle what's in front of you.
Sharon wrote: Many single moms put themselves LAST, and then find themselves burned out, stressed out, and frustrated-causing them to be discouraged in their role as a parent...feeling inadequate or out of control.
2. Develop a support network. It's really important for you to surround yourself with people who can help you with the difficult challenge of being a single parent. You need to know who the people are that you can count on. Make an actual list of these people, so you can remind yourself you're not doing this all alone.
It's through the hard times that we grow and learn the most about ourselves.
3. Refuse to be the victim. Instead of asking why me? ask yourself what you can learn from your situation. It's through the hard times that we grow and learn the most about ourselves.
4. Speak respectfully of your child's other parent. You might have every right to trash talk the other parent of your children. It's important that your children don't become your outlet every time you want to vent about their father. Make sure you don't stain the relationship your children have with their father, regardless of what you think about him.
5. Make time to do simple activities with your kids. It's easy to get hammered down with all the things you have to do driving here and there, working, etc.
Spending good, quality time doing simple things with your kids will help them to feel like life is going to be ok, in spite of how difficult it might be for you.
Karli wrote: When I'm feeling stressed or drained me and my daughter will go get our nails done. It's a bonding time for us and helps me unwind since someone else is taking care of her and ME!
6. Handle your finances with wisdom. You might feel like you're working as hard as you can just to pay the bills. But there are plenty of ways that you can learn how to save money, get cheap groceries, and even save for the future. Work to educate yourself on how to better handle your money. Ask people you respect for their advice on how to make your money work better for you. You can also ask one of my HopeCoaches to refer you to one of our partners that can help with financial advice.
7. Focus on the positive. This is a great time of growth for you. Don't forget all the things that are going well in your life. As you demonstrate a positive attitude, in spite of your challenges, your kids will learn how to deal with challenges themselves.
Jean wrote that being a single mom is a long list of losses: Stay at home status with kids, loss of home kids grew up in, loss of income, loss of unity, kids are split up, loss of a father especially to my most vulnerable child. It sounds like Jean has a pretty challenging situation all the more reason for her to work hard to convey a positive attitude to her children rather than a victim mentality.
Just focus on today and what needs to happen today.
8. Take it a day at a time. This is the only way you're going to make it through. If you think about the years ahead and all the challenges you will face, it will certainly be overwhelming. Just focus on today and what needs to happen today.
Rhea added: I get up earlier than [my son] does in the morning to be sure I have my time with God even if all I have the energy for is to sit and talk with Him. It is one day at a time and within that day it is one hour at a time. Don't worry about childcare six months down the road. Don't worry about whether you will be able to have enough gas to take them wherever they need to go. Just get through the day. That one day.
It's very important for you as a single mother to know how to take care of yourself, first and foremost. Hopefully focusing on these tips will help you prioritize your life, making you a healthier person and a balanced, well-rounded mom.