When we first become a single mum, whether it be through choice or not, we have a tremendous amount of responsibility to shoulder!
It is terrifying and lonely, and sometimes, we might even feel like we are “losing ourselves”.
I am not ashamed to say that I felt that way at first.
Just know that you are not alone!
There are thousands of women going through the same thing at this very moment.
They are all wondering the same thing as you: How am I going to cope with this?
The fear that you have is just from how much love you have for your kiddo.
The fact that you are worried about not being the best that you can be for them.
Not to worry though – the fact that you are also reading this right now means that you are already taking the steps to improve your situation.
Well done mumma!
Read on to learn some simple things you can do to help you cope with being a single mum…
Meet new single mum friends
This is one of the things that helped me the most.
To really know that I was not alone! Most of the single mum’s I know have older children – not newborns.
When I wanted to speak to other single mum’s about their new experiences, I couldn’t.
I started going to Tai Chi, Pilates and baby playgroups.
I also started speaking to the mum’s from nursery a bit more.
In just a few weeks, I met 5 new single mums. We speak regularly now and are currently planning a baby-free mumma’s night out! (Ok, a few hours out but still, it’s something!)
My point being…join Facebook single parent groups like one of these:
Go out of your comfort zone and meet new people! There are a lot more single parent families out there than we realise!
Don’t try to be perfect
Do you have ironing or washing up piling up?
Or did you forget to give your baby his/her vitamins last night?
You’re doing so much more right than you are doing wrong!
You’re allowed to be a bit forgetful and messy sometimes…after all, you’re doing the job of two people all alone.
Trying to be perfect will just stress you out and make you even more upset that you’re not hitting all of your self-made (and probably stupidly unachievable) “targets”.
As long as you are doing your best, that is all that matters.
I’ll be the first to admit that my best is never perfect, but its enough for me and my girl.
Also, think about adopting a few behaviour management strategies to keep things a bit calmer at home.
Here are some posts you might find helpful:
There will be more good days than bad days
At times it can be so hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I assure you it’s there!
Have you noticed that things tend to happen in “bulk”!
You might have a week straight of just stress, worry and bad news.
Then a few good weeks (or months) where everything just starts to fall back into place again.
Don’t sweat the small stuff – it is all insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Make time for your friends and family
When I first became a single mum, I was pretty neglectful to my friends and family. I was always “too busy” or “too tired”.
That ended up in me feeling very alone.
I was also going through a diagnosis of Heart Failure at the time so was super lonely! Luckily, my family are amazingly supportive!
My friends are also very good friends, so they were still there for me when I finally got in touch a few months later. Seeing those special few people can give you a huge confidence boost!
Even now, as a working single mum, I don’t get to see my friends as much as I’d like. We still talk on WhatsApp or Facebook almost daily though!
When we need to rant, cry, smile or laugh, or even just chat about randomness, we are here for each other.
The one thing I love to do in the morning is have a coffee and a chat with my mum.
I won’t ever take that for granted again!
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Don’t badmouth your ex in front of the kids
Although we all might want to go on giant rants about how our ex hasn’t paid child maintenance for 6 months or that he keeps turning up late or missing his visits etc., but all this will do is make you seem bitchy and sour.
Yes, that might seem horrible to say, but its the truth…I know from first-hand experience!
It also takes up waaaaay more of your mind space than it should!
Once your child gets older (or if they are already older), they will pick up on this and can also very often blame themselves.
All they need to know is that their parents both love them very much and what happened between them stays between them.
Ask for / Accept help
You can’t do it all alone – you just can’t…so don’t try!
This links back to the point about being a perfectionist. If you can afford it, buy a dishwasher or hire a cleaner.
If you can’t afford it then just ask a friend or a relative to give you a hand.
Check out these tips on the Essential Habits of Highly Productive Women to help you save time so you don’t get overwhelmed with housework etc.
There is nothing weak or shameful about asking for help – it took me months to finally accept my mum’s help (she’s awesome!)…and never apologise for not being perfect!
When Squidge was first born (and her father couldn’t make his mind up about whether he was with us or not), there were clothes everywhere and toys all over the place!
Squidge is partially deaf, so when her ‘Teacher of the deaf’ came for a visit, I found myself apologising about the state of the place! She just giggled and said, “Do you think you’re the only one?”
She even said that most two-parent families had a messier house than I did.
Create a routine (but don’t freak out if you break it!)
Kids love routine! Fact!
I know this seems like a simple one, but it is one of the most important factors in coping as a single parent.
Keeping yourself and your bundle of joy in a steady (and manageable) routine will be beneficial for you both.
You will both know what to expect and when to expect it.
The lack of surprises means “normality”, imagine that!
If you have a toddler or baby, try to feed them, bath them and put them to sleep at roughly the same time every night.
If everything is all over the place, you will just get more stressed, but if you have your routine in place, you are more likely to be calmer, better prepared and even more able to schedule some quality time for yourself while they are sleeping.
Do NOT start to panic if you happen to find yourself slipping out of the routine!
It is always there for you to go back to when you are ready.
As long as you try to keep to it, or even move things around if you find they are not working for you, it will all work out again.
A Single Mum still needs her “Me-Time”
This is a big struggle if your kiddo is a light sleeper or a bit clingy.
To start yourself off, you CAN make time for yourself when it is bedtime! When your kiddo is sleeping, jump in the bath, or do your nails. Or just read a good book or chat with your mates on Whatsapp!
I hope some of these tips and links help you to find your power as a single mother.
If you ever need to talk, I am just an email away, and I am always posting fresh content to help other single mumma’s like you to be empowered and to be the best parent that you can be.
One simple little step at a time.