How to Survive as a Single Mother
Being a mother is already a challenging role, and being a single mother definitely multiplies the work many times over. Single mothers lead complex lives. Women of any age can become single parents through death of a spouse, divorce, abandonment or choice. Juggling the role of wage earner, housekeeper, and parenting and making time for some semblance of a personal life as well is quite daunting. It's hard enough with a partner, but when you're doing it alone, the difficulty rises to a whole new level.
Most, though not all, single parents are women. Most work but have not been employed steadily; they took time off when their children were small. Most have less money than the average two-parent family and, if they are divorced, less than they had when they were married.
Consider the skills that you already possess. Many are coping with the emotional trauma of a divorce and the social awkwardness of becoming single again. Some are widows. Betty was married immediately after high school. She never worked outside the home. Her husband handled all the family’s needs. She never signed a check until after he died. Suddenly she found she has to fend for herself and her three children. “My Francis thought it was silly for me to want to work. A woman had only one purpose in life to him, to be a wife and a mother.” Betty said.
Some single mothers never even had the chance of experiencing a married life no matter how short, like can be seem in the case of Rose. “We were supposed to get married next month. But that was before he found I was pregnant. Then he decided he couldn’t handle being a husband and a father all at once. So he walked out accusing me of deliberately getting pregnant. My son has me and I will love him enough for two. He doesn’t need a father who doesn’t want him.”
He accused her of being a freak for refusing to take the pill. At one point he’d even questioned whether or not the baby was his. It was then she had given up on him, hounded him back his ring and later gotten him to legally give up any and all parental rights, which he had been only too happy to do after insisting he never wanted to see her or her baby again. She couldn’t risk leaning on someone again and then suddenly waking up to find him gone when she needed him most.
Many mothers are now single parents and have to take on an even bigger role in the life of their children. Not only must they provide the care and support a child needs but they also provide enough income for the family to live on. This is great task for anyone to take on. It is extremely difficult for a mother to provide everything a child needs so it helps if the child has another male figure present in the home.
Maintain a blameless mindset. Ignore people who are critical of you. Make time for yourself to create and clarify your values. Take responsible of your child/children. Be selective of men you date. Do not think that constraints with limited funds allow anyone to take advantage or force you into a decision. Remember, you are a mother. As long you have love for our child/children, your morals are intact and you behave in a legally responsible manner, all should out for the best. Leave if you are in a bad neighborhood or unhealthy relationship. Your safety and the safety of your child/children is priority. Have dignity for yourself and build confidence to create a character building environment for your child.
Stella had been warned by her mother that babies consumed every waking moment and, a good part of the sleeping ones, as well, and she had got herself ready for it. She was bent on doing the right things for her baby. However, she couldn’t get used to this feeling of being overwhelmed by her new responsibilities of taking care of her son.
Accept parental responsibility. Parental skills are learned. “When my daughter, Mary, was 7 months old, her father and I split up. He left me without looking back. I was a heartbroken 28-year-old, and in between wrote as a freelance writer. That first year was chaos. It didn't help that there were no single-mom role models in my life, but I knew many women were also parenting solo at the time. “If they can I can,” I used to think. Fortunately, I had a fantastic group of friends who helped. Maybe none of them knew exactly what I was going through, but they babysat and showered Mae with love, which I appreciate to this day. After a time, I got back on my feet and took control of myself and my baby.”
An important thing to remember is that your health and well-being is vital. Take steps to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Cleanliness is important. Remember to stay clean, and clean and keep your abode in order. Cleanliness means health.
Fight loneliness. When you get lonely, paint, draw, read, sing, mend something, and call a friend or family member. A strong support system can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging – the perfect antidote to the isolation brought on by solo parenting. If you are struggling and feelings depressed don’t be afraid to seek help from friends, family. Make sure to have only friends who are of sound mind and can make healthy decisions care for your child in your absence.
Establish a support system that you are comfortable with. Get a good support system. If you're on the introverted side, building a support system can be tough. You may need to push yourself into social situations. For example, join a church, find structured playgroups, or attend weekly story time at your local library. And remember, meeting new people gets easier with practice. "I used to be a lot shier," says Betty. "At first, I was ashamed to even tell people that I was a single mom. But I had to get out of that rut. I had to become more social out of pure necessity."
You simply cannot do it alone. Don't just focus on other single parents. The more varied your circle, the richer it will be. Remember society has many outlets of good, kin, loving people who are compassionate and supportive. The physical, emotional, psychological, economic toll on the mother and her kids are so overwhelming that many single moms draw strength and support from other sources — people, activities, belief system — other than themselves.
Live near your parents if possible. Look to close family. Get good nannies and house helps –those who are teachable and reliable. They’ll be your eyes and ears when you are away from the children. You can drop your kids at your mom's if she is free and rely on the help to watch them while you go off to party or work. By having a good support system, and by not being too proud to ask for help, you will be able to balance your life — career, social life, spend quality time with your children, so as to be able to keep your sanity.