Four Tips For Surviving The First Days Of Single Motherhood
The day we enter single motherhood we are hit with a ton of uncertainty. Gone are the days of coming home to someone who is splitting the responsibilities of maintaining the home, bills, and children. Everything in your life is about to drastically change and that can be scary.
I've seen hundreds upon hundreds of articles that dish out parenting hacks and survival tips during single motherhood. But no one really talks about what to expect at the very beginning. I'm talking about when your whole world just comes crashing down. Not trying to sound super dramatic, that's just kind of what it feels like (it did for me anyway).
You may be terrified or scared shitless because your whole life is about to change and you never saw it coming. You're afraid of going at this parenting thing alone, hoping that you'll get it right. You're scared of reaching critical milestones on your own.
Afraid of the days you'll miss them because it's not your turn with the kids. You're completely unsure what to expect. Well, babe here's a few tips to help you survive these first few days of single motherhood.
How to be a single mom with no help
You may need to prepare your self for the possibility of parenting alone. Unfortunately, this may be the reality of your situation. Divorced or broken up from your partner, your relationship status does not exclude you from this possibility. Get all your ducks in a row just in case you have to solely depend on your income alone.
Much like my advice in my post, "What to Expect When You're Expecting and a Single Mom", this apply's here too. Spend your time gathering your resources. Look up prices for daycare centers around your home and if that is not affordable, start asking around about in-home daycares. They are much more affordable for moms with a limited budget.
Also, consider the possibility of child support, even if the dad isn't physically involved, he should still help. Don't let your pride get in the way of an easier life. If you can go without that supplement income, then, by all means, go without.
Through observation of a few situations, I've realized that no situation is perfect. You could have a dad who is paying child support but not spending time with his kids. Or a father who does have shared custody but refuses to pay child support. It just it what it is, and sometimes you get dealt a shitty hand.
Shifting your mindset early on will not only help you, but your children as well as they deal with the separation. Right about now they may be a bit confused and frustrated with the change of family dynamics. I know you are probably going through your own emotional roller coaster, but remember to be there for them too. Try not to fully dismiss them if they have questions about the separation and answer them without bashing the other parent.
Coping with Depression as a single mom
Did you know that you are now at a higher risk for depression and anxiety? Life as a single mom is overwhelming and depleting. Some mothers like myself are fortunate enough to have family who shares the burden, but some are not as lucky. Which is why I encourage single moms to seek professional help before their depression or anxiety symptoms worsen.
My medications seemed to work for me, but if I forget to take them for a few days I feel a drastic change in my mood. If you are leaning towards taking antidepressants, please remember that they are not a cure for your depression. You still need to make some very crucial lifestyle changes for you to start feeling any "relief".
No matter how you came to be a single mom, being alone sucks. Yes, while you may have escaped an abusive or loveless relationship, raising kids on your own can be depressing. Something that also helped me when my depression came in waves was journaling. Writing in a journal is a great way to reduce stress and overwhelm.
Lean on Your Family / Friends for Physical and Emotional Support
I know how exhausted you are, believe me. Single mothers do the job of three every day, with little to no social support which can add a lot of stress. Learn to lean on your family, especially family members who want to help.
You are a single mom now and you cannot do it alone. You will try in the beginning, probably as a way to prove to yourself that you can because your children are your responsibility. Before the frustration and overwhelm sets in remember that it takes a village to raise a child. When help is offered to take it! Even when help isn't offered, learn to ask. You will be thankful for it in the long run. Even if it's for a few hours, that's more hours than you had before.
Find Your single mom Tribe
Finding a tribe of people who are in the same boat can be a beautiful thing. These are women who are some of your biggest supporters who have been there so they may have a ton of advice. Having people to talk to when your family or friends just don't get it or you're fed up with their judgemental BS is an awesome thing. You need this.
Okay, so Facebook groups aren't your thing. Cool! There are single moms you can meet up with in your local community or other social media outlets. Don't know how to find single moms in your community? Start with sites like Meet Up.
I know the pain and disappointment you feel very well, but I'm here to tell you that it does get better. I love sharing these kind of post because they are so personal. My struggle may be someone else's struggle and she may need a little guidance on how to navigate the turbulent waters of single motherhood.
It is alright to express how you feel; you deserve to be heard. Stay strong and continue to be a great mom. Give your children plenty of love and experiences that they will remember for a lifetime. Good luck on your journey!