Being a parent isn't easy; being a single parent is even harder. Without the support of a partner, all responsibilities rest on your shoulders, which can add pressure to an already very difficult role. Single mothers are the unsung heroes of the world, but they, most of all, need help too. If you're thinking of becoming a single mother or are one yourself, here are some tips to help you get through it in one piece.
- Build a support system. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with everything you need to do. Having a support system in place when you're feeling like you can't handle it alone can mean the difference between a happy home life and a nervous breakdown. Ask support from a friend or relative. Call them when things get too crazy or you feel like you're at wit's end. Having someone to talk to and vent to is invaluable when you're a single mom.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. We know you have your reputation as Wonder Woman to protect, but just because you might need help from time to time doesn't make you weak. Remember that. It just makes you human. Ask your friends or relatives for help when you need it, but be specific about what you need. Most people want to help, they just don't know how. If you're too shy (or proud) to ask help from relatives, trade services with fellow parents, or even neighbors.
- Be realistic. You know those women who find time to raise their kids, cook, clean, do the groceries, and work at the same time? Those women don't exist. And if they do, they're not the supermoms you think they are. Don't try to live up to the impossible idea of what a mother should be. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, and give yourself a break every once in a while.
- Don't get stuck on guilt. Feel like you're working too much? Too little? Hate that you don't have enough time to spend with your kids or that you don't have enough money? Stop feeling guilty about being a single parent and instead, focus on the good things about your situation. See to it that your child's basic needs are met, and that he's happy and healthy. Guilt won't get you anywhere.
- Nurture yourself. It's easy to forget about yourself when you're juggling work, chores, and raising a child. Sometimes, it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day for everything you need to do. Which is why it's important you find time for yourself. Set small, short, or long-term goals for yourself; whether it's something as simple as finding time to read a bit before you go to bed, or fitting into those pre-baby jeans. Having something to look forward to and work towards can do wonders for your self-esteem and overall well being.