Never in a thousand years did I think I’d one day be writing about being a single mom. And maybe you never thought you’d be reading about being a single mom. Yet, here we are. Single parenting will take all the grit and grace we’ve got. While I continue to learn, here are my top survival tips for single moms.
Life as a single mom will not look like the lives of married friends. Nor will it look like life when we were married. Surviving well as a single mom will take all our energy and focus on the tasks before us. Comparing to friends in different situations will only breed discontent and deplete our energy and focus.
Grace for yourself and kids:
The corollary to putting down the comparison glasses is to give ourselves – and our kids – grace. There were significant changes and serious losses that got us here. I need to give myself grace when I can’t do everything on my plate. I need to give my kids grace to process their emotions and to get their footing in this new normal.
Single moms are busy. While we make sure our kids’ needs are met and juggle home, work, and finances, it’s easy to put off our own self-care. Make your own yearly checkups, dental visits, exercise and time for self-care an equal priority. These needs are just as essential as your children’s.
It’s hard to admit we need help. But friends and family often want to help if we will let them. Graciously accept offers to help and keep a short list of needs to give people who genuinely ask how. I’m still learning this and was blessed to the core recently when a church youth group cleaned mounds of debris from our yard after a hurricane.
Seek outside counsel
Decision overwhelm may be the hardest part of single parenting. Look for an older, trusted friend who can be a sounding board for parenting decisions. Seek out financial counselors who can help with budgeting and financial decisions. Find a pastor or lay leader in your church who can steer you through difficult decisions.
It’s easy for single moms to become isolated. I have to be purposeful not to let my friendships go — to give myself an evening out without kids, to meet for coffee and to protect time for friends. These friendships refresh and restore us so that we have more to pour into our kids and our work. Time with friends will also guard against fatigue-induced burnout.
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