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As a single mom, it can be tough to juggle everything independently, and often things are dropped. But you can live your best life now.
Here are some tips for bettering yourself and your situation.
Lean on Your Support Network
One of the best things you can do as a single mom is lean on your support network. Your support network comprises people who care about you and want to see you succeed. They will be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or a hand to help.
When you lean on your support network, you give yourself the necessary resources to improve yourself and your situation. This allows you to take some time for yourself to relax and recharge. Get out and exercise or join a book club. Pursuing your hobbies and interests will make you happier and more well-rounded, which will benefit you and your children.
Don’t be afraid to lean on your support network; they are there to help you succeed. What if you don’t have a support network? Click here for ideas on how to create one.
Make Time for Yourself
Making time for yourself may seem like a luxury, but it’s essential for being a successful single mom. So schedule some “me” time into your day: this doesn’t have to be a lot of time or extravagant.
If you have time to pop onto social media each day, you can use that time to impact your life and your children’s lives positively.
Find Time to Rejuvenate
Even five or ten minutes each day will have benefits. First, prioritize what healthy coping mechanisms you have to relax and rejuvenate. Then, try dedicating ten minutes each day to doing something you enjoy, such as reading, taking a walk, a bath, reading your favorite book, or taking a yoga class.
Spend time with friends and family
Spending time with loved ones can help you relax and recharge. Make plans to have coffee with a friend or meet up for a play date so you can get social interaction while your kids are having fun.
Take care of yourself emotionally and physically
Many single parents skimp on sleep, exercise, and eating. But these are essential and need to be a priority even with the stresses of single parenting. Else, you run a genuine danger of health problems, and then your children will not be able to depend on you.
Exercise regularly. Not only will this help you stay in shape, but it will also help alleviate stress. If you can’t get away from the kids to exercise, consider working out at the playground, walking or biking with your kids, or lifting hand weights in the evening after they go to bed.
Eat healthily. Eating healthy foods will give you more energy and help you feel better overall. Running through the drive-through all the time will zap your energy – which you need! Instead, have a couple of staple meals at home all the time and challenge yourself to eat at home so many days per week or month.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for both your physical and emotional health. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
Stay organized and keep track of your expenses
Budgeting may seem daunting, but there are some simple ways to get started.
- Invest in a good planner or online tool to help you keep track of your fixed and variable expenses and your income.
- Take some time each week to sit down and review your finances.
- Make a budget and track your spending to see where your money is going.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. We weren’t born knowing how to create and sustain a budget, and very few of us learned in school. So there’s no shame in asking someone who manages their expenses for help.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your kids
Explain to your kids why boundaries are important.
Boundaries help us to feel safe, both physically and emotionally. They help us to know what is acceptable behavior and what is not. When we have boundaries, we can better control our environment, which helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Be clear and consistent with your boundaries.
Kids need to know the boundaries and what will happen if they cross them. For example, if you have a rule that bedtime is at 8 pm, be consistent with enforcing it. If your kids know there will be consequences for breaking the rules, they are more likely to respect the boundaries.
Related: Setting Boundaries with an Ex-spouse
Teach kids how to set their boundaries.
As kids get older, they need to learn how to set boundaries. This includes knowing how to say “no” politely but firmly, choosing who they want to spend time with, and setting physical boundaries (such as not letting people touch them without consent). Teaching kids about boundaries early on will help them be more confident and assertive in their relationships.
There is an excellent book on setting boundaries with kids that I relied heavily on early on when I became a single mom.
Get professional help and talk through your issues
One of the best things you can do for yourself is get professional help. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you work through your feelings and give you tools to deal with the challenges of single parenting. Check with your employer to see if they have an employee assistance plan which provides a certain number of free counseling sessions. These sessions paid by your employer can be great to give you an idea if that particular therapist is a good fit for you.
If you’re not ready to see a professional, consider talking to a trusted friend or family member. Writing in a journal can be very therapeutic as well. Getting your feelings out in the open can help you feel better and start making positive changes in your life.
Make your home a complaint-free zone, including bad-mouthing your ex.
A complaint-free zone means refraining from complaining about anything or anyone in your life, including your ex. This will help you be more upbeat and set an excellent example for your children. If they see you constantly complaining, they may start to do the same.
There are a few ways you can make your home a complaint-free zone.
- Whenever you start feeling upset or frustrated, take a deep breath, say a prayer and ask God to help you let it go.
- Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small they may be.
- Instead of complaining about someone or something, try to find a solution.
- If you must complain about something, complain to God – He’s big enough to handle it.
Final Tips For Single Moms
- Accept that things will change, and that’s okay.
- Set realistic goals for yourself and give yourself time to achieve them.
- Create a support network of family and friends. Lean on them when you need to.
- Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Find ways to relax and de-stress.
- Be patient with yourself; Rome wasn’t built in a day!