We welcome guest blogger Andrea Bell back to The Purple Jacket
According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2015, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father.
For whatever reason, whether they chose to not get married, their husband left or died, the bottom line is – single mothers have their work cut out for them. Single mothers are usually labelled ‘super moms’ for going the extra mile every time for their children. The label is justified, since a single mother spends every waking moment trying to make her child’s life fulfilling and memorable.
A single mother puts her children above everything else.
The day-to-day responsibilities of a single mother are no different than that of married women; coping with sleeplessness, finding child care, paying bills and more. All with the added burden of no one else to rely on.
Still, single mothers agree, that even when overcome with their duties, there’s usually a way to work the issues out.
Here are some tips on how to overcome the struggles of being a single mother.
- Build a support system
As a single working parent, you might need a helping hand every now and then, while taking care of your child. It is very important to form a healthy social network of caring individuals around you. Go on day trips with your close friends and family and help your children get acquainted with them. This helps the children form a trustworthy bond with them. Make them believe that they can rely on their relatives for constant support regarding big decisions.
It is important to develop adult relationships as a single mother since it will prevent you from depending too much on your children for emotional support.
- Maintain a civil relationship with your Ex
Whether you are separated or divorced, work on maintaining a mature relationship with your ex-partner. On-going conflicts between the two of you can have a negative impact on your children, making them feel frustrated, stressed out and bitter. Make sure your children never become a part of your battles.
Avoid making your children decide on who is the best parent between you and your ex. If the ex is critical of you to your kids, avoid indulging in an argument and instead respond by saying that you’re doing the best you can and children are comfortable with how you are handling things around the house.
Children want to have a healthy relationship with both parents and the freedom to feel, however they want to, about them. They will appreciate your efforts to remain civil about the relationship, giving them a chance to experience strong parenthood.
- Spend quality time with your kids
By every means, try to spend quality time with your children, even if it is just 20 minutes a day. It is important to know about the people that influence their lives; teachers, friends, coaches. Go on a holiday and family trips if you think it’ll be an honest opportunity to get to know your kids more. Forming a strong bond with your children, while they are young, is crucial. Talk to them about their daily activities, their interests and most importantly their problems.
Make your children feel more ‘involved’ in household activities. Have a fun-Sunday kitchen routine where you can ask your children to help you cook. Give them small jobs like getting stuff from the pantry or chopping vegetables with a plastic knife. Help them communicate effectively with an adult.
- Keep an eye on what you eat
As an active, single mother, you need to have a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system strong. It’s hard to find fitting food when you are balancing two things at once; home and work, but it is essential to have a well-balanced diet.
You might end up eating too much on some stressful days. Try to cut back on junk and binge on healthy snacks instead. Fruits, nuts and vegetables are excellent choices to boost your immunity.
From my personal experience, herbal teas often act as de-stressors while also working on your immune system activity. Detox your body and you will feel lighter and charged up to take on your daily routine.
- Sweat it out and get some sleep
As an individual doing a two-person job, getting some sound sleep and having me-time can help you unwind from the challenges of your daily routine. It is normal to feel frustrated and bitter. These feelings linger within your mind because of the stressful lifestyle you must follow as a single working mother.
Your children solely depend on you for protection. You cannot afford to go beyond your limits where you start feeling emotionally and physically drained.
Recharge your batteries, even if you have to temporarily switch your child care provider or simply get a family member to help you out. Spend that time doing activities you like such as meditation, Yoga, exercise or just good old-fashioned sleep. It is important to take a breather every now and then, to remain healthy.
In order to maintain your strength and resilience, you must incorporate these strategies in your daily life. Don’t rule out emotions altogether and do the best that you can. Your kids will love you no matter what. You will soon realize that your single parent family can truly survive all odds.
Andrea Bell is freelance writer by day and sports fan by night. Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.