“Raising a family is difficult enough. But it's even more difficult for single parents struggling to make ends meet. They don't need more obstacles. They need more opportunities.”
- Bill Richardson, Therapist
Single motherhood, whether by a personal choice or the result of an unpleasant situation, always has its own challenges. Single mothers are probably the strongest people in the world, not only because they raise children on their own, but also because they have to find a way to single-handedly provide for the family. They have to find happiness for themselves and their children as well.
Just because you have the responsibility of raising your children on your own, does not mean that you should let it bog you down. In order to make life easier and more comfortable for yourself and your children, all you have to do is find the best way to deal with challenges, make quick (but not impulsive) decisions and act on them. Here are some most common challenges that single mothers might face and ways to cope with them:
Raising the children alone
For a single mother, just like any mother, the top priority is raising her kids well. Children need the love and support of their mothers more if they do not have a father figure in their lives. This can become quite difficult, especially since single mothers have to take care of the house and provide for a living as well.
But, like Oprah Winfrey said, “You are enough!”, after a single mother (on her show Super Soul Sundays) exclaimed that she felt she failed her kids after her husband abandoned them. Every mother has her own way of coping with this struggle, but here are some basic tips that can help you make a good start:
- Children do not understand the pain and tribulations you are going through. All they need is unconditional love and attention. So, as far as possible, keep your problems to yourself or discuss them with your friends or family, not your kids. Let them see you cheerful and smiling always. This is very important for a healthy upbringing.
- After you come home from work, strictly switch-off all work-related activities and spend quality time with them. Whether it is helping them with homework, having dinner or simply watching TV with them, make it fun and interesting.
- Make weekends completely focused around them. Plan for activities or outings that you know they will enjoy.
- Make sure you don’t over-indulge in them with a view to make up for the missing father. Let the upbringing be as “normal” as possible.
- Assure them that they can discuss absolutely any problem with you any time at all. Let them see a best friend in you.
- In case you are going through a bitter separation or divorce with your husband, do not involve your kids in the tussle. They might still adore their father, and any negative comments or situations can leave a lasting impact on their minds.
Sometimes, single mothers with no prior professional skills or expertise may be required to provide for their family. This can result in quite a stressful situation if you panic. But you can deal with it efficiently if you take one day at a time. Here is how:
- Take help from your friends who have some work experience, for getting a resume prepared, looking for possible job opportunities, preparing for interviews, etc.
- Make a list of all your important expenses including those for the house, the children, your personal expenses, etc. This will make you aware of how to manage the finances.
- Do not hesitate to consult a financial expert to get a clear idea about savings.
Finding joy again
Who said you cannot be happy being a single mother? Most single mothers concentrate only on their children and ignore themselves in the process. But they forget the fact that kids can only be happy if the parent is happy! Read on to know how you can be a happy single mother:
- If you desire to look and feel good, there is no reason to feel guilty about it! You have every right to be a happy single mother, no matter why the situation has risen.
- Join some hobby classes, like music, dance, painting, book clubs, etc. to make your spare time more meaningful.
- When the kids are busy with their friends or school activities, etc., you can use the time to go out with friends or invite them over to have a refreshing break.
- Do not rule out the option of meeting new people, even if you have had a bad experience in the past! There are plenty of gentlemen out there who could make you want to be in love again. So, do not ignore the coffee invitation from an interesting colleague!
Single motherhood can be a tough task, but only if you panic! Every problem has a solution, and with these pointers, we are sure you will make a happy single mother with a lot of joys to look forward to.