Your family is changing, and so must your outlook. Making the transition from being a nuclear family to a single mum can be an emotionally and financially rocky road. The best thing you could do is seek advice from your family solicitors on the legal aspect of this change. Here are five tips to help you thrive in every other area of single parenthood.
1. Be affectionate. Studies show that children who receive affection from both parents fare better in school after a divorce than those who don’t. Although going through the break up of a marriage is very much about your feelings as a newly single parent, it’s important to make your child feel loved so that he or she have some stability to hold on to.
2. Rally your family and friends. The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child” has always been true, but it will be especially applicable now that you are a single mum. It’s best to recognise upfront that you can’t do it all by yourself, even if you want to. Talk to extended family members or close friends, and even the child’s teachers, to build a “village” of people who all have your child’s best interest in mind and whom you know you can count on.
3. Make a plan with your ex-spouse. This will be key to relieving any sort of tension between the two of you, but more importantly, it will ensure that your child can spend ample time with both parents. Try to work out a schedule for when your child can see the other parent, as well as logistics like transportation, homework and holidays. If you both approach the task with an eagerness to make this new arrangement work, you could avoid having to ask for any more divorce help from your solicitors.
4. Re-work your finances. Your family structure won’t be the only thing that’s changing as you adjust to the single mum life. You should take care to make sure any joint accounts that you had with your ex are dissolved so that you don’t incur debt without knowing it. You should also work out an agreement for child support to make sure you’re both sharing in the financial responsibility of raising a child. Beyond these two steps, another helpful action is to create a new budget on yourself based on your modified income. And remember to keep communicating with your ex about matters such as insurance, costly school trips and extracurricular activity fees for your child.
5. Give yourself a break. Once they find their footing as a single adult, many mums then go through a phase in which they feel guilty about moving on with their lives. Remember, you are a single mum, but you are also a person in your own right. It’s not only okay but it’s necessary for you to have “me” time, so don’t hesitate to call on some of those family members or friends to take the kids off of your hands every now and then.