How To Be a Successful Single Mother, or how on earth did I mage that? My youngest is getting ready to go off to Uni. Its a strange feeling as a mother. I am excited for him, scared for him and totally clueless how I will feel once he has gone. Though it’s short-lived as will be back for weekends to do his washing. But the fact still the same he is the first one in the family to go to Uni.
It has made me think back on how I have brought them both up and I am amazed they have made it this far as I can’t keep a houseplant alive so a definite step up in the right direction.
Being a single parent, for the majority of their lives, hasn’t been easy. There is still a negative attitude towards single parents even in this day and age. Though I prefer to think that its more a case people are scared of people who are strong-minded, determined and don’t need others.
As a single parent, even with the other parent happily, in the picture, you can end up working twice as heard, sacrificing twice as much and burning out twice as fast. Children don’t come with manuals and even less so when you’re winging it on your own.
How To Be a Successful Single Mother
Well, first what you consider successful and what others consider successful are probably miles apart. There were days that if they were both at school on time in the correct uniform complete with lunch it was considered a roaring success. There were also days that just making it to the sofa held the same accolade.
Life will be a lot smoother if you can manage a happy balance between work and home life. Ideally, if you can work the same hours each day so your child is into a routine and knows when you are at work it will help. This might mean negotiating with your boss or swapping shifts with colleges.
Make time to be with your children. As tempting as it is to run around and do the housework, cook tea and organize a jam-packed social life for them and you, also make time for nothing. It can be making sure you eat tea without the tv on and at the table every night. It gives them the chance to talk to you and you to them.
Have a routine. Life is hectic even for us adults so twice as hectic for children to understand. Children love and thrive in a routine. If you have a wall calendar maybe adding onto it the days they visit their other parent will help when your first separated as it will reassure your child they are seeing the other parent.
You need time to yourself as well. And I don’t mean you time so that you can run around with the hoover. It doesn’t have to be full on night out clubbing either. Just doing something you enjoy each week. Maybe reading in the bath is your thing or your a fan of the soaps. Whatever it is, make sure you fit it in each week.
Ask and accept help when you need it. This is the toughy. Knowing when you need help and actually asking for help. It is ok to say yes when someone offers to babysit. Or if someone offers to fix something for you. You don’t have to do it all on your own and you definitely will crumble if you try.
Get a budget and stick to it. One of the biggest things for me was the financial side as despite what the news and media tell everyone single parents don’t have money thrown at them. It’s quite the opposite. You will have weeks when you have to decide if heating can go on or not. Baked beans on toast might be your staple diet for some weeks. And you will have to say to your child no on things you can’t afford. But that is life.
Manage your money. You can learn more on How To Manage Your Money but the basics are, know exactly what you have coming in and what is going out when. create a budget and stick to it. Consider how you can earn more money and how to spend less. Involve your children too as saying yes to them all the time doesn’t teach them life skills for later in life. They will manage and adapt.
Understand that there will be days you think you can’t cope. That’s the time to turn to your support system, friends or family, to help you emotionally. Yes, whatever the problem is will seem enormous and you might feel you can’t get around it but it’s all temporary and things do change.
Ditch your baggage. I hate the saying baggage as its often referred to as children as baggage and they most definitely are not. Here I mean emotional baggage. I totally get you might be nursing a broken heart, that life isn’t how you planned it and all that. But it’s gone and you have new priorities. Carrying that emotional baggage all the time is exhausting and you are worth so much more than doing that to yourself.