Single Mom Rules to Live By? Ideas?

by mssinglemama on September 12, 2008

I need your help.

I’m working on a piece for a new web site (top secret) but it’s for single moms. I want to make a list of the top 10 rules a single mother should live by. 

I realized it would be rather audacious for me to write them all.. so give me some of yours. What are the rules you live by that help make every day easier? What are the rules that guide you in life and love decisions? What advice would you give to another single mom?

Any thoughts will help… my deadline is Sunday night. 

P.S. I joined Plenty of Fish – all for you (and kind of for me too)! Research, research, research. So far quite freaky but there are some interesting prospects.

{ 4 trackbacks }

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How Ms. Single Mama Will Live On. I need you! |
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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Moon Beam September 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Always put your kids first.
Love yourself before you try to love someone else.


Nicole September 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

I’ve got a few to contribute. One – When things seem tough or unfair, I tell myself it could always be worse! Sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself, but then I hear a story of a mom who is going through a lot more than I am and I realize how lucky i truly am! Two – Enjoy and be present in the moment! There are always other things to think about and preoccupy our minds, especially when you’ve got everything on your shoulders as a single parent, but sometimes it necessary to just stop and enjoy the simple joys your kids provide.


Karen September 12, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Don’t settle. It has been suggested to me that as a single mother with baggage I am probably going to have to settle for less than I yearn for. And perhaps if getting married again right now was my only goal I would have to. But it isn’t. I have already been in that marriage for 10 years and now that I’m out I have no intention of settling for that again. My rule- Don’t settle for Mr. Right Now, hold out for Mr. Love of a Lifetime. (That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re waiting.)


Legal Editor Mom September 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm

The first few are great! (and so true.) Here are just some random thoughts.

1) Realize that children are impressionable, so set the kind of example you want them to have.

2) Don’t take on more than you can handle.

3) Set aside time for yourself.

4) Never let anyone make you feel inferior because you’re going it alone.

5) Learn from your mistakes, but don’t dwell on the past. Live for the future!


elisabeth September 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Live with Intention. Being a single mother means you carry responsibilities that most single women don’t. We don’t have the same time to play games. We can’t just go out on the spir of the moment. Moving, changing jobs and dating are all made even more difficult when you are a single mother. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do these things you just have to plan, state your goal and work towards it. Want a better job, what are you doing to find it? Want a classy guy, where are you looking? Want to buy a house, how much have you saved? Live with intention.


Laura September 12, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Dont be scared to ask for help! As a single parent you NEED a support structrure – friends or family – doesnt matter but you need it!!!!!!

Dont forget that you have a life too! Yes our kids are the most important thing and yes they are our priority but you are important too and need to allow for some “me time”

Good luck ;o)


Savored Life September 12, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Have FUN. Make time for it. Life is for LIVING! :O)


H September 12, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Live in the present. You can’t change your past and your future may not turn out like you planned.

Enjoy what you have right now. I have to remind myself… take time to listen to my rambling boy tell me something he thinks is profound, even when I’m trying to rush him out the door.


Diana September 13, 2008 at 4:58 am

I know this has nothing to do with the present subject, and I apologize for posting a question on an old topic, BUT:

Back when you were talking about ‘men feeling empathy’, somebody here mentioned that men are wired to:

Protect their land and family

OK … so why won’t my husband do anything, when his brother or nephews talk vulgar and disrespectful in my presence, and TO me at times … one time giving me the finger … and my husband KNOWS this bothers me, offends me and I’m just not the type to think it’s funny???

Men .. I’d love to hear your response to this.



Amy Nathan September 13, 2008 at 5:38 am

Rules? You mean, there are rules?


Katie September 13, 2008 at 5:40 am

Live in the now. Let go of the past and your regrets, any bitterness, etc. Time in general is a fleeting thing and our children grow up so fast, and it is hard when you are the sole parent and working hard to provide for your kids, but if you hold onto those tender, funny, loving moments you realize how it is all worth it. It takes time, sweat, and even tears but the I love you mommy and the hugs and kisses, well those are the most important thing in the world to me.


April September 13, 2008 at 7:43 am

Ok, retweet this later so I remember to come back with some of mine. 🙂


J-Fo September 13, 2008 at 8:36 am

1) Don’t live life in an endless quest to “complete your family.” You already are a family. And your kids will be just fine unless you act like your family dynamic isn’t fine.

If you find a partner to join your bunch…? Well that’s just icing.

2) Show them examples of loving adult relationships.


Rebs September 13, 2008 at 10:08 am

1 – Choose your battles. So the house isn’t clean and your preschooler wants to wear an orange shirt with purple pants. Meh. It could be worse. It’s not worth the battle to put my kid in something decent and/or spend time striving for super-cleanliness when we would could be having fun together.

2 – Focus on the here and now. I struggle with this one, because there is part of me who really wants to picture my future 10 yrs from now. A partner? Another child? I can’t see it and I need to learn that there is nothing wrong with that.


Lex September 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

You don’t have to have everything perfect. The house may be cluttered with toys and little clothes strewn about but you have to appreciate the joys of all that is going right. Even if the only thing is the fact that you laughed with your kids.


Julie September 13, 2008 at 12:35 pm

1. Let go. Life is messy. The house isn’t perfect – there are dishes in the sink and my bed needs to be made – but oh well. Nothing and no one is perfect.
2. Be flexible. Life is more fun when I’m flexible. Bed times can be stretched and it is OK to eat cereal for dinner, once in a while.
3. Enjoy every minute of life. They are only little once, and we only live our lives once. Have fun, smile, and laugh.
4. Don’t be angry and bitter. That is no way to go through life.
5. When you’re overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember what is really important. The rest will fall away.


Katie September 13, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Don’t ever lose your sense of fun or sense of humor. And remember sometimes you have to take it one day at a time or even one step at a time but you can do it, and we are all in this together. Learn to ask for and graciously accept help/support.


trl September 13, 2008 at 3:20 pm

1. Learn to say “NO.” No to over commitments. No to things that go against your gut. Not to doing things that don’t interest you or are in your best interest. No to men that don’t treat you well. No to a friend that is asking you to do something for her that she would not do in return for you.

2. Learn to say “YES.” Yes to things that matter to you. Yes to new adventures that intrigue and excite you. Yes to having fun withy our kids, friends and family. Yes to a guy that you want to date. Yes to yourself. Yes to learning something you have always wanted to learn (no matter how odd or geeky.) Yes to a yummy piece of chocolate or dessert or a cute new top at Target or a magazine at checkout.

3. Teach your daughter or son to be the type of partner you would want to have one day. We are all raising little partners and citizens of the world so send them out into the world treating others well, being a good friend, and with lots of love. If you are bitter then they will be too. if you don;’t trust at all then they never will. If you don’t make priorities and have good adventures neither will they. if you don’t show a love for the world and learning then they won’t either.

4. Dating can be fun. Many times if you are open to new experiences and meeting new people then it is. Just ask yourself the simple question at the end of the night, “Do you want to see this person again?”, before you start picturing your future. Do this for a few months. ALWAYS cut off the crap as soon as you see it. Ladies, if it smells or looks like sh*t then it is.

5. make friends with other single moms. They will become your extended family and your best girlfriends. We started a group where we loved that did potluck Sunday brunches with kids 1 x month, dinner out 1 x month. We started 5 years ago. Our children have grown up to become best friends, we trade off kids so we can all date, we do tons of things together with and without kids. We even celebrate new marriages and cry together over bad relationships. We helped each other through the worst of times and now they seem ar behind. Strength truly lies in numbers and your friends. Plus, our kids do not feel ever like the only ones with single parents.


littlemansmom September 14, 2008 at 8:24 am

– Look after you…if you don’t who will…and a happy mommie makes for a better mommie.

– Always follow what’s in your heart as long as your heart an your head agree

– Never settle for less than the best..after all you deserve it.

– Forgive yourself the little things and make friends with yourself.


April September 14, 2008 at 9:48 am

I’ll join with the others in “live in the now.” Too often, we think about our kids at work, and work when we’re with our kids. It just makes us feel guilty, and accomplishes nothing. Focus on the task at hand.
Of course, it’s all about balance. Balancing our needs vs our individual kids’ needs vs the family needs. Reassess constantly to keep the balance in place as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to family and friends for tangible help, and intangible comfort and wisdom.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to make the tough decisions for your family. It’s great to listen to what other people do, but every child and parent is unique. Don’t get too caught up in the “shoulds.”


Cindy Thomas September 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Don’t give into single parent guilt. You did not conceive your child(ren) on your own and you are not 100% responsible for how their lives turn out.

You had your own set of struggles growing up. You may have come from a two parent household, but had other challenges. Your children are growing up with their own challenges. Beyond doing the best you can, their lives are theirs to live out. Just like your challenges were yours alone growing up (and now!), their challenges are ultimately for them to work out.

Tell your child they are lucky to have you as a mother (or father). It’s better to have one really good parent than two bad ones (or one bad one!).


Kim September 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

1. One day at a time.

2. No matter how bad it is, it can *always* be worse.

3. Practice extreme self-care. If you don’t, who will?

4. You deserve to be happy. Do thing that make you smile.


Kitkat4real (SOLO dot MOM) September 14, 2008 at 6:54 pm

I love these suggestions for you so I don’t know if I can offer anything more… and it’s 9:50 EST on Sunday night… but I would say of high importance rules to live by would be. Live my life as and example and nothing less than what I will expect from my children when they are older. And always set aside “me-time”

Oh and good luck with POF – That’s the one I have recently tried out. Can’t wait to hear more!


Laura September 14, 2008 at 9:14 pm

I may be too late, but leave these anyway: I’m a very new single mom (within the past month), but this is a list that I’ve been compiling.

1. Nurture yourself. Our kids model our behavior; if you don’t show them that you are important, they won’t think that they are important.

2. Make a list of the qualities you want in your “ideal” partner. Do it now before you become involved in a relationship.

3. Find FUN in every situation (as other poster’s have listed)

4. Get your kids around people that love them and will be good mentors to them. It’s important for your children to feel loved by people other than you.

5. Learn something new (take a cooking class, writing class, learn a language, etc.)

Loved reading these! Makes me more excited about my future 🙂 Thanks.


debra September 15, 2008 at 5:58 am

Sorry I missed this over the weekend…great list growing. My most important rule: realize that even the most well thought out rules may need to change and evolve over time as the needs of your family change (daycare arrangements, work schedule, visitation schedule, a move, the list is endless). Expecting this to occur will make the chaos that sneaks up from time to time more tolerable.


jonb September 15, 2008 at 6:24 am

From a guys view:

Don;t try to hide whether you have kids or not. Any man worth dating will understand your responsibilities and be willing to work with you. if he doesn;t, he’s fired. I think a child sort of works as a good filter in some ways.

Finding a man who loves kids is great. But let it go too fast even if things seem perfect. This happened to me and Courtney, and we made ourselves a “family” before dealing with a lot of serious issues and getting to know each other fully. It caused us a lot of problems down the line and played into our break up

If htings are great and getting serious, I recomend ice cream as a date to introduce him to your kid(s). Any man who is too good for ice cream would make a terrible parent, lol, and it is a non threatening environment for him and the kids. they’ll be busy spilling ice cream on themselves and asking you if you want a lick. and he will be able to process the reality of a parent’s lifestyle with the comfort of ice cream, lol.

if it is serious, don;t view his life with friends or the guys as immaturity or irresponsibility. he just has a different reality than yours, and with time and patience, the two will merge if that is what you both want.

HAVE FUN! Parenting is hard and time consuming, though absolutely worthwhile. But you deserve a break, some time to enjoy yourself, and the company of someone who is interested in you as a sexy, strong, and fun woman, not just as a mommy. It’s not selfish of you, believe me, you earned it.


Ms. Single Mama September 15, 2008 at 7:07 am

These are perfect!

And keep them coming. My deadline has been extended because my power is out. Our entire city got hit by Ike’s left overs. Power lines are down every where.

I’m typing this from the coffee shop, Benjamin is about to blow so we have to run.

So that’s why I don’t have a new post today, am absent from Twitter, etc. I’m sure everyone will live. Just hoping I don’t completely lose my mind before then. No power = no fun. But, it could be worse.


jonb September 15, 2008 at 7:55 am

Oh man hang in there. Your home ok?


mssinglemama September 15, 2008 at 8:51 am

Yeah Jon – the winds weren’t that strong, thankfully. The only damage – my patio table outside is shattered and the umbrella is crumpled… have to clean up the glass. We’re fine though. Just in the dark.


single mommy September 15, 2008 at 6:44 pm


2. trust yourself!

3. Ask the RIGHT people to help you.


Claire September 18, 2008 at 11:07 am

You and your child come first, no one should ever come between that!
Listen to your child’s gut feeling.. it’s probably right
Embrase being a single parent and love it, it is WHO YOU ARE
Get a circle of friends who you can count on to be there as the “other parent” if and when the need arises
Kids are a good judge of character, listen to them!
Be honest with your child, it is just you and them together for the long haul!
Laugh as much as you can!
Vist me on http://www.singlemomme;!


Claire September 18, 2008 at 11:07 am

Sorry the site is
I’m tired! Can’t type today!!!


Reem December 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Try to be in good shape… Go for workouts and give a little time for yourself, and to one of your favourite hobbies. Dont think negatively about life and people, it reflects on your face.. When you look strong and confident, people get attracted to you automatically. Try to look for good massages or spas, they keep you in good health. Even your children will also like you when you look and feel good.


roli ugbewanko April 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm

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