How do you do it?

by mssinglemama on September 24, 2011

I posed this question on Facebook a few weeks back and the responses were tremendously inspiring and motivating.

The question was sparked by an e-mail from a new single mom who asked me how I did it, how I continue to do it and what advice I could offer to her to make her days brighter. At that moment she was struggling with how she could possibly survive being a single mom. I never responded and now I can’t find the e-mail. Sad about that, so if you’re reading–accept my apology.

My response:

I remember feeling that way and I know my long time readers remember when I felt that way. But, now, things are completely different–I enjoy being a single mom.

So what happened? Well, it could very well be circumstance–I now have a support network of neighbors and a strong, tight group of girlfriends who are single moms, Benjamin is also older and things are easier, and I work for myself and have flexible hours. Or, it could be because I have adapted and accepted single motherhood. The shock has worn off and I have accepted this as my life. I have also realized that even if a man enters our lives, things won’t magically be easier.

Regardless, I do know the single moms with little ones–babies or toddlers– have it the hardest.

What tips do you have for new single moms? Leave a comment! As incentive, I’ll be giving away a new leaf necklace to one of you who comments on this post. The winner will be drawn randomly. Good luck!

Related posts:

  1. A new smile.
  2. The Great Dane
  3. Single Mom Rules to Live By? Ideas?
  4. Will you ever have another one?
  5. Sextards and Wankers.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna September 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

First: leave the “shoulds” at the door. “I should clean the living room”, “I should get x done before y”… They can kill you. Prioritize, and your first priority should be you and your child. Everything is else is less important.
Second: get out of the house — have a mom’s night out, and schedule it on a regular basis if you can. This helps me keep my sanity.
Third: Ask for help. This is hard. We are brought up to think we have to and should be able to do it all by ourselves. Lean on others as much as possible, especially when you have little ones. If you have no one close, join a group of some kind. Meet some other moms at the playground. Hire a fabulous babysitter.
Fourth: Find yourself. Journal. Take a class. Visit the museum. Learn a language. Chip away at that bucket list, and you will begin to understand how happy you can be by yourself.

You will eventually find that you do what you have to do, and the rest either falls into place, or wasn’t that important anyway.

Reply

NIca September 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! I completely agree.

These are the lessons I have learned and relearned in these last 10yrs of single mommyhood, and the same advice I give to the teen moms I mentor and my scared mommy friends going through divorce. But the most important aspect of my sanity in single motherhood is having God in my life.

Reply

Angi September 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Anna – well stated! I have a hard time with all of them but especially #1.

Reply

Lydia September 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I’m not a divorced single mama, I knew when I became pregnant that if I chose to keep my daughter (instead of having her adopted) that I’d be doing it without a man in our lives. And while I’m definitely single, I am most certainly not the only one raising my daughter. We live with my mother and she and I split everything. Abigail really has two mamas seeing as how with my current work schedule she actually sees more of her ganga than her mama. And my sister’s in-laws (who have basically adopted her for their own grandchild) watch her when my mom and I are at work. My sister actually changed her own availability so that my mom could take classes towards her master’s degree. I’m single, but I’m not alone. And that’s probably the key to enjoying this lifestyle: realizing that being single isn’t synonymous with being alone.

Reply

Cissy September 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Make time for you to reenergize! Run, write, spend time with friends, and be patient with yourself.

Reply

April September 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

My advice – make like a warehouse & stock up. Plan for the future in whatever small way you can. Stock up on those physical things as well as that invisible stuff that you know will make your life easier or better in some way.
I stock up on silly things like toothpaste and TP and peanut butter and evaporated milk – I’m a lot less stressed when at 10pm I discover I’ve run out but there’s a good supply in the cupboard. It’s not like I can just run out to the corner store at 10pm to grab something.
Stock up on dinners. Every 3 months or on the weekends I make a few big one-pot meals, portion them out and freeze them. This makes that crazy after work times a lot less stressful. I throw the meal in the microwave and poof 10 minutes later dinner is served and very few dishes to wash!
Stock up on time for you. Book a regular date with yourself. Make it monthly or weekly or whatever but book it. Schedule a sitter or a family member to take care of your munchkin(s) and leave your guilt at home. You need this “you time”. Make sure it’s a good block of time, usually more than an hour. Do whatever moves you.
Stock up on your accomplishments and your blessings. Ask yourself what things made you a lucky person today. Give yourself a pat on the back daily – what worked out well and what made you smile today. There is no question that being a new single mom is one of the hardest challenges life will throw your way but you will get through it and it will get better, I promise.

Reply

Susan September 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Don’t be afraid to just say no. My kiddos are 6 and 9 and for 6 yrs now I have been s single mother with husband. My husband I’s a commercial airline pilot– he isn’t here 19 days out of 30– give or take.

I had to learn to say no— guilt free. No we can do X,Y or Z because we are already doing A,B or C. I cannot be in three places at once and I am it. I cannot plan on having an extra set of hands.

So say no and feel good about it. Prioritize and do what you want to most… And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty– especially the PTA chairperson or Sunday school coordinator.

You know what is best for your family :)

Reply

Kate Double September 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I love being a single mom. I’d rather have a husband who loved us, and family time that included another adult. With that said, I don’t really mind it either, and it is a whole lot better than my marriage ever was. To me, there are two key things that contribute to my happiness as a single mom.

1) Trust that everything is going to work out okay. For me, I had to learn to live with more financial uncertainty, and that was really hard, but it has worked out so far. I went through a lengthy custody battle, and again, trusting that it would be okay was priceless. I can’t do this about everything, but when the evidence suggests that things will be okay, they usually are.

2) Make fun a priority. Fun with your kids, fun with other adults, fun with extended family, fun dating… however you have fun. I always put the fun before the chores on the weekend unless something really MUST be done. My house isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, I just picked up the pottery my kids made three months ago, and I have many times ordered my groceries on time, but I make the chores fit in around the fun :)

Reply

Elissa September 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Find things you forgot you enjoyed… or things you’ve never tried that sound like fun… and DO them. Find joy in spending time with your kids. Go out and do things with them… I know when I was married to my kids dad there was always so much stress I didn’t enjoy my kiddos as much as I wish I had. Then, when he was gone, I realized I really had fun with them. It didn’t have to be expensive fun either. A trip to the dollar bins at Target or buying a cheap movie that I loved as a kid and making them watch it with me… Oh and we did silly things too like making smores over the gas range in our kitchen because after all smores are a delicacy and we can’t all have a bonfire right?! LOL. The kids thought it was great. They would actually TELL me how much happier I was and how much they liked the “new” me. I liked that me too.
Then, make sure you spend grown up time with girlfriends. Dinner, hang time, some wine and good conversation will go a LONG way in improving your spirits. I happened to have one great girlfriend who split from her husband within a year of me splitting from mine so we would get together, put the kids to bed and chill… commiserate and laugh. It was like a grown up slumber party for us, and a regular slumber party for the kids. Those things completely saved my sanity.
I’m married again now and, don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but there are moments when I really miss that life. If my current marriage ever ended I honestly don’t think I’d ever get married again.

Reply

Erin September 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I’ve learned to literally take one step at a time, every minute of every day. I raised a 17 month old and brand new baby twins by myself, and now that they’re 4 and 5 respectively, I look back and wonder how I did it myself. The single most important thing for me was maintaining hope in my heart that someday things would be better. I made sacrifices to provide for them, and to provide a better “someday” life for us. For me, I didn’t date regularly. Every now and again, someone would ask me out, but one red flag and they were done. I didn’t allow my heart to be broken again when my children needed EVERYTHING I had to give. Now I’m in a much better place financially and emotionally, and I have more male attention than I care to admit. I have the chance to be selective. I’m happy on the inside and out. There’s a song by Joss Stone, “Girl You Won’t Believe It” that I think is incredibly appropriate. Living in hope, still, taking opportunities as they come and most of all, making my sons my #1 priority has made all the difference in the world!

Reply

Miss J Louise September 26, 2011 at 9:13 am

I love this advice its been tewo years and I’ve been fine but lately its hit me all of a sudden and all I gan do is take it one day at a time.

Reply

Laura September 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

Erin, you’ve really inspired me. Wow, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you. It’s been about 2.5 years for me and my youngest will be 3 next month and I still find myself exhausted a lot and having to pump myself up to stay positive. Thanks so much!

Reply

Erin October 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Laura – you are very welcome! I’ve always been told that the reason we go through challenging times is to have greater empathy for those who find themselves in similar circumstances and to help build them up. I am glad I was able to do that for you!

Reply

Kara October 6, 2011 at 1:33 am

This touched and inspired me too. Thank you. It will be 2 years for me this December and I’m still rebuilding mine and my son’s life. I am in awe of what you are doing.

It does get better, slowly. Taking it one day at a time, being present for my son, and having hope have gotten me where I am today. The amazing support of family and friends has also been life saving.

Reply

Lindsay September 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I am an unwed single mom of a 4 month old at 31 years old, and as difficult as it can be, I wouldn’t change it for the world. My advice is to get some rest and don’t feel guilty. It isn’t terrible that you are single, rejoice in it! Now you don’t have to try and give a partner the attention you’d rather give your child for the time being. And you get to make all the daily decisions regarding your child without consulting with someone else~ way to go! And youdon’t have toshaveyourlegs forawhile~lordknows I haven’t shaved mine in months (who hastime?!).

If you are too tired you may naturally become a bit down and out and start thinking negatively about the situation but,seriously, a good nap and a hot shower will do WONDERS for the weary. And if you DO cry don’t feel weak because you aren’t, it is a healthy way to let off steam and get back on track.

If you don’t have child care or friends/family that can help out~ find an activity where you can take the baby or child with you ~ like go to a movie, out to eat etc. If you don’t get out of the house to do something other than grocery shop, pediatricians appointments, or work~ you’re head may very well explode!

Join an online forum of women. A friend introduced me to one and I have the best friends I think I have ever had there and I have only ever met one in person.

Just remember to take care of YOU. A happy mommy is a good mommy.

Reply

ApprentieMaman September 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Please don’t take your baby to the movie, it could affect your baby’s hearing!

Reply

Miss J Louise September 26, 2011 at 9:14 am

Seriously?

At what age group?

Reply

Lindsay October 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I said child or baby but i apologize for not clarifying~ you definitely don’t want to take your baby to the movies to see the next action flick haha! I doubt the surround sound explosions would do them well ;) My point is to get out of the house, do something!

Reply

rachael September 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm

isn’t it great not to have to compromise or ask the opinion of a companion? you can call all of the shots!! love it.

what forum?

Reply

Angi September 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Rachael – I don’t know which one she belongs to, but I created a FB group for just that reason…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343881257940/

Or search Alone Together: Single Moms support group with me (Angi) as administrator.

Reply

Caitlin October 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Angi, I went to your facebook page: Alone Together, and it is a closed page. I am a single mom in Hastings (south east metro) and I would love to learn more about your group.

Thank you:) caitlin_duval@hotmail.com

Reply

Lindsay October 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Yes I love it!

Actually a friend of mine invited me to join the group I’m in~ it was originally with IAP (iampregnant.com) and some of the women there decided to branch off into their own forum and keep in touch. It’s been a lifesaver!!! There are some great forums on things like iap etc… if you search single mom forum on the internet it should bring some up. You can just look around until you find one that suits you. Good luck!

Reply

Kim September 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

New reader here and I love it!

Find your core supporters and lean on them, they’ll understand. I also found an affordable therapist and have been seeing her for 9 months now. She and my supporters helped me when I felt hopeless, when the tears wouldn’t stop. Then slowly…..I hadn’t cried in a week, I hadn’t cried in 2 weeks….etc. Realize it will get better no matter what your situation is.

Live Day by Day. Your past and thoughts of your past are only that “the past”. The future hasn’t even happened and probably won’t even happen how your envisioning it, so let it go too. All you have is today, this hour, this minute, this BREATH. So, breath deeply and focus on now.

Get your exercise on! Get out of your house and into nature it helps! You can do it, I am!

Reply

Sarah Ruof September 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Let go of all the negative thoughts and emotions you have towards your ex and the world. Just try to enjoy, love and get to know your child. Whenever I’m having a bad day I forget about everything that I’m supposed to be doing and go do something fun with my daughter. By being a single mother I have learned that I am much stronger than I ever thought. I have done things I never thought I was capable of all by myself. You are in control of your own happiness.

Reply

Andrea September 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

For me it has been all about exercising regularly and letting the little things go. Pieces of what other people have said above also resonate with what has worked for me. I also have a great support system of friends and family.

But….my question is – how do you find the other single parents to become friends with? I would have loved nothing else than to have another single parent to hang out with on Friday nights, have a glass of wine while our kids played- and support each other. I have yet to find that (been looking for 2.5 years now). I’ve done the single parent group – but wasn’t able to form a friendship with anyone that I “clicked” with in any way. I’m also constantly scanning ring fingers at parks, and rarely see one without a ring. How is that possible?

How do you make single parent friends? Also note: somehow my daughter has ended up in daycare and preschools with NO single parents! So, that isn’t an option. And all my old friends are happily married. Toughest part for me has definitely been the lack of another single parent friend in my life!

Reply

rachael September 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm

i don’t have any single mama friends either. luke’s class has no single parents either. unfortunate. oh, and they are all married men! i know. it is like a curse. goood luck :)

Reply

Sheila September 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I don’t have any single mom friends, either. And, to be completely honest, I find it hard to maintain friendships with married moms. It might just be me, but I feel like they’re scared of me, or something? Like, they’ll catch a case of the single moms???

Reply

Angi September 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Try meetup.com. There is a great Single Mom group in Minneapolis. I just don’t have time (or make the time…I know, I should, for sanity’s sake).

Reply

Amy September 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Go easy on yourself.. Prioritize! And make sure you make time for your needs/interests. A Happy Mama has happy children..

Reply

rachael September 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I have been a single mama since the day I found out I was pregnant. I don’t even know what it is like to be in a relationship with a child. Just a few tips I’ve learned over the last four years:

- make sure you have wipes in your car and in your purse. .. you just never know. even past the age of diapers, there will be messes and you’re going to kick yourself if you don’t have them.

- use the first fews years to do what you want. do what YOU want to accomplished. this will change when it is your child’s turn to have a life. (ie- soccer games, school commitments, etc.) get everything out of your way before the age of 4.

- accept support and help! without my mom, aunts, and cousin.. i don’t know what i’d do. it really does take a village to raise a child.. especially if you’re a single mom.

- take lots of self portraits with your child! if you don’t, you’ll never have pictures of yourself with your child. don’t think it’s silly; you just don’t have anyone to take them for you! i made it a tradition to take one a week when he was small. now we do them on major outings or special occasions.. like the first day of school.

- if the daddy isn’t involved, don’t sugarcoat it. they will ask. you just have to tell them the truth. this also goes without saying.. never badmouth your ex in front of your child. never.

- find a special place for just the two of you. “your space”. my son and i go to atlanta. it is 1.5 hours away. it is our place to go. only us. he thinks it is so special.

- when you do start dating, do.not. let your child meet every man you date. only the special ones. and only after you are truly certain they will be around for awhile. luke has met one man in 4 years.

- know that if and when you break up with someone, your child is breaking up with them as well. they will hurt right along with you.

- get a dependable car. seriously. you do not want to get stranded due to car problems. chances are, you don’t know how to fix the problem and without a manly man, the cost will be pricey. so bite the bullet. get something that will work and last.

umm. this is all i can think of right now. it is lengthy! woops.

xo rachael

Reply

Julie September 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I have been divorced for almost 9 years now, coincidentally, the same age as my youngest son. I have 2 boys, 10 and 9 and have been raising them on my own for a long time. For me, everyday is a new day. I let go of what I feel I could have done better the day before and start fresh.

Over the last 9 years I have learned to priorotize, say no and not feel guilty, recognize who really matters in our lives, live with a messy but clean house, accepted that my “to do” list will never be done, the DVR is my friend, I can and do do it all even when I have the flu, doing it all is what I decide it means, laugh every chance I can, buy the expensive coffee and creamer that I really like, sleep in at every opportunity, I love my crock pot, a cleaning lady is better than chocolate, well almost better than chocolate and that even though I am the only single mom in both my boys’ grades and one of the few at their school, I raise, provide, care for and manage to accomplish everything that all of the other 2 parent families do and I do all of that on my own and with one income.

You get once shot at your life and I’ll be d***** if I let preconceived ideas, prejudice, stereotypes, dissapointments, let downs or others’ choices ruin my dreams.

Reply

Andrea September 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I wish there were a like button! I would “like” this reply. :)

Reply

Jen September 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Right ON, Julie. I am so with you on this! And, I have been thinking about treating myself to a cleaning lady (after 4 yrs of college and now working as a nurse while raising my 4). Thanks for sharing!!!

Reply

Heliana September 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

“Like” this too!!!

Reply

honeybeemama September 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

girl! we are on cosmically in tune! i’ve been writing about the same things lately. i wrote a post called “I don’t know how you do it” recently: http://www.honeybeemama.com/2011/08/i-dont-know-how-you-do-it.html that addresses some of these questions, then started writing what i call “swim lessons” about how i do it and lessons i’ve learned as a single mom. i call them swim lessons because the biggest lesson i’ve learned i learned from Dory in Finding Nemo: Just Keep Swimming, found here: http://www.honeybeemama.com/2011/09/just-keep-swimming-lessons-from-single.html. and though i’m transitioning now and getting married in less than a month, i can’t help but reflect on all i’ve learned through divorce and single motherhood and how it’s empowered me in my life. even though i have a life partner now, i have to be able to function outside of him, and run the household when he’s out of town which is often with work. i realize that the lessons i learned as a single mother and “how i did it” are really LIFE lessons, not just single mother lessons! we as single mamas truly have a gift of strength to give the world!

Reply

Sheila September 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I’ve been a single mom for nearly 4 years now (where’d the time go?!?!), and I must agree that it gets so much easier as they get older.

You’ve gotten so much great advice, but I must re-iterate that it is so important to take care of yourself. Easier said than done, but really and truly – do something for yourself every once in a while!

Reply

Sarah September 25, 2011 at 3:01 am

Single mom of three years.
:-)
*Take time for yourself. Forget about guilt. Take time, even if it means NOT tidying up over curling up and reading a book. Time for yourself is a common theme in every piece of advice here. :-)
*Be organized with a calendar/planner. You’re the only one keeping track of everyone! The more organized you are about this, the easier it is.
*Teach your kids to help out every day! It’s their home too. Every little bit helps when the housework gets overwhelming. Even the smallest ones can be taught something to help you out.
*Don’t give up. Keep pushing through! It gets easier. It just does.
:-) -Sarah

Reply

Kate September 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

Focus on the positive. For me, it was reminding myself that in some ways, it got easier since my ex was like an extra child for whom I had to care.

And exercise, as someone else said upthread. Find a gym with free childcare, and sweat out the bad emotions. I started hot yoga, and I come out of class every day with a renewed sense of purpose, greater calm, and ultimately feeling a little stronger, emotionally and physically, every day.

Reply

Beyond Normal Mom September 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Remember that taking care of yourself IS taking care of your kids. They are priority one, but you can’t be the best mom for them if you are not at your best.

Tell yourself as often as possible how awesome you are. “I snuck three vegetables into dinner today – I am an all star!” “The world should be impressed with how clean my floors are.” You are doing more right than you are messing up, but we often hyper focus on our screw ups and ignore all of our successes.

Forgive yourself for unmade beds, a late bedtime, etc., and ask forgiveness from your kids when you do mess up. This will teach them so much more than it will hurt them that you lost your cool.

Reply

Jessica Rose Greenwood September 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Two words: ME TIME!

I find that when I’m starting to feel miserable and swallowed up in motherhood it’s because, somewhere in there, I got swallowed up completely. So I take it back to basics: ME.

Once I’m feeling happy and semi-whole again I find that the rest isn’t so bad.

I also agree with reminding yourself of where you are now compared to where you came from. It’s been rough but I still wouldn’t go back to the abuse I left.

Reply

Alli Steen September 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

“swallowed up in motherhood” boy, that’s a good way of putting it.

I was feeling sorry for myself the other day, thinking about how I would find time, energy and space for a guy in my life. Then I blurted aloud to myself ‘I don’t have enough space for ME in MY life let alone a man!’ – tears abounded.

Me time was needed.

Reply

Meredith September 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

You do it because you have no choice but to. Your little one is looking to you to see a loving face, a well adjusted adult, a happy home and success (however you chose to define that).

*Do what you can, the best that you can. Let go of the rest.
*Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You’ll be the best mom if you are happy. Make time for friends, exercise, read, paint..whatever you love. Keep your soul filled with the things you love.
*Make new dreams…if you were married and had dreams of raising your family together, make a new dream. Have something happy to look towards.

You can do it. You can be happy. You can be satisfied with your life. You can be overwhelmed by the hard things life throws at you…and still feel incredibly blessed and happy with the choices you’ve made.

~Meredith

Reply

Tania September 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Wine. That is my answer plain and simple. haha no, I am a newly single mom so I’m still in the “woe is me” stage. But my advice would be for in the beginning days to make sure you have a strong support system. Talk to people as much as you can and cry because it helps to get it out. Also be sure to accept help when given!

Reply

Miss J Louise September 26, 2011 at 9:17 am

Hey that’s a good idea hahahaha

Reply

Lauren September 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I’ve been a single mom since my son was 3. Every day is different: new, routine, challenging, easy, beautiful, normal, crazy, boring, maddening, lovely. I’d say be picky if you do date, don’t settle again, why would you now? Get a massage or pedicure, spoil yourself every now and then…even if that means selling your old fancy shoes or dress on Craigslist to pay for it. haha. Hold you child’s hand a lot, not just for him/her, but for yourself. It’s a simple thing that always feels so fantastic. Learn to do all those things your husband or man did…build a patio, fertilize the yard, whatever. Then smile and wink at every hot man walking by that sees you doing it all by yourself.
If you don’t have a man, indulge yourself with ice cream or beer in bed after the kid(s) are asleep. You can always work it off running after your kids the next day. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh, every chance you get. Remember some of those times when being with a man only caused anxiety and stress and realize it’s all gone now or realize the stress you get from raising a child is so very different and special and feels so much better than all that garbage with a man felt.
Fart and belch whenever you feel like it at home. Who cares? And the kids think it’s funny. Ok, maybe this isn’t such a grand idea, but every now and then it makes me chuckle, even when I think it’s gross and I follow it by telling my son to never tell anyone that just happened and don’t you dare do that in public yourself.

Reply

Chris R September 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Well being a single dad i know i’m the “black sheep” in this convo but I just wanted to give you all props. Sometimes after i have my daughter i am so tired i dont know how you do it!

The only advise i offer is lean on others for they will lean back and you will find your self standing tall. Friends and family are your greatest assets. Also it just takes time. Being 2 years since it started i still find nights that are never ending. But everyone has their own pace…
Just remember your never alone…

Reply

mommybella September 26, 2011 at 2:35 am

just take one day at a time. believe that you are stronger than you or anyone would have known. Love and kiss your kid(s) every day….every minute because they are what we do this for. Just have the confidence that you can and will do it!

Reply

Ginger September 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

I am so motivated by everyone else’s responses! It’s uplifting to know we’re not alone. If I’m every having a trialing day, I may just come back to this post and read everyone’s comments.. really really inspiring :)

I’ve been a ‘single’ mom since day 1 with my ex. How I got through it then was PATIENCE (and wine). Deep breaths, counting to 10, and knowing that at the end of every storm would be sunshine. Doing everything in the best interest of our son. I find it overwhelming to look at the ‘big picture’ so taking each day one at a time is most helpful. If you’ve had the worst day and you managed to get through it, just know the next time you have a bad day – you will get through it. Be sure to carve out time for yourself. As obliged you may feel for being there 24/7 for your child(ren), you are also obliged to making sure you are taken care of as well. So don’t feel guilty.

Last October my ex took his life. Things have changed and I’m not even sure how I do it. Sometimes I can’t even get out of bed, but I do it because I HAVE to. I have to provide my son with the happiest life he could ever want, I have to let my son know how immensely loved he is, I have to make sure that at the end of the day he feels safe. Whatever your way is, keep doing what you’re doing. We’re all in this together :)

Reply

Miss J Louise September 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

I’ve been a single mummy for a 2 years now… I work full time study in the evenings and my baby sis lives with me.

I share my four year son with his dad 3.5 days a week.

His dad is very hands on and until recently was one of my best friends.

Our friendship broke up because of the same reason our relationship broke down…slyness. I have a lot of time to myself and feel blessed that he has a fantastic dad but sometimes a hands on dad can slow down the healing process and make me feel little out of control.

I find that taking my days one day at a time helps for the the simple reason that thinking of anything more than a day ahead breaks my heart (still) crying about what may happen is wasted emotion, it may never happen, and if it does we could be fully equipped by then to deal with it head on.

Talking to people who have been through the same struggles is hard but it helps so much. Last night I cried on the phone with my own mum for more than an hour. It was hard but I felt completely understood.

Telling my boy how much I love him and why has paid off becuase when it gets really tough …. my boy expresses how much he loves me just when I need it most.

Last but not least I have a relationship with God and believe He has a plan for my life. By putting Him first I gain complete security.

Reply

H2Mama September 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

I raised a little girl with an absent father.
The first thing that comes to mind is to accept help. I never wanted to ask because that might mean I couldn’t do it. My mother and sister always offered and I was often afraid to admit that I needed their help. I had to learn to accept their offers, let go of the control and enjoy my life as a Mama AND a young woman. My daughter now cherishes the memories with her Grandma and Aunt and they were hugely instumental in creating the beautiful girl she has become. I truly believe it does take a village to raise a child.
Also, I was always angry at her father for taking the easy way out but I NEVER bad mouthed him. The advice I was given was that when the child is old enough, they will figure it out for themselves. They do…just be supportive because it hurts.
I have been told several times that I did a great job….not by myself I didn’t.

Reply

Hydrangea September 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’ve been a single mama off and on for years but now the ex is out of the picture for good (best decision ever!). I was never afraid of being alone, I’ve always been rather independent, but financially it was scary. I was scraping the bottom of the barrell. Sometimes I still am! We eat a lot of rice and beans, and breakfast for dinner, lol. BUT I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I LOVE not having to answer to anyone, not having to ask permission, and I certainly don’t *need* a guy to be happy or successful. I’m so proud of raising my daughter all by myself!! We’re very close and we have such a good time together- we have our own private jokes, memories, and silly stories to laugh about. She says she can tell I’m so much happier (she is too but she’d never say that). She’s 10 so it definitely makes it easier but it’s still hard sometimes (I’m seriously dreading the teenage years- eep!!).

After the ex and I broke up for good, I joined a running club and I’ve made tons of friends. A good place to look for single parent groups in your area is through meetup.com. It’s not a dating site, but it can be if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s just a site for people to search for other folks who are interested in the same hobbies as they are. There are cooking groups, sports groups, adventure groups- pretty much anything. For those of you who are looking I’d start there.

I work 2 jobs, one full time and one part time, I go to school full time, and I’m training for a marathon so my plate is FULL. People ask me all the time “how do you DO it??” and truthfully I have no idea. I guess I just don’t look at it like it’s a big deal. It’s just mi vida loca, which I love. I stay busy by plugging away every day with hope in my heart about our future and I think if I dwell on all the tasks I’m juggling, I WILL become overwhelmed! So I just roll with it- it’s life and it’s an adventure so eat it up!! :)

Reply

Jen September 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Realize that your circumstances don’t make you who you are…they REVEAL you. I have found strength I would have never believed I could have had, and have realized that I get to choose my attitude, actions, beliefs, etc. I am not a victim. In fact, I CHOSE single motherhood over a life of “being a victim”. When I screw up, I just take a look at it and make a change if necessary. Don’t beat yourself up. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough, right? Sometimes my “screw-ups” are actually indicators that I am holding myself to a standard that is not truly my own.

Reply

Gabrielle September 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I’ve been a single mom of two boys for almost 2 years now. My second born was just 6 days old and my oldest 13 months when my ex told me he really didn’t want a family and wasn’t sure he loved me anymore. Shocked can’t describe how I felt. But it was a blessing in disguise.

Sure it’s not what I had planned, but I’ve found this strength in me that I never knew I had. I remember saying to my mom after a one of my ex’s out of town business trip, that I couldn’t imagine being a single mom. Hello irony! I could of just laid down and died (I honestly thought I would some days) but it’s my love for my two littles that made me go on and strive for happiness…. maybe a little bit of my ego too! My parents have helped me immensely, from crying fits (mine!) to fun adventures with the kiddos and of course weekly babysitting so I can go do a little exercise and me time. I’m closer to my family that I have ever been and I’ve chosen to surround myself with positive energy in the form of close girlfriends. I’m incredibly organized, which is a lot of work for a scatter brain like myself. I meal and snack plan for the week ever Sunday, I have a wonderful daycare provider and most of all, I just wing it!

I’m often told I don’t know how you got through that….. and my answer is always I just did. I put one foot in front of the other and I did it. But what I don’t tell people is how I cried myself to sleep for almost a year and have my therapist on speed dial lol!

Reply

Ann Marie September 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I have so many things I could say: from just the basic logistics of everyday life, to the emotional part of dealing with single mommyhood. I think, for me, the everyday details aren’t too difficult. I try to prep as much as I can the night before to get ready for the day ahead. When my son was around ten months, even though I swore I never would, I implemented the cry it out method because I really, really needed my sleep. Now he sleeps from about 8-6:30am and it’s heavenly. I do get a lot of help from friends and family. If they are offering I will take them up on it. Don’t be too prideful!

The emotional part of being a single mom is a tougher pill to swallow. I still struggle with feeling “different” than other traditional families. I had to finally learn that regardless of whether or not this is the life I planned, this is MY life and I need to embrace it. I do love being a mom and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My son is by far the greatest thing that I have ever done and he makes all of the difficult times worthwhile.

Reply

Momma Sunshine September 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

My tip is to make regular time for yourself. Even if that means staying up a bit later or setting your alarm to get up earlier in the morning; finding a friend to swap child minding with, hiring a babysitter for a few hours once a week, something. Make sure that you have a certain amount of time every single week that you can count on just for you. Sometimes that’s all that gets me through the week, knowing when I’ll have time to replenish my soul.

Reply

angie September 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Drink. **kidding!** Seriously, take some time for yourself, even just a few minutes a day. Don’t feel guilty about keeping yourself sane. If you’re not happy and sane your children will know/sense it. Make taking care of yourself a priority. It’s not being selfish, it’s a gift for both you and your child.

Reply

Heliana September 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

All of these posts are very encouraging and even make me chuckle and cry when I find myself relating to similar experiences… I’ve been a single mother since the day I found out I was pregnant. I made the decision to be a single mommy and promised myself and my unborn son that I would do the best I could-that I would love him with all my heart and provide the best that I could… I have for the most part done it alone, but my sis, mom and sis-in-law have been wonderful in supporting me when I really needed it. I find myself taking bits from the previous comments as my own inspiration and advice… 1)ME TIME-take naps as often as possible, enjoy coffee, read on lunch breaks, excercise a couple times a week, have a few drinks with friends at least a couple times a month, talk/vent to non-judgement and inspiring friends 2) ACCEPT OR ASK FOR HELP, even though my pride and promise to do things Myself gets in the way, it is necessary and healthy for my son to spend time with people who love us 3) ACCEPT that I’m NOT perfect, but I AM Perfect in my sons eyes 4) Laugh and be happy – I agree with “A happy mama has happy children” 5) God in our life from day one!! and Trusting that everything will be ok 6) seek knowledge from people and informative forums, but always Trusting Your OWN intuition and decisions 7) When things are trying and hard remember “this too shall pass” … my son is 5 mos old and Whenever things seem so difficult, overwhelming and sad I look at his sweet beautiful face and nothing else matters… He is sooo worth it!!!! But I do hope that what ppl say about things getting easier as they get older is true.

On another note, I’ve started dating someone and at times I think it is too soon and that my life now is more stressful for me and I find myself saying that I really don’t have time or room in my life for a man; I always feel rushed, sometimes I even feel guilty that I could be spending more time and attention on my son like before, the point about making ALL the decisions is true very nice and doing things when i want and how i want is always more peaceful for me… but at the same time, I don’t want to deprive my son of having a loving father and 2 parent family… I just have alot of contradicting feelings right now… I’ve been proud of being a single mom, happy to make my son my everything… Well i guess this too shall pass and things will work out. One thing is for sure my Son’s happiness is my goal, my priority, and ultimately my happiness :)

btw I love this blog!!

Reply

kerry September 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm

i became a single mother at 20 years old… i wish someone would have been there for me at that time to help me through it. i was in the worst depression of my life. my advice would be to just take everything slow. relax and just enjoy your child, dont worry about being single, don’t stress over every little detail and most importantly… do not let anyone walk all over you or your child.
it’s not easy but its worth it <3

Reply

Megan September 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Being a single mom can be tough, it can be draining, it can be down right exhausting, but it can be SO REWARDING. I have been a single mom pretty much since my daughter was a 4 month old embryo, so I have not ever really known any different.

I think the best advice that I can give is FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF, if you don’t I think you will end up resnting your child. I put my baby to bed at a time that allows me time to have a phone coversation, check my e-mail, watch TV, eat dinner, listen to music, whatever I need to do to relax. Also having a support system, people that will listen to you in the hard times, celebrate during the good times, just generally are there for you.

Relish in all the alone time you and your child(ren) have. My daughter and I have such a strong bond I soak up all those sweet precious moments (this makes all the rough days filled with screaming/crying fits so much easier to take). Do what works for you, everyone thinks they know the “right” way to do things, but you know your child best and what works best for you.

Reply

Catholic love September 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

As a single parent, I know how it feels!!! It’s hard to find time for myself as I always think of my child first. However I agree with Megan, you gotta do what’s best for your child and you!!!

Reply

Holly September 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Having been a dingle mom since my son was seven months old I understand the struggle, difficulty and disappointment. not many moms plan on raising their child solo and it deserves slot of credit. For me I was trying really hard to make it work with my sons father when I woke up and realized that I needed to provide the most stable positive environment for my son! For us that meant leaving the arguments and issues and prioritizing.
the 14 months since that day have had it’s ups and down but it has got so much better. My son and I are so close and I have grown to love our time and special little family!!

Good luck keep busy and enjoy your child!

Reply

sarah October 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

The way I see it is it’s better to be single and happy than with someone and miserable.
It took me a while to become comfortable with being a single mom who had never been married but now, with a beautiful and happy 6 year old daughter, I know that I’m in a better place now than I ever have been before. You just have to keep striving and pushing to live the life you want for yourself and your child. Just because you are single, it does not make you any less of a person or any less worthy of your dreams and aspirations.
The best help to me was meeting other single moms and seeing how they were able to thrive on their own. And hopefully through blogs like this, that’s what you’re finding too!
Hang in there!

Reply

Amy J October 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Wow, all of these posts are so inspiring. I think the biggest thing for me is to accept your new role in life as it is now. This is also the hardest thing to do for me. You didn’t choose to be a single mom. You are upset and devastated that the dreams that you had for your life and for your child are all gone and things will never be exactly the way that you wanted them to be. But this is what your life is now, so you will need to come to terms with it and accept it. For a long time, I just felt like I was struggling from day to day as I was just fighting with myself inside, always thinking how things shouldn’t be this way, this was so unfair, I was so unhappy. I had to really push those voices aside and start focusing on the positives of the situation, the things in each day that went well. This is still hard for me, and I’ve been a single mom for a year now. I’m now trying to meet new people and make new friends and am even doing some thinking about changing my career. I didn’t choose this life, but I have to accept it and learn how to be happy in it. This is really what has made a difference in my life and keeps me going from day to day.

Reply

susan October 3, 2011 at 5:10 am

yes yes and yes. i think maybe I posted on the FB page about this too….
I remember that the first week is the worst week, the first month the worst month and the first year the worst year. then you learn to accept life and move toward loving it.
Yes, I will always sit with a sadness that this is not the life I chose, or signed up for, but in spite of this, I too can say YES! I love my life.

Reply

OldDogNewTits October 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

Okay, while I know I am not technically a single mom … WAIT! Don’t hang up on me! … my friends often call me one as my husband leaves town on business for months at a time. And I honestly know how hard it can be because my kids struggle, they can’t sleep (which means I can’t either!), once my son even pulled out a tuft of his own hair. It’s a non-stop grind and you’ll make yourself crazy if you don’t attempt at least a few sanity-savers. Among the few I’ve tried (No, not all at once. Who the frick has time?) …

(1) exercise – don’t hate me. It helps me sleep at night, keeps me fit and aids my often tight back.

(2) reading – I even joined a book club. It’s very laid back. We don’t read really heavy-duty stuff. I want to enjoy my free time … somewhat mindlessly.

(3) music – Listening to the right song always cheers me up and I even took up playing the piano again. Sure, practice is a grind, but I love the feeling of nailing a new song.

(4) friends – Offer to host a playdate at your house when you can and then you won’t feel so guilty asking for help another time when you really need it.

(5) identify your interests/find a hobby – I’m getting back to my writing again. I just launched a new blog called http://www.olddognewtits.com. It’s a funny, sometimes irreverent, always honest look at what women go through when looking into boob jobs and whatever other craziness happens to me that day. Come say hi. I’ve got coffee on the stove and wine in the fridge. You pick! :)

I’m only a single mom for half of the year. You guys rock. Know that!

Reply

Melissa October 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm

You do it because if you don’t, NO ONE ELSE WILL. You do it because it is all you know how to do. You do it because there simply is NO other way. I look back on the early years of my single-ness, and think wtf was I thinking? Could I do it again? Eh…I’d rather not, but if faced with a similar scenario, I would, yes. In a perfect world, marriages would never crumble, and children would all be raised by HAPPY, loving adults. HA! Perfect world this is not. So, we deal with the hand we are dealt. When my kids were younger, I would laugh when people asked how I did it. Laugh, and say, “um, because they are mine and I love them.” And secretly wonder why they would ask such a silly question. Because, to me, i really knew no different. Even when I was married…I was still doing it ALL by myself. Just because I had a husband living under the same roof, didnt mean he did a damn thing. So, married or single, I did what I knew how to do: SURVIVE. Day to day, hour by hour, and sometimes, minute to munute. Its all ive ever known how to do. The idea of LETTING someone help? Foreign concept. One I have a hard time allowing. Its something I struggle with. Ive done it alone for almost 8 years now. Every time a man tries to help, I freak out and run away. I dont ever want to depend on having help…i dont want to DEPEND on anyone but me. Because I am the only person alive who wont let ME or my kids down. Ever. Sigh. This was depressing!

Reply

Honoree Corder October 6, 2011 at 10:07 am

First, don’t have too many rules. Second, do something every day to nurture yourself (workout, eat some chocolate, take a 5-minute bath or 15 minutes reading something juicy). Third, breathe. It gets better and easier as the kids get older. You’ll get the hang of it!

Reply

Kim October 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

Great advice from so many strong women. I am inspired by all of these comments. Becoming a single mom three years ago when my daughter was 6 months was the beginning of the catharsis…I realized that I was putting a lot of work into most of my relationships and having a baby made me realize that I didn’t want to continue doing that. I never realized that it was always up to me what my life was going to be like, that I am not a victim of circumstances or other people’s choices. Removing myself from toxic relationships, including that with my parents, was very frightening but so worth it. I can look back and see how my parents are very emotionally handicapped and will never change. It’s alarming that once I stopped initiating contact with my ex, my parents and others who didn’t nurture out relationship, I did not hear from these people any more. How strange, but now I am free to surround myself with lovely and healthy people who don’t ask me to take care of them. My daughter deserves a parent who is truly looking out for her and not giving her lip service. My remaining friends have been nothing but supportive, so finding emotionally available people has been a god send.

I guess my advice is to gain by losing the losers in your life, including your family if needed.

Reply

Lucy McBees October 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Hi everyone.

“I posed this question on Facebook a few weeks back and the responses were tremendously inspiring and motivating.” I must agree with you. Thank you mssinglemom and keep posting.

Bye

Cheers Lucy

Reply

kathleen robinson November 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

howdy! this blog is very interesting. thank you for sharing this wonderful ideas to us. Check out this dating website that is certainly different from the rest. It is the only dating site with a comprehensive list of must-read articles. Aside from being a dating site, it is also a blog site that provides articles about love, romance and relationships in general.

Reply

anton August 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I really love this one..Looking for partners? Why don’t you try this site? http://1mate.org/

Reply

Andrea April 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm

در 8:16 pmhosna میگوید:salamman dohatkari ahstam 26 sale hamishe dokhtare azadi budam harjur dust dashtam lebas pushidam hala ye kastegar daram ke familam hastishun mige ke moshkeli nadare faghat jeloye khanevadash bayad kheili ba hejab bashammitarsam badan bekhad hamishe injuri basham va man vaghan nemitunam!chejuri motmaen sham azin mozu?

Reply

Leave a Comment