We all know how challenging it is to be a working mom with a partner or a husband — but imagine — what more if you’re single and alone? Certainly, solo parenting has its own special and unique set of challenges. Below are a few lists of common issues that single moms share and struggle with:
- SELF-REPROACH— Most single moms agonized on whether they’re depriving their children of a normal family life or robbing them of a father figure in their lives. Often, we feel selfish and guilty. But, we all need to move on and forgive ourselves for our life-changing decisions. You know you’ve made the right choice when your choice was based on the wellness and health of your child. You don’t want your child to grow up in a negative environment. You don’t want your child to witness abusive and violent fighting between parents. We cannot get into a time machine and fix the past — we can only make the present and the future a better one for our children and ourselves. Life is already hard — don’t be too harsh on yourself.
- PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION— Solo parenting means doing everything on your own what was originally designed as a two-person job. You will have to provide for your child on your own. You’ll have to discipline your child on your own. On top of taking care of your child’s daily needs, you also have to work. Other single moms have to juggle two jobs! Hence, it’s vital that you take a breather — schedule a play date for your child or hire a babysitter and use that time as your “me” time. Take up dancing. Watch a movie with your friends. Play some sports. It’s not selfish to love yourself; au contraire, your child will be happier to see a relaxed and calm mom!
- RECLUSIVENESS— As single moms, we’re often overwhelmed and buried underneath a pile of tasks. We tend to retreat in our own little world. Our days are carefully planned around our children. Often, we make excuses for not going out with our friends or families. Little do we know, we are slowly trapping ourselves into isolation. It’s not healthy to live an insular life. We learn and grow better as a person when we surround ourselves with family and friends. Try to build your own village — go out with your siblings, cousins, your mom, your dad or your best friend. Join a community group and meet new friends. Strike a friendship with the parents of your child’s best friend. By building your village, you get resources from trusted people who can help you out in times of trouble. We all need someone who will walk beside us and hold our hands through good times and bad times. Even Super Single Moms need a helping hand!
- PRESSURE OF MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS— When it comes to parenting and making family decisions, nothing is set in stone. Anything could change at the last minute. It’s easier to make a decision when you have a partner. On your own — well, it’s a whole different kettle of fish! Everything has to be doubly scrutinized and carefully reviewed — from choosing schools to the right doctor and dentist, the right neighbourhood, the right activities, and yes, whether or not to allow our kids to have a cellphone at the age of 10. Personally, the best choice I’ve made was when my son and I moved to Canada for good. I couldn’t have picked a better country to raise my son on my own. It is in our moments of decision-making that our destiny and the future of our children are shaped — make it worth it and above all, choose wisely.
- FINANCIAL STRUGGLE— As single moms, we don’t have a spouse to rely on for financial support. I know what it’s like to be financially on my own while raising my son over the last eighteen years (I had no spousal or child support). Throughout the years, I’ve lost so many jobs due to a bad economy or simply not being the right fit for the job — fortunately, I’m in Canada where opportunities are abundant — you just need to persevere. These challenges are enough to break someone — as a single mother, I can’t afford to break down — my son needs me to be strong and resilient. From time to time, I will take up courses to hone my skills which helped me increase my net worth. I also work with three different agents or recruiters to help me find jobs. It’s very important to learn how to negotiate your pay — I don’t get out of my bed if my pay is less than my worth. Know your value — don’t settle for less. Never sell yourself short. When you believe that you’re worth the salary you’re asking, your employer will believe it too! I can’t stress enough the importance of sticking to a budget and living within your means. I also recommend having life insurance, education insurance and extended health and dental insurance.
- TO INTRODUCE OR NOT TO INTRODUCE A NEW PARTNER TO YOUR KIDS— This is often a tricky situation to be in. Most children view their moms’ new partners as threats or rivals. Take your time. There’s no need to rush into new relationships — and there’s certainly no rush to introduce your new partner to your kid. Also, always ask yourself if your new partner is a good fit for your family. When you do finally introduce your new partner to your kid, ask for their feedback and make sure you take into consideration your child’s needs for reassurance and security.
Looking back in my life as a single mom for the past eighteen years, I realized that everything happened to turn me into my better and stronger version. Single motherhood is not a life full of struggles — it is a journey for the strong and fierce woman.
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