How to be a Good Single Mom

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To be honest I am still trying to figure out how to be a good single mom. I can only tell you what has worked for me and let you know that there is a sadly large number of women out there that are in the same boat as you. It’s hard, really really hard. We try our best, it sometimes doesn’t seem real, it sometimes seems too real. You question every decision, every discipline.How to be a good single mom - super mom

You have to be so much more than a mom for your children. You have to be a provider, a nurturer, a support, an example, a nurse, a friend, a disciplinarian, a teacher, a voice of calm within their personal storm, and you have to do it all 24-7 with no one to lean on yourself. You are the foundation, walls, and roof of this house. You are strong and you will raise even stronger men and women if you lead with purpose.

Co-Parenting

As hard as co-parenting is, it gives you a lot of freedom in a weird, lonely way. Whatever your arrangement with your ex, make the most of your time with and without your children. When you are with them, be present with them. Love on them, teach them things. Show them how to be more independent because as you grow in this role, you will have to let them do things on their own. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime. Teach them how to fish and you will allow them to feed themselves, giving them confidence and the ability to grow into productive and caring adults.

When you are not with your children, work! Work hard! Get a job or a side gig with which you have some flexibility and get as much accomplished as possible. This will give you some financial freedom and extra time when you are able to spend quality time with them. My ex and I split one week on and one week off, this meant every Saturday I would work a half day, get groceries, come home and clean the house and then go back to work on my side hustle that night. I would generally take a few hours after work to go out with friends or just unwind my mind to give me some “relaxing” time just to myself. Like a date night with myself before my week on with my children began. I could solely focus on them for the whole week except minimal hours I put in my real job.

When it’s Just You

When it is just you, it is so much harder to find the ability to work your butt off to support your children financially, not to mention trying to provide for them emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It is exhausting and you keep going. You are the strongest person in this whole world. But how do you find the balance?

how to be a good single mom - child holding mom hand

I am no expert. I am an IMperfect mom just like you. Own that. Let your children know that you are not perfect. You sometimes get overwhelmed too, you sometimes need help, a break, ideas, love. If you are vocal and vulnerable to them they will see that mom is stronger than they thought. They will be more understanding and attempt to support you any way they can in their sweet child-ways. Sometimes all you need is a hug from them when you are feeling down to give you the strength to keep going.

Talk with Them

Talk to them (age appropriate obviously) if you are having a problem or feeling overwhelmed.  Here is a list of some parenting books. Don’t dump your problems on them! But if you say “mommy is having a rough day today because I didn’t sleep much and I am a little sad and cranky” they will understand your emotions more and more and be able to express their emotions better also. Next time they may just let you sleep longer.

how to be a good single mom - wrong way sign

Let them know when you mess up. Admit when you are wrong and when your actions were wrong too. I have yelled over nothing because of sleep deprivation more times than I would like to admit. I always come back to my children and have a discussion with them about my actions and that I should not have yelled. I tell them that I am cranky and I am sorry, I was not yelling at them, I was frustrated at the situation. I have gotten better because admitting your mistakes is hard and you don’t really want to do it again, so you learn, and so do your children. I have learned to warn them before I yell (or when I feel myself about to yell), “I am cranky and I don’t want to yell so listen to mommy.”

Give them Responsibilities

It is really hard at first to give your children responsibilities that you feel like they can not handle, but if you teach them, they will be able to handle it. It takes time but if you put in that time it will pay off, giving you more free time and your children more confidence to handle more.
How to be a good single mom - super kid

Each of my children have their own chores that work in conjunction with everyone else’s chores in the family. If the dishes don’t get put away at the beginning of the day, I can not do them properly throughout the day and run the dishwasher at bed time. If I don’t get the laundry in the night before, my 13 year old won’t be able to switch the loads when she gets up and my 11 year old won’t have dry clothes to separate which means no one will be able to put away their clothes and before you know it no one has any clean underwear.

By everyone having their own part, it will be more likely they will do their chore in a timely manner and it will keep you on track to get these things done as well. You come together as a family when you do things together

Compartmentalize and Let Go

Prioritizing doesn’t mean you will get everything done. Let the children know that they really do need to do their part to help you. They want your happiness. They want to please you and want your approval. Don’t forget this part. Give them approval. It is because they are helping that you have more time to love and appreciate them.

When you are with your children, be present with them. When you are cleaning, just get it done and move on (5 minutes right??). When you are working be productive and accomplish a few things you have set up on your accomplishment board. When you are doing a task, compartmentalize that task and let all others go. You will feel more overwhelmed and less accomplished if you are trying to have quality time with your children and you keep thinking about work, or the next thing you have to clean or do. It’s not fair to your children or yourself if you are not all there for them in that moment.

Teach them

You are in this together

Love on them often

Read my posts about finding a support system for single moms and giving the children responsibilities according to their age.

How to be a good single mom - A cake for K

Peace and Balance,

Mommy ASKK

 

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8 Comments

  1. Such a great article. Since having a baby, now toddler, I have the utmost respect for single parents. It’s such an exhausting job for two, let alone someone doing it alone. And the mom guilt about everything must make it extra hard. I know it affects me. It’s great when couples who have separated can still make the situation work for the kids. Better for them to be living in two happy houses than in one miserable one I think.

    1. Absolutely! To all of your points!

  2. Melissa Jiggetts says:

    This is a great article and you touch on so many valid points. I had my first son at a very young age and it was hard being young and a single mom but I am now married and raising three wonderful kids. Being a mom is not an easy task but you definitely have a great head on your shoulders and I agree with you, talking to your children, age-appropriately is important, and you should also make sure you make time for your kids. There was this quote in a book, I am bad with names but it said, “Kids spell love T-I-M-E”, that always sticks with me. Thanks for the post!

    1. T-I-M-E That is beautiful I will always remember that now. Thank you Melissa.

  3. This is a really nice article. My daughter was a single mom. What a fantastic job she did.
    She’s married now and has two more children and is just such a super mom. It’s sure not
    easy but if you put in the time it really is so worth it. Communicating with your children
    and letting them know if you messed up is so healthy. Looking back I don’t think I let my
    kids see my emotional side enough. And I didn’t listen long enough to them. But hind sight is 20/20.
    Good for you, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you Teresa! I am so glad your daughter found someone whom she is able to grow with! Hindsight is 20/20, we all mess up and wish we could have done a little more this or a little less that, but as long as our children know we love them, we are doing alright.

  4. Co-parenting is really challenging, especially when the other parent is competing for the child’s love and attention. This is a slippery slope. This article really highlights how to take the higher moral road and this parent will be happier in the long run and it will have positive implements on the child and their development. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Catherine for your positive insight. I struggle with this daily but I know when my kids are adults they will understand that I looked after their happiness over my own and that is ultimately what we want for them, right??

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