Being a single mother means becoming a husband and a wife at the same time. As a sole provider of your family, there are a lot of struggles you may face. These challenges may involve your emotions, or your capacity to provide for your family’s needs. While these struggles may appear intolerable, there are always ways to cope up with them.
After the divorce, or perhaps after the death of a spouse, mothers usually struggle emotionally. Most likely, this is the first challenge they have to face. You might feel like they are left alone, and there is no one to turn to. You have no choice but to embrace the responsibility of solely taking care of their children, and providing their needs. Having no support, you have to work eight days a week, making you feel exhausted and stressed.
As though this is not enough pressure, you also have to decide for yourself and for your children alone. Even the smallest things – like what kinds of furniture to buy or in what school should you send your kids – can make you very confused and anxious. If the decisions you make went wrong, there is seemingly no one to blame but you.
Becoming a single mother also results to self-doubt. You do not know if you are doing the right thing, as you have no spouse to affirm your actions or to disagree with your decisions, and doing it all alone is not really that easy.
These challenges, however, does not necessarily mean that you can’t ask anyone for help. Your husband may have left you, but your friends or your family can always lend a hand for support. Coping up with emotional problems cannot usually be done alone. As the saying goes, “If you won’t open up, you are never going to heal.” Most of the time, you need someone to talk to or ask advices from. People who understand your situation will be very willing to listen to you and engage in an adult conversation. This reduces the emotional stress brought by single parenting.
The need for financial support
As a single mother, you don’t have to deal only with emotional problems. Being the sole head of the family, you may also struggle financially. You have to shoulder all the expenses: from your everyday needs to your kids’ education. This means that you have to work harder than the usual, which would give you even more stress. You feel pressured to give your children a better future, so you have no other option but to exhaust all means of getting enough finances. There are instances, however, when you feel like you cannot do anything to help your situation but quit.
During these moments, you have to remember that your children are counting on you and giving up would not solve anything. It is important to know that you are never alone with your challenges. Aside from your family and friends, there are also organizations that would help you financially. You can apply for grants and all it takes is your determination. There are grants that would support your children’s education. There are also emergency housing assistants for single mothers if you are having a hard time providing a shelter for you and your children.
Taking care of your children
Raising a child is typically a responsibility shared by two couples. Even in this kind of set-up, taking care of a child is a difficult task. How much more taking care of a child alone?
To start with, you have to set rules for your children. It is a challenge for you to keep these rules followed and make sure that they are not too limiting. As previously mentioned, making the decision lies solely on you, so you would usually feel pressured to make the most effective rules.
Because you also have to do extra work to provide your family’s needs, it would also be hard for you to look after them constantly. Managing your time as a single mother is never that easy. You would feel like you have the most hectic schedule than any mothers in the world, and you might get too engrossed with your work that you forget about your children.
In addition, if your kids got used to living with you and your spouse, it would be difficult for them to adjust. There might be instances when they would “rebel” or feel incomplete. It is a challenge for you to make them feel special and loved.
The best way to address these issues is to talk to your children. Tell them why you are imposing certain rules, describe to them what would possibly happen if these rules are violated, and make them understand the importance of being a responsible child. This would not only result to a more effective household management, but it would also help them grow.
Taking care of yourself
Becoming a single mother might make you feel socially isolated. You work all day, inside and outside your home, you have to look after your kids, you have to think about paying all your bills that sometimes you don’t even have time for yourself.
However, you can always look for venues when you could both have time for yourself and make sure that your kids are entertained or occupied. You can exercise in a gym with kids’ space, for example. You can also hire a trusted baby sitter once a month if you want to go out with your friends. This would be one of the best stress relievers you could get.