I have found that the biggest secret to being a happy single mom, or just being a happier person in general, is to appreciate the little things.
Outside our townhome lives a tall, blossoming Southern Magnolia tree. Its white petals are delicate to touch, but I do not have to reach for one to smell it. The fragrance is strong enough and greets me each time I open our back door.
Flowers are a beautiful representation of what to love in life. No matter how stressful a day I have had, the smell of this magnolia blossom makes me feel as if the world has stopped for me for just one second.
How Can I Let Myself be a Happy Single Mom?
What do you love in your day?
I love asking and answering this question, especially after recently reading that a new scientific study had been done by The Journal of Happiness indicating single moms are just as happy as their married mom counterparts. The research was done in Poland as it has the worst governmental programs for single mothers.
It got me thinking – what are some quick and creative ways to shift to a place of love and joy? When the world outside seems to be erupting in chaos, here are a few worthy ideas to consider.
Get Your Move On
Exercise, exercise, exercise! I don’t think anyone has to immediately get up off the couch and sign up for a marathon. Although I have done that, crossing that finish line at Disney was one of the best days of my life – I know that moving your body improves your mood and lifts anyone out of a funk.
When you exercise and get those endorphins moving, you will see more things in your day that you do love and recognize those things in your life you do not.
Find an accountability partner to make sure you keep up with your regular program. When I have been down in the dumps and would instead remain on the couch than get up and get my groove on, having someone to meet early in the morning help me tremendously.
I always feel better the rest of the day.
Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to oneself, I think, can be easier said than done. I believe there are extra mental challenges in the single mom world to think ourselves out of to remain just sane. Words of affirmations are essential here.
We say, “Ooops!” around our house quite a bit.
Being kinder to yourself is not a weakness – not at all. It is just the opposite. Letting yourself off the hook when you make a mistake can positively affect your family unit.
Not too long ago, I caught a nasty cold and could not take my son to his baseball game during the week. I hemmed and hawed. Finally, I decided that sometimes it is okay to miss a baseball game and stay home and rest. My son’s response was positive. I chose not to feel guilty and got to bed early.
Take time for self-care in your days, and you will be able to give much more of yourself as a happy single mom.
Play, play, play
Almost every night, when Liam and I have dinner, we play a card game. Three rounds, usually, until it’s time to clear the table, rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwashing machine. Our dog, Sawyer, tries to join in the fun because he sees us laughing so much. We have fun.
My son is always happy – he told me so just the other day when I asked him.
When we played catch for a little bit in the swimming pool on Mother’s Day, I could tell. He jumped up and down more often than usual and laughed that much more profound when the tennis ball soared over the pool and into the bushes. Watching his delight brought me much joy, mainly since I recovered from being sick.
Sometimes Mother’s Day can be a little rough in the heart for single moms. It has been for me for a while now. But I have learned that what I choose to focus on and instead release my expectations that sheer, brilliant love bubbles up. And I can play some more.
Manage your Finances
While it’s true that money can’t buy happiness, it certainly pays to be prepared and forward-thinking. Being a single mom comes with much financial stress and responsibility.
Even though it can be easier said than done to manage your finances, especially when your budget is super tight, it can help relieve a lot of stress, and you’ll be much happier for it.
Here are a few tips to better manage your finances:
- Create a budget – and stick to it.
- Plan your meals weekly to know what fresh produce to buy and avoid wastage.
- Buy most household items in bulk at cheaper supermarkets, such as Costco.
- Make sure you save at least 10% of your income each month.
- Set some money aside for the things you and your children enjoy.
Because all parenting is a 24/7 vocation, I think when a newly single mother embarks on her journey that will shape a new normal for her and her children, finding some things in her day that she loves will make the transition and her single mom life that much easier.