A single mom often has to do it all; their everyday stress comes from a myriad of things: paying bills, working long hours, taking care of the kids, buying groceries, organizing daycare, and cooking dinner. That’s only to name a few.
Around one in four children in every American home is raised in a single-parent home. We live in a busy world full of busy people with mile-long to-do lists. Add children to the mix, and we have ourselves a pretty hectic life. Now couple that with having no help and no-one to turn to, and you find yourself in the shoes of a single parent.
I have been a single mom for almost two years now. It’s been quite the adjustment, three children at different ages with different physical and emotional needs – not to mention my own needs. Single mom stress overwhelmed me for a while, but I’ve been starting to embrace my single-parent life and roll with the punches. I have grown as a mom and a woman and know now that I can only do what I can do.
Though stress is still a part of my day, I try to alleviate as much of it as possible for no other reason than to be a more present mother for my kids. The following are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
6 Tips to Better Manage Single Mom Stress
I don’t care if it means putting the kids to bed an hour early; we need downtime to recharge and feel complete.
I have often put my kids to bed early, grab my tablet, and play some intense rounds of Candy Crush. The mindless activity makes me feel like I was on holiday.
My routine also consists of making time each day to wake up earlier than my kids and take a few minutes to have my coffee in peace. Then I do a quick workout and write three things in my journal that I’m grateful for. It’s all very Pinterest, but trust me, it works.
Making time for self-care has been the most prominent real game-changer for me to become a better parent. I always say that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and isn’t that the truth.
Tip 2: Talk to Someone.
When things seem out of control and the shoulders tense up, sometimes just putting your feelings into words to a friend, parent, or therapist to listen can relieve a lot of that stress. Talking it out can help you work through problems and get a new perspective from the other person.
One of the best things I’ve done to help me deal with my stress was joining a single mother support group. Talking to women that understand what you’re going through is the best therapy you can ever have.
Tip 3: Create a budget.
Raising a family on one income or relying on child support is probably one of the most significant stressors single parents face. That’s why it’s essential to take steps to budget your money, start planning for college and retirement, and trying to save as much as possible.
Consider applying for a grant to help you get back on your feet if you are in a real financial bind.
Tip 4: Establish a household routine.
By scheduling in weekly and daily happenings, setting alarm clocks, and maintaining the times of daily meals, chores, and bedtimes, your child will always know what to expect from each day. Creating a routine can help children feel more secure and reduce erratic behavior due to insecurities.
Tip 5: Be there for your children.
Even though you have tons to do each day, set aside time to enjoy your kids, spend time asking about their day, making a meal together, playing, reading before bedtime, or talking and knowing your kids. Focus on the love and bond between you as a family.
Tip 6: Relax; you’re doing fantastic.
Easier said than done, I know.
But accepting that things will go off-kilter every once in a while can help when they do hit. Between managing everything from bills to the house to tantrums, something else will probably come along to add some additional stress. I breathe deeply, accept it, and then get to work solving the issue.
Sometimes the dishes pile up. There are days when I have to spend an entire day that my kids are with their dad doing laundry. Other times, I feel like breaking down and running away from all the single mom stress I have accumulated.
But I would not change the fact that I get to raise these kids every day. And that is the only real task I have to do. The only job that matters.
I would not change that stress for the world.