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How can I handle being a Single Mom?

Being a single can be incredibly stressful. What are some ways for single moms to handle parenting on their own?

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21  Answers

3 0

I have been a single mom of two kids (currently 6 and 2) for a year now. It has been very difficult, especially since I work two jobs and don't receive child support. Until recently, he didn't even pay his own phone bill. (I am partly to blame for that since I refused to disconnect it, but my reasoning was that I didn't want him to not be able to call for help if something happened to my kids.) However, I have managed to trim a little off the top with a few simple things. For one, I buy groceries based on a meal. I don't just by food that we like; I figure out what I can add to the food to make an entire meal. This way, I don't spend money on a lot of food that either won't get eaten or that doesn't go well with other foods. I'm a bit of a foodie, so groceries are a big expense. With that, though, as well as with shopping at Sam's and Costco for some items (only the ones I know will be used), I have trimmed my monthly grocery bill from $400 to $150. Also, we rarely eat out. I prepare a variety of foods so that we don't get burnt out on something.

Another thing that has helped me is to develop a routine for my kids. I cook when I get home (6ish) while my daughter does homework, we eat, the kids take a bath, and then they play for a bit before bed (at 9:30). During the time of their bath, I clean up from supper and while they play, I get their clothes for the next day ready. I'd much rather veg out on the couch, but I save that for when they to to bed and I can appreciate it more. I have also gotten them involved in normal household chores. My 2 year old enjoys emptying the dish washer and setting the dinner plates on the bar when we're finished eating. They are responsible for picking up their messes and dirty clothes. My 6 year old enjoys vacuuming and dusting, so I allow her to do those things while I clean other areas.

Don't get me wrong--it's tiring and things fall to the side. That's common. In my situation, though, this lifestyle is much better than remaining in my marriage. I take my kids on short trips as often as possible, and we find cheap fun when the trips aren't available. I've found that I enjoy going to the playground as much as they do!

448 72

I loved reading this story!! Thank you for sharing. Its hard financially but I also see couples strugle in this area as well so its really okay. Being a single mom has its down times (which scenerio DOESN'T).. but its can be so rewarding and fun as well. Its hard as you are more out in the open and exposed with your needs which can attract some cynical viewpoints.. but everyone has struggles and I love how you are maneuvering through it with great strength and innovation!! Raising children is a challenging but rewarding experience! :)

3 0

stability and routine are key....and no one can challenge your authority when it's just you. You tend to form a stronger bond when there's no distractions.... we were the three musketeers..... the grass isn't always greener and a man isn't always the answer

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1 0

Why aren't there any stories from single Moms whose husband died? We are out there too & need support also. There are many experiences that are just like divorced or where the father chooses not to be involved, but young widows with kids are around too!

0 21

Yes, we are out here! It is a challenge when you live in a community with few single parents and not any widowed, single parents. I found some good support and encouragement at We have many of the same struggles, but also some very different ones. Strong, Christian friends and family are good places for support. I don't have any family nearby so I have to depend on some very loving people to help me out. They sometimes see things I may need before I do. We are out here!

6 8

I have been a single mom since, well, since I told my son's father he was going to be a dad. Around the time my son was 3, I went back to school while working full time, and was able to make it through support of family, the state for healthcare and briefly for food stamps, and we have made it. I have to say the only thing that really kept me on track was planning. Get a large calendar, or cork board and plan out everything: when bills are due, when you get paid, the kids activities, groceries you are out of, even days that you clean, etc. When exhaustion is the name of the game, it is easy to forget things, which makes life so much more difficult when you are playing catch-up, and not only that, to not put a name to everything you have to do makes it seem like an insurmountable task. If you write everything down, you can prioritize your list. My son is now 8, and with both of us in school, working, and taking care of a home (finally bought my own place!) things get really crazy. I would also suggest exercise of some kind. I have felt really guilty about taking time for that when I don't feel like I see my son enough, but if I don't have 30 minutes or an hour a few times a week to take and forget everything while I work out, I lose it.

167 19

I have found I have forgotten how to relax. With two parents AND help there are long days with plenty of To-Dos left for tomorrow - when you are filling both roles and have little time for, and no help from friends, neighbors and relatives, you must know how to relax and recharge. A hot shower, fresh air, a walk to the end of the street and back, etc. I am so focused on my two young boys (both under 3) that "me time" ends up being me shopping for groceries or things they need. Get back to what made/makes you feel beautiful, calm, energetic, happy, productive, etc. Your children will only benefit from a more collected and confident you. I haven't found ANY fail-proof routine, or one that will result in a known outcome 100% of the time.

6 14

I can't answer that without telling you my story. I don't know your situation, but if you qualify for it you should feel no shame in applying for thing like childcare assistance, health insurance for your child through the state, & if needed food stamps & WIC. Accept help from your family & friends when needed, & take care of yourself. Never lose the belief that one day things will improve! There's always something positive in any dark situation. I didn't think that I could handle it either. My daughter was 3 when my ex accepted a job in another country & we split up. I was scared & very, very tired, but looking back on it I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. My daughter & I were & are extremely close because we were all that we had in the world. We lived in a one bedroom apartment for the first couple of years, had to use food stamps, childcare assistance (so I could work), & government funded healthcare for her because my ex didn't pay any child support at all for the first 2 years & wasn't supplying health insurance that the court ordered. At one point we ended up moving in with my Dad for a couple of years, & if it weren't for the support of my family I don't know what I would've done. Eventually I made enough to get off the food stamps & childcare assistance, & the state got involved in the child support issue & managed to get me some low child support payments - VERY low! Something is better than nothing. My brother & Father were the male role models for my daughter until I met my current husband. He filled the hole in both of our hearts.

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18 82

I'm also a single mom. My son is 3.

As single moms, we exert energy and emotions in large quantities day in and day out. We're always giving and are seemingly forever emotionally spent, which is completely normal!

I recently posted this in reply to another board but it fits well here:
Something that has helped me a lot is to try to live each and every moment in the moment. I do what I can to shed the past, allow the future to take a back burner and give myself a chance to just "be"...right now. It removes a huge weight of stress and anxiety. It helps me to remember who I am: a strong, confident, smart, powerful force in the life of my child and others. If I can live moment by moment, I am better able to give my son what he needs when he needs it. It also helps when I take time for myself to recharge.

(Now, I’m not saying that you forget/stuff the past and not plan for the future. Not at all. But you expend your energy in the here-and-now and not in the past or the future. Let your focus be on the immediate.)

Know that you are not alone! Find women and fellow single moms with which to connect (both virtual and real) and from whom to draw strength and encouragement. Knowing you’re not alone is one of the best defenses you can possess. Find those moms you can cry with, vent to, consult and laugh with. It readies you for the future so you can live for today.

On the practical side, with my son being an only child, he craves my attention constantly so I do my very best to meet those needs as I'm able. We make and eat dinner together, chat about our days, play games in the livingroom (or let him run outside) and have creative times.

Bedtime is actually pretty relaxing for both of us at our house: Our routine includes his bath time, calming essential oils on his feet (it's his "tickle feet spa" time), story time, sometimes a few songs, hugs/kisses and a sound machine playing rain....all done with low lighting (xmas lights are the best so far), which seems to help him and I both begin to prepare for bed. By the time he's in bed, I'm ready to relax myself.

Being a single mom is far from easy but, as others have said, it is most rewarding to watch your children grow, learn, develop personalities and become adults themselves.

Be encouraged!

9 27

First of all, you must take time for yourself! An unhappy Mom, makes for an unhappy child. Join a network of single moms and help each other. Take time to exercise, visit friends, take up a new hobby, join a club. Not only are you helping yourself, you are modeling "self care" to your children. Make sure you leave your children with someone you know and trust. Perhaps you can find a retired couple, or elderly couple that would like a couple hours with your child each day or week. Teach your children to give and serve them. Food preparation was difficult for me. Perhaps you can start a Saturday get together with other single moms or ladies and prepare meals for the week together. Everyone brings items to dice, etc...buying in bulk saves money and you can share food items, as well as, new recipes, and ways of saving. Put together a "MIssion Statement" for your famiy. Be as organized as possible. Put together a binder that helps you organized schedules, children't paperwork. Don't give your children "things" out of guilt. Your children need YOU...time with you...Teach the children to be responsible. Teach them to give. One a month, or once a quarter, do things together like "feed the homeless." Take others with you. Find a church that has a great children's program, and get involved. See if there is a single parenting class. Consider starting a support group in your home. Don't buy children "things." Swap toys with other moms. Teach children that everything belongs to God (which it does) and share "things" all the way through high school...(I wish I had done that!} Most cannot do this on your own....Ask for help...from God, from others, from your children. Finally, make a "thankfulness" list. Count your will keep a smile on your face!

25 13

My son turned 9 in July. I knew it was just me and him from the moment he was born, sitting in the hospital alone with him. I do have family around, but for the most part go it alone.
I have read many parenting books and turned to internet sources to get answers. From all the readings I decided how to go about it. There are times when it is so stressful. I just plug through for the moments of grandness.
The number one thing I would suggest, is some you time. Whether it is in the morning before the kids are awake or the evening after the kids are asleep. Make a cup of tea, relax with a good book, or just enjoy the silence. Occasionally, I have a friend watch him so I can just go on a bike ride or to the swimming pool. I even like to go eat by myself. I think as single moms, we give so much that we can loose ourselves in the process. Take time for you. It is amazing that 30 minutes of you can make the bad day disappear.
I hope this helps, hang in there, it is a bumpy road and from time to time you have to climb the mountain, but in the end it is all worth it.

0 0

I have been on my own with my daughter for 12 years - similar situation: ex lives in another country and no family nearby. I agree that the number 1 thing to do is to reserve "me" time otherwise the whole house of cards I've built to keep things going falls apart.

2 24

I have zero support from anyone. If I want out, I have to find a sitter or I don't go. I have no family who help at all. I love my kids, so I keep going. Yes, it is stressful, but I can't imagine not having my kids in my life. There are times when you just feel like giving up, plunking my butt on my couch and not moving, but you have to keep going...Be glad for school. My youngest just started this year. I welcome finally getting a little free time to myself. The biggest lesson I had to learn is that sometimes you have to do for yourself. Sacrificing for others is a good thing, but not to the point where you don't give yourself anything. That just makes you unhappy and not a great mom. I handle being a single mother on a day to day basis, being grateful that as they get older, they are easier to take care of on my own!

18 21

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” —Mark 10:9
Being single is tougher when you have no one at all-not a good supportive
family at all-Family should be about positives always for the kids sake.
God bless all single moms-I was one and did good enough.Was poor
but had a rich spirit-my kids became teens and they resented not having
a dad I am sure,they should of valued me more and they did not once
they became teens-Moms get the blame for everything that goes wrong.
Just take care of your kids always and set good values and have strong faith
not just for yourselfs but the kids also keep them away from the evils of the world.

4 0

My sister found a lot of support from her family and friends. Especially her church friends. She really did take it one day at a time and always found a way to get what she needed for her kids.

0 0

leave it all to God and listen to your inner voice .

64 0

I think women in American should REVOLT. Why are we not supported more and 90% of us having to be apart of a statistic called POVERTY. Not only financial poverty, but emotional and physical. We lack sleep, financial aid, and our overall well being is more like internal hell, though we give every last ounce of our joy to the sweet souls that came into our lives, while the government is sitting back saying 'take care of yourself and your own problems'. So then, we have to turn to private supported groups who will help us or struggle and scrounge for anyone and anything to keep us alive??? The truth is we can't and shouldn't have to "handle" being a single mother. Its the most important job in the world and we have the least resources offered to us. We are not animals and so Im wondering why these that run our country haven't evolved yet??? I see more and more powerful women taking a stand for other women, but in the meantime who is saying "HEY! Wake up and take care of the women of your country!!!!" Our government who leads the world politics should be ASHAMED

3 0

look for the 'up side.' My ex is NOT a good influence so his presence can only be harmful. I was a single mom for a long time and my one son is severely disabled. I thought my new husband was the answer to our prayers.... But our parenting is VERY different. I now realize with just me there was no conflict or confusion for my boys. I thought they needed a dad..... they just need a good stable consistent parent,even if it is just you.

0 0

314 42

I was a single mom to my beautiful son for 4 years until i met my husband. his father had walked out at a very young age, and i was determined i was going to be independant and raise my son just him and i without any state aide or even child support. the most important advice i can give to you is to never give up. you can do it! never put yourself down if bills come in and money is tight, but especially if your babies father walked out, don't ever doubt your ability as a mother! as a mother, your child is no doubt your pride and joy, and you learn to make sacrifices to make things easier on you financially. come up with a plan and stick with it. and take any other outside help from friends and families that is offered. i've never had any doubt in single mothers as long as they continue the battle and do not give up! you can do this, no matter what anyone says!

21 20

My mum was a single stay home mum for years and all i can say is her love and organization skills made for a wonderful life! As you can imagine once my dad left, things were tight, very TIGHT! Mum lost the house because dad had an extremely bad drinking/gambling problem and basically left mum with nothing but us. Although times were tough, it made us strong as individuals and as a family. Luckily my mother is still around and she is my idol. My siblings and I(there are 8 of us in total-5 of which grew up together as the other three were much older) are all proud of her and share a very close relationship with her. We spoil her now as adults because no matter how hard life gets for us, we know she had it much harder! The only thing she didn't get was her 'Me' time, which now we make sure she has. Thats the only thing she has told us was her one regret not having, well that and staying with dad for as long as she did(we totally agree mind you). But as you can imagine, five kids under the same roof wouldn't really allow for much 'Me' time. P.S: We never went on outings, our day trips were to church on Sundays, and then to a family members house after, wasn't much but it was enough fun for us to keep us out of trouble. Plus we were lucky enough to have friends in our neighbourhood to keep us entertained for hours! Mum didn't drive, so we public transported everywhere, or walked. Get a taste of that life and you'll appreciate getting anything growing up!

0 30

I have been a single parent since I told my daughters Father I wasn't having an abortion.
I am a full time working mother - being on my own isn't a problem it's getting time on my own that I miss.
I do wonder what it would be like to have 2 incomes coming into the house - I'm sure it's nice and then I think about all the extra work a man in the house entails and i'm grateful i'm a single mum with a supportive family, workplace (they allow my daughter to come in before and after school so i don't have to pay for care and can be at work) and some great friends ( my own/ hers and her friends parents - they include her and invite her for sleepovers).

711 9

Being a single Mom is one of the most difficult, but not impossible, jobs to do. I was a single Mom from 2 different marriages and on both occasions I found the hardest part was the distinct difference in wages for women vs men. Women often have to work 2 or more part-time jobs in order to make enough money just to scrape by. I did have to deal with my own anger with that point as I got my bachelor's degree while being a single Mom with my first child and after my second divorce still had difficulty finding jobs with good wages. I never understood how men working on construction sites without degrees could pull down $25 or more per hour while I could barely find jobs that paid $15 or more per hour with a degree. It truly emphasized the ignorance of this planet when it comes to the non-equality of the sexes.

Perhaps the most difficult thing is finding quality time to spend with your children as the bread winner, house keeper and Mom all rolled into one leaves very little daily time. Things like crock pot meals that cook slowly while you are working help. The one thing that I did do, however, was read stories to my sons each night before they went to bed. That was when giving quality time was a lot easier for me.

If you have family near by (which I did not) they can be of great support. I do encourage you to somehow arrange it so that you can take some time off for yourself. Finding a good babysitter helps with that. Even if you just go to a park, a free exhibit at a museum or such, time alone without the child or children is important to keep you sane. If you find yourself incredibly stressed talking with a friend, minister or other support person can help to ease that situation. And as always, prayer is a wonderful tool for getting through all difficult life situations.

1 20

Hi, I am a single mom with 4 kids and have been for 3 years. They are currently 6,7,8 and almost 10. One way that I coup is to reach out and be connected to other single moms. There are a variety of programs and groups available for single moms in your area. Just make sure you vet them through to ensure that they are legit and that the social atmosphere is keeping in line with your personality. Try for example where they have meet ups for single moms and their kids with other people in similar situations. There are also other groups like Parents Without Partners.
It is tough. Takes a lot of work and sacrifice but all worth it when you just look at them. I wouldn't trade them in for anything in the world. Get a support network going (even to just vent/chat) and it will be better. We all have friends but have a close circle with other single moms is different as they understand better where you are coming from. It also helps with babysitting and doing things. You can help each other out.

3 23

My little boy is 6 and I have been a single parent since he was 6 months old. I am lucky, I had a very supportive Mum and Dad and a really good circle of friends but once the door is shut you have to set the rules. I have always been quite firm with bedtime (my little boy goes at 7pm) as that time after that is mine and you need it. My Mum died last year but my Dad continues to have my little boy, it has helped him too. I work on a Saturday so he has him for a sleepover as I get up really early for work. Sometimes he will have him on a Saturday evening too so that I can get a lay in an re-charge for the week!! If you do have family that can have them for a sleepover I would suggest it!! Good luck, it is hard work, especially when they are ill (during the night is the worst when there is noone else there to share the trouble) but the things they do to make you laugh are so worth it. I hope you have great friends and family to help, you'll be fine!!

18 21

So much better being a single parent-than putting up with a man who acts like a child.A man that cant tell the truth or cheats is not worth having.Good luck women finding good men or the needle in the haystack which ever comes first.If you want a man then you have to accept him the way he is and hopefullly you find good men that treat you good as you deserve

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