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I think there is no harder job on earth than being a single mother. Single moms often feel as though they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and for good reason. Being a mom is physically and emotionally draining, and it is only multiplied when you are on your own.
I am married, but with a husband who has always been out of the house 70-80 hours a week, I consider myself a mom who flies solo. If this kind of situation applies to you, you now have an official title – solo mom!
When you are on your own as a mom, even the most simple of tasks can be overwhelming. You are the one to carry out all the household duties, to make all of the parenting decisions, financial decisions, and lifestyle decisions in addition to figuring out how to make these three things work together. You pay the bills, make the meals, clean the house, and do laundry, but then there are all the appointments to schedule, yard work to do, birthday parties to plan and execute, and so much more that I could never possibly name all within in one long post.
Because I am a flying solo mom and so are a few other of the moms on my panel here, we can extend a helping hand to other moms who find themselves on their own. In fact, we have lots to say here, it seems.
While I can’t speak to how things work specifically to your situation, I can speak to the unique needs we as single or solo moms have – and how we can best work within the limitations that we have.
- First off is the need to give yourself plenty of grace. You have a lot of roles to fulfill, and you are only human. If you have paid attention to the weekly goals I share here, I never get everything on my list done. I am also only human, life often gets in the way, and there are many people who are constantly needing me to do something for them so my plans get put on the back burner. Grace and understanding need to be given to yourself every day – and if you are like me – they need to be given abundantly.
- Accept your limitations. This is similar to giving yourself grace, but it is a bit more loaded on the front end. This is an acceptance of the fact that you cannot do it all ahead of time. I think for a while we moms have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew whether it is helping out at school, looking after a friend’s children once a week, or volunteering to head up a group at church, accepting your limitations means that you don’t even entertain taking on many of the opportunities that come your way.
- Join a support group for single moms. You can find these in person at places like churches or other organizations in your community as well as online in numerous places, but forming friendships with similar moms, getting to know people who can give you advice, and forming a network of friends can be a lifeline for a single or solo mom.
- Join a group for moms or single moms where childcare is provided. It is great to have time apart from your kids (for both you and them), and you are both getting your tanks filled with little to no cost. Maybe it’s a Bible study or maybe it’s an exercise class, but there are plenty of groups for moms that provide childcare in every area of the country.
- Take advantage of mom and child classes that are offered within your community like those offered at many libraries or also in community centers or even neighborhoods.
- Schedule an evening, afternoon, or even morning when someone else is watching your child so that you can get some errands done, work around the house uninterrupted, or just rest. Try to do this at least once a month. Easier said than done, I know, but you can always exchange watching a friend’s children so she will return the favor.
- Intentionally raise children who are motivated. This not only benefits you, but it will benefit them in the long run, too.
- Enlist the help of others. Ask for help from family members and friends and delegate to your children some of the things they can manage instead of you having to take care of them. You need to lighten your load. Period.
- Live minimally. Many of our roles and responsibilities take place in the home. For this reason, reducing the amount of stuff you have can lighten your load. Purge your home of the things you and your kids don’t need. This can be painful, but in almost all cases, the benefits will outweigh the process and the emotions attached to getting rid of stuff. I have found that although it can be difficult at first, once you get going, purging actually becomes kind of fun.
- Develop systems around the house. Lots of them. Things like schedules, planning, and developing regularity are the single mom’s friends. Being efficient, multi-tasking, and working proactively are all helpful skills to implement.
- Find trustworthy and beneficial male role models and/or companions for your children if there aren’t any of these around already. The training they receive from these male role models will benefit you in numerous ways.
- Take advantage of character building organizations like the Boy Scouts to “co-parent” with you to a certain extent. Again, you are looking for a group that teaches your son how to be the man you want him to be.
- I saved the best for last. Cling to your faith during this time. You can find comfort, companionship, wisdom, guidance, encouragement, and so much more through a personal faith. When you feel like you are spent, pray for strength, when you don’t know how to handle something, pray for wisdom and guidance, when you feel sad about being alone, pray for comfort.
Being a single mom is anything but easy, but being proactive about doing it well makes the life of a single mother so much easier. Choose to make these ideas your own and find the hope you crave in the every day realities of your world. Finally, give yourself the credit you deserve for navigating through what is arguably the most difficult job on the planet.
This post is the 13th in a 15 day series 15 Days of Hope for the Weary Mom, that is taking us through the rest of the month of May. Come back to find more throughout this month, or subscribe to get the new posts delivered right to your inbox. By the way, if you did the math on the remainder of the month, you may have discovered that there is a bonus coming at the end since there are still four days left in the month.
You can find hope in the first post in the series, What in the World Have I Gotten Myself Into?! here
You can find An Action Plan for the Overwhelmed Mom here
You can find An Action Plan for the Mom Who is Stuck at Home here
You can find An Action Plan for Connecting With Other Moms here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Dealing With the Never-Ending Responsibilities of a Mom here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Stay at Home Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for Getting It All Done as a Working Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who is Afraid She is Doing it All Wrong here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Worries That It’s Too Late here
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Has No Role Model in Being a Mom here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan For the Mom Who Is Depressed here.
You can find A Realistic Action Plan for the Mom Who Desperately Misses Her Freedom here.