Surviving and Thriving as a Single Mom

MOMWe’ve all heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Ironically, if you’re a single mom, you might be embracing this adage more than traditional two-parent households.  But don’t worry.  Take comfort in knowing that you’ll be a successful single mom by following these helpful tips.

One of the first things you’ll need to do as a single mom is organize your finances.  Raising a family—let alone supporting yourself—on one income might be your biggest challenge.  You may be relying on your ex-spouse for child support or on government aid for health insurance.  Make a household budget to track your spending and figure out where you can cut costs, if you need to.  At the very least, understanding how you spend money will help you spend smarter and think about long-term saving and investing, whether it’s saving up to pay for an annual insurance premium or investing in your child’s college education.

Next, be sure you have a reliable support system.  As a single mom, you probably feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders: you are the sole breadwinner, the emotional and spiritual caretaker, the cook, housekeeper, bedtime story teller, playmate, and so many other things.  Realizing that you will not be able to do everything yourself is the first important step in setting up a successful support system.  Don’t be afraid to call on able and willing family members and friends to get your kids on the bus in the morning or watch them for an hour after school until you get home from work.  If daycare is a reasonable option for you, research your neighborhood’s offerings and take the time to choose the right one.  And for those days when you’re just too overwhelmed with your responsibilities, make sure you have a good friend to just sit and listen to your worries.

Another important single parent strategy is being consistent.  This means having a regular daily routine: scheduling waking up, meals, activities, chores, and bedtime at regular, normal hours.  Children feel more secure when they have a consistent routine to follow and having a schedule will also help you feel more organized and confident.  You’ll also need to be consistent in disciplining your children so they learn which behaviors are accepted and which are inappropriate.  This will avoid problems at home, at school, and in social situations.

Finally, it’s important to take time for yourself.  Find ways to reward yourself for your hard work: take a bubble bath or read a book after the kids go to bed, organize a girls’ night out, and give yourself permission to date.  When you decide to start dating, however, be sure to keep everything in balance.  If your relationship becomes serious, make sure that your children become comfortable around your boyfriend and that your kids are still a priority.  Don’t miss out on their soccer games and dance recitals because you have a date.

There are a lot of resources online for single moms, as well as financial assistance and even education grants.  Check out some of them here:
It’s A Mom’s World
Single Mom Financial Help

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