9 Truths About Being a Single Mom
Parenting is hard. Amirite? But, being a single mom? Ooh boy! That’s a whole nother level. The single mom struggle is real and I’m here to tell you about it.
Single moms come from all spectrums of society. Some women come to solo parenting by circumstance while for others, it’s a choice. My situation was more of a combination of the two. To read more about my story, check out ‘Pregnant at 40 Naturally.‘
Regardless of how you became a single mom, many have a shared experience. It’s definitely no joke. Truthfully, it’s hard as hell.
9 Ways Single Moms Struggle
Money is probably the number one single mom struggle.
There never seems to be enough money. Single moms certainly do not have a monopoly here. Most people feel the pinch in their wallets as well. Most of what is made has already been allocated before being received.
Living paycheck to paycheck is all the more challenging when caring for children. Bills, childcare, clothing, food — it all adds up so fast! Trying to add an occasional babysitter on top of that can be hard to manage.
Trying to rebuild a stable foundation for your family after a divorce, breakup or separation is financially taxing.
Many single moms bear full financial responsibility for the kids. They don’t have the assistance of the other parent to help with basic needs, let alone unexpected financial burdens.
For some moms, money challenges aren’t just for the day-to-day. If the split stems from divorce or a battle for custody, attorney fees may be on-going.
Given how much money determines quality of life, or the ability to live at all, it’s no wonder that some people opt to stay in less than desirable circumstances due to lack of finances.
Being a single mom can be terribly lonely. Moms can feel like their adrift on an island with no land in sight.
Raising children is full of ups and downs. As a parent, you question whether or not you are making the right decisions and even whether or not your kids are happy.
These feelings amplify when left alone with your thoughts. Your own thoughts resound in an echo chamber when left on their own. The absence of a partner to talk things through with is hard, especially when it happens unexpectedly.
Being without friends is a different kind of loneliness. Perhaps you’re the first in your friend group to have kids. Maybe the friends you had were lost in the breakup of your relationship.
Or, maybe you are a new working mom who feels too guilty to spend time away from your kids after work. Whatever the reason, the chance of loneliness is one that affects many single moms.
Related Article: Strong Mother Quotes for Encouragement
Can there be balance when everything is weighted to one side? I don’t think so.
As fair as you try to be, you also run the risk of being the “bad guy.” As the custodial or primary parent, you wear the hat of disciplinarian. It’s your job to set and enforce boundaries. You’re the one to say, “no.” It’s not a popular place to be.
For single moms, your life is simply balance free. There’s no work-life balance. Sometimes, for survival purposes, work wins out over time with the family. Fortunate are the women able to support their families on one-income. Some require multiple jobs to do so.
Regardless of how many much time is spent at work, you remain solely responsible for managing the needs of the home and parenting. In short, it’s all on you.
This leaves time with your family in short supply and personal time, even more limited. You may have an easier time by following some of the suggestions in Time Management for Single Moms.
Related Article: How to Recover from Parental Burnout
4. Romantic Relationships
Dating takes on a different level of seriousness when you’re a single parent. For one thing, the stars must align before you even get out the door.
Online dating allows you to virtually meet people from the comfort of your home. But, when it’s time to meet in person, where do you find the time? It’s hard to fit in personal time when your life is split between work and your kids.
Personal time and private time are hard to come by.
The challenge is greater for parents of younger children. Not only can’t they be left alone, the guilt is overwhelming when you are away from them. Even if you do find the time, the pool of people open to dating a single mom with young kids can be pretty shallow.
Meeting someone that excites you is one thing. But finding someone you want to bring into your kid’s life is quite another.
5. Co- Parenting
This can be a heavy topic. Depending on how you became a single mom, this one has the greatest potential for volatility in the world of the single parent. Navigating a healthy relationship between you and the other parent can be a delicate undertaking.
If you’re lucky, you have an amicable relationship and are able to parent in harmony. On the other side, trust, jealousy and animosity overtake any positive intentions either one of you may have.
Once there are 2 households, there are 2 different sets of rules and expectations. Add to that the different dynamics of the relationship between parent and child.
If your child does go back and forth, you gain some free time. But, with that comes missing your child and wondering and worrying about them until you reunite.
There are a lot of potential pitfalls. No matter what, it’s emotionally exhausting.
Sometimes, being a single mom feels like a game of tug-o-war. It’s like being pulled back and forth trying to gain your footing between everyone’s expectations.
When leaving a relationship, you not only have to deal with what your exes think, but once kids are involved, so too are your exes families. In-laws can be very vocal about time with the kids, how you need to raise them and so much more.
What about your boss? As much as businesses tote work-life balance as part of office culture, it’s more theoretical then practical. Preferential treatment and advancement is awarded to people that devote themselves to their careers.
The expectations you have for yourself are the greatest. Mom guilt has a way of taking hold and making women feel unworthy and inadequate.
Mom guilt is powered by the expectations we carry. It is further influenced by how other people think we should think, act or feel.
7. Societal Pressure
Have you noticed how everyone seems to have an opinion on how everyone else lives their life? As much as you might want to shut out the noise, it’s not always easy to do.
There is a difference between being a single mom than there is a dad. Sad, but true. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma for single moms. Dads are lauded for being in their kids life.
To a tiny extent, I can understand that. It stems from the portrayal of men walking out of their kids lives. But, even in that, they aren’t vilified as much as women. Women, especially women with more than one child, are seen as easy. Complexity increases if more than one man father’s her kids.
Some people think you should spend all of your time with your kids, while others think you need to be out there dating because “your child needs a dad.”
You just can’t win.
Freedom, at least in the way you knew it before motherhood, is a thing of the past. You can’t just get up and go without considering the needs of your children.
Late nights are still a thing, but not for the reasons they were before. And, do you remember sleeping in?
It seems like a fantasy. Or maybe even a cruel joke. The days of sleeping in come to an end when you bring that little one home. Even after they get older, there’s so much to do.
The school week is full of carpool, soccer practice, PTA and volunteering at the school. Weekends are for games, birthday parties and preparation for the coming week.
It’s much harder to do what you want, when you want when you have children.
If bringing them along, you need so much more stuff! When leaving them behind, you need to make sure they’re in the safe and loving hands of someone you trust.
If travel is your thing, read Single Parents on Holiday for ideas and suggestions to make traveling with kids easier.
Sacrifice and parenting go hand-in-hand. One day, it’s just you. Then, suddenly, you have someone else to worry about.
You make the sacrifices you need to ensure your family is safe. It could come down to living in a place you wouldn’t have chosen before motherhood. You may also work at a job or jobs that you don’t want to.
Adjustments are to be expected in parenting. Time, money and sometimes dreams are sacrificed. It may be a conscious choice or the only one you see available.
Concluding Single Mom Struggle
Life is about struggle. It’s all about the light and shade we experience each day. Once you become a parent, that struggle takes on the added pressures of caring for helpless little humans.
While it’s true that the single mom struggle is real, it is done with grace and love the world over.
Trying to regain your balance or create a life for your family after a separation is hard. For some women, the choice to be a parent is greater than the struggle they know is ahead.
Being a mom is a beautiful, amazing experience. You are challenged every day, but the rewards are infinite.
Parenting is challenging for everyone. Thank goodness it’s not a competition. If it was, we might all come out on the losing end at some point.
How do you manage being a single mom? What do you struggle with most? Tell me in the comments below.