During your nine months of pregnancy you probably never envisioned that you would be raising your sweet baby all alone.
Raising a child is hard work. It takes patience, love, noise-canceling headphones, financial commitments, and a lot of sleepless nights. After your first couple of months as a new mother, you’re probably thinking: There’s a reason why there’s supposed to be two parents carrying the load.
But there is no reason to be anxious about solo parenting. After all, isn’t it better to be a focused, happy mother than one who is stuck in a miserable marriage? Here are 5 reasons why being a single mom is better than being an unhappily married one, plus parenting tips on how to cope solo.
1. Finally Experiencing Inner Peace
Being in a bad relationship can bring out the worst in you. Not to mention it is emotionally exhausting. The stress it causes can trickle into all areas of your life including your job, your friendships, and even your ability to be an attentive mother.
Now that your relationship is behind you, you can finally experience the joy of waking up to a peaceful house. You no longer have to worry about in-laws, arguments, or resentments.
2. Better Attitude = Better Mom
When you begin to resent your partner or wake up with a pit in your stomach at the very thought of seeing their face, you start to turn into a person you don’t recognize – a miserable person.
Now that the heavyweight of a toxic marriage is off your shoulders, you start to feel lighter and happier. You begin to feel like yourself again – someone who’s completely capable of spoiling their kids with love and attention.
3. Focus on Your Friendships
Now that you’re living that single-mom life, you are officially open for hanging out with your friends whenever you want. Choose a weekend the kids are with your ex to plan a girl’s getaway, invite friends with kids over for playtime or a movie night, or run errands with your best friend. No matter what the occasion is, you have more freedom than ever to accept offers to socialize.
4. A World of Opportunity at your Fingertips
The weekends your kids are with their other parent offers you a plethora of opportunities to change your life.
You can use this time to take classes, hit the gym, work on getting your dream job, and watch your favorite shows for as long as you like without having to worry about making lunches or breaking up sibling squabbles.
5. You Get to Make your own Decisions
Gone are the days where you have to consult with your spouse on house rules and child discipline. Of course, there will still be big-ticket parenting decisions that you and your spouse should discuss before making a final decision, but your house now equals your rules.
Simple Parenting Tips for Single Mothers
Going through a divorce is a difficult, frustrating, heartbreaking experience. But it can also be incredibly freeing to take back control in your life. Here are 6 parenting tips to help you stay strong on your solo parenting journey.
1. Stop Comparing
We live in the age of social media. This means we’re constantly bombarded with perfectly posed photos of new moms with perfect makeup and clean homes who never look exhausted. Seeing how the ‘other half’ lives can be fun and exciting, but it can also make you feel terrible about your circumstances.
Take a break from social media to catch a breath. Stop comparing yourself to women online, family members, and friends. Your circumstances are unique to your family and the only standards that matter in your life are your own.
2. Focus on Self-Love
As women, we tend to put other’s needs ahead of our own. But when you’re taking on the challenge of solo parenting, you can’t neglect self-care.
Just because you’re not married doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a date night for yourself. Get your parents, closer friend, or babysitter to take the kids for a night and have some “me time”. Take a long walk, read a book, make a fantastic meal, go out with friends, meditate, work out, practice your favorite hobbies! Do something you love.
When you make self-care a priority in your life you will be better equipped (both physically and mentally!) to care for your children.
3. Be Open with your Kids
A divorce can leave children feeling upset and confused. The Journal of Marriage and Family found that children of divorced parents have higher levels of anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior than children whose parents are still married.
If possible, sit down with your ex and explain to your children (in age-appropriate terms) that this divorce is not their fault and that you will be better parents if you are apart. You should also reassure them of your shared love for them.
4. Find a Community
You are Supermom. There is no doubt about that! But don’t be too proud to accept help from others. Research shows that receiving support from friends and family during difficult times can significantly lower psychological distress.
Finding a community of single mothers in similar circumstances to yourself can be a tremendous benefit. These can offer support, friendship, and allow you to vent about your situation to others who understand exactly where you’re coming from.
5. Stay Positive
One of the biggest parenting tips you can follow on your journey as a single mother is to stay positive! Life as a single parent will definitely throw some curveballs your way, but it isn’t anything you can’t handle. Remember, all you can control in life is how you react to things. Keeping a positive attitude will set a good example for your children and put you in a healthier headspace no matter what challenges come your way.
Life is too short to spend it with someone who makes your life miserable. Being a single mother is way better than being in an unhappy marriage. Your renewed positive attitude will rub off on your children and brighten your lives. By following these parenting tips, you can make the most out of your time as a single mother.
Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the author