Starting Over as a Single Mother
Sometimes single motherhood happens slowly over time. With preparation and expectation, after numerous arguments, several meetings with a divorce attorney, the dividing of assets, separate homes, and in the end, it’s you and your child.
A tough reality, but there is usually a transition period. Other times, becoming a single mother hits you like a ton of bricks. One day you were happily married, and then suddenly you’re entirely alone. Your “better half” is gone and may not be as great as he seemed.
Regardless of how much time you had to prepare to be a single mother, it can be tough and overwhelming. It can cause stress, sleepless nights, and worry over things like child custody, financial responsibility, and even how your child will get to and from school.
Despite all the harsh emotions, motherhood after a divorce can be an exciting time of self-discovery and a chance to become the person (and mother) you wanted to be all along.
Your Child Comes First
No matter how much you despise your ex or how emotionally drained you feel, you must find a way to put some of those intense feelings aside until you make sure that your child is dealing with the divorce in a healthy and manageable way. Like all things related to parenting, this can be extremely complicated and very tricky. Your child may adjust to the divorce more quickly if you say, “It’s Not Your Fault”
It is imperative that your child knows that he or she is in no way responsible for your divorce. A suggestion, even in an offhanded comment, could be damaging to your child. No child should ever feel responsible for a dissolution.
Cut Back on the Trash Talk
When you are experiencing a life-changing event, like divorce, you need to speak about your feelings, friend and family support is key, but be aware of what you say in front of your child. Just because you have nothing but negative things to say about your child’s other parent, does not mean that he or she should be subjected to such damaging language.
Be A Consistent Parent
Some children of divorce are parented by parents who are trying to “One Up” one another with treats and lack of discipline. While you may feel guilty or simply too tired and upset to implement any kind of reinforcement, try to be consistent in your expectations of your child.
Mom, You Can Do This!
You may not feel this right away, but becoming a single mother can be freeing and challenge you to learn new things. In fact, there are some pros to being a single parent. It is also an opportunity to gain a sense of self-worth and healthy self-esteem. Your child sees you as his or her role model, why not be the best you can be?
Do not fear being alone: When a relationship ends, it is lonely. While it’s tempting to rebound or get back into the dating pool right away, don’t. Consider why you fear being alone. Do you lack financial independence? Are you afraid to fix things? Are you afraid of who you are? If you struggle with any of these issues, try talking with a relationship expert, a doctor, or even a friend. Remember, you are not alone.
Learn How to Be Self-Sufficient
Self-sufficiency is empowering. The more you know how to do on your own your self-esteem will rise. Little rusty on checking the oil, filling the tires with air, or even starting the lawnmower? Learn to perfect all these things while you are married. Not only will you feel great, but your children will also benefit from having a self-sufficient mother.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
How are you actually feeling? What do you truly need? Be realistic. Even though single motherhood has a ton of challenges that you are ready to take head on, some may be a little too overwhelming. Keep your mental and physical health in check. If you start to feel a bit unstable, talk with a medical professional. If you need some parenting help or even someone to say, “You’re doing great!” do not hesitate to reach out for parental support from friends and family.