Tips for Single Mom Survival

As a gift to our children, we can become healthy single moms who are strong and amazing women in spite of our circumstances. My hope is that I can pass on my notes on to other single moms. Maybe you will get a head start on some of the things that make single motherhood a little easier and find encouragement for every place you feel weary or discouraged. ??1. Go to bed early. It cuts out some of the lonely. ?I realized I am inclined to feel the most lonely and sad at the end of the day after the kids are in bed, usually between 9-11pm. A few years ago, I decided to just cut out those hours from my day and go to bed right after the kids. It’s amazing what going to bed early did for this lonely girl. Lonely is still present sometimes, but it doesn’t taunt me late at night. It doesn’t play with my weakness. It doesn’t tempt me to choose poorly. Maybe one day I’ll have a reason to stay up, but for now my best “lonely” avoidance is just going to bed. ?
2. Be the mom. You are in charge. ?We have to remember that we are grown-up, and they are little, even if their “little” is packaged inside tall teenage bodies. We have been given the authority to parent and being a single mom doesn’t take away that authority or diminish our responsibility to protect, guide, discipline and lead. It gives our kids a deep sense of security when we stand up in strength and lead with love and compassion. ?
3. Do the very best you can with their dad. ?For the sake of the children, figure out the best, most sane modes of interaction with your kids’ dad. This man is the father of your children. They want to love him, and it’s your responsibility to encourage and facilitate a healthy love. Forget about what’s fair. That’s all over. It’s about the kids now and the right way to interact with him for their sakes. ?
4. Talk to the children as though you are fascinated by their lives. Greet the children just like you do your best friend. Go to them every time they come home. Hug them. Look into their eyes with intention and love. Spend a few minutes every date fascinated by their details and heart. ?
5. Never stop being affectionate. ?I try never to let one of my children walk past me without touching him or her in some way. I touch his head or pat her back or kiss my baby on the cheek. Why? My kids are getting older, and I don’t want them to forget being touched by their mom. Even if they are grumpy or we’ve had a disagreement, I touch them tenderly. They have to believe that my love for them is consistent and without condition. I don’t sulk at them or reject them or ever move away. I am always moving in. Holding and snuggling. Pushing through the inevitable pouty days and stiff hugs to give a mother’s love. ??6. Ask a family friend or neighbor to be the tough guy sometimes. I’ve asked them to help me with my sons: Frisbee golf around the neighborhood, coaching their baseball teams, taking them to practice and skate parks and the pool and camping. Maybe you need to ask someone too. Someone with a heart of love. Someone cool. Someone who can say the same thing you just said, but different enough to be heard.

Author of 10 books, including “Do You Think I’m Beautiful?”