The parent who stayed
There are so many situations that create a single mom. I know that it can go both ways, but it is most common for the mother to be left to support her children on her own.
Far too often, the single mom is the ones that society blames. Many times, the parent who leaves is forgotten and the one who stays to step up and take responsibility is repeatedly blamed and shamed.
Are you the parent who stayed?
If you’re the parent who stayed, it can sometimes feel impossible. You most likely never thought that there was another option. You never could understand how the other parent turned their back so easily and walked away.
You just keep going because you felt like there was no other choice. You did what you had to do to keep going- and to keep your kids healthy and safe.
Staying comes with so many emotions
Being the one who stayed comes with so many mixed emotions. Of course you love our kids. You would do anything for them, but some days you might briefly wish that you could have been the one to leave.
After that thought comes unbearable guilt… If only, for one day, to be the one without any responsibility- free to live a carefree life and be your own person. Of course, you love our kids more than life itself and could never really make that fleeting thought true.
You take the responsibility and hoist it onto your shoulders like a backpack full of rocks, but you keep going. Unsure with each step how long you can keep your head above water. Unsure about how you can really keep from drowning.
You stay. And YOU are often the one to be blamed for your family status- no mention of dad. You’re a single mom. You alone must have caused your situation.
Don’t ask for support
Especially if you are poor. If your income falls under the poverty guidelines, you will most likely be judged even more. How dare you ask for assistance. How dare you ask for support.
Expected to be 100% on at all times. Expected to not only be the perfect mom, but also the perfect employee. You’re Superwoman. You can do it all alone. Don’t be weak. Don’t break down. Don’t cry.
Is this realistic?
Honestly, you can only do so much. The truth is- it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to break down and cry. You’re only one person and you can’t always do it all.
Good days and bad
Of course there are good days. There are wonderful days, but once it gets to the point that the bad days outnumber the good, you need to stop and decide what changes you need to make.
You need to find ways to care for yourself. Self-care is extremely important for any single mom. I’m not talking bubble baths and botox. I mean really taking care of you and your family.
Learn from your past
Yes, there are ALWAYS things we can improve on. There are always changes we can make. Look at your past and figure out what you can improve on for your future.
While doing this, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to learn from your past and keep going.
Don’t blame yourself
You probably can’t blame it all on him. Maybe you did make a bad choice in choosing him. Or maybe he changed over the years.
Whatever the situation, the fact is that it happened and you will have a tough time moving on and improving your life if you’re stuck obsessing over every little thing you could have done better.
The most important thing to remember it to stay out of victim mentality. You may have been wronged, but you are not a victim. You can move on and have a healthy productive life- even as a single mom.
Get help when you need it
If you get to the point where it seems too much, ask for help. You need to protect your kids and yourself and sometimes the only way to do this is to ask for help.
Build a support network
One of THE most important things that you can do for yourself is to build a support network.
It’s easy to start pushing your friends and family away when you are going through difficult times. Remember that you (and your kids) need your support system more than ever.
Build your friendships and hold on to the friends that you have. Keep making friends and make sure that you’re also the friend to them that you need from them.
Hold your head high
Ignore those who are judging. They don’t understand because they’ve never been in your shoes. Many moms also don’t realize how easily they could be here too.
Be brave and don’t let them put you down. Your children are watching you and they will thrive as they see what a strong person you are. Again, make sure to hold onto that support network through the tough times. This is your life line.
You can be successful
Yes, it may be more difficult for you doing things alone, but it’s definitely not impossible. You can work and support your family and even though it may take time to improve your situation, it is possible to build a successful career and life.
Even single moms can be successful and thrive. Don’t let go of your dreams and remember that this too is just a season. Yes, for some of you, it might be a longer season than others. But you’ll get through it and you’ll be a stronger person than ever.
Hold on to who you are
Fortunately (unfortunately?) you may not recognize yourself sometimes, and you may end come out of it all a completely different person.
Throughout your path, always hold strong to your core values and let the person you become be someone who you are proud of.
This is only a season
Time goes by so quickly. In the blink of an eye your kids will be grown. This really is just a season and you can do it.
Remember how loved you are – even when you don’t feel it. The world needs you.