20 Secrets of Successful Single Motherhood
20 Secrets of Successful Single Motherhood
By Samantha Applewhite
1. Pick your battles. With the kids, over clothes, food, bath time, and friends; with your Ex over child support, child rearing, and visitation; with Public Service Agencies over paperwork, caseworker attitudes, benefits. Finally with your extended family over living up to their expectations and holidays.
2. Prioritize your life. Decide on five important areas in your life (i.e. yourself, children, career, social life, church, volunteering, etc.). Put them in order from most to least important and within each area decide what activities you normally engage in, then prioritize. If it is not a priority, say ‘no'. Decide later if it is worth adding to your list of priorities.
3. Stay Focused. Set goals. When you get sidetracked get back on track. Post your goals, daily routines, and appointments where you can see them.
4. Ask for help. From trusted family and friends with the children, automobile maintenance and repair, occasional financial obligations, and limited decision making (advice)
5. Talk out your feelings. With trusted friends or a counselor. Bottled up emotions will eventually explode. Get them out ASAP!
6. Step back when overwhelmed. It is better to walk away for a little while than to stay too long and overload. Know when to say when.
7. Take a day off (forget responsibilities). It's okay to take a day for yourself. If you feel too guilty, take a half-day. Those few hours will do wonders for your soul. Use the time to pamper yourself. When the mommy feels good, everyone else feels good too!
8. Have dreams, set goals. Life without dreams can be hopeless so dare to dream. But don't just stop there. Set attainable goals and remember to note the details of those goals in the process. The when, where, and how of the goal will keep you on track in your effort to reach them.
9. Maintain friendships. Friends are so important. Don't forget the old ones and never be afraid to make new ones. They enrich your life and help you remember that you are still an adult. Another important thing about friendship is learning how to be a friend. There is trust, loyalty, and commitment involved and you must possess these traits for long lasting friendship, but it is worth it.
10. Realize the freedom you have. Being a single mother gives you so much freedom. You make the decisions and you don't have to answer to anyone. You can pick up and go when you want to (with careful planning) and you are free to be or at least discover who you are as an individual. Take advantage of your freedom.
11. Learn from mistakes. What good are mistakes if you don't learn from them? They are bound to come up again if you don't correct the problem the first time. There are some things that are hard to grasp the first time around and we may not even realize that it is a problem, but if it comes around over and over again you should recognize that something is probably wrong somewhere. Learning and growing is a never-ending process so get a clue as soon as possible and save yourself a lot of aggravation.
12. Don't be too hard on yourself. Even though you make mistakes don't be too hard on yourself. Being human means that you won't be perfect so accept it and move on. You will be much happier and you will give your self-esteem a positive break.
13. Forgive yourself. It is okay to ask God to forgive you or to ask others to forgive you, but it is more important that you forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself gives you freedom from guilt and pain and it helps you move on with life in a positive way. You can be your own worst enemy so forgive yourself and choose to be happy with your decision and the rest of your life.
14. Follow your own path. There is a certain path that everyone must take for himself or herself. Following someone else's path for your life can lead you down a long road full of sorrows. Pray for guidance in finding your own path and believe that God is directing you. When you find yourself taking a detour, have the courage to stop, turn around, and get back on your true path.
15. Resolve personal issues one at a time. There are some things in life that need specialized attention and resolving past issues is one of them. If you try to tackle more than one issue at a time, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and even depressed because you can't see progress.
16. Make time for hobbies. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed. They give you pleasure so set aside some time to do the things that make you happy. All work and no play make life much too stressful.
17. Enjoy your kids. They are only young once so enjoy them now. Getting down to their level physically is so important to them and to you. Listen to their joys and pains. Play games with them. Tickle them no matter how old they think they are. Touch is an amazing healer and bonding agent. They can never get enough of your touch.
18. Cherish your shower/bath time. That may be the only alone time you get. Lavish yourself with wonderful smelling fragrances, body wash, and candles. Bubbles and body scrubs all make you feel like a pampered princess. Add some music and be prepared to float away to a better place (at least for 15 minutes).
19. Avoid Super Mom Syndrome. There is so much to get done and only one of you to do it. As much as you would like to get everything and make sure that everything is perfect, don't burn yourself out trying to get it all done. The most important job you have is to take care of your child and yourself. Ways to avoid the super mom syndrome is to ask for help, set priorities, relax certain standards in regards to housekeeping, saying yes to everyone, etc. Get help in meals by having someone cook for you, make casseroles, and have leftovers often.
20. Maintain a relationship with God. This last, but most important tip, is the primary key to success as a single mother. Talking to God through prayer is one way to build a relationship with God. Reading the bible is another way to build your relationship with God. Simple verses in Psalms and Proverbs are favorites and require only a few minutes of your time. You will soon find that the words written there are your words. You will receive hope and encouragement especially when you are going through a particularly hard time. Read the bible and stay connected to God, your ultimate friend and provider.
If you decide to take up the challenge of being a successful single mother, you will soon find that your life has changed dramatically. The only person who can determine the outcome in you life is you. Trust that, by following the process of self improvement and success, you will come out ahead in life. It is the best example that you can set for your precious children.