whatsupwednesdays: tips for single moms
Being a single mom the past few years has been hands-down the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. When you're thrown into something that you never expected to be in does a lot to your mental health and stability. I'm not going to lie, I feel like I'm just drowning most days, but one thing you'll hear from some if not all single moms is that this sense of strength comes out of nowhere (figuratively speaking) I guess its that saying don't mess with mama bear and its true, once thrown into this awful situation you just want to protect your kids so you shield them and keep it moving and figure it out as you go along.
Now my instance is also dually hard because not only am I a single mom, my parents, family and friends live across on the other side of the country so essentially I'm alone doing it all alone. So I had to learn relatively quick how to survive and get through everything that's been thrown our way.
Before I share some things that have helped me tremendously as a single mom. I wanted to mention also as hard, painful and awful the separation was and being a single mom. I can tell you one thing that came out of this is that not only me but my babies are so much stronger from it all. The four of us has become a little team that can virtually do anything. My kids are a lot more resilient and brave than I give them credit for. As many times I've told my kids "mama's okay and I'll figure it out" my kids have more times than not shown up and made me realize I don't and I'm not doing it alone. Especially my two oldest kids have really helped when it comes doing chores in the house if they know I'm swamped with work or they help with baby sister while I get dinner ready, etc.
Ones thing for sure, I couldn't gotten through any of it, if it wasn't for my kids. Because of them, the sheer willpower and abundant love is what keeps me going. My kids (all kids really), watch your every move, albeit sometimes I've failed, but to always get back up and that's what I want my kids to see to keep going and to never give up.
Yes... Prepare everything. For example if you know the kiddos schedules for the month ahead, mark everything down on your calendar. If you know there's a soccer practice coming up, teacher/parent meetings, have it all down and set reminders days leading up to the event so you can have everything needed.
SET UP THE NIGHT BEFORE
This one is a biggie. I make all lunches the night before except if its a sandwich or heat up for the thermos I do the next morning. I also set out all their clothes and things needed for the following day. I also set up my youngest tooth brush just to make the morning teeth brushing process to go smoothly. These little things you do the night before will save you so much time and avoid those morning tantrums.
Okay, this is not only for adults but can be great for kids too. When I feel myself getting super overwhelmed and ready to explode. I tell my kids verbatim "Mama needs a minute by herself and to gather my feelings. And I'll be back" My kids know the drill now and just say okay. And its the same for my kiddos we have many discussions that if they feel like their feelings are bubbling over, they too can have a moment to gather their feelings again.
DON'T EXPECT EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT
Now this is a hard one for me and I'm still learning everyday with this. I'm a perfectionist so having things not go the way I expected it to go really throws me off, which P.S. I mean becoming a single mom unintentionally is my biggest WTF how did I get here moment. But this is my daily reminder to myself to remember everything doesn't have to be perfect.
ASK FOR HELP
This is a a huge one, especially for single moms, if you don't know, most of it not a lot of us hate to ask for help. Here's why for me at least I feel like I'm a huge failure because 1. I'm a single mom and I hate that there's this stigma around single moms and the somewhat pity people have for you when you say I'm a single mom.
As a single mom you also feel this need to do extra for your kids because of that guilt that somehow its your fault that the ideal family that your suppose to have isn't reality so in turn you over compensate for it. But here's the thing mamas its okay to ask for help because guess what it takes two people to have kids so it takes a heck of a lot more to raise them.
Every month I always make sure to save a portion in case of emergencies. I've done this since my kids we're little and its saved me now. Trust me when I say that divorce and separation is awful and even more awful, it brings out the worst in people and sad to say in a lot of cases money is the one thing one parent tries to hold out or over the other parent.
So a little tip mamas, your budget is key to saving and having that savings just in case something happens.
Write out all your expenses such as groceries, electricity bills, etc. And with what you have leftover put some aside for clothes or items the kiddos might need and put the rest to savings. Keeping an eye out on sales is a great way to budget, for example Save-on foods always have Tuesday savings for special items, stock up on those and do that every week and soon you'll have a little stash of groceries for a great deal. Also wanted to mention, apps like INSTACART is great to have because if you're like me and don't have a costco membership but would love to shop there, great news you don't need a costco membership to buy on instacart, that's where I buy all my bulk items and save with things like toilet paper an paper towels. And of-course to handy flyers of the weekly sales are also great to look out for.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
This one being that again I'm a crazy perfectionist and control freak when my kids fight with me, I've learnt to pick my battles. Prime example my toddler is in that tantrum phase and will literally I feel like fight with me just because. She refuses to wear regular shoes and wants to wear her dinosaur rainboots everywhere, I mean like even when its absolutely freaking hot out she'll wear her rainboots and you know what I've learnt to not fight it and let her be because she'll eventually figure it out that okay maybe wearing rainboots on a hot sunny day isn't such a great idea.
FIND A SUPPORT GROUP
I can't stress enough that finding a support group whether it be a local mom group or a facebook group with likeminded moms will 1000% help so much with your mental health. I've found so many amazing facebook groups that have truly amazing mamas on there, that are there to support, listen and even in a local group where moms feel safe to ask in the chat group for help that they don't have enough money for groceries and literally a huge group of moms will band together and help buy her groceries. I mean that pretty darn incredible that moms that don't even necessarily know each other do that for one another, which is absolutely amazing.
I hope some of these tips help and as always we appreciate each and every single one of you here supporting my little family.