Being a single mom today doesn’t carry nearly the stigma that it did even a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy being the one person caring for and raising a family. Just because there are many single mothers today that doesn’t make it easy to put food on the table or be in 15 places at once. And you still have to figure out what to do if you can’t be there for your kids if you become ill. Here are suggestions for some of the most pressing concerns you’re probably facing today.
When There’s No One to Help Financially
Most people assume that there is a dad somewhere in the picture who could or should contribute to financially supporting the kids. This is often not the case, sadly. And many times it is one mom bearing the financial burden for herself and her kids. Even if there is a dad in the picture, he might contribute little, if at all, or the amount simply isn’t enough for the family given current costs of rent or mortgage, etc.
So, what can single mothers do about financial woes? Obviously, the best thing is to try for a good reliable income. Unfortunately, unless you have training in a lucrative field, this might not be possible at this point in your life. You may need financial assistance, such as food stamps and Medicaid, until you can begin earning a higher salary. They are there to help you so don’t hesitate to reach out. Most states offer childcare services for working moms and those going back to school, so if want to pursue a career, know that help is out there. Until then, budget, budget, budget!
Who Will Be There If You Suffer a Debilitating Illness or Death?
Is someone always in the picture to step up to the plate if single mothers become seriously ill or even pass away? Unfortunately, there may not be a person like this in your life. If you are truly alone, except for your children that is, this is a very real possibility. What many family counselors and financial advisers recommend is that you purchase the best term life insurance policy you can afford. So at least your children will have the financial security they need if you should suddenly pass.
Even if you have a close friend or family member who could become a guardian until your children become of age, to name them as such may not be financially realistic.
No, that money won’t replace a mother’s love, but it could go into trust. Then they could have living expenses paid for and perhaps something left over to pay for college education. Also, always hire a lawyer to assure that the money will go to the care of your children. You could even appoint the lawyer as trustee if there is no one else.
Quality Time is at a Premium
For working moms, it’s difficult enough to spend quality time with your kids if you have a spouse or partner sharing the parenting duties. Sadly, for single mothers, all those responsibilities fall squarely on your shoulders. As a result, you have precious little spare time to spend with the kids. Here is where you need to ‘reprogram’ yourself. Because there is nothing more important than spending time with those little people. They will be all grown up before you know it.
Does being a ‘good’ mom mean making sure the dishes are done, the floor is swept, toys are picked up, and laundry is done? You might need to weigh those things against that child who wants you to read them a bedtime story. While you want to keep your house clean and sanitary, would it hurt anything if one night the dishes aren’t done? Or you wait until tomorrow morning to sweep the floor or put that load of whites into the washing machine? Getting your priorities straight can be one of the most difficult things to master as single mothers.
Guilt-Ridden for Needing ‘Me Time’
Let’s face it. You aren’t the Energizer bunny; you can’t keep going and going and going. Most parents feel guilty when they need a break from the kids and the associated responsibilities. When there are two parents in the home it can be a bit easier because one can step in while the other takes a break. But when there is no one there to help, you are on call 24/7.
As a solution, many single mothers network with other moms, single or married, to take turns watching each other’s kids. Even an afternoon at the grocery store and a quick nap before the kids come home is all you may need to recharge fully. But you will find that it isn’t physically, mentally or emotionally healthy not to take a break. Like any other machine, your body will wear out and sometimes quit on you if you don’t give it a rest. So make time for yourself. You and your kids will suffer for it if you don’t!
To Single Mothers: You Are Not Alone
Although you are raising kids on your own, remember that being on your own and being alone are different things. You can always find someone to talk to or local county/church services if you look for them. From support groups to county aid for dependent children, you can get some help if you know where to look. Talk with your church pastor or visit local county social services office for further help and direction.
Raising your kids alone isn’t always going to be easy but you really are not totally alone. Help is out there, so take the time to find the services you are most in need of today. The challenges of being single mothers are big, but the rewards are greater. Enjoy every moment you have with your kids today because tomorrow they will be raising children of their own.