Single Mom & Blended Families

5 Toughest Single Mom Struggles

single mom struggles

Single parents probably read the title of this article and think, “Ha! They’ve narrowed it down to five?” And in fairness, we realize that the challenges of caring for kids alone are innumerable. But there are some hardships unique to the individual, and others that are hard time and time again from our single-mom friends. So this list is an overview of those common single mom struggles, along with some encouragements and suggestions to help you deal with them.

1. Financial strain.

The most common life events that lead to single parenthood—death, divorce, etc.—upset more than just your marital status. They upset your financial balance, and leave one adult shouldering a load that is typically carried by two. Even if you’re a single adoptive parent and chose the challenge of going it alone, it’s still tough. Single moms often hang in limbo waiting for child support that never arrives or paying attorneys to pursue what should be paid. There always seems to be a little less in the checking account than what your kids need.

  • While you can’t control others (like an ex-spouse), you can control your own decisions and get organized and intentional about how you handle your money to lessen the stress. Consult with a financial planner, or take a course at your church like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to help make every dollar go as far as possible. And remember: what your children need most—your love—you do have in abundance. Lavish them with that, and lay down the guilt of not being able to give them every material thing they desire.

2. Social isolation.

Single moms tell us that they sometimes feel trapped underneath a mountain of responsibility that never allows them to invest in friendships, much less find another companion for life. Working single moms say the guilt of leaving your kids in the evening to do something just for yourself is crushing. Add to that the cost of hiring a sitter and getting out of the house for adult interaction seems almost impossible.

  • You need friendships and encouragement, so this is not a frivolous concern. Look for environments that allow for some social time for you while keeping the kids occupied or entertained: a church small group that offers childcare, an exercise class at a gym with a kids’ space, or a play date with other parents. And maybe once a month, splurge for that sitter or trade out childcare with another parent to actually go to dinner with friends and really talk about what’s going on in your life.

3. Decision pressure.

Parenting is hard. There are lots of gray areas and the game changes daily as your children grow. For married parents, there’s at least another adult to talk things out with, and to share the burden of making tough decisions. Single parents bear the weight of all of those tough calls—where to go to school, which friends are okay, or when a child is mature enough for a new privilege or responsibility—alone. The emotional burden can wear a mom down in a hurry.

  • Seek out a trusted parenting mentor or peer to bounce some thoughts off of. It might be a friend from church, your own parents, or a pastor or counselor. Make sure your chosen sounding board shares your fundamental values so you’ll be certain to receive advice that matches up with them. Although the final parenting decision will still be yours to make, getting some feedback on your parental plan can lessen your anxiety and embolden you to do the hard things that parenting sometimes requires.

4. Guilt.

Is there any end to the guilt a single parent feels? If you know that your decisions (some of which you may regret) contributed to your current family status, it’s especially present. There’s guilt about the financial things you can’t provide, guilt about the time you spend away from them, guilt about the things you just can’t do because of your situation. Regardless of how your children became the kids of a single parent, you worry daily about the effect that it’s having on them and feel responsible.

  • If your single status is the result of a poor decision: own your mistake, learn from it, and move on. We all make mistakes, and the guilt we feel is only helpful inasmuch as it helps us to correct problems and become better people. If your current situation is the result of the mistakes of another, do yourself a favor and forgive. {Tweet This} The burden of anger is too much for you to bear forever. You can’t get in a time machine and fix the past, but you can do your best to make today better—so focus your energy there. Work on relationships with your kids’ other parent/step-parent so that they feel less friction. Be a great example today and trust God to fill in the gaps that are beyond your reach.

5. Fatigue.

Let’s face it: you’re doing alone what was designed to be a two-person job. The fact that you often feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out is not just your imagination. But because your kids depend on you, you can’t afford to push yourself past a certain point. You must take care of yourself and your health in order to be there for them.

  • Find ways to take a breather, even if you have to swap out child care with another single parent to make it happen. Spend that time recharging in some way that will continue to pay benefits when the busyness kicks back in: with exercise, spiritual growth, or good, old-fashioned sleep. Take a look at these quick and easy energy boosters for ideas! It’s not selfish to maintain the engine that keeps your home running: you.

Single moms, what struggle do you think should be added to the list?

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  • galmom

    Just reading this makes me feel like I had a talk with a good friend that understands. Thank you! I’m a single mom of 1 year old twins, fighting for custody of them with a dad who doesn’t even bother to communicate with them and always ends up hurting them, but not enough for it to count in court. It’s breaking my heart. I work part time during the day, and freelance design at night after babies sleep. I’ve borrowed money for the legalities, but it’s running out. I do spend as much time with my babies as possible, and am so thankful for every moment. But I also long for that social interaction that used to be a big part of my life. Everything that you’ve mentioned is what’s part of my daily life now. But I move forward everyday finding strength in God. I don’t normally post personal stuff online.. but thank you for the relief! Blessings 🙂

  • bangsinglemomhoes

    I don’t understand , why single parents are trying to meet a single person ?
    I don’t have kids , she wants me to be the father of her kids !
    If you are screwed your life already , too bad , go find that irresponsible “daddy” and beg him to stay with u.
    Or find a guy who has kids like you do … Or open an orphanage home.
    When you was screwing guys and making all dif colors of babies , you shoulda think about now !
    And now , you are looking for a single man , with a nice physique to marry you and be a sweet daddy to your orphans !? Stupid hoes

  • Kaitlin McManus

    Wow! Thank you for this article! I am a single mother of 3 with a full time job as a kindergarten teacher doing side graphic design projects for money on the side and the amount of things I have on my plate have been overwhelming at times but I am trying hard to stay strong in my faith with God at the center of it all. I tried dating someone but it didn’t work out at all. I get incredibly lonely and discouraged at some point every single day so I have to constantly look to God and ask for guidance. I have isolated myself from my friends because of guilt of leaving all my responsibilities. I just pray I find balance soon

    • Lauren


      Praying for you, that you will find balance, that godly men and women would surround you and love you well, also that you would be encouraged because you are never truly alone, that when you feel that way you would be led to the throne of God. I often have to forsake isolation and be around people when I feel like I want to seek isolation. Praying that God will give you courage and that you would not feel guilt because, in Christ, you are forgiven.

      With love,

  • GoDiva Mum (Gaenor)

    Awesome article, I’m a “new-born” single mom – and boy oh boy, what an experience. I may not have had the chance to process the above-mentioned, but I am so please to have been forewarned. I honestly feel for Kaitlin, as I too am in a similar scenario. Unknowingly guilt seeps in…..but I try, to keep God as my centre and guide…This is platform that relates to our issues and I feel comfortable sharing…Thank You Lauren and stay strong galmon – you are not alone girl! From a cloudy Cape Town, ZA, Gaenor

  • Vanessa Thurston

    My best friend Sent the this to me in the beginning of my little ones life outside me. It makes me smile and I wanted to share because I felt it was appropriate. 🙂

    • Tracy Hagan Ritter

      I love this!

  • Ree

    I am looking to God for everything it’s not easy I’m constantly going I work 12 hour shifts overnight just to make my work week lighter but the strain of trying to get rest is soooo hard ! But my oh my without God I couldn’t do it I have so much on my plate also I’ve decided to forgive their father and move forward because the anger and animosity I carried was unnecessary and not of God so all in all I’m at so grateful it will get better and thank God it’s not worse

    • Layla

      Ree – You are doing so many things right! Good for you and your wise approach! And the kids are watching you do it right.. by living it, you are also setting them on a foundation of rock (Matthew 7:24-27). God bless you dear girl!

  • Luke

    My siblings and I lost our father a couple of years ago. It was a very sudden death which shocked the whole family. My mother had no choice but to raise three children, two young teenagers and a little one newborn by surrogate. As with dad they dreamed about girl, but mom wasn’t able to get pregnant anymore. So they traveled to Ukrainian clinic biotexcom in order of chasing their dream. As a single mother she did a fantastic job. Losing her other half and having to keep it together for her children cannot have been easy. She has given us endless possibilities and truly shaped us. And it is thanks to her that we are who and where we are today. My brother is the most well rounded, hardworking and humble person I know. He is doing so well, graduating from a top university with a degree in Computer Science. And already having secured a top job in the US. My mother has truly raised a fantastic young man, who will become a great father one day. And I am so thankful for having him as my older brother. Of course, we would have needed our father during our upbringing. But given the circumstances our mother has been a true hero.

  • Tracy Hagan Ritter

    I faced all five difficulties on your list even while I was married. Financially, we did well with both of our salaries, but he would fuss at me for getting the kids shoes, while he bought himself expensive hunting gear. My guilt at the time was not having the courage to leave and knowing that the kids had to endure his tantrums.
    Once I left, I was hanging in there as a single, divorced mom with an ex who did not take the kids very often and continued to be mean to me as he did when we were married. I faced all of the difficulties you discussed, however, my guilt became about not being able to provide the material things that were once available. Then, 3 years later, the worst thing happened: I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable salivary gland cancer-Stage 4. Everything started collapsing around me. My ex used this against me and tried to take the kids away and to degrade me further. The one thing that did happen was that my friends came to my aid despite the chaos in their lives. I am still fighting this cancer three years later, and I have a serious surgery coming up in three weeks. I’ve been trying to find other single moms in situations similar to mine. It’s a sixth difficulty on my list 😢, but I am forging ahead day by day.

    • Hadenough with entitlement

      It sounds like you should have stayed married I’m not sure why married women are jealous of single mothers we don’t intend to raise her children alone we didn’t intend to not have a partner we want a partner hell Financial stability would be great it doesn’t sound like you had a really good reason to be divorced period so now you are earned that the great wonderful seeming life of a single mom is not as glamorous as you thought you still have to deal with his crap even more so now and now you get to struggle I would try to get back together with him if you can

      • Ashley LaRicci

        You are ridiculous. There is no reason she should have stayed in a marriage if the man wasn’t treating the family well. And who are you to say she should have stayed married? Wow.

        • Hadenough with entitlement

          Actually most people get married under God. Where in the under God marriage vows does it say you can divorce because he doesn’t treat you right. That is where you work on your marriage. You think it’s going to be better to have financial devastation and raise a child or children without their father? It’s not. The problem I believe for most people all those behaviors were already there before the I do’s but they were ignored or even thoughts of marriage will make it better or I can change him or even if he really loves me he’ll stop. Nope this is who you married and unless infidelity happens and won’t stop or can’t be forgiven then remember you literally vowed for better or worse thru sickness and until death due you part. You choose to marry this person and you choose this person to be the father of your children.
          My ex cheated and was violent. Even causing the demise of my pregnancy with our twins. We did divorce. Guess what now my children have to endure the emotional abuse that dishes out more than occasionally alone and now I can do nothing about it. And guess what…..all that behavior was there before we got married and had children but we fail to see the reality of it. There is a movie that each and every woman should watch. It is called “For colored girls” it’s really for all girls. The moral at the end all their horrible situations are not really all the guys fault and to take personal accountability for your situation.

  • Amanda Martinez

    The 6th thing you should add to this list is time. There’s never enough time…

  • billey crey
  • billey crey