Some days, it feels like we’re doing this single parenting thing all alone. One of the things single moms feel is isolation. We wonder if we’re the only ones with certain struggles and emotions.
But if we were sitting down over coffee, sharing about our kids and our days, we’d see how many struggles we have in common. Just knowing you’re not alone can be a big step on the journey to healing, contentment, and confidence. Whether you are divorced, widowed, or never married you can rest in the truth that there are certain things nearly all single moms feel. Here are 9 of them.
1. You flinch when someone says “I’m basically a married single mom.”
Before I became a single mom, I used to say this, too. We flinch because we’d love our single parenting to be temporary! If only a spouse would walk through the door after a long business trip or working overtime. Many single moms parent alone 24/7 or spend weekends, birthdays, and holidays alone while their kids are with the other parent. When someone throws out the single mom comment, extend grace by overlooking it or help her understand by smiling and saying, “Welcome to my world!”
When someone throws out the single mom comment, extend grace by overlooking it or help her understand by smiling and saying, “Welcome to my world!”
2. You bottle up way more than you let on.
In marriage, your spouse is that person you can share parenting stresses, worries, and funny stories with. As a single mom, most of those emotions stay bottled up, rattling around in your thoughts and heart. Two things have helped me: daily journaling to brain dump and meeting a friend regularly for conversation.
3. You look stronger than you feel.
You look strong to those around you because you’ve learned to manage the house, fix the broken dryer, and juggle sports and dinners and homework while parenting alone. Outsiders think you’ve adjusted to your new normal but inside, you don’t always feel strong. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need, like help picking up your kids from school or practice.
4. You worry about the future.
One of the things single moms feel is near-chronic worry about the future. We worry about how the death of their father or the divorce will affect our children. Finances make us lose sleep. We worry about all the things on our to-do list we never get around to because we’re one person doing the job of two. I’ve found that prayer is the best way to win over worry.
5. You feel guilty taking time for yourself.
It’s hard for a single mom to get away by herself because there’s a looming to-do list and no spouse to watch the kids. But self-care helps us parent better. Carve out time alone at home or an evening out with friends to let yourself reset and refresh.
6. You feel vulnerable away from your kids.
I remember feeling this the first time I left my children for a weekend. My kids had already lost their father and they couldn’t lose me as well. But that fear only sets off a string of worries that keep us from our parenting best. Shift your perspective: it’s healthy for kids to have independent experiences and for moms to have time away.
7. You want to date. You’re scared to date.
Most single moms long for someone to grow old with and someone who cares intimately about them. But the reality of dating is daunting. The thought of finding someone—let alone bringing him into the family—is intimidating. Allow yourself and your children to heal and focus on becoming the person you want to be rather than hyper-focusing on someone you long to meet.
8. You grieve what you wanted for your children.
This was not the way you dreamed it would be. As a single mom, you’re mourning multiple losses—a husband who died or a marriage that imploded; the future you envisioned; the kind of life you wanted for your children. Allow yourself to process the loss while you create beauty and purpose in the life you have now.
9. You fight stigma and statistics.
It happened again this morning. I filled out another permission slip and had to write “deceased” in the blank for father. Getting used to checking the box labeled “divorced, widowed, or N/A” doesn’t make it easier. Then there are the statistics about children raised in single-parent homes. The truth is statistics don’t govern our home; we do. This is where a family vision statement can help us parent intentionally.
Tell us! Which one of these things single moms feel most resonates with you?