Have you been enjoying your single mom life?
"Sara, did you say enjoy?? I am tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and always short on time.
How in the world am I supposed to actually enjoy my single mom life?"
Here’s the deal. You have your kids in your life, full-time, until they are 18, maybe 20 years old. Let’s shoot for the middle and just for this conversation say you have them until they are 19 years old. Nineteen years old is just 6,935 days. That’s it. Just 6,935 days. Then they are gone from your daily life.
You need to enjoy your children now, and they need to enjoy you. Everyday creates a memory, and all of you should look back at this time with great memories. I’ll get you started:
Seriously. You cannot, cannot do it all. The good news is, you don’t have too. If you really think about it, so much of what you are trying to fit into your day exists from the demands of others. Meetings, volunteering, practices, activities, gatherings, and the list goes on. Every minute you spend away from your kids are minutes that are gone for good. If it’s not really important to you, let it go.
Think of those things that overwhelm you as beasts to be tamed. Is it bill paying, meal prep, laundry, cleaning, or something similar that you are finding too big to manage? I like to “cage” big tasks into specific time blocks in my week. For example, doing the bulk of the meal prep on Sunday afternoon gives me a week of meals in just a few hours. Knowing that I will come home after work to a dinner that is already finished really cuts down on my stress every day of that week. Taking the same approach to other big tasks creates more time for you to enjoy your single mom life.
Time and time again single moms tell me that disciplining their kids is a challenging experience. These moms report experiencing a lot of arguing, power struggles, whining, and the like. While my Create Cooperative Kids program teaches single moms how to better understand their kids and more effectively manage behavior, I find that so very often just giving a big hug instead of yelling or arguing makes such a difference. Your kids may “know” you love them. Make sure they “feel” you love them.
Have you lost contact with your hobbies and interests? They are patiently waiting for your return, and new interests are waiting to be discovered. Don’t lose 6,935 days from your own life just because kids live in your house. Do things that revitalize you. It’s true, as a single mom you give a lot of yourself to make it all work. But if you give it all…it’s not going to work for long. You may have to schedule time to do what you love, and you may have fewer minutes at a time to do it, but be sure TO do it.
You can’t enjoy your single mom life if you feel lonely. Loneliness is a common plight of single moms, but it doesn’t have to be. Catch up with a friend on the phone, go out for dinner, or coffee, connect with parents whose children attend the same activities as your kids, pick an event you’d like to attend and ask someone to go with you. You have to make an effort here. Relationships don’t just happen. And never, ever discount a new friend because she’s married. Chances are, she’s looking of a new girlfriend too.
I love getting to know my kids. As they grow and evolve it’s often like meeting someone new as they reach a new level of maturity. We discuss nature, God, politics, their friends, just about everything. And I don’t want to hear you say that they won’t talk. They may not be in the habit of talking to you, but that is pretty easy to change. Use my 50 Conversation Starters for Teens (hint: they work at any age. Click the link for immediate access) and make it a daily practice to have meaningful engagement with your kids.
Life can feel like a bit of a downer if you don’t feel like you are growing personally. What would YOU like to do? Get fit, go back to school (if so, my new book The Single Mom’s Guide to Getting a Degree is perfect for you.) Learn to paint, dance, decorate cakes? What makes you come alive and feel like you are growing and expanding? Your progress may be a little slow because your plate is full…but slow progress is still progress. Pick up a biography of someone you admire. There is nothing like learning what someone else had to overcome to inspire you to get your butt in gear and set your own goals.
Single momming is indeed a time when your plate is very full. But it is nonetheless a time to be treasured. Never forget that every day becomes tomorrow’s memories. You certainly do not want to look back on this time in your life with disdain. If you do not take the time to enjoy your single mom life that is exactly what will happen. No child wants to know that their mother was not happy while raising them. That is a terrible and unfair burden for any child to bear. If you won’t enjoy your single mom life for you, then do it for your kids. Just be sure to do it.
With nearly 25 years of single momming under her belt Sara knows what works and what doesn't. She shares her expertise with other single moms who are ready to create their own kickass single mom life. A life based on what matters most to them.