I would be lying if I said everything about being a single mom is either bad or good. Just as with anything, there is both good and bad.
Being a mom, in itself, has challenges. Being a single mom has those challenges as well as a set of other challenges.
I have been a single mom twice. The first time was when I was 23 and my boyfriend of 8 years wasn’t interested in being a parent. Go figure!
The second time was when I divorced my husband of 6 years. The biggest lesson I learned after the divorce was that I needed to reinvent myself because I got lost in the marriage. I no longer had an identity. I started sessions with a counselor and also attended sessions with myself and my son, who was 12 at the time.
A pivotal moment in counseling was when the psychologist asked “what do you do for fun?”
Crickets.I had nothing. Seriously, nothing. I could not answer her. This is when she introduced me to the 5 stages of grief and also to the concept of reinventing myself.
Reinventing yourself requires that you go through all 5 stages of grief:
Psychology Today gives great detail as to what is involved with each stage.
Please know that you probably won’t cruise through each stage, you’re not supposed to. You want to make sure that you have fully cleansed yourself of any hindrances that may oppose the new you. Remember, going through the stages isn’t about you finding a new love, it’s about finding the new you.
Finding the new you is important to your success in being a single mom. Once you do this, joy can enter your life. Joy is something on the inside of you, you create that, no one else can. Once you have created joy, happiness shows up as a byproduct. Happiness thrives off of outside things being present in your life, since joy is self created; you are no longer dependent on anyone else bringing it into your life. That means you can have happiness based on the joy you created on the journey of reinventing yourself.
Take time to travel alone, go out to restaurants alone, go to movies alone. If you desire to be in a relationship (this may not be every single mom’s goal), you have to enjoy being around yourself. This also helps to create your non-mom identity. Wait, you do realize that you aren’t just a mom, right?
The bad is a mixed bag:
- Dealing with the kids on your own
- Dealing with society’s opinion of you
- Finding the time and energy to nurture yourself and your children
- Entering the dating world
- Missing companionshipMy “bad” started immediately after the divorce. I had to quickly figure out how I was going to handle everything. I had been on my own before with a kid, but now there were 2! I had also become accustomed to not having to answer to my son’s father since he wasn’t in the picture. Now, I had to consider my ex-husband’s opinion.
What I didn’t realize is that the “bad” happens and that’s ok. What’s not ok is to pitch a tent and just live there in the “bad.”
The Downright Ugly
The downright ugly happens when you don’t have a good relationship with the child’s father. It may seem only natural that two people who created a child together would automatically get along after a split, but the two of you split because you probably didn’t get along.
Regardless, both parents should make every attempt to get along for the sake of their children. An older post from Upbeat Dad lists ways to get along with your ex. But remember:All break-ups/divorces are not created equally.
There are situations when parents cannot get along. As long as you have made an honest attempt to try but just can’t seem to, then you can let it go.
Yes, let it go. Because if you don’t let it go, that anger will grow into bitterness. Once bitterness takes its root, those roots grow and start to choke any sense of joy you have cultivated. And guess what? It’s not worth it. Especially when you see your ex happy and enjoying life. He may be faking but at least he’s doing that much.
And that’s ok because it’s not about him.
Just know that in order to be the best for you and your children, you have to let it go.
Given the fact that I was a single mom twice, I definitely learned more the second time around. Those 3 years shaped me into the person I love being today, not perfect but able to acknowledge my imperfections.
Describe the good, bad and downright ugly aspects of being a single mom in the comments below.
Guest Post Bio – Tiffany Benyacko (sounds exactly how it’s spelled) blogs about being a premenopausal (in her head at least) introverted mom raising a prepubescent extroverted tween girl. She’s taking the unRehearsed approach to parenting: Expecting the best, preparing for the worst and growing from what comes! Social media is also her friend right now because her tween isn’t on them…yet. Find Tiffany on Facebook and Twitter.