The first year after my divorce was chaos. After 17 years of having a great parenting partner, I was left to do it all on my own. I felt as if someone had dropped me on Mars and told me to “survive” as best I could. It didn’t help that I had no single mom friends or role models. I was surrounded by married parents helping and shoring each other up.
There was Madonna, also a single parent at the time and since music got me through the hard times, she became a bit of a role model…from afar, of course. Fortunately, I did eventually meet other single moms who became fantastic friends who helped. We showered each other with support, each other’s children with love and got back on our feet and carried on. Their support and advice, I will forever be grateful for.
And, if you will allow, I’d like to share with you valuable advice about being a single mom, that I learned all those years ago as a single mom.
1. Be Levelheaded
It can be incredibly difficult to try to stifle your emotions when making decisions regarding your children. For example, you may be hurt by your ex-husband's quick remarriage or his infidelity that led to the divorce, but if he is a good father then there is no legitimate reason to greatly limit the amount of time he can spend with the kids.
Make decisions based on what is best for everyone involved, especially your children, instead of what will help you feel in control.
2. Don’t Forget to Take Care of You
One of the best pieces of advice for single, divorced moms is to not forget themselves. Being a mom is difficult enough, but having to do it alone following the end of a marriage can be downright exhausting. Women should avoid falling into the trap of always making completely selfless decisions.
A woman who never thinks of herself will quickly lose herself. And, if you lose yourself, years down the road you may find yourself alone and regretting decisions you made while being wholly focused on your children.
3. Take Care of the Important Stuff
Single moms need to fully understand what is going on with their lives and stay on top of everything in case of an emergency.
What is the state of your finances?
When is maintenance due for the car?
Who will you call in case of an emergency with your child?
What are the terms of the divorce agreement?
Having full knowledge of what is going on and what needs to be done will avoid future problems.
4. Keep Your Children out of Your Dating Life
It is unfair to children to go from having an intact family to suddenly having a parade of suitors come in and out of their lives. It is a good idea to wait to introduce men to children until the woman is relatively sure that the man will be around for a while.
5. Surround Yourself with Support
Having a confidante can be invaluable for single divorced moms, especially if that person has been down a similar path. Find someone to confide in, whether it is a friend, family member, or professional therapist. Being able to talk about your feelings will equip you to be a better mom and more content woman.
6. Take Time to Adjust to Your New Role
It can take quite a bit of adjustment when a marriage ends in divorce. Divorced, single moms should give themselves time to adjust and should keep in mind that leaping into a new relationship or a move across the country may not be the best idea right away. Expect and allow a period of adjustment for both yourself and your children.