Single moms, you’re amazing! You wear all the hats (chef, chauffeur, nurse, teacher, and so much more!) in your children’s lives, but how often do you take care of yourself? Mothers, especially single mothers, have difficulty making themselves a priority when kids always need new things and the budget is rather tight.
However, if moms don’t take time to recharge their batteries and do something nice, just for them, every once in a while, it’s easy to get burned out.
Here are 5 things most single moms need (or would really like), but often do without:
1. Your beauty basics. Every time you turn around a child needs a new pair of shoes, money for a field trip, a gift for a birthday party, or the latest game. Moms, by nature, put their kids first because we want them to have everything they need and to be happy. Who doesn’t want to see their kids “have it better” than they had as a child? When the requests for wants and needs are flying at you right and left, it’s about impossible to make room in the budget for things that used to be routine, such as all of the things that make you feel beautiful and confident.
A salon cut and color, manicure, facial, and other such services become absolute luxuries on a single parent budget. You may find yourself, instead, getting an occasional cut at a bargain salon chain, coloring from a box, or attempting your own makeover magic to avoid using valuable resources on yourself. While a professional’s touch is costly, treating yourself to the “real deal”, even if only once in a while, can be a big boost to your self-esteem.
You need to feel beautiful and good about yourself. Even if you can no longer afford a regular pedicure, at least treat yourself to an at-home spa and light some candles, put on some pretty polish, and get in touch with your inner goddess!
2. A break. Raising kids is hard work! What other job have you ever had that requires so much time, patience, creativity, energy, and attentiveness?
Most moms would find the opportunity to just take a nap on par with winning the lottery because when in the world are you ever going to do that? Take full advantage of the moments in time when the kids are away with their dad, at a friend’s, still at school, or asleep, and do something completely selfish and relaxing for yourself! Just as feeling pretty and well put together can make you feel infinitely better about yourself, you also need to carve out time for yourself to replenish your energy so that you can face another round of parenting.
Make yourself put off folding the laundry to watch a Netflix chick flick marathon instead. Call grandma and ask for a night (even a weekend!) off to go out with friends, take a bubble bath, or do something else that you never have time for. It’s essential for moms to make themselves a priority more often to be able to continue to do all that the kids need!
3. Good health. As with anything else, moms are much more likely to put the health of their child above their own. How many times have you skipped going to the doctor because your kids were also ill and you decided to spend money on a co-pay for them instead of yourself? How many times have you been sick as a dog but somehow kept going because your kids needed you? Momma, you need to take care of you too!
Don’t ignore signs of illness or changes in your body that could signal a problem. Don’t needlessly suffer in an attempt to be supermom! Yes, if your kids are also sick, part of being a mom is sucking it up and forging on, no matter what…however, if you don’t also take care of yourself and stay strong, who will be there for your kids? Proactively keep yourself strong and healthy by taking vitamins, exercising, washing your hands a lot, getting a flu shot, and getting regular health checks. Think of it as an investment in your kids because they need you to be around for them for a long time!
4. The basic, but decent necessities. How many moms do you know (including yourself) who dress their kids in head-to-toe Abercrombie, Nike, and other top name brands, but dress themselves in garage sale finds and things they’ve owned for 15 years? Okay, some things are “classics” and are timelessly in style, even if older; but, some things are just a sad testament to how moms cast themselves as the second class citizen.
Not to sound hopelessly repetitious, but in always putting the kids before yourself, you are also sending a message to your kids that you are not as important. Your children are super important, but when you consistently treat them like royalty and yourself like a tattered servant, you subtly teach them to believe that you really aren’t as deserving of respect. Think of the example you set and how you want them to apply this to their adult lives.
Of course, you want to teach your kids to be appreciative and considerate of others. You can hope that one day they will recognize that mom gave them everything and sacrificed her own needs for them; but, they may also come away with a sense of entitlement and superiority, believing that the world owes them everything and that they are above everyone else. Just be careful of their perception of your actions, and go ahead and update your wardrobe with some nicer pieces or strike a balance by buying them nice things without them always being the most expensive brands so that there’s money left in the budget for your needs.
5. Fun. When you’re a parent, your idea of a good time might consist of a band concert at school, watching cartoons, or supervising hide and go seek. No doubt, these days when your children are young are priceless and you will enjoy many special moments and create precious memories. What most moms do discover is the need for fun and interaction on an adult level. How often do your activities meet your definition of fun? Adults need companionship and interaction from other adults and activities that involve more than macaroni and cheese, t-ball, and animated animals. Even if only occasionally, what you do for fun needs to be “you” and not just what you typically do to appease and entertain the kids!