What are the most challenging parts of being a single mum?
As a single mom, I am supposed to take care of my child and provide for him all by myself. To be able to provide for my child I often have no choice but to put in extra working hours. Therefore, balancing the professional responsibilities and parenting is a major problem faced by personally.
Guilt, Blame and Responsibility
As a single mother, I am utterly sick of the motherhood and guilt rhetoric — especially as a working single mother. I often felt that I am forever coming up short when it comes to doing enough for my child. Not to mention towards bosses and extended family, and yes, of course, our community. As single mother, I have to do all of these things alone, and it’s not always easy.
Lack of financial support is a reality for many single moms. While it’s true that “money can’t buy happiness”, a lack of money can cause stress, anxiety and limited choices. As a single mom, I feel guilty of not providing enough for the kids. The situation aggravates when I am left waiting for child support that never arrives.
Limited Time and Fatigue
The hardest part of being a single mom is prioritizing time and focus on self-care. Most of the time I feel exhausted trying to hold down jobs and ensure my child attend extra-curricular activities. The very act of taking care of my child and work responsibilities can be draining on many levels — emotionally, cognitively, and psychologically.
What do you say to your kids when they ask about their biological father?
When he asked about his Father, I will explain to him that thou we are no longer together as husband and wife, but we love him very much as his parents. If he asked why the Father had not been seeing him or spending time with him, I will encourage my child to call his Father instead if he misses his Father and his Father is busy working.
What was it like to start dating again after you became a single parent?
It is not easy to start dating again after becoming a single parent in the beginning. Being worry if both my child and my partner able to click or mingle; will my partner be able to love my child as his own; will even feel guilt-stricken if I did not bring my child along when we are on a date. It takes time and effort for both party to communicate and comprise to allow the relationship to be able to last.
How do you take time to take care of yourself?
I will ensure to spend quality time with my partner without my child, to have girls’ night out with besties and also to have me time watching a movie, having lunch/dinner or going for a workout. Time spend without having my child, allows me to recharge and space to think or to relax.
What advice would you give to single mothers?
Make peace with the past
Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.
You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.
Rethink our priorities
Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly. Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.