According to data from Statista, in 2022, the United States had 15.49 million single-mother households. I’m among those numbers, and if you’re reading this, I suspect that you are too. You may also be struggling to balance motherhood with a career and that ever-elusive thing called personal time. How do you do it?
Here is my best life advice for surviving being a single mom in 2022:
- Keep it positive
- Get your finances in order
- Rely on a support network
- Prioritize home organization
- Join a single mom group or two
- Try meal planning
- Let yourself take guilt-free, kid-free breaks
Take it from a mompreneur like me. Without these tips, I would have lost my mind a long, long time ago. Ahead, I’ll unpack each of these tips so you can begin successfully implementing them in your own life!
7 Survival Tips for Single Moms to Follow Today
Keep It Positive
You had an extremely long day at work that ended with your boss yelling at you. It’s raining and you forgot your umbrella, so you’re soaked. Your car is making that strange sound again, which you noticed the whole time you drove home.
Oh, and you’re two days late on the electric or phone bill, so you have that weighing on you as well.
Then you get home and your kid throws a tantrum because they don’t want what you’re making for dinner or they don’t want to share toys with their sibling.
You’re going to want to go through the roof in a situation like that. You’ve had a long day and you don’t need the extra stress, and it’s not like you have another adult there to step in.
Take a deep breath and keep an even head.
For as many life struggles as you’re going through–and I’m sure there are many–your kids don’t deserve to see or experience any of them. They should be shielded from adult pains and responsibilities.
After all, it’s not their fault that your boss yelled at you or that your car is probably breaking down again. Don’t take it out on them.
It’s okay to utilize disciplining tools like time-outs or sending the kids to their room if you need some time to collect yourself or maybe have a quick cry in the bathroom. Do what you must to cope, but don’t let your kids experience the trials and tribulations you’re enduring.
Get Your Finances in Order
This is so much easier said than done, and I recognize that.
Once upon a time, I was a single mom struggling financially just like you might be right now. That’s part of what inspired me to start the Motivate Motion blog.
I had learned how to balance single motherhood with a career, and I wanted to help other moms like me do the same.
The best way to tame your finances is to sit down and calculate your spending. Track what you’re spending on every last thing, from bills to groceries to how much your Starbucks runs cost.
Then tally up your expenses for the month. More than likely, you can cut back on a few areas. A penny saved is indeed a penny earned.
Although skipping the Starbucks seems like a small change that won’t make much of a difference, the money saved does add up over time.
I’m not telling you to strip your life of conveniences. Just cut back on extraneous areas.
After having seen your spending, it’s a lot easier to make a monthly budget. I know that life can throw some curveballs at you, but do your best each month to stick to the budget.
Your expenses will become more predictable, which makes life feel more predictable in turn. You might even be able to start saving money for a family vacation or the repairs around the house that you’ve been putting off for too long.
If even all the scrimping and saving in the world can’t help you make ends meet, then it might be time to consider a second job.
You can take on a side hustle or even consider affiliate marketing. I’ve written extensively about both topics so that getting started won’t be too hard.
Rely on a Support Network
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child, right?
It’s more than just a saying. At one point, rearing a child really was about involving the community.
Somewhere along the way, it became solely the responsibility of two parents. If your relationship ends in a breakup or divorce and you’re the primary caregiver, then it’s the responsibility of mostly one parent.
That’s a lot, especially if you have more than one child. Even raising one child alone is tough.
So why not expand your village, so to speak?
The next time your sister asks to spend an afternoon with the kids, or your mom says she’ll gladly take them for a weekend, let them.
Oh, and that friend of yours who has six kids and knows what you’re going through? They always offer to help out, but you feel bad accepting their help, right? Well stop feeling like that and let them step in.
We live in a society anymore where you have to be Superwoman 24/7. The reality is that’s just not sustainable.
It’s okay to admit that you can’t do everything yourself. It’s also okay to let others step in and fill in the gaps.
Prioritize Home Organization
According to Psychology Today, there exists a link between stress and clutter.
The article states that “clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli…, causing our senses to work overtime,” that “clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done,” and that “clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.”
If your own house is messy, then your stress levels will go up in kind.
It can seem impossible to organize a house with little rug-rats running around, but it’s got to be done. Here are some of my top home organization tips:
- Go through each room and determine what should stay and what should go. If it’s clothing and you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. Don’t keep things that don’t fit or are out of style either.
- If you’re not already using storage bins, wall storage cubbies, and bins, they will be your best friend.
- Take several days for cleanup so you don’t feel rushed.
- Choose one day a week where you’ll do basic house cleanup. Stick to that schedule.
- Once per month, do some deeper cleaning so clutter can’t accumulate.
Join a Single Mom Group or Two
When it’s just you, the kids, and maybe the family pet, you don’t exactly have other adults to talk to. You can’t bring up personal concerns in a professional setting, and you feel like you’re unloading on your friends and family if you’re too much of a downer.
It doesn’t take much for you to begin feeling incredibly isolated. You can become so isolated that you feel like the only single mom in the world.
As that stat from the intro proves, there are about 15 million other women in the same boat as you in the US alone. Sure, they’re scattered all over the place, but they are out there.
Maybe it’s time you find them.
Single mom groups connect you with other women going through your daily struggles. Even the things you thought were unique to you are areas where other women are having a hard time as well.
You’ll realize that everything you’re experiencing and feeling on this tough journey of motherhood is perfectly normal. You’ll also collect tips and resources for handling single mom life.
I know what you’re thinking. You barely have any spare time as it is. How are you supposed to meet up with a group?
Well, you don’t have to, per se. Some women might prefer an in-person group, and that’s totally fine.
If you’re that short on time, then you can always look for single mom groups on social media. I guarantee you that you will find plenty of groups to join.
Rather than take the time on your phone to mindlessly scroll through social media, do something productive. Engage with the group.
Ask questions, answer other questions, and just bask in the presence of other women trying each day to navigate life just as you are.
The sense of camaraderie will make you feel so much better.
Try Meal Planning
When you’re so busy that you barely even remember your name at the end of a long day, the last thing you’re going to want to do is cook.
Your kids will almost never give you pushback for ordering pizza or picking up McDonald’s. However, feeding them takeout too often is anything but good for their health.
I’m not only talking about the obvious side effects such as obesity and possibly diabetes.
An article in News Medical Life Sciences reports that the lack of calcium, magnesium, minerals, and vitamins in fast food can increase a child’s risk of osteoporosis and even diseases caused by nutrient deficiencies.
Further, all the sugar in fast food (especially soft drinks) can be a nightmare for your child’s teeth.
There’s more. High fast food intake is tied to elevated rates of depression, reduced energy, hyperactivity, and sleep issues in children.
A child’s academic performance can suffer too. The article states that when kids eat junk food at least four times a week, their reading and math skills decrease.
Do your kids and yourself a favor. Begin planning meals for the week on Sundays. Even if your kids will try to wheedle and cajole you into changing your mind, once you make the meal plan, don’t deviate.
It’s for everyone’s health that you follow the plan!
Let Yourself Take Guilt-Free, Kid-Free Breaks
Your children are your life, but it’s okay to take a break from them from time to time. When I say take a break, I mean a break. Not five minutes, but an evening or even a weekend.
Whether it’s your former partner or spouse, a parent, or a friend, you have to be willing to entrust your children with someone else sometimes. You need that time to yourself to recharge your batteries.
Treat yourself to a spa day. Crank up your favorite music. Go on a date if that’s something you’re up for. Catch up on movies or TV shows you never get to watch.
Even do nothing. It’s up to you!
I know you’re going to feel guilty, like you’re a bad mother for needing time away from your kids.
That’s nonsense. All parents need a breather from time to time. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your kids.
It means you’re human.
Being a single mom is anything but easy. If you’re struggling, I want you to know that you’re not alone. There are millions of single moms like you and I out there who are trying to do our best for our kids.
If you give them your best, even if it’s not perfect, you’re doing more than enough.