Being a single parent is a difficult task, especially if you’re a mom. You might be struggling to carry an incredibly heavy load for your family, children’s education/activities, and career.
Difficulties can extend for you beyond these basic things, though. Working moms may often struggle to get the benefits of childcare, paid maternity leaves and proper transportation. On top of that, 30% of custodial single mothers live in poverty along with their kids.
No matter what reason it may be, the important fact is that single moms are living in a quite hectic, complicated, and stressful situation. It might be quite easier to control younger kids as their reasoning skills are not so developed compared to teenagers. Teenage kids are hard to manage as they demand independence in every sense. So, sometimes it becomes too difficult for a single mom to control their growing children.
Dr. Tanja Jovanovic, a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine added that there are clear connections between trauma, PTSD and parenting. She also revealed that maternal depression is related with a multiple negative parenting behavior, which reduces the motherly warmth. These moms with mental health issues may withdraw themselves from their kids and may often associate themselves in child abuse.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health revealed that American single moms were 30% more likely to experience health issues that would hamper their daily life.
Sounds really scary…isn’t it?
So, if you are a single mom who needs desperate help to minimize your stress levels, here are a few tips to bring back the joy of your parenting.
1. Set up a routine and ‘Follow it’
You may reduce your stress levels by setting up a daily routine. Try to maintain all the basic tasks regularly within the fixed hours. By doing so you can assure your kids that there’s nothing wrong with you. Your kids will know that you are not stressed when you perform your daily tasks exactly the way you do each day.
You may schedule meals, bedtimes, TV time, play time and other family get-togethers so your kids can identify the pattern that he/she needs to follow daily.
By doing this, you may bring consistency on your own life along with your kids. Once the routine becomes a habit, your kids will feel more secure, you’ll become more organized and stress-free.
2. Let Your Kids Be ‘Kids’
Being a single mother you might expect support, assistance, and companionship from your kids. But you must understand that at this age your kids can’t have such experience or emotional maturity to support you like the way an adult can.
You should encourage them to act like kids, and have fun with them as much as you can. Save some time from your daily work each day and spend that time with your kids. You may play soccer, baseball, or video games with them, or play some music and dance. If they like you can set up story time and read them a good story, or give them a helping hand to do some crafts as well. You should focus on keeping their childhood intact so that they can enjoy it immensely.
The more you can engage yourself with them, and make them happy, the more you may keep yourself away from the stress.
3. Maintain ‘Discipline’
As a single mother, you should look into maintain discipline at home and also teach your kids to follow you. Kids must know which rules they have to follow and what you expect from them. Even if you’re a single mom, either separated or divorced, you may talk to your kids about creating simple house rules and methods of discipline.
If you spend your life without proper discipline and notice that your kids are also doing the same, it can be too stressful. It’s really crucial for you to understand that following rules can ease up your life and help you to get out of difficult situations. If your kid is looked after by other caretakers, make sure you talk to them about how they should guide your child to be disciplined.
4. Don’t ignore the ‘Treatment’
If you experience any symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD, you must look for professional treatment as soon as possible. Places such as community centers and mental health clinics may offer common treatment of anxiety, depression, stress and other mental issues when you need them most. Write down all your annual appointments in a planner, it’ll help you to remember the time and date to visit the doctor.
Any kind of traumatic situation may trigger such mental health issues and create negative consequences. Being a single mom you should look for a facility that can give you proper mental health aid whenever you need one.
5. Maintain your ‘Health’
You should make time to check up on your health, trust me. To make yourself fit physically and mentally, you should take a daily multivitamin, a balanced diet including plenty of veggies and fruits. No matter what you are doing, don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat on time. You may even consider herbal supplements such as Ashwagandha or herbal teas such as Chamomile. These food habits will definitely boost your physical health and reduce depression, stress, and anxiety.
Another good way to minimize stress levels is reading books. Put your kids to bed 30 minutes earlier and enjoy some interesting novels, travel stories, or famous short stories. You may also meditate for 30 mins or more to calm your mind and reduce stress.
You may even engage yourself in a good TV show, movie, or classical music. Research says ‘listening to music is very effective for reducing stress and anxiety’. You may take a long shower or a calming swim in the pool, or simply having a chat with your dear friend on the phone or in person. But, on a personal note, I would suggest not to spend time on your smartphone by browsing blindly.
When you can spend time for your health, you can start to develop a perfect balance in your life.
6. Manage your ‘Finances’
One of the difficult aspects of being a single mom is to raise your kids on one person’s income or relying on your ex-spouse for child support. Sometimes it gets difficult to ask for money from your ex-spouse. That’s quite a good reason to take necessary steps so that you can handle your finances on your own. Being a single mom, it’s your duty to make a proper budget and categorize your finances strategically.
You can start with increasing your monthly income. Then you should focus on reducing expenses and save as much as possible. But do not compromise with the expenses that is necessary for your kids. Instead, you may reduce a few of the luxury expenses of the month.
You should also learn about investing in long-term investments so that you may save enough for your kids further education.
When you can organize your finances and allocate your money properly for a better future, half of your problems will be solved immediately. Know where you stand financially and have a plan to improve your situation, it’ll ease your stress quite effectively.
As a single mom, it’s quite common that you will experience some stressful circumstances. But if you just follow those above given tips and also learn from your past experience, you can easily dodge your stress and get the positive aspects of your world.