Being a mom is hard. Right now, most moms are juggling their careers, while being their children’s teacher, while being daycare for their younger children, while continuing daily home tasks.
Did you know that right now, today, there are more single mothers than ever in history? In 2019, there were 15 million single mother-headed households and 25% of families are headed by a single parent (80% of those households are headed by moms).
Now, this blog isn’t directed solely at single moms. You could be a mom who sometimes feels like a single mom, one that used to be a single mom, or one that simply relates to what I’m going to type. Either way, moms need our support- probably now more than ever.
This blog is for you, my single moms. Mother’s Day is fast approaching- just know, we see you and we appreciate you. (I’m sending extra love to those that won’t have their kiddos on Sunday per their placement order.) I am typing this to bring a sigh of relief, relatability, and positivity. I, too, was a single mom for most of my son’s life.
I am a co-parent. Am I the only one that almost feels dirty saying that? It took me a lot, and I mean, a lot of years to be comfortable saying that. Co-parenting is hard- and I mean extremely hard, painstaking hard. It’s truly exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. Every holiday needs coordination, every appointment, every life changing thought- not only coordinated with your current significant other, but also your child’s father. Speaking of significant other, you first need to find the one that’s worthy of your love and your child’s love. That loves your child as their own. Once you find that, never let it go. And never, ever trust a man or woman who tries to destroy you when they're angry.
With all of this comes stress, worry, fear and last but not least- anger and frustration. These five emotions are detrimental to your health. These five emotions can destroy your happiness and suck the positivity from your life. Read that back, you caught the ‘can destroy your happiness’, right? It doesn’t HAVE to.
The next time you feel overwhelmed in your co-parenting situation, when you feel like you may succumb to the demons of negativity, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Don’t send that text that you’re angrily typing, don’t say those words that you’ll never get back, just take a deep breath. At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control- leave the rest to the big man upstairs. If the deep breathing doesn’t cut it, go for a bike ride, go for a walk, throw the cheap store boughten eggs at a tree in the backyard. Whatever you do, turn that rush of negativity into positivity, your body will thank you.
The dreaded ‘single mom stigma’ (insert eye roll emoji). Having a different last name than your child isn’t this centuries scarlet letter. The world we live in is full of loving, supporting individuals- just like it’s full of hating, undermining individuals. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. If someone is making you feel that way, that’s not someone that needs to take up anymore space in your life. Life is too short to be anything but happy. I know, that’s incredibly cliché, but it’s true. If someone is projecting their doubt onto you- cut the cord.
If you’re unhappy with your job, find one that makes you happy. If you’re unhappy with your home situation, develop a plan that brings you happiness. Sitting around and dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ is only holding you back. A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
The Mom Guilt
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t- is how I feel about it. I’m very blunt, many can attest to that. Remember when I was talking about not dwelling on the ‘what ifs’? A huge portion of mom guilt stems from those two words. You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
Your mental health is vital. STOP wondering if your children know they’re loved. (They do.) STOP questioning if you’re a failure. (You aren’t.) Staying in a relationship solely because you created children is like staying on the Titanic because you shaped the steel.
As moms, we tend to focus all our energy on our children. But you can’t help your children if you aren’t helping yourself. What do I mean by that? STOP beating yourself up for needing me time. STOP beating yourself up for having to work two jobs to put food on the table and make ends meet. STOP beating yourself up for asking for help. We all need help, at some point in our lives.
To all my single mamas reading this, know you’re not alone. It’s okay to have a rough day- tomorrow is always a new day. It’s not okay to be stuck in a void, just going through the motions. If you feel this way, please reach out! I’m here to tell you there is hope. And remember, you were someone before you were their mom- and that someone matters.
I still remember the days that I prayed for what I have now.
All my love,
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D