This is the biggest struggle that I have found as a single mum, as well as other mothers out there that I have interacted with. When you are a single parent, you are relying solely on your own income. Raising a child can be quite expensive, and doing it alone financially speaking is even harder. I am very thankful to be able to live with my parents to help balance out the financial burdens that I have, whilst I continue to work on what I can do to maintain a good income to be financially independent and raise my daughter on my own. Single mothers have reached out to me and expressed to me that their financial burdens are a huge struggle because they constantly need to budget and make changes in order to stay out of debt and keep all of their bills and other duties in order. To overcome this, there are so many different ways to make extra income on the side or to work from home for instance. It is a long process, in order to achieve great financial gains, but in the scheme of things, it does help out overall. For example, selling items online, starting out with a MLM company, doing surveys, doing affiliate programs, babysitting, offering other services to people for cash, and so on and so forth. For me, I have started blogging. I want to be able to continue raising my daughter whilst working from home full-time and I would love to be able to do that with blogging.
- Doing it all by yourself
When you are a single mum, you are doing it all by yourself. I have the financial support from my parents which is great, but I am raising and looking after my daughter on my own. This means that I am constantly on my toes, and hardly ever get a break. So many mothers struggle with the inability to have some alone time or a girl’s night out. The best way to overcome this struggle is to plan everything out, take one step at a time, and organize to reach out to friends or family to help you, even if it’s just so that you can have a few hours to yourself. When my daughter naps, that is when I have my alone time, to relax and not have to stress or worry about anything because that is my time to just lie down and chill out.
You want to do what is best for your child. You want to make the right decisions and make sure that they are happy, healthy and safe. You are in the situation where you are the only parent to them; you are playing the role of their mother and father too. Sometimes we don’t always make the right decisions, or we do or say the wrong thing, and it causes us to have self-doubt. I have been there. I have been so depressed early on into my daughter’s life to the point where I thought that I could no longer do it anymore. I felt so horrible as a mother, a parent. I was filled with so much self-doubt, that I felt as if I did not deserve her, and that I was constantly failing her. All of these thoughts made me so very miserable. I overcame them by speaking out about it to my closest friends who reassured me, comforted me and supported me throughout this dark period. The strongest advice I received was to change my mindset. I had to overcome these negative thoughts that constantly flooded my mind, and to ignore them, remove them, and fill my mind with positive thoughts instead that made me feel more confident and happier as a single parent to my child.
- Making tough decisions on your own
There are so many decisions that you have to make when you are a parent. You want to do everything you can to make sure that they have the best life possible. When you are alone in making certain decisions, it can be quite difficult and stressful too. You want someone there with you to support you, help you, and guide you to making the right decisions for your child. Yes, there are family members you can turn to, and even friends as well, especially those who have had children already. But, you want a partner, you want someone who loves you and your child, and is right there beside you, holding your hand, reassuring you and directing you accordingly. I wish I had that. I don’t though. To overcome this, I have to realize that I am in this alone. I have chosen to be a single mum to my daughter since I was a few months pregnant, and that decision was tough. I have made tough decisions in the past that will reflect upon my child in such a strong way. I need to constantly remind myself of that, and others need to as well. Being a single mum is tough, and making important, life-changing decisions for your child can be so daunting. But, we have already overcome the concept of doing this alone, and reaching out to a network of supportive friends and family members for help, support and encouragement, so we can do whatever it is that we must do in order to raise our children right, and do everything we can that is in their best interest.
- Being lonely
Although I have my daughter, whom I am always with, I still feel so lonely. Ideally speaking, a mother and father should be together, as a family, for their child/ren. Sometimes that doesn’t always work out though. In my case, I was with someone who I deeply loved. Unfortunately, though, he hurt me, so much so that I had to break away, I had to leave, and never return. I yearn to be with someone, who will love me and support me. I think it is only natural that women feel that way. This sense of loneliness is common among pretty much all single mums out there, and it is a huge challenge to face and overcome. I have to constantly remind myself of the situation that I was once in, and where I am now, as well as understanding that my daughter is my best friend, my whole world, my everything, and she always brings joy to my day. She is so perfect and so precious. How on earth should I continue to feel lonely or let these negative emotions and thoughts impact me and my life? I have been truly blessed with my daughter, and I have chosen to raise her by myself and to be with her always. I should never feel lonely. These are the things that I constantly say to myself to help me overcome this sense of loneliness.
As I am currently living with my parents, it is only natural for them to act like a parent towards my daughter. The problem with this is the fact that they do not respect me as the mother to my child, and do not back away over anything that involves making strong decisions or taking care of my daughter. It is extremely frustrating, to say the least, simply because you want to be able to do everything you can to provide for your child, to make the right decisions, and you want to do it independently. I came to the realization very early on into my pregnancy that I am going to be a single mother. I did not want, nor expect any kind of external support or help when it came to making decisions for my child. As a friend of mine said to me, it is unsolicited advice. My father does not respect me as the mother to my child, so it is an ongoing struggle with him. My mother, however, has somewhat backed away with her behaviour towards my daughter and I. The best advice that I can provide that has worked (even for short periods, given the unique personalities of my parents that I have to deal with and the number of differential beliefs that we have in regards to parenting and faith), is to stand your ground. Be firm, be strong, be direct. This is YOUR child, NOT theirs. They NEED to respect that. They MUST respect you as well. It is their grandchild, and they care and want to help out because they have been parents before. But YOU are the parent, the SOLE provider to this little one. I keep saying this to myself to keep myself from feeling down and feeling angry or frustrated with what I, unfortunately, have to deal with on a daily basis. To me, this would be the biggest struggle outside of financial issues. It is a huge burden for someone to consistently cause conflict, make you feel awful about yourself as a parent, put you down, constantly nag and complain and annoy you, and make you feel like you are walking on eggshells. My best friend told me to change my mindset. I cannot let this get to me or wear me out, as hard as it sounds. At the end of the day, I am the mother to my child and I know that the decisions that I make, and will continue to make are in the best interest for her.
I hope that this advice can support and encourage other single mothers out there. Please remember that you are strong and more than capable of overcoming these struggles. You are not alone.