Inside: Things to remember when you feel like giving up as a single mom and you are racked with worry that you are failing as a mom.
Single Mama I know this was not your plan. You have heard so many times that it is important to cherish this time because the days are long and the years are short. Yes, we know that is true. But……………………there is another truth too.
You are Not Failing as a Mom
We know there will be the last time we feed the baby, the last time a child wakes you in the middle of the night crying, the last time we change a diaper.
There will be the last time we read that favorite book yet again, the last time we read to our child at all. The last time we carry him, the last time she crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night.
There will be the last concert we hear them sing or the last game we watch them play.
But today it all seems so difficult, so exhausting. It is so hard to cherish the moments in the midst of all the to-dos.
There are cobwebs to brush away, vacuuming to do, floors to wash, grass to mow or snow to shovel, activities to attend, taxiing to do, clothes to wash, meals to prepare and work to do to provide that food, place to live, activity fees and clothes.
One thing that can help bring order to the chaos and ease your exhaustion is to develop routines and expect kids to pitch in by doing chores.
Notice Your Wins Instead of Your Fails
You are getting the important things done. Look for your wins instead of all the things that are undone or not good enough. There are only so many hours in a week and though you are super you are not superhuman.
Do you feel like you don’t have any wins? But you do have wins.
Do you all have something to eat? Win!
Do you sleep inside at night? Win!
Did you tell your child you loved him today? Win!
Did you show your child you loved her this week? Win!
Are you making an income? Win!
Can you speak to their father with civility? Win!
Do your kids have a relationship with both parents? If yes win. No? Do they have a relationship with another positive adult like a grandparent, uncle, aunt, coach, scout leader, band director, daycare provider? If yes, that is a win.
Do you make intentional time with your children in spite of the demands and busyness of being a single mom? If yes that is a win. Count the time in the car if you are being intentional. Count doing errands or chores with one child, if you are intentional about the time.
This might help: How to Have Amazing Conversations with Your Kids
Don’t Give Up
You will probably be surprised in a few years at the things your children remember as special. It will probably not be the elaborate trips even if you can afford them. What many children remember are the ordinary moments made special.
One of my children’s favorite memories is Friday pizza & a movie night. That tradition was born out of sheer exhaustion. It was not a well thought out plan to make memories.
Special times can be family game night, visits to grandparents, camping a few hours or less from home.
Holidays can be especially challenging, but those can be special too.
Here are some ideas to help with single parent holiday celebrations.
A Divorced Parent’s Guide to Thanksgiving
How to Have a Fun and Cheap Single Parent Holiday Season
What to Do When You are Feeling Lonely or Depressed at Christmas
Valentine’s Day Solo, 19 Ideas on What to Do
Notice the Moments of Single Mom Life
There are moments that make the struggle worth it. Notice when your baby or toddler gives you their precious smile (or your teen for that matter).
When your kids make good decisions relish the moment. Notice when your teen says “I love you” first for no reason other than that you are his mom.
Notice when one of the kids does something helpful without being asked.
Notice when one of the life lessons you have been trying to teach has been learned and incorporated as their own belief.
Notice when your child shares a part of his life with you. That is a gift to cherish.
You are in a rough patch now, but you are not failing as a mom. You can do this. It will all turn out. Your best is good enough.
No one is a perfect parent. We all learn as we go.
I made a private Facebook group just for you. Join us in Empowered Single Mom Tribe where we share support and encouragement with each other.
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.
I know as a single mom, it can be very tiring. You feel like the world is on your shoulder and you have so much to do. I know I used to be down on myself a lot of the times for not being a “good enough” parent to my daughter, but lately I’ve been better at trying to live in the moment and not get so annoyed. If she wants to read a book one more time, most of the time, I say yes. If she wants me to play play-doh with her, even though I have other things I need to do – I take the time to play with her. Those are the memories she will cherish.
empowerd single moms
Susan, You are so very right. Good for you!!!
I have three teenaged boys. I feel like this every day! Then, from out of nowhere, I get a reminder that they DO care how I feel…that they are learning to be compassionate people and that I DONT exist solely to drive them from place to place! And that they DO acknowledge how hard I work and that I keep going when I dont feel like it.
I had planned an evening out with my sister and brother in law to see A Star is Born and have dinner. The boys were going to their dad’s. I had looked forward to it all week. Then on Friday at work, I got really sick. Like, sitting in my car before I could drive off sick! They called me before going to their school’s football game and asked me what was wrong. When I told them I just want feeling good and decided to stay home, I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal to them. Then around 1030 that night, their dad’s car pulled up in my driveway. They asked their dad to drive them home to check on me. They said they were worried because they knew even when i was sick, I’d still go to work, or take them to a friend’s, or go to their games. So they thought something may seriously be wrong. One asked if I thought I had a stroke! Once they realized all was ok, they told me that since I’d missed a movie I was really wanting to see, they would go with me to that “lame” chick flick and not even complain!! WIN!!
empowerd single moms
This makes me smile. They sound so like my boys. How super sweet of them.
That mom fail
Nice, but what about when your teenage kids won’t speak to you and your daughter just makes demands with the threat that if she feels I’m not doing what she wants she calls her dad to pick her up. I literally cannot parent my kids and I AM A FAILURE!!!
There is always something you can do. When you feel like this it is time to start working with a good therapist.