Whether you’re divorced and co-parenting with an ex, never married, or chose to be a single mom, one thing’s for sure: Once you’ve crossed over to single mom status, life will never be the same again.
You’ve got to work at having a social life
Office happy hours, a girlfriend’s jewelry party and an impromptu date all take a backseat to your child (and so do dental appointments and pedicures). As the only parent, you’re needed at home physically and emotionally. But be warned: It’s important not to become a recluse, or to feel sorry for yourself. Just get used to planning ahead to get out (and you absolutely should get out)! Having “girls’ night out” scheduled in your iCal, or letting your friend fix you up on a blind date will give you something exciting and keep you thinking positively.
You’ll work your butt off — but still feel like you're treading water job-wise
With school drop-off and peak traffic, You’ll admittedly a little late to work some days, and dart out at five on the dot. Obviously, you have no other choice, since there’s no other parent to take turns with. Learn to work through lunch, and even accepted that you’ll have to get work done after your little guy goes to bed, too. Just don’t wear yourself too thin: You need to call it a night every now and then, crawl into bed and watch reality TV — with or without ice cream.
Talking about the absent parent hurts every time
Raising a baby and toddler alone is a lot different than parenting an inquisitive five-year-old whose friends have moms and dads who either live together, or are both involved. When your child asks about his father, answer truthfully, quickly and then change the subject (advice from a child psychologist). Never say anything negative and know this conversation will evolve as your child grows older and more curious. So plan ahead of time how you’ll answer. And rest assured that it’s normal for you to feel sad, anxious, guilty or even enraged after having this tricky conversation. Just try to keep your cool around your kid.
You definitely need help
It’s a single mom’s instinct to feel like she needs to do it all, but that's not realistic or rational. Despite what your seemingly perfect mom friends say or do, no one is super mom. Ask for help and accept. Say yes when family members and friends offer to babysit (and repay them with a coffee gift card or by returning the favor for their kids). In the beginning, it will be hard but eventually, it will feel comforting to know that help is a phone call away.
You’ll become a penny pincher
You’re going to automatically reel in the spending and rethink your purchases. In addition to basic financial obligations that come with bringing up a tiny human, you’ll tack on life insurance, healthcare and a college savings plan. Extra expenses always come like your child’s birthday party, tickets to a play. And even though you’ll feel empowered that you’re supporting two people on your own, you’ll be paranoid about what would happen if you lost your job.
Christine Coppa. The Truth About Being A Single Mom [Online]. No Date [Cited 2016 June, 3]. Available from: http://www.thebump.com/a/truth-about-being-single-mother.