6 Tips Every Newly Single Mom Should Follow
By Allison O'Connor
If you’re a newly single mom, chances are you never anticipated being one. However, the odds are stacked against us all when we get married and have children. Divorce rates are holding steady at 50% for first time marriages and increases to 67% for for all second time marriages. Single moms are fast becoming the majority these days. So if you’ve found yourself a newly single mom whether by choice or circumstance, just know you are not alone. To help you navigate the world of single motherhood, we have compiled a series of tips and advice from our parenting experts who have been in your shoes and know exactly how you feel.
1. Form a network.
For emergencies: If you don’t have a group of people that you can rely on in case of an emergency, now is the time to start thinking about who can and will help you out in a pinch. Friends, relatives, a neighbor and even a close co-worker could be a god send when you need to be in two places at once or an emergency pops up. Single mom contributor, Sandra Duffy, shares her experience and advice on creating an emergency backup plan when she found herself ill shortly after the death of her husband in her article; What Happens When a Single Mom Gets Sick.
For support: Having emotional support to help you through this new phase of your life is just as important as financial support. If you’re not already part of a support group, consider forming one of your own. Get to know some of the parents in your children’s play groups, classes and after school activities. Chances are you will find other single moms within your circle that understand exactly what you are going through and would be happy to lend their support and offer advice.
2. Find the positive in being a single mom.
Sounds easier said than done? Maybe not. Therapist, Dr. Jennifer Guttman believes ridding yourself of the guilt and anxiety you feel about raising a child in a single parent household is the first step to being an empowered single mom. In her article; Finding the Positive in Being a Single Mom, you’ll find the inspiration you need to feel good about your decision to leave an unhappy marriage or relationship and a few tips on how to master guilt.
3. Set ground rules with your ex now!
The romantic relationship is over but the relationship you and your ex share as parents is ever lasting. Now is the time you and your ex need to sit down and work out how you will co-parent. In Parenting Agreements for Newly Single Moms and Dads, we discuss why every newly single mom and dad should consider a formal agreement that covers every aspect of parenting. This agreement can be amended at any time but leaves nothing to chance or interpretation after the fact. Plus, it will save you both a bundle in legal fees if you work out issues such as visitation, financial responsibilities, schooling, etc. early on in the game.
If you’re like most newly single moms, you may experience some anxiety associated with visitation. In her article, Stress Free Visitation Guidelines, Marsha A. Temlock, MA offers sound advice on how to deal with the uncomfortable situation when both you and your ex are forced to be together. Make sure you read her basic ground rules for stress free visitation too.
But what happens when you and your ex are not on speaking terms? According to psychotherapist James E. Walton, Ph.D., how parents conduct their relationship with each other becomes an example for their children and essentially lays the foundation for how their children will manage their future relationships. In How to Co-Parent with an Ex Your Not on Speaking Terms With, Dr. Walton offers 5 critical tips that all single moms and dads should abide by when it comes to discussing the other in front of your kids.
5. Take charge of your finances
Divorce can wreck havoc on a couple’s finances. But if you’re a newly single mom and your husband paid the bills, you need to get educated about your finances quickly. Establishing a budget, knowing your credit history, and determining your life insurance needs are just a few critical things that will need your immediate attention. So, don’t delay. Read the articles highlighted in this section and check out a couple of these money management books for single women from the local library and take charge of your finances.
6. Don’t forget you!
You may not be ready to start dating yet, but you do need a life outside of working, paying the bills and raising the kids. Make sure you take advantage of your downtime and focus on you! Keeping your batteries charged and your body healthy will give you the energy and stamina you need to be both mom and dad on the days you play dual roles. And the one thing you don’t want to skimp on is sleep. So, before you find yourself tossing and turning, read 12 Tips for Sound Sleep.
Being a mom is the hardest job you will ever have. Being a single mom may be even harder. But you and your kids can thrive and grow together to create wonderful, new positive memories if you follow the advice from the parenting experts at SingleMindedWomen.com.
Other Single Parenting Tips on SMW