Single Minded Moms: Why Does Back-to-School Have to Happen to Single Moms?

By Melissa Chapman

Back to schoolCome on. Tell the truth. Are you a single mom dreading the moment when your kids hop on that big yellow school bus and leave you again for another school year? Yes, some single moms who work-at-home or stay-at-home may long for school to begin. But for other single moms, the back-to-school season—be it college or kindergarten—can be a lonely nightmare. Here on some tips on how to combat loneliness.

Summer gives us a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with our kids. We may bond on an elaborate vacation—or just lounge by a backyard blow-up pool. Either way, the return to full school days and multiple after-school activities can often leave a hole in our days that we’re not sure how to plug. No matter what we may claim, how many single moms actually prefer an empty home to one that’s been filled for two months with the sounds of happy kids?

Amy Edelman, author of the recently published novel, Manless in Montclair (Shaye Areheart Books), offers tips for single moms who are dealing with the back-to-school blues.

I lost my husband suddenly in early August ‘01. The last thing I was ready to do was pack my kids off for school less than a month later, ” says Edelman.  “I was still getting used to my husband’s absence. I was really not ready to say goodbye—even if it was just for six hours—to my kids.”

Amy’s suggestions? “Ease into your new kid-less schedule by filling up your days—or free time within your workday—with things to look forward to.”

1. Do make a lunch date with a friend or relative you haven’t seen in awhile. Go to a nice restaurant and enjoy being able to linger over dessert and coffee. Try and look at the flip side of your situation…free time!

2. Do go see a movie you’ve been dying to see but you haven’t had a chance to. Throw in a soda and a bucket of popcorn and enjoy!

3. Do go shopping…for back-to-school supplies, holiday gifts. The weekdays—with no lines and no crowds—are really the best time to shop. And if you’re used to shopping with younger kids—juggling strollers, diapers and meltdowns—you may never want to go back to the old way!

4. Do start an annual Back-to-School cleaning ritual. Pack away everyone’s summer clothes and clean the areas you can’t get to when the kids are around. Revel in the peace and quiet!

5. Do form a group with other single parents who might be going through a difficult time. It can be as simple as meeting for coffee after “school drop-off”, but there is comfort in knowing that you are not the only one going through a difficult transition.

6. Do consider getting a pet. Yes, it is a lot of work, especially if you’re considering a dog. But it’s nice to hear the pitter-patter of little feet and to know you won’t have to pay to get it braces or put it through college!

7. Don’t become a helicopter mom! Yes, you miss your kids, but don’t hover. We all want our children to grow up to be confident, self-sufficient adults and it will be hard for them to do that if you don’t give them room. Set a good example: enjoy them when they’re around and lead a fulfilling life on your own when they’re not.

The excitement and anticipation contained in the phrase “back-to-school” seems to linger long past the time when we actually have to go. Try and make it a fun time for you and your kids. Change isn’t easy for anyone, but you’ll find it’s much easier if you can keep yourself busy and focus on the good stuff.

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Amy Holman Edelman moved to New York after college to become a clothing designer. After failing miserably, she fell into a career as a publicist and started her own company six months before her first child was born. She is the author of The Little Black Dress, which explores how the little black dress influenced contemporary fashion, art, literature, and film. In 2001 her husband of 12 years died unexpectedly. The following holiday, her youngest daughter asked for a daddy. The following year she began looking for another man and discovered dating in the 21st century as a 43-year-old widow with two kids.

Amy Edelman’s first novel, Manless in Montclair: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wild’s of Suburbia, a “fictional memoir”, was published in November ’08 (Shaye Areheart Books) leading to an appearance on The Today Show and a three star review (out of four) in People magazine.