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Taking care of YOU - the single mom

Stressed Single Moms
Andrey Popov

As a single mom, there’s one major project you need to complete in order for you to effectively raise your children. The topic of this project is “You.” Yes, YOU need to get yourself together before you can effectively raise your children to be the most THEY could be. There is a cliché that a woman needs to give up herself and her life for the life of her children. When you are doing this, you are teaching your children to give-up when things get tough. Then there is the time drought issue. As single mothers, we often can’t find the time to fit anything extra in our schedules. You may ask the question, “How do I even have time to get myself together?”

According to Women Work! The National Network for Women’s Employment, in 2006 there were an estimated 13.6 million single parents with 21.2 million children (under 21 years of age) living in the U.S. Of those 13.6 million parents, 5 of every 6 parents were single mothers (83.8%). According to the U. S. Census Bureau (2005), single moms represent roughly 27% of the U. S. population (or 11,406,000). Of the single mother population, 7.6% are working who have children 18 years old or younger. Yet, an estimated 27.7% of single mothers are still living at/or below the poverty level. In a recent study, a combination of 2,921 single and married mothers were tested to determine which group was at greater risk of depression lasting an average of 12 months. It was discovered that single mothers have a 40% higher risk of major depression. Stress factors include:

-Financial issues
-Time Drought
-Constant projects, problems, or issues to resolve
-Children rebelling or behavior problems due to absent parent
-Lack of complete rest
-Drained work-relationships

So how does the mention of these statistics fit into YOUR circumstances? You may often feel that there is no end to your constant issues directly related to being a single parent. You may often feel alone and feel stuck in your circumstances. It may seem impossible to you to be successful in your personal life as well as professionally. Although difficult, YOU can and YOU will be successful if you just take the time necessary to organize your life. It will not be easy but in the end, you will be able to gain control back of your life. Without realizing it, single moms have the attitude of: Do what you can now without regards to the future. You must also realize that there are some things, as a single mom, that you will not be able to change and that is the fact that you DO have children that are watching your every step. When you acknowledge that, you will understand that you can’t possess the attitude of only thinking of today and not tomorrow. One day, your children will leave the nest and then you have nothing left to give yourself.

It is absolutely in your and your children’s best interest for you to take this time to get yourself in check. Without organization within your own life, everything will always be much harder than it needs to be. Surprise events in your life will always be a crisis. As a mom, you need to realize that there will always be unavoidable surprise events. How can you be prepared for these events if you don’t know who you are outside of being a mom to your children? In this project, you will need to focus on all of the major areas in your life:

1. Your Spirituality – Know who you are spiritually

2. You Finances – Tell your money where to go by creating and sticking to a monthly budget. Don’t let there be too much month at the end of the money!

3. Getting organized and maintaining a calendar – Utilize your personal space to the fullest through strategic organization. Create and maintain a family filing system so you always know where everything is. Using some type of calendar will really help you stay organized in your daily activities and ensure you don't over-extend yourself.

4. Your Career – Are you passionate about what you do? Do you desire other opportunities?

5. Your Health – Exercise, eating right and drinking plenty of water is a great stress reducer. Get regular medical, vision, and dental check-ups. Taking care of you should be an everyday goal.

6. Your Appearance – When you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside. Looking your best brings on a certain confidence that you didn’t know existed. Even on a tight budget, there are a lot of things you could do to keep your appearance in check.

7. Your Love Life – Are you currently in a dead-end relationship? Are you looking to date again? There are definitely a lot of rules to follow in this area.

Creating some peace within these areas of your life will help minimize stress, which causes depression and other health-related issues.

References

www.census.gov

Turo-Shields, Dave (ACSW/LCSW). Single Mothers at Greater Risk for Depression. Retrieved on May 1, 2009 at www.storknet.com/cubbies/parenting/single-depression.htm.

Picture 1 Courtesy of http://www.sheknows.com/articles/807597.htm.

Picture 2 Courtesy of http://www.workingdivas.com.

Comments

  • Roni 5 years ago

    Wow! I never looked at it that way. I'm married and feel that this info is good for even married moms as well.

  • Laura 5 years ago

    I agree with a lot of the arguments made in this article. I think that people need to realize that by setting a good example - staying healthy, staying happy and positive, etc - help their children to grow up to be stronger individuals.

  • Toni 5 years ago

    Although not a mother, I enjoyed reading your article. Many of the suggestions provided can be applied to all women. Good job on the article.

  • Justin 5 years ago

    Although I cant relate, this is great. However, I agree with Ms. Toni (post above);this seems it will be essential guidance for all women, not just mothers.

  • Shuandra Jackson 5 years ago

    I agree that this information can benefit all women. Single mothers, in particular, usually have no other support but themselves. Often times, they don't have any other leg to stand on. In two-parent homes, mothers are not as stressed because they don’t have the full affects of juggling everything. This is not to minimize any woman or any mother (in two-parent homes). Mothers in general are very hard workers and should be commended for the things they do.

    However, single moms not only have to worry about taking care of kids and the home. They also have to worry about possibly getting a second job because their current income is just not sufficient enough to take care of all of the bills. We would love to be able to fund college for our kids but without a plan, this just may not be possible. It may not even be all that possible with a life-plan. I just finished consulting with my financial coach and was told that I may not be able to fund college for my two oldest children because of my current financial plan. My daughter is 8 and my son is 7. My financial plan puts me out of debt in 10 years unless I start making more money. This means I will have to get a part-time job, which will take more time away from my children. In my world, I am thinking about college for my children and the fact that I will forbid them to take out student loans. So, now, I am banking on their grades to get them scholarships. This is part of a laundry list of things that I have to worry about. My mind never stops because I refuse for my children to become a statistic.

    Usually in two-parent households, money is not a major issue (if it is, this only means they are probably living way above their means). Single moms are often depressed because the father is usually not involved. He may be a child-support dad (does nothing but provide some form of financial support) or not paying child-support at all. Single moms usually have nothing at the end of the day to give themselves. They are so completely drained that they tend to become what society may call hard or have unpleasant attitudes. It’s not that they are mad at the world. It is just that they are tired and sometimes don’t have it in them to smile. Basically, we don’t often have a shoulder to cry on. We don’t have a significant other in which we can vent our frustrations of the day. Other family members may be too busy with their own lives to be that shoulder that bit of encouragement that a single mom needs.

    Creating a life-plan and then following it, is beneficial to the single-mom’s health and their children's well being. Not following a life-plan is dangerous. There is just hardly any room for failure. If single moms create a plan and then effectively manage it, they can provide just as much as any two-parent home. Single moms do have to realize (if they are the average income earner) that they still have some limitations. For example, my children are currently involved in affordable activities (my oldest daughter is a Brownie in the Girls Scouts and my son is a Tiger Cub in the Boy Scouts). We are consistent in these activities only. When I finish paying off some of my debt and fully funding my emergency savings, then I will be able to allow them more activities. Most single moms don’t believe they even have the option of their children being involved in any activities due to poor money management. Not having a focused life can lead to many other bad habits such as poor money management. This can become a domino-effect.

  • Karla Somers, Atlanta Single Parenting Examiner 5 years ago

    Great article, Shuandra. I need to be reminded of these issues regularly! it's so easy to get caught up in the day to day "stuff". i look forward to reading more!

  • Sallie 5 years ago

    What a great article! This is an area that single mother's struggle with becasue they put the needs of everyone else before their own. I was a single mom for about ten years when my children were very young and I wish I had focused on these areas then! It is never too late to take time for ourselves and teach our children to do the same! Great insight, I look forward to reading more articles!

  • Shuandra Jackson 5 years ago

    I will tell you from experience that balancing a healthy life is not easy. It takes discipline and strategic organization. I am a living testimony that it can be done. I am not perfect and, at times, slack up myself. But, I try to remain consistent in these areas in my life. I want my kids to be successful. However, I want to personally be successful also.

  • Quisha 5 years ago

    Thanks Shaundra,

    I'm a single mother and have been since my boys were born. I tried the married thing, just didnt work out, it was a great help to have 2 parents, but when that fell thru, once again, back in the single parent life once again. I'm currently pondering on going to culinary school to be a successful caterer (being cooking since I was 7), but its either take a part time job and 7am-12pm at school or full time job and school at night 7pm-12am (dont want to be away from my kids the entire day)either way I'm losing time or money. It would help a lot if I had a support system, but I dont. I cant really count on anyone to help me..no one is that committed to helping me and my boys..what does a single mom with aspirations to create a future for herself and her children.. suggestions please.

  • Shuandra Jackson 5 years ago

    Quisha,

    How old are your boys and how many?

  • cathy 5 years ago

    Great Article Shuandra,
    I totally agree. Single mothers have so much to think about on their own when the other parent is absent. I experienced being a single mother for a short time and boy was it hard. Now Im married and its easier. I always have someone to fall on. Although, there are times when I feel Im doing it all by myself because my spouse works alot. However, I commend you for your hard work, dedication to your kids. One day they will grow and say my mommy never gave up on us.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    Oh, fark you. Look, the problem is woefully inadequate social support for all families. Other countries, civilized countries, figure this out and don't harass women for existing and having children. On the contrary, they support them. Child stipends, yearlong maternity leaves, well-staffed universal daycare and childcare, reasonably priced higher ed, universal healthcare. Stop farking pointing the finger at mothers and telling them to pull the whole world on their own, and put the blame where it belongs: the selfish ashholes who run this country and the misogynists who vote for them.