There’s something about single mums. A sense of unity. An instant understanding. Almost a bond, even with women whom we have never met before.
It’s because being a single mum is unique. We share similar challenges, we push similar boundaries, we deal with similar emotions .. and we even think similar thoughts.
Single mums “get” one another. And at the inevitable lonely times, it’s worth remembering you’re not alone in your situation. There are other women out there experiencing the same journey.
Here are some thoughts that many single mums think daily. They may resonate with you.
Hopefully, you’ll smile knowingly as you realise that we’re all in this together, which is not such a bad thing really.
Note: As a recent addition to this article, we have added a section about fostering positive thinking instead of dwelling on anxiety-inducing thoughts that get you down. Please keep reading, as just a few simple habits can make all the difference to your single mum thought pattern.
Let’s face it, having a man in your life certainly has its advantages and when you are suddenly single you will face challenges you never knew existed. Your inner strength and willpower will be tested at every turn as you flex your hands to discover the superpowers it takes to open a jar of pasta sauce.
Trust me, there will be a point where you remember to take the bins out, start the lawnmower first time, and work out how to ninja yourself onto the kitchen bench so you can reach the top shelf.
Welcome to life as a single mum.
Life as a single mum is about having hair that’s splitting and inches of regrowth. But, school fees are due and little Johnny needs new shoes and there is no end in sight.
Should you just shave your head? Unless you have the bone structure to pull off a buzz cut, the universe will not implode if you get a haircut or a new pair of butt-lifting jeans and pamper yourself a little.
Remember, you’re creating a new life for yourself and your children. This means boosting your self-esteem and being a content single mum, not a resentful one.
I don’t know about your children, but mine are fussy eaters. During meal times, I am constantly fighting with them to eat vegetables. “I don’t like this meal” is a common phrase from my little Miss. I try and I beg and I bribe.
But at the end of the day, if they want WeetBix for dinner, that’s what I give them. And while this would have made me feel guilty a few years ago, now I realise the occasional bowl of cereal for dinner will not ruin their lives.
You’re not alone. We all need wine. Enough said.
Feeling guilty over your relationship breakdown is normal.
It doesn’t matter who is at fault. As mothers we are going to feel guilty for anything and everything when it comes to our children.
But YOU know why your relationship broke down. Your children may not understand today, but one day they will, and with Santa coming twice a year they will be just fine. In fact, parental separation can have a positive impact on our children. Remember, it is better for them to see their parents happy apart, than miserable together.
Three years after being separated, I still feel queasy every time my children go to their father’s.
I know they are safe; I know they are cared for. But letting go of your children and entrusting someone else to parent them regularly with different rules is not easy. It makes it even more interesting when a new partner is thrown into the mix.
Yes, it can be difficult but you will come to appreciate this time as a way to unwind, recharge and invest in yourself. It is one of the benefits of co-parenting. And your children will always know where home is.
See this article if you struggle when the kids are with dad: How to deal with separation anxiety as a single mum.
Life as a single mum sometimes means saying whatever it takes:
“Please don’t wipe your nose on the wall, it’s not a tissue”
“This invisible magic fairy powder will stop your leg hurting”
“Eat all your broccoli or I’m calling your teacher”
“The poor tooth fairy broke her arm and couldn’t reach under your pillow, can you leave your tooth out again tonight?”
Not with that attitude you won’t!
But, we have all thought this and when you have children it is an even scarier prospect introducing someone new into their lives. Dating with kids requires a whole new skill set!
The best thing you can do is be patient, be fussy and learn who you are and what you want before you put yourself out there again. You will never be happy with someone else until you find happiness within yourself first.
You are definitely not alone in thinking this!
But in many cases, it is possible to come to an arrangement with your ex that is both civilised and consistent. This is especially true if you have a parenting plan, which I highly recommend.
Sometimes, we can forget how small and vulnerable our children are. Refrain from allowing them to feel stuck in the middle if a conflict occurs.
Read this article if co-parenting is an uphill battle: How to let go of hate and be a better co-parent.
Last on our list of single mum thoughts …
One moment, you’re beetroot red as your children misbehave in the bank, knowing you will not yell at them when surrounded by grown-ups in suits. The next moment you find yourself yelling at them because they don’t understand personal space and insist on pulling each other’s hair in the car.
You wonder how you will get through the day.
But at the end of it all, when you’re sitting with your children reading a bedtime story and kissing them goodnight, your heart fills with love and you feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
It’s only natural to have all these thoughts, and it’s okay to think about them from time to time. Remember, you’re not the only one. But one thing I’ve learned is that, despite all your worries, it’s important to foster a positive mindset, especially when your little ones are depending on you.
I know, easier said than done. But believe it or not, there are cool (and easy) ways to make your single mum journey a bit more sunshine and a bit less storm.
Nope, this is not your usual “too good to be true” list.
These methods have been tried and tested by yours truly.
We all do it, and when you think about it, it’s terrible. Don’t curse yourself for being an idiot because your kids were late for school. You are not an idiot. You are a busy single mum doing her best.
Never, ever criticise yourself or call yourself nasty names (save those for the ex!).
So now you know that criticising yourself is a big no-no. What you can do instead is give yourself credit. No matter how insignificant you think it is, small wins matter. Even if it’s just cooking unburnt toast or successfully feeding your child veggies.
Sometimes, I lie in bed at night and think to myself: ‘I made it through the day. How good is that?!’.
Yes, this is what you think it is – talking to yourself in the mirror. It may sound weird but it actually works! Giving myself a pep talk every morning helps boost my self-esteem (it still does!).
It will be a little awkward in the beginning, but you’ll get used to it. And, if your kids catch you giving yourself a stern talking to in the mirror, they will laugh so hard their stomachs hurt. But hey, at least everyone’s happy.
Listening to music has always helped me calm down. Whenever I need to cheer up, I just play my favourite songs and turn every meal prep into a dance party for one. I make sure to listen to only upbeat tunes so there’s no room for pessimistic tracks.
Try these for starters: Positive songs about being single. I also seem to get dinner cooked in half the time.
Practicing yoga really can put you in a state of zen. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can start by watching online yoga classes. That’s what I did at first. Trying to focus in the beginning can be difficult, but once you get your groove, you’ll feel tranquillity you’ve never experienced before.
I don’t have time for full sessions, so usually do a quick 20 minute stretch a couple of times a week, and swear it helps my mindset.
This gets taken for granted most of the time. We may have a lot of bills to pay, work deadlines to meet, and issues to solve. But let’s also not forget that we are healthy and have our little ones, which alone, are blessings we should be grateful for.
I cannot stress this enough, having these thoughts is completely normal.
Besides, who can blame you?
One moment you were gonna build a family and live happily ever after. The next thing you know you’re a single mum who has to take care of the kids by yourself and deal with your ex. And every day may feel like a scene from “Me Against the World.” But like I said, we’re all in this together, and you’re doing great.
Let’s try not take it all too seriously.
Have a giggle at my list of things that every single mum has thought. Consider whether these thoughts have crossed your mind. And, if they have, know you are not alone.
And, if you find your mindset getting you down checkout my ways uplift your mood with happy thoughts to get you through the day.
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