How to live your best single mum life

Beanstalk Single Mum Blog Features

Single mum life is a mixed experience. Like everything else, it is what you make it. Whether you are rocking this single mum gig or still getting used to a life you didn’t expect, focusing on the good is the way forward.

For many women, they wouldn’t have life any other way. When you become a single mum, your way of thinking changes. What once mattered no longer does. More important things come into focus, and priorities change. It’s actually pretty liberating.

For me, it has been life-changing. Here are some of the things I do to live my best single-mum life.

How to live your best single mum life

Stop keeping up with the Jones’s

This one is such a relief. Who are the Joneses, anyway? And why was I so desperate to keep up with them? When I was married, I had to have the house, the car, and the holidays that were on par with everyone else. Never mind if everything was mortgaged to the hilt; it was looks that mattered.

Honestly, I am so happy to have gracefully opted out of this race. I own a home. I bought it on my own. It is the smallest of all my kids’ friends’ homes (by far), but we LOVE it. I am prouder of my little home than I ever was of the larger houses I lived in with my ex-husband.

Then there is the craziness with the cars. My current car is the oldest and smallest of all the cars at school pickup, but it’s safe, and it gets us from A to B. I could get a loan for another, but why would I? Our car has character all over the back seat, and we love it. When our second child was born, I was barely out of the hospital before I began my search for an eight-seat SUV. What was that all about? I was desperate to keep up with the Joneses. Now, they can all go jump.

Stop worrying about PTA and things like that

Firstly, thank you to all the wonderful mothers who give up their time to run and help PTAs and the like. I am truly grateful to you. As a married, non-working mother, I always did my bit. Late night baking for school fairs and threading popcorn onto string for Halloween discos—I’ve been there, done that.

But not anymore. If a PTA help request hits my inbox, I decline, and I don’t feel guilty. I’m a single mum now, and my priorities have changed. I will get my own children to school events with the right costumes and contributions, but other people’s kids are not my problem this year. I can no longer imagine that life where I had time to volunteer. My world is now so full and happening … and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

single mum life

Don’t stress over being perfect

We can’t help wanting that perfect family. Society has conditioned us to want it from day dot. We are taught that the perfect family is a happy one with two parents who love one another. Think Peppa Pig, etc. As mums, we are subjected to multi-million-dollar ad campaigns of stereotypical families laughing and the parents looking adoringly at one another. Secretly, we want this, too, and we set out to get it.

Yet, as so many single mums know, being happy is not about the family we see on our screens; it’s about so much more than that. Happiness comes from safety, contentment, clarity and peace. It comes from accepting that things have not worked out and from the strength we find inside us to make the changes we need.

As for being perfect. What actually is that? And who wants it anyway? Perfect is what is right for you and your children. It is completely personal and unique to each individual. And it has nothing to do with those around you, especially not Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and Little Brother George.

It’s OK not to be OK

I remember the days when I had to show up in the school playground after a stressful morning screaming at the kids to ‘clean your bloody teeth’ (that bit has not changed, btw). I would take a deep breath, plaster a smile on my face and get out of the car to face my playground peers, pretending that all was well in the world. It was exhausting.

Since becoming a single mum and connecting with like-minded women, I have learnt something hugely important … it is ok not to be ok. Not only that, there is strength in admitting you are not ok, and it is the initiator to make things better.

I am like every other human in the world; some days, I am not ok. The difference now is that I admit it to myself and to others who can help me. By doing this, I have built a support system around me for my ‘not ok’ days, and I love that I am there for others for their ‘not ok’ days.

Let go of the inconsequential sh*t

Was there really a time when I used to worry about stuff like dinner parties and whether my kids wore matching socks? Wtf was all that about?

Now, if I have people over for dinner, it’s a BBQ with ‘bring your own plate if you like’ or take-away on mismatched plates .. usually with lots of wine and plenty of laughter. And socks for the kids; I can barely get my girls to wear shoes!

The things that matter are very different and they are the things that should matter. Like whether my relationship with my ex is healthy enough for us to be good parents. Am I earning enough money to pay all my bills and save for the future? Is there enough food on the table? Are my kids happy and do they talk to me about the things that matter to them?

Letting go of the inconsequential sh*t is a wonderfully liberating feeling.

Stop giving a sh*t about what others think

The minute you stop giving a sh*t what people think about you, life becomes a whole lot easier. It is like a weight has been lifted. And never more so than for a single mum.

Being a single mum comes with a societal stigma that should have been dropped in the dark ages. However liberal and open-minded people might appear on the outside, they are still fascinated (possibly a wee bit jealous) by single mums. In a society where women are still considered the weaker sex, we are a group of strong, independent women who push the boundaries of normal. People don’t know what to make of us, so they come to their own conclusions, some of them unfavourable.

Let them guess. I love being me, and I love my unusual yet beautiful family. What others think of me is entirely and utterly insignificant .. being an enigma is fun.

How to live your best single mum life (cont.)

Stop chasing your prince

I believed I had met my prince when I got married. I thought I was firmly on the path to my happily ever after. And I still believe my ex was my prince at that time, but we both changed and grew apart. Now I am prince-less. But it SO does not matter.

It has taken me a long time, but I am 100% content as a single woman with my beloved children. Ironically, it takes getting to this place to be ready for another relationship, and if that happens, that is fine, too. But I know I don’t need a man to be happy. And I know that ‘happily ever after’ comes in many different forms, and it doesn’t have to be with a partner.

Learning this lesson has given me a sense of freedom. I don’t worry about being alone as I am at peace with it. And as mums, we are never really alone anyway. Instead of hunting down Mr. Right, I enjoy hogging my bed, slurping my tea and watching whatever I choose on Netflix. Happy days.

best single mum life

Remember that your children don’t need a male influence at home

Society has placed the heteronormative family on the pedestal, alienating many of us who are in different family setups. The fact that children need a male influence can keep us from leaving a toxic relationship with their father or from staying single after separation.

But then, I realised my kids don’t need a dad to have a male influence. There are, in fact, lots of father figures if you just look around. They have grandfathers and uncles who can serve as positive influences in their lives. There are male teachers, coaches, and counsellors at school. There are male doctors, church leaders, and other professionals. Then, there’s Bennie from the convenience store, who treats your kids like his own.

We have to remember that not all male influence is positive, and “positive” is what our children need.

Don’t forget yourself

And I mean physically and psychologically. You have to be strong and healthy for your kids. If you get sick, who will look after them? This is a real fear in your new single mum’s life.

I always remember an instruction before flights: in case of emergencies, you put on your oxygen mask and life vest first before putting on your kids’. This way, you are properly equipped to help them. It’s the same with life now: we have to be in our best shape. It’s not a bad thing to exercise, eat healthy, and prioritise your sleep to attend. In fact, you need it to be the best mum you can be.

I know it’s easier said than done, but there are little things we can do to practise self-care in our daily lives that won’t harm the kids.

Summary: Live your best single mum life

Being a single mum is hard, but it’s our reality now. We might as well embrace it and make the most of this situation, right?

In this article, I have outlined the things I have stopped giving a sh*t about in order to live my best single mum life. I hope that this list helps you in your own journey.

Looking back, there are so many things we worry about that are actually holding us back from living our best single-mum lives. We compare our lives to our neighbours’, not realising our situations are totally different. PTA and other inconsequential stuff clutter our minds and take time (and energy) from more productive things. Our desire to look like we have the perfect life just leaves us miserable.

But it’s really OK not to be OK. Instead of acting like you have it all together, it’s better to admit to yourself and others that life is far from perfect. Stop caring so much about what others think of you as a parent. What’s important is you’re giving your kids the mum that they deserve.

Another incredible realization is that you don’t need a prince to whisk you away. Life, obviously, is not a fairy tale, but you can still have your happy ending outside a romantic relationship. While you may be pressured into thinking your kids need a dad, look around you and be creative in finding father figures who will serve as positive male influences on them.

Finally, prioritise yourself. To have the best single mum life, you must be healthy inside and outside. Do this for your children; inspire them to live their best lives, too.

Don’t worry, you got this.

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