Being a single mom is hard – its uber time consuming – tough on you emotionally and mentally, and if you are not equipped in a social sense for this – it can be extremely trying your sanity. So how can we work on keeping sane as a single mom?
If you are going through a break up or are newly single – check out this post where we talk about the shock of a break-up and how best to cope with it.
So off I went to the experts to ask them what they thought were the best ideas to create positive mental health! Some of the key themes that came up self care, mindfulness and dealing with your emotions head on!
So lets talk about that self care!
1. Self Care for single moms
Taking time for yourself as a single mom eats into your mom time – we know – because we have been there. You can also feel some serious guilt for taking time to yourself. But consider this for a moment, are you giving your best self to your kids if you aren’t caring for yourself? Keep in mind – if you have a mental break down or get sick – there isn’t anyone else there to pick up the slack – so keeping yourself mental well and physically healthy is so important.
Dr. Hodon is a board-certified OBGYN and a mom. She serves as a guest lecturer with interests in women’s health and resident wellness – and believes in the marriage of media & medicine.
Taking the time to do something for yourself is important as a mum and especially as a newly single mum. Dedicating a time consistently for self-care is important to help your emotional well-being and boost yourself confidence as one experiences many feelings after having a divorce or separation. With some of those feelings being negative ones, finding your support tribe to help you stay on a positive path through this important transition in your life is critical. Continuing to keep as much of their normal routine for your children is important despite the changes and helps them as well as you to stay motivated that you will survive this. Nurturing your spiritual wellness provides the inner strength to overcome life’s lemons and make your lemonade. So whether it is mediating, finding spiritual or religious guidance, can be key in achieving your spiritual balance.
Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW, a relationship expert in private practice in Livingston, NJ says the following about self care:
Newly single moms need to continue to practice self care. They need to exercise, make sure they are eating and sleeping well and take time for themselves. If they don’t they might wind up resenting their children and taking some of their negative feelings out on their children.
Julie Williamson, a Licensed Professional Counselor in St. Louis, MO. She specializes in helping women with relationship issues, depression, and anxiety and says the following about self care;
As difficult as it may be, allowing yourself to feel all the feelings that come up after a divorce/separation is important. Our inclination may be to avoid them, but then we put our energy into avoiding feelings that never really go away, instead of using that energy to grieve and cope. Self-care is very important as well. Tuning into yourself, asking yourself what you need, how can you take care of you in these moments. Also, seeking support from others can be especially helpful, from friends, family members, trusted loved ones, a divorce support group, therapy, etc.
Do you need some suggestions on how you can have some guilt free self care?
- Watch a movie in bed after the kids are a sleep – snack on some chocolate while you do it
- Start a blog (much like I have) to talk about those feelings
- Wake up early and practice yoga before the kids wake up
- Have a long bath – or shower after the kids are in bed
- Have a secret stash of treats in your room
- (For me I practice mindfulness by sipping wine!)
2. Mindfulness for Single Moms
Jaime Pfeffer, meditation teacher, mom, award-winning speaker, and life balancing coach says;
Use mindfulness! Anyone can use mindfulness. No experience is necessary, it is easy, and it’s free! Mindfulness is the art of being present. Simply put, it means being in the moment instead of thinking about the past, the future, what worries you, what you need to do next week, or how to handle some scenario that has not even happened yet. One of the easiest ways to be mindful is to consciously pay attention to exactly what you are doing at any given moment.
What I loved about her page is she has created an album specifically for moms called Mindfulness for Moms which helps moms learn to practice mindfulness easily.
KJ Landis ,Author and Creator of the Superior Self series CPT, CFI and Life and Wellness Coach says the following about mindfulness;
Any transition surrounded by drama or trauma makes the stress hormones increase. The emotions seem to fly off and one may not be able to control the laughing, crying, or anger, sadness, and anxiety that change may bring.
The first thing to do is slow down the breathing on purpose. Count as one exhales to make the breathing twice as long on the exhale as on the inhale. This physiological purposeful focus can help one calm down and find a bit of relief.
3. Working through your feelings
Again Julie Williamson, says the following about dealing with the emotions that come with being a newly single mom;
As important as it is to help your children grieve and cope with the separation/divorce, it’s important to make sure that you are grieving and coping yourself.
Not only will you be modeling that grief and loss are parts of life, but taking care of yourself will give you the strength to assist your children. It’s like the flight attendant on the airplane telling you to put your oxygen mask on before your child’s.
If you don’t take care of you, you won’t fully be able to take care of your child. Not to mention, avoiding the difficult feelings that come with separation/divorce are likely to appear at any given moment, no matter how under control you think you have them.
Raysha Clark, a licensed therapist in the state of Arkansas.
My first piece of advice would be this: every newly single mom should seek therapy. Even with the best girlfriends and support system around, none of those relationships will challenge you to really understand your fleeting feelings regarding your divorce. Often times women think a good girlfriend and a bottle of booze is the answer, and while that can help for a short time, therapy can help you work through the emotional muck that comes with co-parenting and divorce.
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT Texas Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional councilor says the following;
Counseling can be helpful to explore these feelings at a deeper level and learn about your relationship patterns, so you don’t repeat these same patterns in the future.
Things you should avoid doing!
Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW, says newly single mothers need to make sure they are not isolating themselves.
They might be feeling overwhelmed by all the child rearing tasks that are now expected of them and might feel that others (especially those married friends) can’t understand what they are going through.
Newly single moms need to ask for help from their friends and family if they need it. In addition, they need to make other single mom friends who are in the same boat, who can understand the new pressures their are faced with and can help support one another.
What happens if you dont have a support network and extra cash for a baby sitter?
Oh man – all you want is some time out! I know! We’ve been there together! A nifty trick I learnt is to be honest with parents at school or kindy – what you can do is say – “Hey – I really need Thursday night off, would you be able to have my wee snowflake on this night, in return I’ll take your kids to the park on Saturday and you can have the day off.” Working this out with other parents is a cost effective way if you don’t have the support network you need to have some of that well needed alone time.