Facing life as a single mother after Splitting up may seem overwhelming, there are ways that you can support yourself to get through what may be a challenging period, and you may also find there is a lot to embrace in single-motherhood! Here are some coping strategies to help you through and reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- Look after your children’s emotional needs
By taking care of your children’s feelings following your split, you will be taking care of you too. Worrying about how your children will respond to your separation is an emotional burden, so make time to ensure their needs are being met. Depending on your child, this could mean many things, including seeking counselling support, keeping up regular routines such as bedtime and extracurricular activities, or spending one to one time and making sure you are doing fun things together.
- Don’t be influenced by other people
Unfortunately, splitting up from your partner can attract some unwanted opinions about your relationship and situation. While many people are well-meaning, this can sometimes make you feel judged or criticised for the choices you make. Try to surround you with people who are positive and can offer support without imposing their opinions on you.
- Try to stay amicable with your ex
This is not always as straightforward as it sounds, but, when possible, try to maintain a cordial relationship with the father of your children. This doesn’t mean socialising with them on a regular basis, but more working together to agree on living arrangements, being flexible when you can and showing respect for each other. Communicating constructively will be a good model for your children to learn from.
- Celebrate the mini-wins
Being a single parent can feel like a thankless task at times. Take time out to recognise what you are achieving and what you have accomplished already. Give yourself a mini-reward whether it’s a lazy, guilt-free day on the sofa reading a book, a treat from your favourite store or going to the cinema with ‘grownup’ friends. Think about the things that make you feel good and indulge in those from time to time. Looking after yourself will be a good example to your children who will see the importance you place on looking after yourself.
- Try something new
There’s nothing more life-affirming than trying something new. When you split up from your partner, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss and grief. Try to reframe what has happened into a new beginning, a period in your life when you can do those things you’ve always wanted to try. Starting a new hobby, getting fit or writing your novel can help build your confidence up again, and open up a new social network.
- Plan your financial future
Money can be a big bugbear when you are a single parent. Making sure bills are paid, school uniforms bought and birthdays are enjoyable and happy can put a considerable strain on you. The first thing to consider is if you are entitled to any benefits and to make sure you apply for them as early on as possible. Planning for important occasions way ahead and budgeting throughout the year can take the pressure off, using online vouchers for meals out and days out can make having fun a little less pricey too. It’s also important to be honest with your children about how you are budgeting and it can help teach them valuable financial skills for the future.
A final thought…
Single parenthood can be rife with feelings of guilt, so it’s important to find ways of coping to ensure you are not feeling negative about yourself. Whatever you do, there are almost always reasons for you to feel as if you are not doing the right thing or not doing enough. Let yourself off the hook, and remind yourself that there is no such thing as the perfect parent!