Handling the Emotions of Single Motherhood
Baggage, battles, truth bombs, whatever you want to call it, being a single mom brings on a lot of emotional and mental turmoil.
In my experience, beyond the physical demands, financial demands, and overall exhaustion, this journey has taught me about how mentally strong you have to be for yourself and your little one.
It has encouraged me to really hone in on exercising my mental strength in all forms to be able to provide the utmost stable environment for my child, but as I am now 4 months deep in this journey, the emotional hardships have presented themselves and I feel I have conquered them as best as anyone could…So let’s pay it forward and help you too, Mama.
You are now a black sheep in the eye of society.
Reality is, you will be judged immensely by almost everyone you talk to.
Old hags will look at your ring finger immediately, you will be called the “nanny”, you will be asked if your child was planned almost daily, you will get the assumptions that even though you’re a single mom, the other contributor to your child’s life is equally as present (ha!), they will assume you were never married, to begin with, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
What has helped me? My lack of a filter and lack of compassion for equally offending said offender.
I am a quick wit person and I honestly don’t care what people think of me so if someone wants to hand me some judgment, I hand it right back with a smile.
Old Hag #1 wants to glare at my ring finger? Well, I glare at her saggy boobs in disdain and give her a quick little shimmy.
No, I’m totally kidding. I wouldn’t hurt my vision like that.
How I handle it is by smiling and laughing at them and moving on.
I got better things to do than waste my time caring what people think about me! I know I am an amazing mom and my daughter is the happiest kid on earth without even visiting Disneyland, so clearly I’m doing something right and what other people think about me is none of my business.
So, friend, stop giving people the opportunity to rent space in your mind and stop giving a damn how people view you without knowing you. They’re probably dealing with their own issues that make them judge others, or they’re just really constipated, or both.
Loneliness will try to ruin your life.
One of the hardest parts of being a single mom in my opinion is the deep sense of loneliness you feel in the beginning.
It is hard.
If you lived with your partner before becoming a single parent, the adjustment of being alone is a shock to your system. I was so used to living with someone, for 7 years at that. I had never lived alone either, but the shock of not having another person around whether you liked them or not was a huge adjustment for me.
Before I almost craved alone time, just a minute to myself, but once I got that full-time, I would put Shay to bed, and in the few hours I had to myself to just sit in silence, it was almost agitating how lonely it became.
This was a huge wake-up call to me that I needed to learn how to be happy being alone and how to be comfortable in my own company.
but, it gets better
Now, I absolutely love it and on an even deeper note, I absolutely love me. Which is huge. Huuuuuggggeeee. I won’t lie though…The adjustment is hard.
You will find yourself reaching out to anyone who will converse with you just to get out of your own head and just to have a conversation with an adult who isn’t related. Just to have a conversation that isn’t about what you’re going through, but do not make the mistake of seeking out old friends or old flames that don’t serve you anymore.
Sit in the discomfort of learning how to be your own friend and own provider. It is so important for you and for your child to see.
That small amount of independence you thought you had, well…That doesn’t exist now.
Before getting a divorce, I was able to have “me” time or “girl time” as frequently as needed without worrying about who would watch the nutcase, I mean child. But now, well… You have to plan any time that you want to yourself and girl, you better prioritize that shit.
First, we need a babysitter. Whether they are related or not, you gotta lock that down.
Then, you need to prioritize how to spend the time you’re potentially paying for. So we are either getting the groceries done, hitting up Target again for the 5th time this week sans kid, taking your laptop somewhere quiet to try and find more ways of making money since it’s all you, or we could maybe go get a manicure that will be ruined in a week.
Reality is, your going to Target and the market, then coming home and being a mom again, waiting till the kid goes to sleep and then hustling it out.
Or if you’re like me, you go to the gym, punch a lot of things (because of boxing, no mental breakdowns in public!), and then coming home and trying to shower with your kid throwing her toys at the shower because she can’t see you.
Money well spent right?
save for later!
It might be all on you and it likely will be, because you are MOM.
That moniker is actually a full superhero name. Like, cape, belt around your head (hey Doug! fans), unflattering tights and leotard combo and all.
It’s probably in like a weird color combo… OK, I’m done.
But seriously the majority of all parental duties will fall on you. If you’re lucky, co-parenting will be super 50/50, but if you’re like me, well, it’ll be 99/1.
I keep things bluntly honest and it’s the truth.
I am a full-time single mom in every aspect of the word “parent”. Financial, physical, emotional, etc. It is all on me. At first, I had so much resentment and I hated it. Now? Well, I love it.
No one can fuck up but me and not being able to worry about someone else doing my job is fantastic. I am a mom and I am essentially dad 99% of the time. I am #girlmom and #girldad and I am proud of that.
What makes it hard are the nights where she can’t sleep and she is up every hour and I have no one to share those duties with. No one I can tap out to, but hey, she’s lucky she’s cute. I’m also terrified of her wrath so there’s that too.
She is my mini-me and I am so deeply apologetic to my parents for having to deal with me!!!! Also, deeply apologetic they now have to deal with Sasha 2.0 and I fully expect a notice of disowning us.
Things that help are having mommy friends, amazing family whether they are blood or not, chosen family members are just as amazing. Physical outlets like working out, hobbies, and ROUTINES!
When that baby or babies go to bed, have a night routine that is specific to making you happy. Have a decaf latte or warm tea, read a nice book with a comfy blanket, or binge watch some stupid show like The Circle on Netflix, etc.
Find what makes you happy and do it. Every. Night.
I have taken up boxing and being able to release my stress physically has done more for me mentally and physically than anything else.
Find what makes you feel like a badass and make it a priority to do it every damn day.
Dating is going to suck.
It’s just the reality of how our generation is. There are a lot of dickwads. Like, a lot.
You will get a lot of crude remarks and comments that make you almost wish the entire male population would go extinct, but there are some good ones out there, they are just hard to find.
Also, you will be talked to as if you are now “easy”, or like you’re just a good time. You will hear “baby daddy” jokes almost daily, you will be questioned as to why you ruined the marriage or relationship or why you are “undesirable” or what made the dude leave, like there isn’t the potential of it being the other way around. Like it wasn’t my decision to end the relationship, but here is the best advice I can give you. Wait. Wait to date, and when you really are ready, date older.
Don’t put yourself out there until you can handle the negativity that will come with you being a single parent. It’s just a waste of time and honestly, we don’t have time for it.
Also, become annoyingly picky and selective on who you open up to and who you even give your time to, and for the love of God, DO NOT introduce anyone to your kid until it is sickeningly serious. Like, you would maybe re-marry, or get married for the first time, etc.
Just slow down girl, it ain’t worth it. Point. Blank.
At the end of the day, until you can sit in appreciation and gratitude for where your life is at with no resentment or ill-will, you have a lot of soul searching and healing yet to do, and trust me, it’s fine. There is no time limit or a stopwatch you’re trying to beat.
Take your time, do the work that goes into healing and processing and accepting your life with a grateful heart and a smile on your face and know that regardless of what happened in the past, you dictate your future as long as your vision is clear of where you want it to go and what you absolutely will not tolerate.
Stay strong mama, we got this. We are never given anything we can’t handle and girl, you were chosen to be a single mom because it may be the hardest gig out there.
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