Hey single mamas! Life as a single mom is hard, no denying that. It comes with so many ups and downs, that sometimes we can’t tell if we’re enjoying a nice swim or if we’re drowning. Am I right?
I know that I have personally been through more downs than I sometimes care to admit, and have found myself curled up on the floor crying more than just a time or two. Through it all, I continue to push forward for my son and I. So, I would like to chat about those struggles and how I have been working to overcome them, and how you can too! Let’s begin.
Young, Clueless, and Terrified
I have been a single mom for 8 years now, basically since the beginning and I have never experienced any support from the “other half”. He is a stranger to my son, and there is no contact of any kind. That in itself is a challenge, one that a lot of single mothers face. Far too often, the father is nowhere to be found and she must face the world alone in terms of taking care of this new little person.
I didn’t have any idea what to do, and found myself completely shut down. I suffered from , and even during my pregnancy I was totally disconnected. To be honest, most of that time I have no memory of. It’s all blank or fuzzy to me.
Even if your experience was much different, that feeling of being alone must still resonate on some level. Being abandoned by the person who is supposed to help you raise a child no matter at what point, isn't something I wish on anyone, but it happens. All the time. If you are one of the lucky ones whose ex is still in the picture, then you are more blessed than some.
The Real Struggles & How I Overcame
I didn’t know what to do, or how to do it. But I did. My mom instincts kicked in at some point, I fed my baby, washed him, etc. I carried on, somehow. Time passed and before I knew it I had been managing to get by just fine on my own for a long time and that realization gave me strength. It let me know that I could do it, and it wasn’t so bad to be on my own after all. I felt like Superwoman.
I had, and still have dark days. I am healing, and trying to bring myself out of the haze of those early days. Trauma comes in many shapes and forms, and becoming a young and very fragile single mom with no money, no support, and only shame is part of mine.
Sometime in 2014 I decided to try and find a way to earn some income, do something with my life maybe, and move on from the damage I held on to for far too long. I felt ready to officially move on and try to properly support myself as an adult. I started looking for work, and knowing that whatever job I found needed to be from home, so it wasn’t easy. But I was determined. I am still determined to give my best self to me and my son.
Whatever your situation is, however you are feeling and what you are dealing with emotionally, you are not alone, and you will be alright. It’s time to open your eyes, look into the eyes of your child/ren and see their value, worth, and beauty. Focus on them, and pick yourself up. Do what needs to be done for them, without forgetting to take care of yourself too.
Finances and Other Hardships
Another huge struggle for me was finances. Being unemployed meant that I had no way to take care of myself or my baby. My church family donated baby items to me, which was a huge blessing. If it wasn’t for their kindness, my son would have had nothing. My fear of being homeless was eventually solved when my parents decided to let me stay, and not send me away as was their original plan. So we had a roof, and a few basic essentials.
I applied for government assistance, and could eventually get food and basics for myself and baby. But that was all. My parents did not and still do not help financially. So we did without a lot of things for the first few years. My son didn’t have any clothes that were new, his crib was 20 years old and broken, and I slept on an old mattress on the floor. But things improved a little after I started finding various online jobs. We still couldn’t change our situation or buy nice things, but I managed to at least make sure every need was met.
It’s the same now, except I finally received a proper bed, by donation from a friend, and my son has his own bed as well, also by kind donation. I hustle hard to try and make money so he can have all he needs. There are lots of things you can do to as a single mom, if you have an actual job, receive child support, or spousal support. I personally don't have these sources of income to work with, but many of you might, so finding ways to make your money go further is always a smart move.
I Am Enough
Feeling like I don’t belong, don’t fit in, or can’t measure up to other moms with husbands is another big issue that I have dealt. Being only me it is very difficult to give enough quality time to my son. To provide enough of myself, enough money, enough emotionally. I see all these parents, mom and dad together providing the world to their children. It sometimes makes me feel like I’m not enough. I know that I am, and that my son doesn’t need anyone else. But I can’t help those feelings sometimes. Looking at happy families brings on feeling of resentment, anger, bitterness and loads of jealousy. I suppose that’s only natural.
I try to overcome the feeling of inadequacy by spending less time on social media where the picture perfect family life is constantly shoved in my face.
People who look at me or treat me with pity get on my nerves as well. I often get the pity stares and the once over “how pathetic” looks. Can you relate?
So, I do my best to be polite and not think too much about it. I remind myself that I am enough, that I am just as cool as they are, and that who cares what they think. We are all just doing our best. Moreover, being a single mom is only for the strong, the brave, and the coolest of us.
Single Moms are Built Tough
I am still working on myself, still struggling, and still trying to overcome the daily challenges of this life. I know I’ll get there someday, and so will you. Our lives may not have gone as planned, things didn’t go the way we expected, or wanted, dreams don’t always come true, and not everyone is meant to be happy and thriving. But it’s ok, we are single moms and that means we are tough, tougher than anything life can throw at us. We got this.
Comment below on what challenges you’ve faced as a single mama and I’d love to connect with you on my personal blog to share stories and support each other as single mamas!
Love, Jess XO