Single Mother Tips: Tips for Surviving the Newborn Stage — as a Single Mother.
My youngest daughter is officially past the newborn stage (OMG, when did that happen?) and I’m alive!
WOO-HOO! I survived. Remember when I thought I wouldn’t survive? HA! Take that, single motherhood.
In fact, I even miss her being a newborn sometimes. If you’re reading this as the single mother of a newborn baby, I know you’re thinking “why would she miss this?!?” I get it. Parenting a newborn with a partner is hard enough…parenting a newborn completely alone? Oh sh*t.
And the guilt…
As a single mom I live with SO MUCH GUILT. I know I’m not alone feeling this way. I’m working on it.
Under the unrelenting stress and challenges of single motherhood, I used to live in constant fear that I wasn’t doing enough for my daughters — and especially for my baby.
I can’t tell you exactly when that guilt started to subside, but I do know that when I implemented the following tips into my life, everything changed.
Keep reading for some of my favorite “single mother tips.”
Moms, it’s okay to turn away visitors. Shocking, right?
Let me repeat that for the ones in the back: IT IS OKAY TO TURN AWAY VISITORS.
The first time I did so, my mom was there to witness it. She was shocked. She couldn’t believe it. “You didn’t let them in?”
No, I did not. ::SHOCKED I TELL YOU::
As parents, and especially as single parents, we are constantly reminded about how important it is to “accept help” and “have a village.” Yes, both of those things are important.
However, not every visitor is helpful. Not every visitor keeps your best intentions in mind. In fact, some visitors will make your workload even bigger. I don’t need any more work.
IT IS OKAY TO TURN AWAY VISITORS. Don’t feel guilty about not welcoming visitors (and germs) into your home right away.
Learn to say NO
No — such a dirty little word. Or is it really?
Learning to say no has been on of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
Learning to say no allowed me to have more time with my daughters, be more at peace with my messy household and less stressed about not being able to complete ALL THE THINGS in a timely manner.
I used to be so selfless it hurt. I was generous with my time, money and love — leaving nothing for myself. If you know me beyond the “blogging world” you know I used to be a bonafide people pleaser. Well not any more, buddy.
Saying “no” also helped me from becoming overwhelmed during the newborn stage. Picking and choosing what additional responsibilities to take on, instead of taking on every responsibility I was “offered” really helped manage my stress levels.
No, I cannot attend your event. No, I cannot help you with completing that paperwork. No, you cannot come over today. No, I cannot coordinate that PTA event this week. No, no, no…
When it came to my older daughter, learning to say no actually improved my relationship with her. Sure, I still endure some backlash with an occasional “no”, but in the long run, it has helped set boundaries.
Boundaries are especially necessary when raising multiple children as a single mother.
Take Care of Yourself
So much easier said than done, right? This is one I struggle with — a lot. In fact, it is one of my biggest “goals” for 2018. I’ve done an amazing job at neglecting myself for a long time. But guess what?
Doing so has really taken its toll on me, and in turn, on my daughters. When I feel like I’ve lost my sense of self, it really affects my mood.
Mama, you need to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you need to go on dates or a girls night out just yet. “Me time” can be something as simple as taking a longer-than-usual shower, finding a babysitter in order to do your nails, or going to the gym.
Even something as simple as visiting Target alone can be therapeutic.
Build a Community and Accept Help
As an extroverted introvert, building a community is something I really struggle with.
I think it is instinctual for single moms to feel like they need to do it all, but that’s not realistic, healthy or rational.
In the beginning, it was so difficult to let go of some of that control. I am a major control freak! But eventually, it is incredibly comforting to know that help could possibly be a text, phone call or e-mail away.
Learn to ask for help. Be specific. Instead of telling the family member who always offers help that you’re “overwhelmed” or that you “will be okay” tell them exactly what you need. They are not mind-readers.
Hey, do you mind helping me with laundry? I’ll make you some coffee and we can chat while we fold the clean laundry!
Create and Stick To a Routine
Try to schedule bedtime, meals, naps and other family functions at regular hours so that your family, and especially your baby, knows exactly what to expect each day.
A consistent routine will help your baby feel more secure and help you feel more organized. In turn, this will lessen your stress.
The key with routines is STICKING TO THEM.
Let others know about your routines and schedules and don’t make plans that interfere with your routine. All of my friends and family know that I don’t go out past 8:00 p.m.
Yes, it sucks. Will it be this way forever? No!
For now, forgoing a “night out” in exchange for my peace of mind is completely worth it.
Follow other single moms. Read about successful single parent households. Find single bloggers who inspire you. Search the net for more “single mother tips.”
Reading about the success – and struggles – of other single moms is a real eye-opener.
According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, more than 80% were headed by single mothers.
In 2018, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18, about 17.2 million, are being raised without a father.
We have so much to learn from each other. Take advantage of the wealth of FREE information that you can find on the internet!
Don’t Compete — with Yourself or Others
You will always feel like you “could have done better.”
You will always come across moms who you think are rocking the mom game a million times better than you are.
Envy leads to bitterness and resentment — and ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially not as a single mother.
Remember, things usually appear different than what they really are. Don’t believe everything you see on social media.
You’re doing just fine, mama. Stop comparing yourself — Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.