Splitting up from your partner and going from two adults in the house to just one is damn tough. And it’s not just a massive upheaval for mum and dad, kids are especially vulnerable around this time and need extra assurance and… well, just time, to process the changes the family is going through.
Being the primary carer of your kids, especially at a time like this, might seem terrifying and fraught with challenges – but trust us, you got this.
Here are some tips to help make that transition a little bit easier:
1. Take care of yourself
It’s imperative that you take the time to mind yourself. Single mums often put themselves last on the priority list, but if you’re not looking after yourself you’ll get run down or sick. That means getting enough sleep and chill time, even if the house is a mess.
2. It’s okay to feel animosity towards your ex
If you split acrimoniously, the odds are there’s a lot of hurt, bitterness and anger still there. And while experiencing those emotions are a normal part of dealing with a break-up and moving on, putting your kids in the middle will make it more difficult to heal. In their eyes he’s still there dad and you have to respect that, for their sakes.
3. Make sure the costs are split evenly
Keep a note of the cost of everything you have bought for the kids. Either set up a spreadsheet or keep a folder handy so that you have a record of all expenses and keep all receipts. That will make it far easier for you both to split the costs.
4. Create an emergency list
It’s a scary feeling to know the responsibility of the welfare of these human beings rests firmly on your shoulders. Creating a list of people you can call in an emergency will make you feel more secure and less like you’re doing this alone.
5. Don’t isolate yourself
While everyone’s situations are different – and some mums might not have family or many friends living near them – for the sake of your sanity try to socialise as best you can. And if you can’t get someone to mind the kids, find out if there’s a mum and toddler or single parent group in your local community.
6. Ask for help
Asking for help or telling people you’re struggling doesn’t make you a failure – it makes you human. Being a single parent is bloody hard, and there will be times you’ll need all the help and support you can get. Just don’t be too proud to ask for it.
7. DO NOT be ashamed
Your ‘status’ might be termed “single mum”, but you’re really just a mum, plain and simple. Never, ever feel your less than because you’re going it alone. Because to us, and your kids, what you’re doing is amazing.
8. Remember that it’s okay to feel a little overprotective
Newly single mums can’t help but feel extra worried or overprotective. This is normal and once things settle down it should even out.
9. Cry if you need to
If you feel sad, cry, bawl, sob – it's cathartic, it's needed and it can help ease your pain. It doesn't mean you're a crap mum. Bottling up your feelings doesn't make you a stronger mum, confronting them does.