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Becoming a Single Mom

Whether you are becoming a single mom by choice or having the title thrust upon you, there are some things you should know about raising children.

This advice is meant as general guidelines for the average child. If you are parenting a special needs child, this advice doesn’t apply to you. Instead, find support groups, seek help from family members and people in your community, and find the best educational opportunities as you can for your child.

For the rest of you, here are some things to consider as you embark on your journey into solo parenting.

No one else will appreciate how amazing your child is.

Throughout your child’s growth and development, your child will do amazing things. Maybe your infant will sleep through the night at two months and hardly ever fuss. Perhaps your three-year-old will astound you with a grown-up vocabulary. You’ll go out of your mind with excitement when your eight-year-old scores a hat trick during his soccer game, and you will swell with pride when your daughter wins her first debate tournament.

The frustrating part of this experience is that no one else will truly appreciate how amazing your child is. Your own mother will probably be the closest person who understands. Others will smile and nod or like your status updates as you brag about your child. But they won’t truly get it.

Don’t forget to discipline.

If your child is an infant, you probably can’t imagine the day when he or she will defy you. Trust me. It’s coming. Some single moms overlook disciplining their children for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is because you want to keep the peace in your home. Maybe you feel guilty for not having another adult in the house as your co-parent.

Regardless, you won’t do your children any favors by not helping them control their behaviors.

Read a few books or articles about discipline. If you find yourself yelling at your child, you are doing it wrong. Give your child choices and simple commands and wait for them to obey. Don’t threaten your child with consequences that will never happen. Don’t whine or bribe. Let the child know that you are the boss, and when you aren’t there, your childcare provider is the boss.

You are not your child’s friend.

The relationship between a single mom and her child is different than other parents/child relationships. While it is normal for you to feel extremely close to your child, don’t forget that you are his or her parent.

Throughout your child’s life, he or she will have ample opportunity to make friends, but your child has only one mother. Protect this relationship. Don’t overshare, and remember to set some boundaries.

Raising a child by yourself will be hard, but others have had it harder.

There will probably be times when you are so tired and frustrated that you hate the fact that you are a single parent. During these times, take a lesson from the classic book Pollyanna and think about others who have had it worse than you.

Perhaps you are struggling financially, and you can’t sign your child up for horseback riding lessons or buy him expensive athletic shoes. Remember, there are always others out there who are in a worse financial situation than you.

Maybe you see pictures of happy families online, and you think you are the only one who is struggling. If this causes you to stress, remove yourself from social media. You’ll know that this is the right decision if scrolling through Facebook or Instagram makes your body tense up instead of remaining neutral or relaxed.

If you are having a difficult time keeping up with your home because you are continually working and parenting, think about how difficult it would have been to maintain a home without the modern conveniences that you have.

This, too, shall pass.

Potty training for some children can be a nightmare. Some toddlers are biters. Maybe your child struggles with his multiplication facts. Perhaps your teenager is going through a tough time with friends.

Unless you have a special needs child, most of these problems will work themselves out eventually. Knowing this may make it easier to get past the tough times in life.

Enjoy each phase.

Your child will go through so many unique and exciting phases. They will go through a time of great discovery, imagination, energy, and development. You may enjoy some stages more than others, but remember that once they have entered adulthood, they will be over. Enjoy each moment.

This article was originally posted at Midlife Single Mommy!

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