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Self Care For Single Moms?

Photo by Feeh Costa on Unsplash

Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly! Self care for single moms

Seems counterintuitive, I know. Maybe even a bit selfish?

I mean, aren’t single moms supposed to like, sacrifice everything under the sun (and then a little bit more) for their kids? Aren’t we like, the sad martyrs of parenting? Giving, giving, giving, never getting anything back; and doing so with a tired smile on our face, just grateful for the opportunity to do so for the sake of our amazing and innocent children?

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Self care doesn’t really seem to fit in with the single mom lifestyle, ya know? We don’t have the luxury of taking the time and energy to implement self care routines. It’s not what people around us want to see. It makes us look self-centered. Like bad moms.

Well, as a single mom, I call horseshit. 

I think everyone and everything in our lives, especially our children, benefit when we are healthy, happy, confident, and focused. 

Don’t even try to tell me that doesn’t make sense. Cuz it totally does. So why do we get snotty looks, snide comments and undeserved judgement for committing to care for ourselves – from people who have no idea what it’s like to be a single parent, and even worse, from each other?

SOCIETY DOESN’T BELIEVE IN US

Well for one thing, we’re not terribly supported by society. We’re the red headed step child in almost every social circle. Everyone has an opinion on what we should and should not be doing, how to parent our kids, how, who and when to date, what jobs we should take, etc, etc. It’s like they believe that by taking over or telling us, constantly, what they believe we’re doing wrong, that they are somehow supporting us.

And I’m not writing this to rant and bitch about how much our lives suck. Not even close. But let’s be honest and lay it all out on the table. 

Has it ever bothered you that the very few programs out there dedicated to helping single moms treat us like we’re somehow less intelligent or less deserving? Like all we could possibly hope to achieve in life is to become a manager of a fast food restaurant or if we’re lucky, land a job with dental in a call center?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I’m sure the intent is well-meaning. And sometimes that can be the foot in the door we need or it can help us build a resume, skill set or job history that helps us move forward. But where are the programs that help single moms earn wages that are beyond “barely surviving”? Where are the programs that help us build confidence in who we really are, in our unique talents and skill sets? Where are the projects that show us how to really apply our unique learning and communication styles to our crazy, chaotic circumstances? Where is the support for parenting, for the single moms who aren’t ready to leave our kid in the community day care with a one star rating on google and allegations of abuse every other month?

I’ve come to believe they don’t exist because ultimately we are pitied, not respected. We are in need of resources, and we’re just not considered a terribly profitable market, so we’re tossed to the side and forgotten. Or ignored.

Because at the end of the day, society doesn’t believe in us. We are the parental fuck ups. We are the ones who failed to hold our family together, regardless of whether it was completely out of our control. We break all the precious rules of parenting because we have no choice, and that’s just not ok in their eyes. We are the ones who tarnish the image of the modern Wonder Woman…we can’t possibly do it all, have it, be everything to everyone and do so in the glamorous fashion society has come to expect from women in general. 

We muddy the waters, and no one wants to see it. They want to stay still in the shallow but clear sandbar and enjoy feeling superior. 

Again, I’m not here to whine or play the victim. Far from it. But getting to the issue and seeing real change means acknowledging the truth and knowing exactly what’s up. Pretending keeps us in the dark.

So let’s stop pretending. 

I’m here to shine a glaring light on this issue so we can see the way forward, instead of believing the lie that we’re just stuck where we are.

We’re not. 

Society doesn’t believe in us. Yeah I said it. Now what?

Now, we prove them wrong

But how the hell do we do that?

Well first, it’s time to turn the flashlight around and address own limiting beliefs.

WE DON’T BELIEVE IN OURSELVES

If we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to believe in us? And I know it’s difficult to see the truth about yourself when you’re constantly being fed the lie that you aren’t good enough

But fuck ‘em. 

Only you, me, us. Only we can truly say who we are, what we are capable of, and what we are worth in this crazy, fucked up world. No one gets to decide who you are but YOU. 

And you mama, are pretty damn awesome. 

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But you have a hard time believing that don’t you? The world tells you something else. Your life tells you something else. I mean, the proof is in the pudding, right?

Sure. But not the way you think. 


What if told you that what you think, what you believe, and what you say create your reality. 

Stay with me. While I am a subscriber to the ideas of mysticism and  metaphysics, I’m not going all woo woo on you here. This is fact, backed up by science. 

Think about it. You believe you can’t be entirely effective as a parent because you’re only half of what should be, what’s designed to be a whole. You believe that, because it’s what we’re taught. You believe it, so you live that truth.

You believe that as a single mom, a woman, alone, responsible for other human beings, CAN’T make enough money to support your family without sacrifice; sometimes to the extreme. You believe that even if you can semi survive without wanting to shoot yourself every day, that it will be hard; really hard. Draining. Exhausting. A great sacrifice in the name of survival. For the children of course.

You believe it, because it’s what you’re told. It’s what everything around you says is true. And so, it is true for you. 

You believe that as a single mom, you can’t be happy, sexy, successful, or a strong leader. You believe that because we’re told that single moms don’t rise to the top (evidence to the contrary). We’re told that true happiness is rare for us and only achieved after a long hard road of pain and misery. We’re told it’s wrong to want to be desired, to seek companionship, because of the children. We’re told that if we look healthy, vibrant and energized, that we must somehow not be giving our all to our family. We must be lazy or leeching off of others, or taking ourselves more seriously than our family responsibilities. We believe it, because we’ve felt the burn of failed friendships and estranged family members, of cruel comments on social media and a constant passing over of opportunities for social and occupational activities. 

We believe it, and so it is true. And it becomes more and more true the more evidence we see. 

But mama. It’s a lie.

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What law says you can’t be an incredible mother, all on your onesie, just you and your kids; a whole, healthy, complete family unit – whether you have a spouse or a partner or even a goddamn best friend? Who says? You say, they say, Facebook says, but it’s all just words, thoughts and beliefs. No facts. No evidence, except that which you choose to see and believe. 

What law says you can’t be sensual, sexy, vibrant, and flirty as a single mom? Where does it say that you can’t go out, have fun, sleep with someone new every night if you want, date or fall in love without it being somehow at the expense of your children? Without it always being at their expense? Who fucking says?

What law says you have to work 3 jobs and leave your kids home alone all day to raise themselves (far more detrimental in my opinion than wearing that slutty dress and having a few drinks every now and then)? Who says you are limited to keeping them in public school cuz you can’t survive without that bullshit-subpar-robot-making-fuckall of an education system we have to babysit your kids, just because it’s free and because you’ve got bills to pay? Who says that you can’t land a six figure job and work 20 hours a week, or start your own goddamn business and become a millionaire in less than a year? Who says you can’t work in a field you love because you don’t have the education requirements, nor the time, energy or money to go back to school? Who says you are stuck in a hellhole of an apartment or living in section 8 housing because that’s just what single moms have to do?

WHO FUCKING SAYS????

You say. That’s who. You believe it, you think it, you say it, you complain about it, you stress over it, you cry yourself to sleep at night with the idea of it all rumbling around in your mind.. and your subconscious, and YOU say it’s true.

So it is.

But it doesn’t have to be. It really doesn’t. The only limitations to your life are the ones you put on yourself. And as long as you put those limitations on yourself, so will the world around you. Cuz the power is in your hands honey. It’s all you. 

THERE’S A MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHAT SELF CARE IS

Photo by Rune Enstad on Unsplash

It’s not selfishness.

There is also a huge misunderstanding of what self care means. Even with self improvement being such a huge movement and self care being made a regular part of education and even corporate healthcare benefits, somehow, it’s still like, oh self care is great, but you’re a single mom? No honey, you need to focus on your kids! Self care for you is just plain selfish! 

Where the fuck, did that insane idea come from?

Let’s get something straight. When we talk about self care, we’re not talking about taking from the well-being of another person, certainly not our children, in order to improve our own health and well being. This idea comes from another skewed and limiting belief that there is a cap on how much well being there is to go around. As if, god forbid, we spend 45 minutes in a fucking bubble bath with a glass of wine that somehow, we are depriving our kid of some measure of precious time, energy, and happiness  that we will never get back. 

Doubly so for the single parent.

But that’s just a belief based on a perspective that doesn’t really make a whole lotta sense. 

If as single moms, we’re constantly depriving ourselves of the nourishment we need for our mind, body and soul, how does that help us meet a single goal in our lives, least of all the goal to effectively raise our kids to be happy, healthy and able to make clear and positive decisions. 

It doesn’t.

It doesn’t serve us, and it doesn’t serve them. So who does it serve? Damn. That’s a can of worms we’ll have to open another day! But the point is, it’s pointless. 

Depleting yourself in the name of sacrifice and survivalism? It’s just a cover, an excuse for a lack of self love. And if we lack self love, we really don’t have any to spare for anyone or anything else in our lives , do we?

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Ouch. Harsh, I know. But chill.

I’m not saying we don’t love and care about our kids with everything in us. I’m just saying that we don’t have a lot left in us, and it shows. All the struggle, the strife, the tears, the fighting, the crying, the constant feelings of lack in every area of our life…

It’s just a mirror, a projector of the lack of love within. We’re not allowing ourselves to receive, feel, nourish and cherish love for ourselves. 

Because it feels wrong. It feels selfish. It feels as if there isn’t enough to go around. Like love for ourselves means less love for our kids. 

Not so mama. Not so. 

In fact, the more self love you cultivate, the more love you attract and continue to send outward – like a magnetized boomerang!  Which means everything, every feeling, every idea of love you want your kids to experience with you will actually radiate from within you with a strength and capacity you could have never imagined. All good things and more. And more. And more. And more.  

The more love you give yourself, the more you receive. The more you receive, the more you send out, the more you send out, you receive back 10 times more in return, and so on.

But live your life in a frequency of survival? Well girlfriend you’re putting out some strong feelings of lack, need, and desperation. The more lack you feel, the lack you will receive. The more lack you receive, the more desperation you will send out. The more feelings of desperation you send out, you receive back 10 times more feelings and circumstances of lack, need, and desperation. 

So whoever is trying to make you think that self care for the single mom is selfish, is full of shit. 

Just sayin’.

OK GREAT, NOW WHAT?

Now that you know this, what are you gonna do? 

Me, when I realized this is the way life really works, I quit the bullshit and made like the scene from Half Baked where Scarface quits his job…

“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you, I’m out.” 

I just let go of anything and anyone who robbed me of my joy and feelings of self worth! And I began to focus. Not on what I didn’t want. Not on what I needed to fix or change. Not on what didn’t have

Nope. I focused on what I wanted. Me. Not everyone else. Me. 

What did I truly want? What made me feel happy? What made me smile and feel good? What made me feel alive and passionate? What made me feel strong and confident? What did I want to accomplish in this lifetime? 

I made a list and committed myself to doing anything and everything on that list that I could each day. And I rewrote the list every Sunday, because what I found was that as I followed the trail of love and light, it grew wider and brighter and full of exciting possibilities I didn’t even know existed for me. 

 For example, when I started this, one thing on my list that made me feel happy was ice cream! Now, I rarely got ice cream or anything extra like that because I thought it was a waste of money I didn’t really have to spend. But when pay day came around, the first thing I did was head to grocery store to pick up a gallon of mint chocolate chip. Oh yeah!

As I was reaching into the freezer to grab it, I noticed a buy one get one sale on this brand of ice cream I didn’t recognize (nor do I remember). It had a bunch of funky flavors I normally wouldn’t have tried. But, since it was on sale, I got it anyway. Some kind of caramel pretzel cookie dough or whatever, which was ok. The second flavor I grabbed was called Wedding Cake.

OMG. So. Freaking. Tasty.

Like, unrealistically delicious.

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Well not long after that, my next paycheck I think, I decided to get ice cream again. I went to the same store, but neither the brand or the flavor was there. I was slightly disappointed but stayed optimistic and Googled the flavor. I discovered that a little ice cream shop had just opened down the street, like, within walking distance of my house! They not only carried this new flavor , but made it fresh from scratch each day! They sold it in hand made fresh baked waffle cones dipped in chocolate, in heaping servings for super cheap! So of course this became my favorite place to take the kids! It became a sort of ritual. Every Saturday, we would walk up together, hang out, chit chat, and eat the shit out of this awesome deliciousness that far exceeded my every expectation of ice cream, all for cheaper than getting it at the store.

I mean, hullo?!!!!!!!!

What started on my list of favorite things as a gallon of ice cream became an experience…the ice cream, quality time with my kids and even meeting some new, interesting people – some of whom also became regulars, as well as my ice cream shop buddies.

Allowing myself that one simple treat opened my heart to what became a significant source of joy in my life…and I don’t just mean the ice cream. The time with my kids, the memories we made, the conversations and friendships built…all because I allowed myself to spend less than $5 on something that made me smile.

And by the way, the money I spent on that ice cream didn’t get me evicted or get my lights turned off. It didn’t keep me from feeding my kids that week or from putting gas in my car. It just bought ice cream. Imagine if I hadn’t let go of that fear!

THE POINT?

Self care is not the devil. It does not make you a bad mom. It does not take away from anything you can give your kids. It certainly does not render you a selfish, soulless bitch.

You my friend, my fellow single mama, are worthy of all good things. You are worthy of love and respect and you are more than allowed to take care of yourself in the best way possible. 

Permit yourself to discover who you are and to love everything about yourself. Permit yourself to take the greatest care of you. 

Do that, and I promise, you will see incredible growth and positive change in your health, in your career, in your material items, in your relationships, and most importantly, in the love between you and your kids. 


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