We’ve heard over and over again that single mothers are both “mom and dad”. Although, we cannot in reality be two people, many of us do a “bang up” job raising healthy, successful children in spite of the missing mate. But being the only parent in the house is an arduous task. So, we must aggressively take good care of ourselves – mind body and spirit – so that we don’t lose ourselves in the daily demands of raising our children.
This is why the primary focus of our single mother support groups in Kansas City is to focus on the women behind the mom character. At the meetings we spend the bulk of our time discovering how we, as single moms, can lead mentally stable, balanced, complete lives. To be able to raise our children confidently and effectively, we’ve got to take good care of ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically.
Here are 5 tips to guide you in staying in touch with yourself as you parent your children.
#1 Find some “YOU” Time
I’m not saying you have to set aside an entire day for yourself, but if you are able, find some amount of time in your hectic schedule to just enjoy your life. When my son was small, I would use his nap time to listen to music, take a long bubble bath or eat some sinfully decadent dessert. Granted, it wasn’t a lot of time, but it was enough time for me to slow my day, refresh myself, and hear my thoughts.
#2 Maintain Friendships
Children are fun and we love them, but they are not to be our primary source of companionship. This is too much responsibility for the children and not a healthy dynamic. The roles in families should be clear – parents are to parent and children need to be free to be children. They shouldn’t have to hear you vent about work, relationships and the lack of money. They need a sense of safety and structure.
Friends provide much needed “adult time” for single moms. Being able to confide in a good friend helps us gain insight into ourselves. Sharing secret thoughts is cathartic and also enables us to view the world through a clearer lens. Friends also provide a supportive “net” for us so that when times get rough; our friends are there to remind us of our past victories and our future goals. We all need that.
#3 Pamper Yourself
Single moms, more than anyone, need to find creative ways to pamper themselves. Pampering yourself doesn’t need to be an expensive indulgence. Right after put your children to bed, do your nails, write in your journal, brainstorm, or just sit back and daydream.
One of my girlfriends really understands the importance of pampering herself. She regularly spends time sipping coffee from her balcony while listening to her favorite jazz cd. She frequently cooks meals that she particularly likes and she often buys special gifts for herself. I believe this is why she is so enjoyable to be around. There’s a calmness and confidence about her that comes from her inner peace with herself. She clearly loves herself and that makes it easier for others to love her too!
#4 Feed Your Spirit
We are body, mind and spirit. We often take care of our bodies by feeding and nourishing it. We challenge ourselves mentally to build our mind “muscles”, now let’s talk about our spirits.
Our spirits guide our actions and essentially drive our lives. This is why it’s important to spend time feeding our spirits with good books, prayer and listening to good music. A simple rule of thumb is to be very cautious of why types of exterior influences that you allow into your spirit. Violent music, yucky movies and negative people tend to make us tense, angry and discouraged. Instead, fill your life with positive things that will inspire you, educate you and feed your spirit.
So, again, be careful what types of things that you allow into your world. Keep them positive by focusing on whatever things are good, true, honest and of a good report.
#5 Get Your Blood Pumping
Exercise is a wonderful way to feed your mind, body and spirit. Find a way to become active, single mom! Walking, jogging and running around the backyard with your kids are great ways to get your heart pumping.
If you’re like me, finding a way to exercise can be a challenge. The key is to make exercise as fun and enjoyable as possible. Recruit a friend to be your walking buddy, or join a workout group that offers child care. There are countless ways to exercise on a minimal budget, with minimal time and with minimal motivation!
Single mom, you are the most important earthly element in the lives of your children. You absolutely must find ways to stay focused, motivated and in touch with your inner self so that you can operate at your optimal level. Follow these tips, add to the list and stay centered!