By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
5 Things Every Single Mom Needs to Know by Jennifer Maggio
Single moms, you are amazing! You are a treasure. Your kids think you hung the moon, even when they don’t tell you or act like it! These are only a few of the things you need to know! Let’s face it. Along the journey of single parenting, the road can be winding and full of bumps and bruises. The stamina it takes to persevere over the long haul can be seemingly unattainable.
That’s one of the reasons The Life of a Single Mom exists! From the very beginning, it has been our goal to be a support to single moms in whatever capacity we could.
Overview of Services Available by The Life of a Single Mom:
That’s why we offer free weekly LIVE chats via social media on single mom-centric topics, as well as free ebooks, newsletters, articles, videos, and podcasts. We also have a national map to help you locate a single moms’ support group in your community by entering your zip code. In Greater Baton Rouge, we offer home improvement projects, exercise classes, life skills classes, and licensed counseling, all for free! Beyond that, you can also enroll in Single Mom University which is an online life skills classroom, offering more than 100 classes currently. You can apply for the National Single Mom of the Year Award, or engage in one of our many local or national events throughout the year. ,
We know it gets hard. We know the journey is long and some days are great, while others are ….. less-than-great! The important thing is knowing that you are not alone! We are so grateful for organizations, like Ochsner for the dedication to provide excellent services for their single mother employees.
5 Tips for Survival:
And here are a few other things you’ll need to remember on those tough days:
- You will make it! It may not seem like it today. There may be a battle facing you that is larger than you’ve ever seen before. The mountain could be huge. The finances may make no sense. The children may be the most disobedient and disruptive that you’ve ever seen them, but you will make it! There is a season for all parts of your life, and even if this is the most difficult season, the children will one day grow up. The most important thing you must recognize is that positive self-talk makes a huge impact of how you parent your children, manage your finances, and make critical decisions. You will look back and laugh at the things that cause you tears today. You will smile at your grandchildren one day. You will be able to celebrate. As a former homeless, single mother of two children, who are now 23 and 21 years old and both college graduates, I can tell you that I know you will make it and you are not alone, so push through, persevere, and reach out for help when you need it.
- Learn to ignore the naysayers. There will always be one or two who have negative thoughts to share. It doesn’t really matter if you are a single mom, married mom, childless person, man woman, teen, senior citizen, etc….there will ALWAYS be critics. Maybe criticism comes because someone doesn’t fully understand your journey or challenges. Maybe it comes because they mean well, but lack the knowledge necessary to provide such feedback. Or maybe it simply comes because those individuals have heartache, hardship, or bitterness of some fashion that has nothing to do with you. Whatever the case, you must learn to be cautious of what position you give to the critics in your life. Don’t grant them power over you.
- Learn to forgive. Let’s acknowledge that single motherhood is hard. Let’s acknowledge that in many cases, it isn’t where you expected to be. Maybe there are some that went through a terrible divorce and you’ve been unable to forgive the past. Maybe you were in a relationship that you hoped would last forever and it didn’t. Maybe you had some unaddressed anger against your ex-partner. Perhaps you are mad at yourself for a decision from your past. You must learn to forgive. Forgive yourself where you may have failed or fallen short. Forgive an ex-partner who may have treated your poorly. Forgive your children, when they’ve disappointed you. Forgive. Learn to do it well and often. The long-term effects of living a life of forgiveness include less stress and an overall healthier auto-immune system, according to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, Who Switched Off My Brain?. Dr. Leaf is a world-renowned neuroscientist and best-selling author who has specialized in mind-brain research, since the early 1980s.
- Manage your money well. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the socio-economic ladder at this time. The importance of managing your money well will never be a principle that you will outgrow. Having conducted more than 1,000 financial education consultations in Corporate America for a Fortune 500 company, I can tell you that money management, regardless of socio-economic status or current age, is critical to your future financial security. You cannot ignore this component of your single parenting journey in hopes that it will simply “get better” or “go away”. If you have a little, right now, and are challenged in meeting monthly financial obligations, it’s important to learn to create and stick to a budget. Likewise, if you are not struggling financially at the present, monthly budget management is still critical as you look towards retirement, education plans for your children, and future life goals. Money management will never be an unimportant topic regardless of age or socio-economic status. Learn to manage well. Take a money management course online. Enroll in a financial education class or Single Mom University. Take the time to invest in yourself to learn money management techniques, so that money isn’t always the biggest stressor in your life.
- Do not be a victim of comparison. While there will be similarities that you share with other single mothers, there are also differences. These differences make us unique. These differences offer us perspective that others may one day find valuable in their own journeys. They make our stories beautiful, much like a multi-colored tapestry woven together. Your past circumstances don’t define you. Comparison to others will steal your joy. It will immobilize you from doing the things you were created to do. You were created for greatness. You cannot compare what someone else has accomplished professionally, what they’ve had to endure, or how your struggle may have been different. You cannot compare the success of their children to your own, the speed of which they remarry, or how they achieve success financially. Comparison will make it difficult for you to embrace gratitude for what’s been given to you. Everyone has their story. Everyone. Embrace your journey and pay careful attention to your own work.
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Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author of four books, Chief Executive Officer of The Life of a Single Mom, and national single parenting advocate. An 11-time Circle of Excellence award winner, Maggio’s own journey from homeless single mothers to executive for a Fortune 500 company leaves audiences riveted. She has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Power Women, Daystar Television, and many others.