Being a mom is challenging, exciting, and scary. But suddenly becoming a solo (divorced, widowed, single) mom, can be out of this world scary. I get it. There are some women for whatever reason decide to become a solo mom on their own. But when plans for your life did not include caring for someone else or your plans included caring with someone else, life can go from what you know to your world basically spinning off its axis.
But if you can change your mindset you will be able to gain perspective on how to be a successful solo mom.
When you come home and he’s gone and you are left to explain his absence; when he dies and you are left reeling from loss and heartbreak; or when you just have to pack up your kids and run for your life..these are times when we get inside our heads and we can think too much.
When you are left to pick up the pieces of your life, if you are ill prepared, what is an extremely bad situation, could become an even worse situation. So having experienced suddenly becoming a solo mom, I wanted to make a few suggestions. None of it is foolproof and everyone’s situation is different, of course.
But I hope this list will help you, not only to gain some perspective but also to change your mindset when you find yourself suddenly a solo mom.
So easy to say. Extremely difficult to do. If you do panic, do it for one day then pivot to your life. I panicked I when came home one day to a house left in shambles (in more ways than one). My ex cleaned out the family belongings, including the kids piggy bank and hightailed it out of our lives. Leaving me with a two and a four year old. My friend had to call the ambulance and I’ve been on blood pressure medicine ever since. Panic attacks raise your blood pressure so try not to panic too much.
I didn’t have anyone close except my kids. If you have good family members or friends, now is the time to lean on them for strength.
Don’t Make Any Major Decisions
You are in shock. You are fearful. You are absolutely devastated. But this is not the time to start making big decisions. The only big change you may want to make is to change your mindset. Yes, your boat is full of holes and it’s probably sinking. But hold your children close.
Do the needful.
But take some time to absorb the shock of what just happened to you.
Trust The Lord
Yes, I know. Doesn’t seem the Lord cares right now. Maybe you blame him for taking your spouse. But again, no major decisions like abandoning your faith. So when you are lying in your bed, wondering what the heck you are going to do, ask Him. Tell him how you feel. Yell at him if you have to. He won’t be offended. He already knew this was going to happen. And you might ask, why he didn’t stop it from happening. Well, there are too many answers to that question.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3: 5-6, NLT).
The only sure thing I know is that nothing is a surprise to God.
When I discovered this I realize I worry for no reason. Learn to trust Him.
This is the time when we tend to fold into ourselves. We are burdened with grief and loss. We are angry and fearful. But the one thing that might keep us from getting help is guilt. This is true especially if we blame ourselves for his absence.
Don’t let guilt and fear stop you from turning your life around. Your kids need you.
Accept help from people who are sincere about giving you help. But bear in mind that there are those like wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking out vulnerable single moms to take advantage of. Don’t fall for it.
See a therapist. It’s one of my suggestions in this blog post. If you have a full time job with benefits, your company might offer and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) — which would allow you to get professional help free for 6 weeks. If not, see if you can find a therapist that will give you a payment plan. Anything is better than nothing.
It is imperative to speak with someone who can be objective and will not sugar coat but still have some empathy. People who are too close to your situation will not be much help and may only confuse you further. This is time to gain clarity. Not add to your confusion.
Take Care of Yourself
So many solo moms neglect themselves in the name of “my kids”. But who said taking care of yourself is neglecting your children? I’m not talking about partying or dating. I’m talking about self-care. Making sure you are mentally and physically stable for your kids. Because they need you healthy and strong. And you can’t be healthy and strong if you don’t take care of yourself. Bears repeating. Taking care of yourself may require you to change your mindset but the work it takes is worth it…both for you and your children.
This is not the time to stop loving yourself. Or it may be time to start loving yourself. You decide which one is for you.
Check out this free checklist. No email required. Also, listen to Shaniqua Garvin as she talk about losing her husband to heart disease on SoloMoms! Talk Podcast. Hit play below.