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A single mom's parenting duties are no different than they are for a married one — except that you're on your own. Here are some of the biggest worries of new single moms, and a few words of wisdom to help you overcome them. When my daughter, Mae, was 7 months old, her father and I split up. He left the country — without saying goodbye, I might add — to start a new life. I was a hormonal, heartbroken year-old, and in between work hours spent editing textbooks, I nursed Mae and mashed up baby food.
That first year was chaos.
It didn't help that there were no single-mom role models in my life — except, say, Madonna, who was also parenting solo at the time. If she can do it, I canI used to think, but I hardly had a superstar's life. Fortunately, I had a fantastic group of friends who helped. Maybe none of them knew exactly what I was going through, but they babysat and showered Mae with love, which I appreciate to this day. After a time, I got back on my feet and ventured out. And what did I see? A lot more single moms than I had ever noticed before.
In fact, the birth rate for unmarried women was 41 births per Must have a single mom, between the ages of inaccording to the Centers for Disease Control. One caveat: Statistics don't tell how many single moms are with a partner and choosing not to get marriedhow many live with family so they have some help aroundand how many are truly alone.
But the point is, there are a lot of single moms out there. Day-to-day duties for a solo parent are no different than they are for a married one: coping with sleeplessness, finding child Must have a single mom, paying bills. Even so, single mothers agree that even when overwhelmed, there's usually a way to work out problems. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that parenthood is the biggest undertaking you'll ever face. But that's true even if you're married! You will get past the fear. They'd moved out of the country and had a baby, and then their marriage fell apart.
Zola returned to the U. One way to calm yourself: take life one step at a time. Concentrate on giving birth, then caring for a newbornthen looking for work and daycare. You'll still have fears, of course, so confide in friends and family who give you sound advice and who don't panic. The fact that her mother was calm about her pregnancy lowered the stress for single mom Kali Kimberlin, of Pittsburgh.
There are single moms who get reliable, substantial child-support payments from the baby's father. But if reading that sentence makes you laugh ruefully, you're probably one of the majority of women who have become the breadwinner. She was smart — and fortunate: When she first moved to D. But the real boon was when a mom forwarded Zola's to an architectural firm, which hired her for her current job. Amy Anderson, of Seattle, says that when she split with the father of her daughter, Hailey, soon after Hailey's first birthday, she had to borrow money from her family to stay afloat.
But she had taken a computer course when she was pregnant, and even though her preterm labor prevented her from finishing it, she parlayed her new skills into a contracting job with Intel. There will be days when working — you have no choice! Zola, who sometimes works hour weeks, fights frustration by reminding herself what a good model she is for her son.
Lesley Grider, of Milwaukee, agrees. She works full-time at a healthcare organization while her 2-year-old stays with Grandpa. Her work ethic has paid off: She just bought her first home. Divorce and birth out of wedlock don't have the stigma that they did in earlier eras. How could they, with half of all marriages ending in divorce and a third of all births happening outside of marriage? Statistics are not a cure-all, though. Be prepared for any of uncomfortable situations, from disapproving grandparents to gossiping coworkers.
You may grow distant from some friends while drawing closer to others. How to keep your head high if people are judgmental?
You may benefit from a new-moms group; search the Internet for ones in your neighborhood, or look for bulletins in local stores. Mingle at a library story hour or a Gymboree class. I never imagined I'd be checking out women's left hands for wedding rings, but I've done it!
There are as many variations on paternal involvement as there are fathers. Your child may see Dad all the time, or Dad may be out of the picture — or anything in between. It's up to you, of course, to make your child feel loved no matter what. I don't need to add fuel to that. And if your child's father is not in the picture, take heart.
There are good male role models, if not in your own family, then among the coaches, teachers, and neighbors you know. Zola has befriended a single dad of two; she can depend on him to pick up her son from preschool when she needs to work late, and the two families often get together for playdates.
Having other people involved in your child's life also gives you a break. Since my ex is gone, I count on Grandpa to pick up my daughter from school every Monday and on Aunt Rebecca to host the occasional slumber party. I use the time to exercise and, yes, to date again. This does not mean compromising your parenting. It does mean keeping yourself as grounded and as stress free as possible so you can give your baby the wonderful childhood he or she deserves.
Surviving and Thriving as a Single Mom. By Rachel Sarah June 11, Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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18 single mom survival tips from other single moms