4 Ways To Change Your Attitude About Being A Single Parent

mom with two kids in the park and holding one in her arms

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

I remember opening my car insurance statement and seeing that my marital status had been updated to “divorced.” I’d totally forgotten about that failed marriage! Thanks for the reminder, State Farm.

Whether your husband passed away or you’re divorced or were never married, you probably never asked to be a single mom. But you’re not alone—not by a long shot. There are over 15 million single mothers in the United States. That’s a lot of single moms. It’s a population that’s growing and many of us are raising our kids with little or no help. It’s not easy, but your attitude about being a single parent will make a big difference. Here are 4 ways to think differently about it.

1. You’re more valuable than ever.

It’s so easy to fall into the “poor me, I’m just a single mom” way of thinking. When I first became a single mom, I struggled with feelings of worthlessness. Society puts so much value on the picture-perfect family (understandably so—family is important) that when I no longer fit into that picture, I questioned my identity and importance. But my value as a person hasn’t changed just because my marital status has. If anything, my value to my children is greater than ever and so is yours.

2. Your time with the kids is valuable, too.

Right away, I decided I needed to work on my attitude about being a single parent. I could spend the rest of my life feeling down and out or I could do what’s best for me and the kids. My time with the kids became the most valuable asset I had. Everything else came second to my time with them. My friends know that if I have my kids for the weekend, then I’m likely going to turn down an invitation to a girls’ night. Sure, I take time for myself, but not at the expense of time with my kids.

3. You don’t have to be like a dad.

Somehow, single moms are expected to raise kids like dads do. We do the “guy things” to prove we are tough and can do anything a man can do. I’m all for stepping outside of your comfort zone, but if we mess up or if it feels awkward, we don’t have to beat ourselves up. One day my son and I threw a football in the front yard. I didn’t catch it once. Not a single time. Did I feel unathletic? Yes. But did my son have fun? Well, he laughed a lot!

4. There are always going to be hard moments.

I remember my first days as a single mom. I don’t enjoy remembering. My kids were only 1 and 3 at the time. I was into bottles, diapers, daycare, and Winnie the Pooh. It was a time for holding them, nurturing them, wiping tears away, and then, watching them go. That Christmas may have been the hardest. Their dad’s week started in the afternoon on Christmas Day. When I watched them drive off, it felt like a punch to my stomach. I used to think the hard things would become less hard the more I did them. Then when they still hurt, I was surprised and confused. Now, instead, I accept that single parenting is never going to be easy, but look for the gifts that coexist with the challenges. I have a stronger relationship with my kids than I would’ve had before and I appreciate every moment with them.

What changes in your attitude about being a single parent have you had to work on?

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

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