Surviving life as a new single mum was one of the greatest periods of transition I've ever had to endure...
Everything changed. My career, my family time, my motivations, my parenting, my financial situation and more. It was a time of major overhaul where NOTHING was untouched. I was one of the lucky ones who knew it was coming so I had time to prepare myself for it, in some ways. But in others, it was completely shocking. A classic case of not understanding something until you are actually living and breathing the experience.
The first few weeks of single mum life were an absolute blur as I managed my 11 month old, my four year old, the unpacking at and setting up of my brand new house (of just four days!) and, in addition, I was managing the legal stuff associated with my separation. To say I was flat out was an understatement.
I had little to no family support, therefore I had to go it alone on almost every front. That was challenging but so liberating at the same time. It taught be to be confident in my own ability and judgement, it made me extremely resourceful and, most importantly, it forced me to confront a few self-limiting beliefs I had unconsciously been holding onto.
But most of all, it EMPOWERED me like NOTHING else ever has.
This has been my story for over four years now and if you’d asked me on day one of surviving life as a new single mum if I thought I would be where I am now I would have laughed at you! I’ve worked my toosh off over the years and despite my initial fears, these past four years have actually been some of the GREATEST of my life!
So… if you’re a new single mum, here are some tips to help you manage those early weeks and months…
1. Take a deep breath and KNOW you will make single mum life work
Firstly, I say KNOW in capitals because thinking it, even believing it, isn’t enough. You need to KNOW it because only then will you truly be ok, no matter what this journey throws at you. By maintaining a positive attitude you are giving yourself the best possible chance to confront, work through and overcome the inevitable challenges that present themselves both immediately after separation and in all your single mum years to come. KNOWING you’ll be ok is the greatest act of self-preservation, ever. It brings a wave of calm like nothing else.
2. Use time by yourself for POSITIVE
If your children will be spending time away from you with their other parent it’s important that you use this time for GOOD. Yes, it will be a huge adjustment seeing them head off those first few times. Yes you may be angry, sad, scared, disappointed, worried…. I get it. But feel those feels and then get going. The greatest gift you can give your children is a happy, healthy Mummy so work on doing positive things with your solo time. Think personal growth, healing, activities, hobbies, friendships, work… anything that is going to ADD to your life and the lives of your children.
3. Get informed and educated
There’s nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed when it comes to any major life transition. With that in mind I would suggest you take time to read… articles, blogs, books, websites and the likes. Get to know your single mum ‘stuff’. Investigate Centrelink, research topics like finance for single mums, find budgeting hacks, learn about your entitlements, tap into things that have worked for other single mums. Don’t go it alone, there is SO MUCH information out there that will help you make this period of your life easier.
4. Get organised
This one is a no brainer. Separation is an organisational nightmare. Paperwork to fill and file… documents to source, copy and lodge… phone calls to make… dates to keep. That stuff is seriously overwhelming if you live in chaos. Getting organised may take some time, resources, commitment and support however, once you establish a few keys habits and procedures you will definitely see a difference in your sense of personal control. Healthy levels of organisation bring calm and the work pays off. Being organised will clear space in your mind for YOU and, moreover, on a practical front, it’ll give you extra time for things in life that actually make you HAPPY!
5. Find your tribe of single mums
Don’t sit at home feeling sorry for yourself (well, at least not for too long!), get amongst the greatest inspiration you could ever find… other single mums! There’s nothing better than associating with women who actually get you. Who are exactly where you’re at. Or, who have progressed further along their journey and who now have single mum tips n tricks to offer you. You might like to join (or start!) a local single mums group in your community, you might like to join some single mum Facebook groups… because the greatest validation you can ever receive is from someone who lives the same experience.
6. Focus on what’s good in your life and cultivate more of it
When you’re in the midst of losing everything as part of a separation and divorce it’s very easy to lose sight of what remains, of all that is good in life. Remember, regardless of what you lose as part of your separation (money, houses, cars etc) there is ALWAYS something good that remains. Yes, of course it will be easier to see these things on certain days more than others, that’s reality for everyone, not just someone going through a separation. Think health, friends, hobbies, food you love, your passions, music you enjoy, opportunities in the future, work, hopes and plans. When anchoring yourself in positivity, dealing with the hurdles and obstacles of separation will be much easier.
7. Commit to having FUN despite the challenges of surviving life as a new single mum
This one is critical. Never ever stop having fun because you are going through a separation or because you are a single mum. Keep up your regular commitments if you can … sport for the kids, library visits, catch ups with friends. The first few weeks and months of being on your own can be shocking enough without the withdrawal of all the things that made you, YOU! Of all the things that made your life, YOUR LIFE! Now, more than ever, you need these things to keep you going. To keep you grounded in reality. To keep you calm. And, above all, to remind you that life goes on despite separation and single parenting.
I hope these little tips will help you not only survive but THRIVE so that you can go forth and live the life YOU DESERVE! Remember, despite how bad it gets, you are NEVER alone in your separation and single mum journey. Surviving life as a new single mum is tough but you are STRONG and CAPABLE! There are millions of other women facing similar fears, challenges and realities ALL OVER the world. Think of the single mum sisterhood and know that someone out there has your back.
As a single mum, you might also like to check out my articles Women's Health Tips 'n' Tricks and 7 Must Do's To Survive Your Divorce! Remember... I'm here for you. I support women AUSTRALIA WIDE via in office sessions, phone and video calls. x
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Erica has a passion for Women’s Health. She works with women who want to be heard, supported and empowered! Erica is a survivor of many life experiences. A Mum. A travel lover. A green thumb in training and an eternal optimist!