Do you want to know how to cope with being a single mom? Here are simple tips on how to beat single mom burnout and enjoy your life!
I don’t need to say that being a single mom is hard. If you are a single mom, then you understand.
Being a mom, in general, is difficult, but add on top of that single parenthood, and that can make things so much harder and can add so much more stress!
Burnout is physical or mental exhaustion that stems from being overloaded, overwhelmed or overworked. Single mom burnout is real!
It is hard to be the mom (and sometimes dad too), chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, homework-helper, plus have a career, take care of yourself, and keep up friendships.
I remember feeling constantly overwhelmed when I first became a single mom.
My to-do list never ended (and seemed to grow and grow before I could even cross a few things off).
My stress level was high.
I felt a lot of shame and guilt.
Signs of single mom burnout
- You feel constantly overwhelmed.
As a new single mom, I went days feeling overwhelmed and overloaded. My mind was constantly running with everything I had to do and also processing all of the difficult emotions I was struggling with.
- You never have time for yourself.
You never do something nice for yourself, or, when you try to, you remember something “more important” that needs to get done and you do that first.
Whenever I started to do something fun for myself, I would remember something more urgent that needed to get done.
- You’re edgy.
You feel on edge, can’t relax, snap at your children often and can’t enjoy your time with them.
- You don’t get enough sleep.
Instead of going to bed on time, you stay up late to finish tasks and get up early to do more. (Been there, done that!).
- You feel guilty.
Mom guilt is SO real. Single mom guilt is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Not only do you have mom guilt, but the fear and anxiety that your kids will be messed up for life because you are a single mom can make it that much harder.
I personally struggled for quite a while until I found ways to help myself manage single mom life in a better, healthier way.
Here’s how I have learned to cope with being a single mom.
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How to kick single mom burnout to the curb!
Thankfully, there are ways to make your life as a single mom easier and more fulfilling – even if it doesn’t seem so at this moment.
First, build up your support system!
Ask for help
In America, we (moms especially) like to pretend that we are tough and can do it all by ourselves.
The truth is – we ALL need help. We weren’t made to survive alone, but live in a community.
If you need help, seek it out and ask. Those people who tell you “if you need anything, call me” – take their word and ask for help to avoid burnout.
Have adult friends and/or a support group
Join a group of single moms – and meet up regularly! You will make connections and your kids will also have new friends.
I joined a single moms group when I was going through my divorce and it was such a relief for me to know that other women (with kids the same ages as mine) understood! I didn’t feel alone anymore and I could ask for advice from other women who knew.
You can find support through local Facebook groups, Meetup.com, local churches, and community centers.
Having other single mom friends can be very beneficial because:
- they can understand your situation
- you can offer each other advice, suggestions, and support
- you can swap babysitting (for free!)
When I knew that I would be getting a divorce, I was a stay at home mom with no job and 2 kids under the age of 4.
I felt overwhelmed and panicky.
Money is often a source of stress for many single moms, especially if you were not working (or only working part-time) before becoming a single mom.
The best money tip I can give you is: Get your finances in order.
Start setting up a plan to get to a place where you can have a sufficient income to cover all of your own expenses (without any outside help).
If you are not there yet, don’t panic. As I’m writing this, I’m relying on partial government assistance as well as child support, but I am working very hard to make sure I get to a place where I will be financially self-sufficient.
Here are specific steps you can take:
- pay off all debt
- set up an emergency fund
- start saving for retirement
- find a way to make more money (look for side-hustles)
- start teaching your kids how to manage money well (especially by being a good example yourself)
Set up daily routines in your home to help your life run more smoothly.
Routines help you stay organized, keep your house clean, help your kids feel secure and help you not feel so overwhelmed.
Some examples of routines I have:
- Get up before the kids and start working
- Have a list of quick and easy breakfasts my girls like (and keep a regular stock of the ingredients)
- Do a load of laundry a day (I hate having mounds of loads to do all on one day. One load of laundry takes 15 minutes tops!)
- Clean up after every meal (put dishes in the sink, wipe counters, sweep floor – takes 5 minutes)
- Have the kids help as much as possible
- Keep a weekly schedule posted on the fridge (I have this one and it’s great!)
Related: Meal Planning Made Easy
Your kids are your priority! Here are some simple tips to help keep a good relationship with your kids.
Be firm and consistent (and loving) when setting boundaries for your kids – so they know what to expect.
This creates security and helps kids learn to set boundaries themselves.
If you are struggling with your kids, check this post to see a few of my favorite parenting books.
Related: How to Teach Kids to Set Boundaries
One of the best pieces of advice my counselor gave me was to be honest with my kids. Honest about my feelings (factual and neutral or kind regarding the other parent), situations and circumstances, and with answers to their questions (in age-appropriate ways).
Spend quality time with your kids
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy chaos of single parenting, but also so important to spend quality time with your kids.
Put away your phone, step away from work and enjoy their presence.
Let your kids be kids and don’t rely on them for emotional support (see my first point about having a support group!).
Spend fun time with them and let them enjoy you as their mom.
It’s truly the simple things that matter. They won’t care that you don’t live in a mansion or have thousands of toys to give them. They want you to be with them and love them.
Last, but definitely not least important, take care of yourself.
Remember you are modeling good (or not so good) habits for your children by the way you live your life.
I have 2 daughters so I am very conscious that they look to me as a role model for how I manage my time and emotions, how I handle difficult situations, and how I have fun!
I want them to grow up and take good care of themselves so I need to do the same!
Take time for yourself
My counselor told me that I need to refuel in order to be able to give to my kids.
When I started doing this regularly it made such a difference in my attitude towards them and in the overall state of my mental health.
It’s false to think you can “go-go-go” without stopping and not need a regular recharge. Put it in your schedule and stick with it!
And try treating yourself to one of these awesome gifts for single moms!
Take care of yourself
You can take care of yourself on a daily basis by:
- eating well
- getting enough sleep
- having a healthy work-life balance
- treating yourself now and then
- keeping a hobby
- maintaining friendships and good relationships with others
Keep a positive attitude
This was another thing that made such a difference for me. I made a huge effort to focus on the positive things that were happening in my life. One practice I adopted was thinking of 3 specific things I was grateful for each morning.
Set a good example for your kids by having a healthy mental outlook and modeling it for them.
Let go of perfection and single mom guilt!
Stop trying to be “Super Mom” by doing it all. You can’t.
- set boundaries – say no when you need to
- accept your life as it is right now – keep looking at the positive
- have realistic expectations about yourself and your kids (they won’t be perfect and neither will you)
This book is an easy read and was really helpful for me!
Be grateful for what you do have and don’t compare your life to other people. Teach your kids to counts their blessings too!
You can learn how to cope and be a great single mom! Beat single mom burnout by having daily routines, taking care of yourself, keeping a strong support group, developing great relationships with your kids and getting your finances in order. What other things are you struggling with as a single mom? What things have you done to conquer single mom burnout?