From holding onto some perspective to boosting your energy, add these techniques to your repertoire
Chances are you never pictured yourself bringing up your baby as a single mum. And now it’s happened, you’re faced with a whole host of issues you never thought you’d have to deal with.
But whatever the reason you’re not in a relationship anymore, there are ways to make your day-to-day life as a parent that bit smoother.
So, take a deep breath and stick this to your bathroom mirror to make the most of your not-so-unique situation.
1. Use your support
Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family – the likelihood is they’ll want to help out, especially if it means time with your kids. Also remember there are plenty of people in a similar situation to you who can give you advice or be a sounding board.
Think about different friends and look for online forums, blogs and Twitter accounts you can relate to.
2. Believe in yourself
Whether you’re overwhelmed or panicking, nobody feels 100% confident all the time. So, take a deep breath, count to 10, put on some music or phone a friend – whatever calms you down.
‘There are two million other single parents out there, so tell yourself – out loud if that helps – that you’re not alone and you can do this,’ says Rebekah Barry, part of the advice team at single parent charity Gingerbread.
3. Make time for you
Find something you love and make time for it – schedule it in your diary or let those dishes wait. Whether it’s swimming, watching Downton or seeing a friend, giving yourself headspace helps you feel refreshed when you’re frazzled.
Even think about something that’ll give you time to yourself and also boost your confidence – perhaps an Open University course, which you can do over time and increases your skillset.
4. Get organised
You split the household admin before, so it all being down to you now can be daunting. ‘Ask other single parents what works for them, so you can develop your own system,’ says Rebekah.
Become the queen of to-do lists and consider where you can afford to ease the load. Can you spare £20 a week for a cleaner to free you up, for example? Even if it’s just in the kitchen and bathroom.
5. Don’t compare yourself
That other single mum at nursery might seem like she has it all together, but remember everyone tends to put a brave face on. ‘We all compare ourselves to other people from time to time,’ says Rebekah.
‘In fact, no one has it all worked out, so just concentrate on what you and your kids need and keep doing things your way.’
6. Keep relationship issues separate
Depending on the situation with your ex-partner, try and keep anger moments for when you’re not around the children. It’s tough for them to see and chances are you don’t want them to have a negative view of their dad (even if you do).
‘When you're finding it hard to be reasonable, keep coming back to the thought "What is best for the children?"’ says Rebekah. ‘That’s not to say you’ll always agree on what that is, but it may help you work towards getting on the same page.’
Think about stepping out of the room for phone calls or rescheduling for when your toddler’s in bed.
7. Find your feel-good tricks
Put on lipstick or dig out that top you always feel good in – little touches, but good for a lift. There’s a school of thought known as colour psychology that suggests certain hues influence mood too, so raid your wardrobe for something bright green – it’s meant to refresh you – or pop on something in calming blue.
Ready to date again? Think about easing into it with a speed dating night or joining a dating site where a friend writes your profile. She can highlight all the qualities you wouldn’t shout about yourself.
8. Pat yourself on the back
Write down key achievements at the end of each week, from fun you’ve had with your child to something you checked off your to-do list.
‘You deserve to be happy – however bad you feel, don’t forget that you are loved and appreciated. If you need a reminder, look at your kids,’ says Rebekah. ‘Get a solid routine in place and just focus on one day at a time.’
And if you decide you want to think about meeting someone new, check out Mother&Baby's dating site. We're offering a special discount off full membership for the month of May, where it will cost you just £5 - just enter MOTHER05 at checkout.
What are your top tips for single parents? Let us know on the comments board below.