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This is a guest post from Alexis Hall of SingleParent. She introduced herself to us as “a proud single mom to three kids [who has] been single since Julian, my youngest child, was born five years ago and I love it.” Our kind of woman, in other words, making her life on her own terms with her children's wellbeing front-of-mind. She expressed a desire to speak with joy to single mothers-to-be, and even to possibly “inspire mothers-to-be who aren’t single :)”
We love what Alexis has to say and hope you do, too! Take it away, Alexis!
Image via Pixabay
Post by Alexis Hall
Soon-to-be mothers everywhere are lucky to have countless online resources telling them what essentials to invest in for their babies, but there’s more to prepping besides creating a shopping list and to-do list, especially if you’re a single mother.
Another search for single mom resources reveals tons of articles with words like “disadvantages” and “pros and cons,” but single mothers are a growing population. According to Single Mother Guide, “Single motherhood has grown so common in America that today 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by single mothers.”
Being a parent, in general, is an experience that inspires personal growth, and being a single mother heightens this growth. Here are some tips to prepare for parenthood as a single mom, one of the most rewarding times of your life, while turning those “disadvantages” on their heads.
Single mothers have a grasp on self-sufficiency that other women rarely fathom, and this trait is passed on to children of single moms. A lot of responsibility that’s traditionally divided amongst a couple will be thrust upon your shoulders alone. Instead of feeling doubt or loneliness about it, consider the sort of efficiency, sensibility, and competence that you’ll gain from taking it on.
Your time-management skills will skyrocket, and you will be an amazing role model for your child. “Children of single moms watch their mothers’ tireless dedication and come to appreciate their struggles...[and] her child sees the connection between Mom’s sacrifice and her success,” according to WorkingMother.com.
Take comfort in the fact that you and your child both will benefit from this situation. As you make your home baby-friendly and get the nursery ready for your little one, don’t dwell on doing it alone. Think of all the one-on-one time you’ll have with your baby, the bond you’ll form, and how you’ll be calling all the shots as far as parenting styles go. Spend your time on other things that truly matter, and know that when the baby is in your arms, everything will fall into place.
Get Your Bucks in a Row
One of the biggest hurdles for many single moms is working a job while balancing family time. The average cost of raising a child is about $233,610. That’s a lot of money to spend from a single income over the course of about 17 years, but it is possible with a budget.
Even If you already have a budget in place, revisiting your current budget and planning your future budget is a constructive use of time. Depending on the type of childcare you plan on using, you’ll possibly be spending thousands of dollars annually. If you live near family, this cost can be cut down — but it’s important to be realistic about it.
Get in touch with your employer’s human resources department to get your maternity leave figured out, and find out how much paid time off you have remaining. Call your insurance providers to see what is covered, and ask about discounts while on the phone.
Auto insurance companies often provide discounts for all sorts of situations, so call them and see if you’re part of any qualifying groups. Perhaps a discount is available for safe drivers or drivers under a certain mileage? Are you a teacher or military veteran who could get coverage via a group discount? You need to be covered in case of any accidents, but with a little homework, you could find a lower rate. In fact, if your child takes driver education courses or maintains a certain grade point average, you could benefit from it. Unfortunately, most companies do not provide discounts for single parents.
Sit down, find ways to save, strategize how you’ll provide for your family now and allow yourself to relax, even slightly, later on down the road. You’re going to need that bit of downtime, too.
MAKE TIME FOR...
Before and after the baby comes, you need to practice self-care. For writer Jaime R. Herndon (via Today’s Parent), that means staying up later to read, even when she’s exhausted. You have to make time for yourself for your own “self-preservation.”
There are going to be times that you need a community of women going through the same thing as a single mom. A community can give you support and a shoulder to lean on during those tough times that are sure to happen.
You have to be organized when raising a child on your own, but don’t feel like you constantly have to be preparing for the next day or week — at least not at the detriment of your baby. Enjoy spending time with your baby; what’s the point of all your hard work if it’s not to feel a sense of calm when you can be together?
There’s a lot to do when preparing for your child, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the list of things to do. Parenthood will bring challenges you never imagined, but you’ll get through it with preparation, knowing you will be better for your baby because of it.