As a single mom, there’s one major project you need to complete in order for you to effectively raise your children. The topic of this project is “You.” Yes, YOU need to get yourself together before you can effectively raise your children to be the most THEY could be. There is a cliché that a woman needs to give up herself and her life for the life of her children. When you are doing this, you are teaching your children to give-up when things get tough. Then there is the time drought issue. As single mothers, we often can’t find the time to fit anything extra in our schedules. You may ask the question, “How do I even have time to get myself together?”
According to Women Work! The National Network for Women’s Employment, in 2006 there were an estimated 13.6 million single parents with 21.2 million children (under 21 years of age) living in the U.S. Of those 13.6 million parents, 5 of every 6 parents were single mothers (83.8%). According to the U. S. Census Bureau (2005), single moms represent roughly 27% of the U. S. population (or 11,406,000). Of the single mother population, 7.6% are working who have children 18 years old or younger. Yet, an estimated 27.7% of single mothers are still living at/or below the poverty level. In a recent study, a combination of 2,921 single and married mothers were tested to determine which group was at greater risk of depression lasting an average of 12 months. It was discovered that single mothers have a 40% higher risk of major depression. Stress factors include:
-Constant projects, problems, or issues to resolve
-Children rebelling or behavior problems due to absent parent
-Lack of complete rest
So how does the mention of these statistics fit into YOUR circumstances? You may often feel that there is no end to your constant issues directly related to being a single parent. You may often feel alone and feel stuck in your circumstances. It may seem impossible to you to be successful in your personal life as well as professionally. Although difficult, YOU can and YOU will be successful if you just take the time necessary to organize your life. It will not be easy but in the end, you will be able to gain control back of your life. Without realizing it, single moms have the attitude of: Do what you can now without regards to the future. You must also realize that there are some things, as a single mom, that you will not be able to change and that is the fact that you DO have children that are watching your every step. When you acknowledge that, you will understand that you can’t possess the attitude of only thinking of today and not tomorrow. One day, your children will leave the nest and then you have nothing left to give yourself.
It is absolutely in your and your children’s best interest for you to take this time to get yourself in check. Without organization within your own life, everything will always be much harder than it needs to be. Surprise events in your life will always be a crisis. As a mom, you need to realize that there will always be unavoidable surprise events. How can you be prepared for these events if you don’t know who you are outside of being a mom to your children? In this project, you will need to focus on all of the major areas in your life:
1. Your Spirituality – Know who you are spiritually
2. You Finances – Tell your money where to go by creating and sticking to a monthly budget. Don’t let there be too much month at the end of the money!
3. Getting organized and maintaining a calendar – Utilize your personal space to the fullest through strategic organization. Create and maintain a family filing system so you always know where everything is. Using some type of calendar will really help you stay organized in your daily activities and ensure you don't over-extend yourself.
4. Your Career – Are you passionate about what you do? Do you desire other opportunities?
5. Your Health – Exercise, eating right and drinking plenty of water is a great stress reducer. Get regular medical, vision, and dental check-ups. Taking care of you should be an everyday goal.
6. Your Appearance – When you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside. Looking your best brings on a certain confidence that you didn’t know existed. Even on a tight budget, there are a lot of things you could do to keep your appearance in check.
7. Your Love Life – Are you currently in a dead-end relationship? Are you looking to date again? There are definitely a lot of rules to follow in this area.
Creating some peace within these areas of your life will help minimize stress, which causes depression and other health-related issues. The next several articles will focus and detail on these 7 areas in your life so that you can begin to take baby steps to becoming a successful woman and consequently, a successful mom!
Turo-Shields, Dave (ACSW/LCSW). Single Mothers at Greater Risk for Depression. Retrieved on May 1, 2009 at www.storknet.com/cubbies/parenting/single-depression.htm.
Picture 1 Courtesy of http://www.sheknows.com/articles/807597.htm.
Picture 2 Courtesy of http://www.workingdivas.com.