My Story as a Single Mom
As a traditional Mexican woman, I never thought divorce was going to be part of my story.
The last few years have been a challenging transition period for me, my son, and my now ex-husband.
After many months of dealing with the stress of divorce and handling it to the best of my ability, I started writing about it. I found that being able to express myself in writing in the first place was easy and therapeutic. I also discovered a new circle of support and a sense of not being alone. It was all part of my process, and in the last years, it has become part of my daily life.
As a divorced mother, my biggest challenge has been adjusting to many new routines while setting new limits and finding new habits. Here are some examples of how I try to maintain balance in my life today.
As a single mother, I make sure that the weekends with my children are quality time with them and focus on activities that we can do together.
I make sure my weekends without my kid are as productive as possible (taking care of myself or with projects around the house, catching up on work). This helps me focus all my time and energy on my child on the weekends that I have him.
As a single mother, I need to take more responsibility for my finances. I work with a financial advisor to help me create better habits and have a spending and savings plan.
I schedule regular therapy sessions to make sure I am talking to someone about how I feel. When you don’t have someone to talk to about your feelings, it’s essential to find help from an expert with whom you can vent and get advice. Therapy has been an excellent investment in my care. A therapist can also help you find support groups for single parents or programs that help single mothers.
I regularly ask my children how they feel, what they need, and what I can help with the most.
Even though I chose to become a single mother, divorcing while a young child is a difficult challenge. That said, when it comes to my son, I never tried to hide anything, and I have always been very direct and open with him. Children of divorce need constant reassurance that it was not their fault. Divorcing children means that you will have to remind them repeatedly that both parents will love them the same even if they are no longer together.
It has also been painful for him—children of divorce face many emotions.
I’ve made sure to remind him that we have to feel these emotions, live them, and talk about them, and we do. I have sat and cried with him many times. I have also taken him to therapy and invested in his care. It’s a big adjustment, and the children of divorcees need time to process this change. Now we are much better, but the feelings are still flourishing. When this happens, I ask him to let me know. Being open and honest with your children during the divorce process is very important. My son has helped me heal in many ways, and I pray all the time to help him heal.
Here are some tips that can help:
- Be open and honest with your children when appropriate.
- Children of divorced parents need to be constantly reminded that they did nothing wrong and that their parents separated is not their fault.
- Encourage your children to talk to you about their emotions or invest in therapy as a form of self-care for the child or yourself.
- Be patient. Parental divorce is a significant change, and it will take time to find your way as a single parent.
As an entrepreneurial single mom, I face many challenges balancing work and everyday tasks. I’m constantly struggling, trying to get in a good, stable position just to keep up. But I also want to pursue my goals, passions, and dreams. There are many fears and doubts about being a single parent. I have the support of family and friends, but being a single parent also means there is no such safety net as having a partner to support you. As a single mother, you are everything, and fears of failure take over. I have them daily. So it’s a matter of being brave, praying for everything to go well, and moving on. Either that or stay where we are and regret not having done more.
Make sure you have a robust support system and someone you can talk to and turn to in times of need. You don’t have to do this alone. Look for programs that help single mothers or join support groups for single parents.
One of my biggest challenges is myself.
Sometimes I think that I am the one who stops having big professional dreams. But many times, it is because I feel that mother’s guilt. I feel like I’ve already put him through a lot with the divorce process. If I can’t support him as a single mom, then what? On the other hand, my son is also my biggest motivation. I love my son, and he is the reason I keep going and moving forward. Ideas? I have them. People, who believe in me? I also have them. I need to tell myself that I have to get over my fears and do it! Being a single mother does not mean that you cannot invest in your dreams.
The same struggles in a two-parent household are found in a one-parent family, and the difference is that the experience is amplified when one becomes a single mother. Generally, there is no longer the same support from a second person, even when everything possible is done to be joint parents.
For example, while a two-parent household may have both parents helping to organize schedules, disciplining, picking up sick children, etc., a single mother has that responsibility alone when it is his (or her) turn to have the children. Handling all of that takes a lot of organization and planning, especially as children get older and activities increase, and life balance becomes increasingly difficult.
The more you can plan, the easier it will be to handle being a single parent. One tip to help manage your work-daily balance is to have a visible calendar somewhere in the house to remind you of your daily needs. Planning for the unexpected also helps! That means sometimes having a friend or family member available in case something comes up that she can’t handle directly.
Scheduling problems aren’t the only ones for single parents, either.
As a working single mother, I have another big challenge: finances. Usually, for single parents, there will always be some financial hardship. Divorcing with children usually means that one parent has the children most of the time. In my case, I am the one who receives the child support because my son lives with me full time. There have been many, many months when my ex-husband has not paid his responsibility. But that doesn’t stop the mine. Everything still needs to be paid, regardless of my ex-husband paying or not.
Being a single mother, honestly, is a steady job. I try not to celebrate every victory or achievement to remain steadfast and humble, but I remind myself how much I have come and how much I have accomplished. I love talking about the things I do, hoping that others will be inspired and motivated if they are in the same situation. I think that’s when I do celebrate. I celebrate when I know that what I do can make a difference, not only for myself and my son but also for others, especially other moms, single working moms, and separated parents in general.
Like everything else, I want to be proud, but I also want my son and parents to be proud of me and who I am. Some days are better than others. I am human. I work hard on my emotional care so that I can be a successful single mother. I make mistakes and feel guilty, but I keep going and try to be stronger than before. More substantial and better every time!
Children and divorce will undoubtedly change the course of your life forever. Knowing that my son is well cared for in our single homes and that they feel loved and safe is all that is truly important to me.