I was a single mom…oh shit.
This was not at all where I expected my life to go. In fact it was quite the opposite. I thought I’d be married and onto my third kid by now. But I guess that’s always how it happens when you make life plans. Life laughs in your face and changes shit up.
I had no single mom friends at the time so I felt like although my friends were amazing and supportive, I didn’t have anyone who had gone through something similar.
So how are you supposed to parent young kids when you’re going through such a huge emotional upheaval??
Here are some tips to help you cope with separation while parenting
Use TV or movies to keep your kids occupied.
I know a lot of people feel strongly about not using technology but I’m here to tell you there ain’t nothing wrong with giving yourself a chunk of time to do what you have to in order to get yourself together.
Right after my kid’s dad and I broke up I wasn’t able to do much because I was an emotional mess. I didn’t have it in me to play with them all day. I needed time to sit with my feelings and try to process things. I had to grieve the life I lost in order to move forward with the new life I had and that takes time.
Don’t feel guilty for taking extra time for yourself or not doing chores or not playing with your kids as much.
You are going through an incredibly tumultuous time in your life right now and you are probably not doing well emotionally. So giving yourself grace and allowing yourself to really feel the emotions that you’re having so that they don’t bottle up is not only good, it’s healthy. This will take time to adjust!!
I knew I wasn’t the best mother I could be because again I was dealing with so much emotional turmoil. But I also knew that I was trying really hard to be a good mom and that had to be good enough.
I still got up with them, made their meals, read them stories, took them to their activities, bathed them, and more. But when I was doing things half hearted because my mind was elsewhere or when I broke down crying making dinner, I forgave myself.
Read/Listen to/Watch inspiring things.
I read and listened to anything I could that was inspiring. I read about single moms who inspired me, I read quotes that inspired me, and listened to music that inspired me. Maybe it sounds cheesy but it really helped me gain perspective. I was still amazing even though I was single. I still had two amazing kids who were crazy about me. I could still give us a good life even if it looked different than the one I thought we’d have.
If you can, get as much help as you need.
Have friends or family watch the kids, help with housework, or help with meals. When I first became single, I loaded up on visits and play dates because it gave my kids an opportunity to play with other people and gave me a minute to just sit and enjoy being around other people while still being present with my kids.
If you aren’t ready to be around other people but you still need a break, drop your kids off with people you trust.
I know this one is really hard especially in the beginning because there is likely so much anger, sadness, or resentment that you’re feeling about your situation. Trust me I get it. I know I was there. But one of the things that really helped me to get out of that dark place was staying positive about what my future held and the future that I would have with my kids. No it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but I could still have a really great life and I can give my kids a really great life.
You need to take care of your basic needs.
This is something I did not do and I had a really scary incident where I nearly passed out. I was not able to eat or sleep and I was still nursing my son, which meant I was burning a lot of calories without taking any calories in.
On the second day of not sleeping or eating much, I woke up in the middle of the night having horrific hot flashes and I was seeing white and I could barely move. I had to force myself to go down to the kitchen and eat as quickly as I could while I had ice packs sitting on my neck.
I was really close to passing out and that was a huge wake up call because I realized if something happened to me no one would know and the kids would be alone and helpless. That by itself was scary enough for me to force myself to eat.
So as hard as it may be, you need to try to eat and try to sleep so that you don’t have scary health problems!
You may want to consider talking to someone like a qualified therapist to process your feelings about the whole situation.
When you split up with the father of your children there’s a lot of issues that pop up over time that you won’t know about in the beginning.
As they pop up you’ll wonder how am I my supposed to deal with visits, new girlfriends, finances, school for the kids, moving, and the list goes on! Having an outsider who is qualified to help and is a neutral party cannot only help you process your feelings, but can help you to figure out a good co-parenting strategy.
In the beginning you may have negative feelings towards your ex and you’re going to have to work past that so that you can come together for the sake of your kids.
You can do this!
So many people said I was the strongest person they knew and they had no idea how I was able to go through something like this. They didn’t understand how I could keep a positive outlook for the future or how I could still parent my kids going through a breakup. The truth is, you do what you have to do. You don’t have the choice or the luxury of falling apart. You still have to keep the world turning for your babies.
I think any mom who finds themselves in a similar situation would probably tell you, you just step up to the plate because there is no other option.
These tips help remind you that you’re human and you’re allowed to have your feelings. Keep these tips in mind and they will help you have a smoother transition because you have coping strategies and plans in place.
Moms are the most badass creature on earth. We take care of our kids, pets, chores, errands, and bills even when we’re falling apart. With time you will be able to pick yourself back up again and continue living a fulfilling life.
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