October 31, 2014

The Independent Mom: Adapting to Life as a Single Mother

Congratulations! You’re having a baby! But, as a single mom, you’re sure to have reservations.  You’re sailing into uncharted waters, and regardless of how much organizing you’ve done beforehand, you might find yourself swamped after the baby comes. Even experienced mothers can find it incredibly challenging to balance their lives while coping with their new bundle of joy. However, you can meet the challenges inherent in the single-parent journey, and reap the rewards along the way. The tips below can help make adapting to new motherhood easier. fastaction_foldjogger_mom_baby_folded_stroller_2

Stay Positive

It’s easy for single mothers to fall into the trap of discomfort. For some women, raising a child alone is not something they’d planned for. The most important aspect to consider in anticipation of a new baby is that your emotions will be picked up by the baby. When mothers are anxious or upset, the baby may become fussy, making the situation more difficult. Therefore, make decisions to address concerns logically. Focusing upon solutions rather than problems, and planning for potential problems in advance, can relieve stress and prevent depression.

Organize for Simplicity

Single parenthood often necessitates more organization than two-parent families. Take the time to work out a loose schedule to get a sense of how you’ll spend your time. Doing this empowers you and makes it much easier to manage daily life. For instance, list tasks that can be delegated or hired out to lighten the load. There are many towns that offer grocery and baby supply deliveries that can make life a lot easier. Look into those services ahead of time and, if possible, set them up before your baby arrives. Also, once the baby is born your priorities will shift, and you won’t have time to devote to some things. Consolidate tasks that might needlessly drain your time and energy, and learn how to say “no” to outside demands.

Use the Right Tools

The more you can do for yourself, the better off you’ll be. For example, technology, like computers and apps, enable you to set reminders and find information in seconds. And multitasking care items like a baby playard are highly useful and offer a multitude of benefits. Playyards are mobile and versatile, and some even have removable fabrics that can be tossed in a washing machine. They provide a safe place for baby to sleep and play. And some are easy enough for a new, inexperienced mom to assemble without tools—a wonderful option for the not-so-handy woman with few mechanically-inclined friends to call on for help.

Set Up a Support Network

It’s essential for you to have friends you can lean on—or just talk to. Along with your current friends, family, and contacts, there are numerous single-parent websites that offer invaluable advice, information and chat services. Through these networks, you can make new acquaintances and share resources regarding caring for baby at every stage of its development. Your network could include local doctors and other care providers, nurseries, even babysitters. An internet connection widens your group to regional, national and even international sources. With a little ingenuity, you can create a support system that alleviates anxieties and establishes connections to lifelong resources.

Plan for Balance

Remember, you’re not just a mom. You’re also an individual, with dreams of your own. Try to balance parental responsibilities with future career aspirations, exercise, mental stimulation and a social life. It’s easy for single moms to forget about their own needs. However, keep in mind that proper rest, exercise and connections with peers are essential in order to be a good parent. Arrange for help with chores if needed, and schedule time for just you.

It’s really true that it takes a village to raise a child, especially for single mothers. With just a little preparation, you can make your life as a single mom more productive, joyful and fulfilling. Your baby will thank you for it.

A father of two, Richard Freeland has been privileged to know and be part of the support group of several independent moms. The easily assembled InGenuity washable playard is helping single moms everywhere by providing a safe and restful refuge for their babies.

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