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Stressful, challenging and sometimes terribly lonely are just a few ways single moms describe their everyday lives. Yet the second-most common living arrangement for children in the U. According to the U. Census Bureau , out of the 11 million single-parent families in the U. While raising children on your own can be a roller coaster of financial worries and time management stresses, there are lots of single moms out there not just getting through it and surviving, but thriving. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make single momhood easier on yourself. We asked single moms for their best advice on conquering some of the most challenging parts of being single parents.
Read on for single mom help and tips on how to stay organized, slay your financial challenges, raise well-adjusted kids and keep yourself happy all at the same time. Raising on one income can be challenging. Learning how to manage your finances can take a big load off your shoulders. Chris, a mom of one from Massachusetts, says a budget is the key to keeping your head above water financially.
Now I set aside time every Sunday night and update everything so that I am never confused at the end of the month. This has helped me more than anything. Understanding how much money is coming in and how much is going out will help you figure out where you need to cut back and how much you can spend on extras during the month. You can go old-school by creating your budget with pad and paper or try making one in Excel or Google sheets for an easier option. With a little bit of setup time, a free app like Mint can tie directly into your bank and credit cards and make budgeting even easier.
If you know your budget can handle it, try putting monthly bills on autopay. Instead of sitting at your laptop paying the bills one by one each month, set up autopay, and have more time to spend with your kids or with a good book! Now I look into it every year to make sure nothing has changed. Make sure you are taking advantage of tax breaks like the Child Tax Credit and the Child Care Tax Credit, both of which recently increased for Do your research to ensure that you are saving whatever money you are entitled to when filing your taxes.
If money is tight, there are several government programs and grants available for single mothers. It will help them understand the value of a dollar and to be more discerning about what they buy as they get older. It takes a village to raise , right? You might be surprised by how many other parents want to team up with you to tackle child care — just ask around! Other single moms will understand your situation more than anyone else could. If your kids are old enough and ready for sleepovers , this can be a real game-changer.
You can go out or do some time-consuming projects while being kid-free for an entire night. Some moms worry that family members will feel taken advantage of, but older family members looking out for the youngest kids is a tradition as old as time. Many of us grew up spending a lot of time with our grandparents, so try to put your own worries aside. Have an honest conversation with your family members and see if they are willing to help you out.
You will probably be surprised at how willing they are to take on some babysitting time, even if it is just an afternoon here and there. As long as we stick to it, there are no surprises! Kids like the consistency of a routine, even if they put up a fight about it now and then. Having a set routine in the mornings especially is the best way to make sure everyone is dressed on time and no lunches get left at home accidentally. I rotate between the eight lists. Having eight lists means that there are two months worth of dinners before I start to repeat them. Meal planning can help you hold down the chaos that can take over during a busy week, and it also makes grocery shopping a lot easier.
Lots of sites like Skinnytaste and thekitchn post healthy weekly meal plans for families. Google Calendar and many other apps allow you to share things with other family members which means everyone is on the same all the time. There is no better group to vent to when I need to and I love giving them encouragement or advice or help out with a kid when they need it, too. Being a single mom can be incredibly lonely, and having a local circle of moms who are in similar situations can keep you connected to people who live close to you.
We trade notes about schools, parks, even local grocery store sales. Local Facebook groups are another option for connecting with moms in your area. It might be tough to find an active local group made up of only single moms, but connecting to any moms in your neighborhood will give you people to talk to when you need advice, have a question or just want to vent. Amanda, a mom of two from New Jersey, agrees.
Surviving Single Parenthood is a popular private Facebook group for single parents. They go there for advice on everything from finances and child care to dating as a single parent. The group even holds a Secret Santa event each year where members send holiday presents to the children of other members.
Any single parent knows that there just never seems to be enough time in the day. Learning how to prioritize — and outsource — the many things that need to get done is key to maintaining your sanity. My kids are old enough to each make their own lunches every day now and that is a huge timesaver for me in the mornings.
Children can start taking on small chores beginning in toddlerhood. Need a birthday present for the weekend? I get it there. If you have the money in your budget to spring for some time-saving shopping helpers, go for it. Look into ordering your groceries from a company like Fresh Direct instead of spending that hour at the store each week. Can you afford a cleaner twice a month?
Do it! Can you get a sitter even twice a week after school? If you have the cash in your budget to bring in help, look into what would be the most helpful to outsource. It means more time for you and more time that can be spent with your kids. You need time without your kids. It helps you be a better mom in the long run and you deserve it, too. Single moms rarely get time to themselves, but that kid-free time can invigorate you and refill your reserves in a way that really matters.
Hire a babysitter or ask a family member or another mom to take your kids for a few hours so you can have time to yourself. Get a pedicure, go to a bookstore or just take a leisurely walk by yourself. After all, happy moms make for happy kids!
Get control of your finances Raising on one income can be challenging. Start a budget and keep it updated Chris, a mom of one from Massachusetts, says a budget is the key to keeping your head above water financially. Put your bills on autopay If you know your budget can handle it, try putting monthly bills on autopay. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP is a government-run program aimed at providing food-buying assistance to low-income families and single mothers.
WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children , provides state and Federal grants to eligible moms who need supplemental food, health care referrals and nutritional guidance. Single mother grants are available to qualifying moms. Check out the list and see if there is anything you can use to help make your financial situation better. Utilize your support system to make child care easier It takes a village to raise , right? Make the most of these general sanity-savers Any single parent knows that there just never seems to be enough time in the day. Child care advice.
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