We’ve all heard the divorce rate in the US hovers around 50%, but did you know the number of single parent households has tripled since 1960? Statistics show that 24% of households in the US are spearheaded by single moms, and that number has been steadily increasing.
This article debunks the notion that we are seeing more ‘Breadwinner Moms’ (the highest earners in their households) because women are being paid more than ever before. Rather, the reality is more women are the breadwinners because they don’t have spouses. Sadly, single mothers often struggle for survival by earning only one quarter of the income that married women earn. This financial burden and struggle only adds to the pressure every parent has.
Being a single parent is a hard.
I know this because I am one. My daughter is now 21 years old and I raised her entirely by myself. I had little family support because my family still lives in Germany, so I was the sole person responsible for catering to the physical, emotional, and educational needs and demands of my child.
When I talk about managing the “second shift” at home after working a full time job, I speak from experience. I needed to work full time to pay our bills, and 60% of other single mothers do the same according to the article in The Atlantic.
I know firsthand how hard it is to function when you feel that you are in a constant pressure cooker trying to balance the demands of a job and parenting. Plus, you have other desires, such as having and maintaining a decent social life, taking care of yourself physically, preparing healthy meals, etc. Many single parents just give up hope that they will get everything they want—they can barely survive with the lives they have now.
A single parent who juggles children, a job, and a social life can become burnt out and let all the balls drop. The Women’s Code explains it through the Superhuman Paradox: we want to be perfect in all areas of our lives and often end up feeling like failures when we fall short. We blame ourselves for not fulfilling our expectations to master everything we do with excellence.
We can’t simply find more time or energy in each day, so how do we balance our expectations with our realities? The answer is to find our ego-RHYTHM and set a Main Focus.
The concept of ego-RHYTHM is time-based and it allows us to identify what our personal rhythm is right now. Once we understand what the most important aspect of our life is, we focus on excelling in that one area. A rhythm only lasts three to four years before our focus naturally changes, so we can excel at everything we want if we allow it to happen over time. The realization that this is just now, not forever allows us to breathe a sigh of relief.
Here are a few tips that busy single parents can use to de-stress:
Find support. When I was raising my daughter, we took turns with other families (often with single parents) to have weekend sleepovers. A weekend on my own once in a while was priceless! Cherish those relationships like your sanity depends on it—because it does.
When you have ‘Me’ time, opt to do something fun instead of catching up with laundry and cleaning. Go see a movie, take a leisurely walk, or have coffee with a friend or even alone. Make a conscious effort to allow yourself some grown-up fun whenever you can.
Stop feeling guilty. Single parenting probably wasn’t your first choice, and besides, children of single parents do just as well as children of married couples. You are doing great—you are doing everything you possibly can. When my daughter went to college, it took her only five days to send me text thanking me for how I had prepared her to cook, shop, clean, and manage her time.
How can you support the single parents you know? Invite them to all your social gatherings. Women especially can feel like social outcasts because, while there is always a place at the table for a single dad, single moms aren’t invited much. Let’s break this trend by supporting each other! Help your single parenting friends by getting them out as often as you can.
I’m sure all you single parents out there have more ideas about the kind of support you appreciate. Share your ideas here to let your friends know what they can do for you.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
I’ve learned to accept that having a partner is not the key to my happiness. For a while, I thought this was what I was missing from my life and what held me back from complete fulfillment. Now I understand my happiness is my responsibility and I can’t get it from someone else. I do get lonely at times, but I’m learning not to dwell on it and I make a point of getting out with my friends, which makes gives me joy.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I am grateful that I have a determined spirit and this constant drive to do something. I can be intense and take a lot on at once, but it makes my life exciting and I find something interesting in everything I do.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
I consider my daughter, Gina, my greatest accomplishment. She makes me proud on a daily basis. My goal is to share my experiences in life and business to help others reach their own goals.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I think perfect is boring—I’m glad I have flaws!
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my…life, and everyone it in!