Being newly single means that you’ll be making some adjustments. This is a hard time, even for those who feel relieved about the end of their relationship.
Parents, and children, must adapt to a whole new dynamic. Here are our top tips for new mums:
You’re going through a big life change. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Speak to friends about how you’re feeling, and invite them for a cup of coffee.
If you need support from a therapist or counsellor, this should be an option as well. No matter whose decision it was to end the relationship, it’s normal to go through a tornado of feelings that may take some time to calm down.
Read more: Top 5 Good Benefits for Single Parents.
Make a new routine
Whether we realise it or not, family life revolves around structure and routine. Families fall into these routines over time, and it’s natural and almost invisible.
Now, your child needs new structure to help them through this transition. Old routines, like your partner coming home from work and everyone enjoying their dinner, may no longer apply.
Create new routines for your household. Predictability will help you through, so be clear about who will be having the children and when. In the evening, enjoy walks with the kids or a favourite box set that you can sit down to watch together.
This is also a time to invest in yourself and in new hobbies. Being a single mom can be overwhelming with the amount of responsibilities you have to face day by day, you could reflect on things that you like and things that make you happy. If you’re a coffee lover and have been thinking about buying automatic espresso machines for a long time, let me tell you: it’s not wrong to splurge on yourself from time to time.
For your child’s sake, keep positive about the other parent. No matter what’s gone on between you, children don’t need to hear you complaining about their mum or dad. Avoid muttering under your breath, or implying that the other parent has done something wrong. If their other parent did a lot of things wrong, your child probably already knows.
Look to the future. Don’t talk about the problems of the past. As long as it’s safe, keep co-parenting by avoiding lengthy custody battles. Take the high ground and negotiate shared parenting that works. As your child grows, gently discuss why the relationship ended. Too much negativity may lead to feelings of bitterness that your child might direct towards you.
Without another parent to rely on, you’ll need reliable childcare in place. You never know when you’ll need someone else to take care of your children after school. Could you take time off work if your children are sick? You may be entitled to time off to care for dependents, but may need to rope in friends and family or an official childcare provider.
Have childcare plans in place before you need them. Things can change in minutes.
Pat yourself on the back
Remember that you’ve made the right decision, whatever your reason. Research from Direct Line shows that 22% of parents end up staying together for the children, longer than they otherwise would – it takes confidence to make the decision to break up, and it’s often actually the best decision for the welfare of all involved.
Go easy on yourself through this period of change. Be proud of yourself for what you’re doing. Take some time to step back and appreciate how well you’re doing, in what may be completely new territory.
This is a great time to start a journal, so that you can look back in a year or two and see just how life has changed. This is the start of a new chapter, and by appreciating every moment you’ll make sure that you’re able to enjoy it.
As a newly single mum, you’re embarking on the next stage of your life. With your children along for the ride, do what works for you and enjoy your new household dynamic.