Being a mom is no doubt the toughest job in the world. You do it for 24 hours, 7 days a week. No breaks. Even when you’re in the bathroom, expect your little one to be knocking and screaming because she wants a snack. Thankfully, there is usually a partner to the rescue… giving mom her well-deserved “me time” even if just for a couple of minutes.
But that’s not always the case.
Many moms raise their children on their own, and let me tell you being a single mom is tough. Imagine doing it all by yourself – taking care of the little one, managing finances, and working. Being a single mom is not an easy job. And if you happen to be a young single mom, things can get even more challenging!
So, what is it really like to be a young single mom?
The Reality of Being a Single Mom
When you’re a single mom, there’s no room for tiredness. There’s no room for exhaustion and taking a break is simply the last thing on your to-do list, if it’s even there! When you were in school you probably thought that the exams and research were the hardest, but the moment you have a baby, you’ll realize they’re actually the easiest thing to do. And if carrying a little human inside your tummy for 9 months sound crazy, wait until she arrives. Having to carry a 10-pound baby all day will make you sore. Nursing can be tough for some moms, and those sleepless nights? You will trade a good dinner for an hour of extra sleep anytime.
But really, all the stress, discomfort, lack of sleep, and exhaustion are pretty small compared to the bigger challenges of raising a child alone. Every single mom goes through an emotional burden that makes her life even more difficult. There’s the guilt of raising your child without a father, constantly worried about how you will answer her questions when she grows a little older and when she starts noticing that other children have a mommy and daddy. To make things worse, there’s the struggle to overcome people’s judgment. Young single moms are often judged. They are perceived in a negative way as if being a single parent is a punishment for them.
Then there’s a struggle to be financially capable and independent. The bills certainly won’t end. If you’re still in school, things are even harder. Trying to earn enough to meet your child’s needs and finish school at the same time can be totally exhausting. Without someone to support you such as your family, it is almost impossible to do.
How to Survive Financially
As you struggle with the physical and emotional pangs of being a single mom, you don’t have time to set your finances aside. The moment you find out you’re pregnant, your expenses begin to balloon. Baby stuff is never cheap. For example, clothes, diapers, formula, doctor visits, and vaccines. The list goes on and on. So how do you survive financially when you are a single mom?
First of all, it is important to have a clear view of how much income you need each month. This helps you figure out how much more is needed apart from your current income, and create a plan to manage your finances. This helps you know if it’s time to move to a smaller apartment, live with your parents for a little more time, get another job, change your job, start investing, and so on. At some point, you might find yourself looking for personal loans online for single mother costs just to keep up with the bills, but that is fine. It is never easy taking care of all finances when you have a child. But there are certainly ways to cope.
It also helps to create a budget and stick to it. As a mom, you have to really make a lot of sacrifices like having to cancel a night out with friends, sticking to that old pair of shoes (the ones you had five years ago), and having no new clothes to wear. It is important to prioritize your needs as well as to ensure that your little one is well provided for.
Learn about the programs that the government and some private institutions offer such as affordable childcare, scholarships, low interest personal loans, etc. If you’re still studying, look around for scholarship grants where you qualify.
Lastly, get as much help as you can. Don’t turn down a family member or friend’s offer to help you. Whether it’s looking after your child while you work or lending you money when you need it the most, a strong support system is the best weapon you can have to survive the challenges of being a young single mom.
Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a tap on the shoulder. Know that you are doing a great job by trying to be the best mom that you can be.
Feature image via Unsplash