Being a single mom is challenging, any way you look at it. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and suddenly being a single mom gets even more difficult. You may be worrying about whether you’re doing enough to keep your child (and yourself) safe. Without a significant other to talk through worries, it can be a big burden to carry alone. But remember that flight attendant’s spiel about putting your own mask on first before helping out others? Well, the same applies when you’re a single mom in the middle of a pandemic: you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Here are 7 sanity-saving tips to help you navigate the pandemic.
1.Embrace your alone time.
Let’s face it. Whether you have a rambunctious youngster, an unsure tween, or a moody teen, a child can hijack your energy, leaving very little you-time.
So, while your child is at school, with friends, or asleep for the night, do something nice for you. Take a bubble bath, go on a walk, paint your nails, read a book, binge-watch a series you’ve been wanting to. You. Deserve. This.
2.Catch up with friends.
Science has proven that social connection is important for both mental and physical health. Moreover, a 2020 government survey revealed that over half of those surveyed felt their mental health got worse due to social distancing from the pandemic. As a single mom without another adult in the home, it’s even more important to make sure you stay connected. If you’re staying socially distant, get creative. Plan a virtual happy hour or wine tasting night, organize a book club, schedule a Netflix binge-watching party and fill up the comment bar. Alternatively, if you’re comfortable going out, catch up in person (while being careful). Better yet, if you know other single moms, set up a playdate for the kids and you. Win-win.
3.Go easy on yourself.
It’s hard to do it all and be great at everything. If you’re trying to be a supermom while being a star at work and Martha Stewart at home, something’s going to give. So, order pizza tonight, leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry in the hamper. As long as your child and you are healthy and safe, that’s all that matters.
4. Prioritize between nice-to-dos and have-to-dos.
What has to get done? You and your child need to eat, so grocery shopping and cooking go on this list. Likewise, your child may need school supplies, new clothes and shoes. Similarly, if you’re working, you need to get your work done. Those should go on this list too. But the haircut, the carwash, cleaning out the closets and the ironing can wait. Prioritize this list of nice-to-dos and tackle one each week. Take the pressure off yourself. Remember, Martha Stewart may look like a housekeeping diva, but she has many minions helping her out.
5. Build your village.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. So, as a single mom, invest in building yours if you haven’t already. Start by looking around you. There are likely friends, neighbours or relatives you can turn to when you need a break.
Set up a video chat for your child with relatives, reach out to a school mom to set up a virtual or in-person playdate, have someone watch your child for an hour or two. In short, it will do you and your child a world of good to spend a little time apart.
6. Ask for help when you need it.
One in five Canadians is reporting high levels of mental distress, one year into the pandemic. On top of the pandemic-related anxiety, you may also be dealing with loss and grief, stigma and prejudice, or employment-related stresses. If it feels overwhelming, talk to a professional.
7. Make time for your child.
Any parent knows how quickly time flies by. First, toddlers turn into tweens who want to hang out with their friends. Then tweens turn into teens who turn moody and don’t want to have anything to do with you. So, spend time with your child.
Even if you can’t do the usual things together during the pandemic, you can still have fun. For instance, make a cake together, visit country fairs, bike or hike through the woods and marvel at the fall leaves.
Or just snuggle under the blankets together and watch a good movie. These are the little moments you’ll remember.
AMJ Campbell salutes our many team members who are single moms. Though we are in the business of helping Canadians move around the corner or around the globe, we also recognize that sometimes “moving” is simply about the steps we take while moving through life. And when you’re ready to make a bigger move, we’ll be there for that too.