As a young, employed single mother I also have my fair share of challenges when it comes to raising my daughter by myself, but I have also had to teach myself that within every problem, lies the solution. The most substantial change I had to overcome when I became a single mom was the overwhelming sense of failure, the emotions ran very deep and I wasn’t sure (at the time) what to do or how to address it. I felt alone as though I was the only one going through it and therefore I was already setting myself up for a loss with my negative thinking.
It took a few years before I really learned how to open up, talk, and to find a routine for myself as well as developing certain practices that I could use to keep my mind focused, and in the right place.
Surround yourself with a good support system
Having a positive network of people, who care about your well-being and will be there when you need to talk, is extremely comforting. This support system, for me, consisted of a friend with whom I’ve been friends with for 15 years, and close family members. I had co-workers who were always saying how well I was raising my daughter, and hearing a few kind words simple as they may be, will always keep you on the right track.
Keep a journal
This was definitely the technique that kept me afloat during rough times. When I hurt my back and was off work for 3 months, the financial strain was keeping me awake every night. Keeping a journal to write down your fears and worries will help alleviate the burden and releasing those feelings and built up tension worked wonders for me. I also used the journal for the good things too. It’s uplifting to celebrate the amazing milestones my daughter and I reached together, and to look back and see how far I have really come.
Create daily routine and stay organized
There’s no worse feeling than being completely overwhelmed with work, kids and household obligations without going in with a game plan. Getting myself organized was an absolute priority and I did it making lists. I would write down absolutely everything you needed to get done that day even small things like cutting the grass, prepping dinner, phone calls etc and physically crossing them out as I completed them. This not only gave me a sense of completion and accomplishment, but it helped me manage my time efficiently and made me feel more in charge of my daily life. I would also write a list for my daughter to do as well and what a great way to include them in your daily tasks. If you have younger children they can still help in one way or another especially toddlers as they are always interested in every thing around them, yes even laundry!
Create a wall of inspiration
Find an area that you pass by frequently like the wall above your desk, a corner in your room for example, and pin up notes, pictures, past achievements to inspire you everyday. On my wall I have many photos of family, the dust covers of my favourite books, quotes and poems. The wall just keeps growing and thus reminding me how many good things I have in my life.
Chelene Knight is a freelance writer for local parenting magazines, and creator and editor of a community newsletter. She lives in Vancouver with her 10 year old d aughter Desiraye. For fun they like watch, review and make funny comments on movies together. Chelene is currently working on her first YA (young adult) novel.