10 Single Mom Secrets on How to Keep It Together After Divorce

As a counselor and coach to hundreds of clients and a mom to two vibrant, smart, beautiful women ~ now young adults ~ I have learned numerous life lessons through the years.

I learned to design and incorporate what I call “emotional ammunition with heart” to get through the sometimes bumpy journey of divorce. The road ahead may feel impossible and overwhelming at times, but I promise you there is a silver lining.

Here are 10 Single Mom Secrets that will help you pave a softer road with resilience and strength.

One. Breathe!

Make this your daily manta. You are going to make it! You get to choose how it plays out. Before you know, it your children will actually grow up, you will have survived and you will wonder why you spent so much time worrying and stressing out. The choice is yours!

Two. Learn to Love You.

No matter how much you love your children, learn to love you! You need time for yourself to unwind. Incorporate self-care (yoga, meditation, social outings, reading, or taking up a hobby that you have always wanted). You are not being selfish! Get rid of the guilt. Don’t say you don’t have the time. You do. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Permission granted to make yourself a priority! Hire a trusted sitter or drop the kids off with grandma or another mom with kids (and then return the favor, of course). Taking care of you will replenish your mind, body and spirit. It will help you be a better mom and help create the best version of you!

Three. Create Memories by Living in the Moment

Time doesn’t stand still but you can stop watching the clock every minute. Set aside a certain time each day to spend uninterrupted time with the children. It can be short or long depending on scheduling. Explore nature, read, cook together, take silly photos and laugh. Share stories or take the dog for a walk. Let them share ideas with you. Cell phone, lap tops, TV off! Be present and spend simple time listening, giving hugs and living in the moment. If the kids are older, time may be more limited but make sure to carve it out. Run an errand together, volunteer, watch an inspirational movie and discuss it or make a stop at Starbucks for a time out. Express to your children the importance of creating memories by sharing the simple moments. Remember: you can’t get time back.

Four. Respect and Honor Yourself

Try not to get caught up in the competition. It is very common for single parents, to think they have to do more, be more, give more in order to “make up” for the circumstances of divorce. Especially if you have an ex spouse who may not always come through. Realistically, your lifestyle may have to change. Don’t let change scare you! Life is constantly changing and it pays to incorporate resilience. Look at it as an opportunity and lesson to teach your children the value of adapting to new opportunities and experiences, working towards a reward and enjoying the simpler things in life. By learning to be less impulsive and incorporating smart heart choices, your family will reap many gifts including a deeper appreciation and gratification of life’s simpler pleasures.

Five. Make Peace with your Ex.

Early on after a divorce, this may seem like a stretch but over time you will see the benefits. Many relationships don’t survive a lifetime. Don’t play the blame game no matter how tempting it is. No matter how difficult the divorce, or the daunting task of getting back out there and dating again, work through your anger, disappointment, resentment or frustration with a good therapist; the gym ~ but not your ex. You are not required to be best buddies but you are required to be good parents. You also owe yourself peace of mind. Anger and resentment will not only cause you great emotional distress but can cause many physical ailments. Speaking ill of your ex in front of the kids or to others who associate with them may not always work in your favor. It may come back to bite you. Kids are really smart and people eventually catch on. Stay positive!

Six. Surrender Control.

This is one of the most difficult things to do but will benefit you tremendously. If you try to control every detail, you will actually create a great deal of resistance and frustration. We may think we can control all situations but often it will backfire. Learn to assert your needs or concerns then take a step back and let things unfold more naturally. Focus on changing your actions and reactions.

Seven. Increase your confidence.

This is a must as a single parent. Believe you are enough. Believe that you are doing the best you can. Have faith that the choices you make today are going to lead you to where you need to go. Don’t let the world, the media, your ex, your community or social pressure sway you. Stand strong and don’t get caught up in the minutia. Let things flow and believe tomorrow is another day.

Eight. Create a support system.

This is imperative and should be high on your list. No matter how “strong” or “resilient” you are, you will need to talk, vent and feel heard. It can be a small group of trusted friends and family; a therapy group, counselor or a spiritual advisor. The one thing they must all have in common is that you can trust them. Emotional support is a necessity throughout life but especially at this time. Reach out. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Nine. Sleep on decisions.

I learned this the hard way. You will be faced with lots of challenges and frustrations as a single parent. You will need to make lots of decisions. Unless it is an emergency situation, consider saying, “I need to think this through and will get back to you soon.” Take a day or two to think about how you want to answer or react to a request.

Ten. Listen to your intuition.

I cannot stress enough how important and often spot on intuition is. Get quiet, breathe, meditate, go for a walk in nature, ask your higher power for guidance and really listen to what your mind and heart are telling you. Learn to take a leap of faith. Your intuitive feelings are a small, quiet voice that will steer you on the right path.

These 10 secrets are already in your being and just need to be unleashed. There isn’t any exact timetable as to when you will feel ready to step into the survivor mode or learn to surrender your fears, but I promise you, it will come.

When it does, embrace it, live it and set yourself free from any victim, co-dependent or angry mentality.

There isn’t any easy route through divorce but you can make the transition smoother for you and your children by continuing to fully embrace this journey, snags and all, and still come out of it stronger, wiser and happier.

Remember many people have gone on to survive and thrive after divorce. So can you!

Laney Zukerman is the author of the best selling book, Lessons for an Urban Goddess and The Urban Goddess Lesson~How to Spot the Bad Boys from the Heroes available on amazon.com. She is an Empowerment & Relationship Coach, adjunct professor and contributing editor. For more information, visit her website: www.laneyzukerman.com. Her podcast series is available on soundcloud.com

Author's Bio: 

Laney Zukerman is an Empowerment & Relationship Coach and contributing writer for the Huff Post. She is the author of Lessons for an Urban Goddess and the Urban Goddess Lesson ~How to Spot the Bad Boys available on Amazon.com and a college instructor in NYC.


Follow her on Soundcloud.com