What do single moms need to know?
As a single mom, you have a ton of responsibility on your shoulders. Your child relies on you for guidance and love, but also food, shelter, school supplies — the list can seem endless.
You need to be on your A-game all the time, and it isn’t easy to juggle your multiple duties. However, knowing what to expect can spare you unexpected crises — or at least prepare you for them when they occur. Here are seven things single moms need to know to stay sane and thrive in their challenging roles.
You need the right coverage
What would you do if someone broke into your home or car, stealing your laptop or phone? If you only have the state minimum coverage and no renter’s insurance, you could be left footing the bill for a replacement. If you rely on these tools for your job, please don’t take the risk. You can often find renter’s insurance for less than $200 for the year — yes, all 12 months.
Another absolute must for single moms is life insurance. What would your child do if you were no longer alive to take care of them? You might be surprised at how affordable coverage is if you do your due diligence in finding the right policy for each life stage.
For example, term policies usually feature low monthly premiums, ideal for budget-conscious moms. Whole policies cost more but build principal that you can borrow against — such as to fund your child’s college education.
You should pad your emergency fund
If the events of the past several months have taught you anything, it’s that you should expect the unexpected. Even if your job seems secure, you never know what unanticipated events could lead to a trip on the unemployment train.
Most experts recommend putting aside three to six months of living expenses. However, given the reality of wage stagnation and your responsibilities as a parent, you might want to stash away more. While there’s plenty of work available, it isn’t always sufficient to meet your needs — and you don’t have a partner to pick up the slack.
A side hustle could be your best investment
Rents continue rising, as do health care and educational costs. The one thing that hasn’t budged much in 40 years is the average wage. Therefore, you could work yourself to the bone and still find yourself falling behind. All that stress doesn’t help your parenting patience any.
Consider starting a side hustle that excites your passions when things are going well. You might decide to open an Etsy shop with your knitting wares or showcase your cooking talent for YouTube channel subscribers. Eventually, you could become successful enough to strike out independently. However, even if you never leave your day job, you have something to fall back upon that can grow with you — and you keep all the profits.
Finding the right help is a godsend
You don’t want to entrust your precious child to just anyone. If you don’t have a family member on whom you rely, make finding a reliable sitter your priority.
Perform an interview the way you would if you were hiring an employee for a business. After all, the stakes are higher when you’re entrusting your child to someone. Inquire how much experience they have and how comfortable they are enforcing household rules.
Don’t shy away from asking tough questions such as, “have you ever abused a child,” or “have you ever used alcohol on the job?” Even if you don’t expect an honest answer, the way they reply will inform your intuition — trust your gut.
You have more negotiating power at work
As a single parent, you might resist asking for what you need in the workplace. If you have a secure position, you might take the attitude to not rock the boat. However, as a single parent, you also need a positive work-life balance.
You’re in better standing now than ever before for making requests such as flextime and telecommuting arrangements. According to one post-pandemic survey, nearly 40% of all employees indicated that they would rather quit than return to the office full-time. There is power in numbers — if you know of colleagues making similar demands, why not unite your forces and develop a proposal that benefits both you and your employer?
Your friends and family are lifelines
Single mom life can be lonely. Even when things get hectic, prioritize keeping in touch with your family and friends.
You might benefit from finding a support group. Online message boards and chat rooms can come in handy when it’s 2 a.m and you don’t want to wake anyone — but you desperately need to connect.
You need to take time for you
Finally, please prioritize self-care. It’s challenging when your life is full of child-raising and a career — but it’s essential to being the best mom you can be.
Pencil in 30 minutes for yourself each day. You don’t need to do anything that costs money. A wind-down yoga routine or a relaxing bubble bath before bed can help you ease into dreamland feeling nurtured.
Single moms, do you know the 7 above tips?
Being a single mom is a huge responsibility. The seven tips above can help make the ride smoother.