Tools For The Overwhelmed Single Mom
So, why am I telling you my story? I guess to say what I said above – you arent alone. And yet, your experience is immensely intimate to you. There is no way I can tell you exactly what to do. There are nearly a zillion possible variants to each of our lives. There are also threads that weave us all together. For this reason, I am going to offer ideas, seedlings, and thoughts.
Take what serves you. Transform what you need to. Leave the rest.
Single Parenting Stress: How To Beat Burnout
Single parenting has become increasingly common as more single mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers raise children without a co-parent. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, almost a quarter of all children in the U.S. under the age of 18 live in a single-parent household. Single parents often face unique stresses, which can often contribute to feelings of exhaustion.
There are a few things single parents can do to help manage their stress and avoid burnout. For starters, it is important to make time for yourself. This may include taking breaks throughout the day, scheduling regular outings or activities just for you, or reserving some time to yourself if possible.
This article discusses some of the different types of stress common for those who are single parents. It also covers steps you can take to manage this stress and avoid burnout.
Coping With Single Mom Depression: Lack Of Quality Time
Spending quality time with your child is vital for building a healthy relationship with your child.
Quality time allows you to bond with your child, build trust and teach them values.
Unfortunately, single parents often struggle to make quality time with their children.
All of the responsibilities and commitments of single parenting often make time management a serious issue.
Single mom depression can rob a single parent of the motivation to make time with their child.
Single mom depression is a vicious cycle.
Limited time to spend with your child can make you feel depressed.
And feeling depressed can make you not want to do anything productive, including spending time with your child.
As a single parent, time management is key to avoiding depression and depressive habits.
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Coping As A Single Mom
The life of a single mom is not easy. Raising a child alone can be emotionally exhausting, and its not surprising that many single mothers are likely to experience mental health issues as they juggle their responsibilities.
With that in mind, lets talk about 4 of the most common mental health challenges that single moms face. Whether youre a single mom yourself, or you love a single mother, my hope is that understanding these challenges will inspire those who are struggling to seek support to get the help they need even if they simply feel more empowered to help themselves.
Reach Out For Professional Help
There are many different options available to mothers struggling with depression. From prescription medication to regular therapy, youre never far from a helping hand.
Gateway Foundation brings more than 50 years of quality treatment experience to individuals across Illinois. Our staff is filled with caring and compassionate professionals who work to treat both addiction and mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Reach out to our team today to learn more about receiving care.
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Unwillingness To Ask For Help
The natural reaction if we struggle is to reach out for help. It is human nature.
If our car breaks, we call on a mechanical. If we have tooth ache, we call on a dentist. If we feel down or need to vent, we call on a friend or family member. All perfectly normal stuff.
A red flag of my depression is not wanting to call on anyone.
I feel so miserable that I worry about bringing other people down to the horrible place I am inhabiting. Not only do I not want to upset others, but I feel embarrassed about where I am. Its like opening the front door to someone when your house is an absolute pigsty. Id rather just slam the door shut.
A few of things to look out for here are: Feeling depressed but unwilling to reach for support displaying introvert tendencies when you are usually outgoing or you have normal introvert tendencies with are exacerbated i.e. a fear of taking the bins out!
Time alone with poor mental health is not good and its important to take action straight-away.
Coping With The Challenges Of Being A Single Mom
There are many strategies you can use to take care of yourself and your mental health. However, remember that some things will work for your situation and some wont. If a coping strategy isnt working, try choosing another until you find what works for you:
Seek professional support from a therapist.
Try meditation, journaling, and other forms of self-care. Even if you only have 5 minutes to breathe deeply, its better than nothing.
Join a group for single moms Meetup.com is a great place to start your search.
Ask for help from your friends and loved ones. Theres a reason the phrase, It takes a village is applied to raising children.
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Mental Health And The Single Parent
Single-parent families are increasingly common in the United States some start that way, while others come about after divorce, death, or incarceration. Sometimes one parents job requires them to travel often or for extended periods, making their partner effectively a single parent at times. There are many types of single-parent families, headed by a biological parent, grandparent, foster or adoptive parent, sibling, or temporary guardian.
Influence On Mental And Physical Health
The specific mental and physical health effects of the GAD on a single parent require detailed consideration. Researchers state that single parents are at higher risk of mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and even mortality than partnered parents . Accordingly, this population group is more vulnerable to specific health problems. In particular, GAD can contribute to the development of mental disorders such as depression and panic disorder. Studies have found that depressive symptoms are more likely to occur in single parents during the postpartum stage or the school or later life period of their child . Depression may involve stably diminished moods, pessimism, motor retardation, mental retardation, and anhedonia. These symptoms can often be combined with symptoms of anxiety disorders . In this case, a persons emotional states can switch from restlessness, worry, and tension to despondency and sadness, thus significantly reducing his or her life satisfaction and ability to function.
The health of single parents is a particular social concern, as the well-being of their offspring also depends on them. It should be pointed out that the GAD increases the risk of psychological and physical health problems, which may affect the family welfare and environment. Since the prevalence of single parenthood has a significant upward trend, this issue should be addressed by the government and healthcare professionals.
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Ideas From Single Parents
You might find reading articles written by single parents helps you to feel more supported, including our Single Parent Stories. Lots of the stories are about getting through tough times, coping with challenging situations and dealing with all types of feelings. Everyone has their own ways of coping here are some ideas from other single parents to help you manage better, along with information about organisations that can help.
A Child Or Children With Special Needs
Couples parenting children with special needs are more likely to divorce than the general population. Because moms overwhelmingly receive custody, they end up performing the lions share of these kids care.
In our special-needs groups on ESME.com and Facebook, we are continually amazed by the selfless dedication of these single moms who do whatever it takes to help their child or children with special needs meet their potential. These moms are also most likely to sacrifice sleep and self-care.
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Application And Future Research
This additional health promotion model can be used as a framework for promoting health in depressed single mothers. Areas for intervention aimed at enhancing selfefficacy will reduce the financial, psychosocial and cognitive risk factors for depression in single mothers while increasing participation in health promotion activities, ultimately resulting in improved health as depicted in the model. The beginnings of this model and its subsequent revisions can also serve as the basis for the development of risk assessment tools for detecting depression in this unique population. The research shows that depression is often unrecognised and not assessed in single women by healthcare providers in the primary care setting.9497 Risk assessment tools can aid in screening for depression in these women. Guided by the model, these tools can incorporate questions which address social support, socioeconomic status, perceived stressors, perception of control and personality traits which can be given score ranges indicating mild, moderate or high risk for depression. This will provide for improved identification of depression and appropriate mental health referral for prompt treatment when warranted.
Surprisingly, there are only a few studies which examine the relationship between depressive symptoms and selfefficacy in single mothers.61,86 These studies have been conducted on postpartum women and in connection only with parenting children, and not in the general population.
Solutions From Mothers Who Have Walked Miles In Your Shoes
Single motherhood comes with a unique set of emotional challenges that can, at times, feel overwhelming. “It’s like hiking the Appalachian Trail with a heavy backpack,” says Amelia Shaw, an American mother of two young daughters living in Tijuana, Mexico. “The backpack has your essential stuff in it and weighs you down sometimes. When you take it off , for the first half hour you feel light and free. And then your body starts to crave that weight, and you feel anxious until you can put it back on.”
The challenges you face as a single mom from self-doubt and anxiety over money to the stress of making decisions alone are best understood by women who share them. Countless other moms grapple with exactly the same issues, and they’ve come up with some creative solutions that may work for you too.
Single mom challenge 1: Having no one to tag in“There is no out. Being on 24/7 means that there is no one to pass the baton to when you are having a bad parenting moment ,” says Shaw, “and this can lead to parent tantrum-ing.”
“I find that if I put my hands up, close and open them, then close my eyes and take a deep yoga breath in and out, I usually can reset my mood enough to get out of whatever situation I’m in.” Sidney Cavaricci, 28, mother of a 1-year old in New York City
“Take a deep breath, cry if you have to, then get up and be the best mother that you know how to be.” Tiffany Komba
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The Importance Of Mental Health Awareness The Single Mom Podcast
As single moms we can struggle with our own mental health. Depression and anxiety can creep up on you and can REALLY effect your life. But it is also VERY important to realize that it can also effect our kids. We need to not only be aware of our mental health but the mental health of our kids. Right now our kids are going through an unprecedented time due to COVID restrictions. Having to quarantine, not being able to see friends like they used to, not going to school the way they are used to… it is all a huge shift and change. Many children are struggling to cope with it and it is important as moms to recognize this and be there for our kids. It is also important to know that it is ok to reach out for professional help if you need to. This episode talks about all of this and more.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Coping With Single Mom Depression
Regardless of their gender identity, anyone can be a single parent and suffer from depression.
For the purpose of this article, the phrase “single mom depression” refers to depression experienced by any single parent, regardless of their gender identity.
Parenting is both a rewarding and challenging endeavor.
And yet, being a single parent often comes with its own unique challenges.
Single mom depression may affect all aspects of your mental and emotional life, including the life of your child.
If left untreated by a professional, single mom depression can be a debilitating condition.
Single mom depression can lead to other psychological issues and even affect your physical health.
If you or someone you know suffers from single mom depression, seek help from a licensed professional counselor.
Let’s examine some causes and symptoms of single mom depression.
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Perceived Social Support Among Single Mothers And Association With Mental Distress
In terms of the perceived social support, taking into consideration the theoretical range of the scale which is 2496, the minimum and maximum SPS scores that have been observed based on the participants responses were 4296. Therefore, these observed values were distributed into quartiles for statistical analysis purposes. Based on that, the following socio-demographic characteristics found to be significantly related with the lower levels of perceived social support: lower monthly family income, economic difficulties and therefore being a recipient of single mother allowance , the family status as being unmarried mothers compared to those who were divorced, separated or widows . Apart from that, single mothers who were registered member of the SMA seemed to have higher levels of perceived social support .
The prevalence and odds ratios of mental distress as measured by the GHQ-28 across quartiles of the levels of SPS before and after adjusting for all socio-demographic variables are shown on Table . These results reveal an association with mental distress and social support.
Table 3 Prevalence and odds ratios of psychological distress across decreasing levels of Social Provision as estimated before and after adjusting for socio-demographic variables in a hierarchical four-step multivariable logistic regression modelTable 4 Association between GHQ-28 sub-scale scores with decreasing level of Social Provision
My Mon Has Depression: How To Help A Depressed Mother
If youre noticing your mom showing any depression symptoms, its often hard to know how to react. Wondering how to help a depressed parent? Remember that its not up to you to find a solution. Your mom may have to seek treatment and professional care to find a long-lasting solution. However, there are some simple things you can do to help ease your moms mind and show your support.
Tell your mom how much you care through loving words and encouragement. Try to stay patient even when depression makes it difficult for your mom to spend time doing your regular routines together. Depending on your age, you may want to volunteer with chores around the house, like cooking meals or helping out with the cleaning.
If youre trying to decide how to deal with a depressed mother, the most important thing you can do is to stay positive. Accepting that you cant fix the depression, but that she can get better, will help both you and your mom move forward.
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Eternal Exhaustion And Lack Of Motivation
Feeling tired all the time is a No.1 sign of depression for me.
Yet, as a single parent it can be hard to identify it as a symptom of depression because we are usually fairly exhausted!
I have found there is a difference between normal exhaustion and depressive exhaustion, the latter of which is an inexplicable lack of motivation and extreme tiredness.
Basically, if you have been crazy busy all day and fall asleep on the couch the minute the kids are in bed, this is normal. Anyone would be tired after the kind of day you have had!
A more worrying exhaustion is the kind that you get at 10am even though you slept well. Or youre having a quiet day, yet you dont have the energy to make a sandwich for lunch or iron your top.
If you feel accountably tired and unmotivated:
Be super kind to yourself and give yourself a break from everything apart from the absolutely necessary i.e. getting the kids up and to school, going to work, ensuring everyone is clean and fed. All that other stuff can wait until you feel better.
Also, check your diet to make sure you include energy boosting foods and supplements. You could even get a health check to ensure your vitamins levels are where they should.
Many people find that exhaustion and lack of motivation can be managed by incorporating exercise into your weekly routine, which is certainly worth a try. However, for me its about doing less and being super gentle with myself until my energy returns.
Association Of Education Employment And Financial Hardship With Mental Distress
The strongest and most consistent associations with mental distress was with monthly family income and financial hardship. There was clear evidence of a social gradient, with single mothers who reported lower monthly family income were up to seven times more likely to experience mental distress. The association between the relatively poorer psychological health of single mothers and economic status is also in agreement with the findings of previous studies .
With regards to educational attainment, an inverse gradient was also observed with single mothers with a higher educational attainment perceiving more mental distress. This could be mainly attributed to increased personal and family demands, such as child-related and work-related burdens. Studies have reported that the greater distress observed among single mothers could be completely explained by their greater exposure than partnered mothers to financial strain, psychosocial work stress, and work-family conflict .
Work increases monthly family income and restricts economic hardship, thus it might alleviate the additional economic-related stress , as well as provide additional opportunities for social support. Socialization through work is considered to exert a protective effect for the well-being of single mothers as it has been argued that distress due to loneliness decreases with increasing working time, and this may explain in part our study results.
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