The Single Mom Handbook
10 Steps to Create Your New Life
Imagine how it will feel when you can love your new life!
Everything you need to know to start your new life as a single parent is here! These ten simple steps will create exciting shifts in your life. Along the way, you’ll notice a lighter feeling, more space in your brain, and the freedom to do the things you used to love. Remember having fun? You’ll get your confidence back and be able to go after what you were meant to do.
Steps 1-6 are about building better relationships. Starting with yourself. You’ll learn how to make better connections and get rid of that horrible lonely feeling like the one that creeps in, at least for me, on Saturday nights. You’ll gain emotional maturity, self confidence, build a lasting network, and reduce stress.
Steps 7-9 focus on freeing up any emotional weight you’ve been carrying. This is done by letting go of resentments and setting boundaries. It starts with getting a little creative, showing courage, and embracing a new outlook on life. This creates the foundation that will allow you to move on, let go, get a clear view, and better appreciate all that life has to offer.
In Step 10, it all comes together. I’ve created an everyday tool that you can use to gain more energy, create joy, attract what you need, let go of what you don’t, and live with a purpose.
Are you ready?
Let's get started!
3. Ask for Help
5. Show Appreciation
6. Let Go of Control
7. Release Resentments
8. Set Boundaries
9. Have Faith
10. Establish a Morning Routine
1. Expand Your Emotions
The more you can identify your feelings, the easier your life will be. When you get trapped in a “black and white” way of thinking, you lose touch with the gray area and become inflexible. Life is messy! Sometimes we have to admit when we’re wrong, when we're unsure, or that there are partial truths. Knowing your feelings will help you manage the unknown.
Here are a few easy ways to check in with yourself throughout the day:
Simply stop and ask yourself how you’re feeling.
Pause for a moment to consider your response when someone asks you how you are.
Take a break and write down your feelings.
There’s an app for that! The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence created the Mood Meter app which offers an interactive way to identify your feelings.
While we all know the six basic emotions, there are another 34,000 feelings!
It may come as a surprise that "love" is not an emotion but an action. According to some, anyway. In the scientific community, the conservative definition of an emotion is a facial expression. Love is technically a "drive."
2. Build Confidence
Do you believe people are doing the best they can? One of the biggest game changers for me came from listening to a podcast during a casual evening walk. It was such an “aha” moment that I couldn’t wait to get home and write it down. The podcast was Russell Brand’s Under the Skin with Brené Brown, who shared her research into an essential question: “Do you believe people are doing the best they can?”
It didn’t take me long to decide: “No”, I said out loud. But on further reflection, and more information, there came a life changing shift. “What if people actually are doing the best they can? I know I’m doing the best I can,” I said to myself. “Why not everyone else? Who am I to think I know what’s best for someone?” It was as if I was released from the burden I’ve carried all my life of placing blame. Immediately upon discovering this, I felt compassion and understanding like never before. It was truly amazing. I practically floated home.
If we assume everyone is doing the best they can and we stop comparing ourselves to others, we’re free to focus on being our best selves.
Here are a some ways to quickly boost your confidence:
Set daily goals
Make a list (like this one!) and check things off
Celebrate success, especially the little things
Learn something new
Ask for help
Dress as if every encounter is important
Work your budget
3. Ask for Help
Ugh! Is there anything worse? Asking for help is one of the most difficult things for people to do. And for many moms, it’s a badge of honor not to have to ask for help. As single moms, sure, we can do it ourselves. We’ve had to for years. But why would we want to? Now is the time to branch out and meet new people, open our minds, change our old way of thinking, and ask for the help we deserve.
So how do you make the break and start doing it?
Set a specific goal each day to ask for help. Over time, you’ll have made it a habit.
Plan each morning what “the ask” is going to be and who it’s going to.
Put a reminder in your calendar with an alert so you don’t forget.
Start with your children. You can practice on them with simple things. This has at least two benefits: the first is that it’s an opportunity for you to ask for help and the other is that it gives your child a chance to learn something new. You might already know how to do what you’re asking (but they don’t have to know that!)
Practice on new and different people throughout the week: Family, friends, coworkers, store clerks (after all, they’re there to help!), even your coparent, and for bonus points, complete strangers.
10 Benefits of Asking for Help
Shows respect - When you ask someone for help, it shows that you value their opinion. When you genuinely ask someone for something that’s going to tap into their expertise or skill set, you’re showing that you see them as accomplished. You’re actually validating them while at the same time, showing them that you’re human too.
Breaks down barriers - Asking for help breaks down barriers of communication. It helps you get past your ego’s need to go it alone, protecting you from invasion. While you may have worked hard to prove your worth, if you don’t ask for help on occasion, you will have built a wall and isolated yourself.
Creates a connection - When you ask someone for help you make an opportunity to engage with them, which in turn creates a connection. It starts with the simple act of asking the question. If you genuinely are seeking help and don’t have an alternative motive, you allow for an authentic response. This builds trust and opens things up for something more.
Solicits compassion - Asking for help shows you’re vulnerable, which is part of being human. It reveals your true side. The quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about,” (John Watson) could be just as much about you as it is anyone else. When you act with authenticity, it gives others a chance to respond on a deeper level.
Compels contribution - Asking for help allows the other person to contribute. People are driven to want to assist. We have an innate desire to attach to other people. When you ask someone to help you, you are giving another person an opportunity to fulfill this need.
Promotes learning - Asking for help benefits the helper by providing a learning opportunity. Your chosen recipient may not have all the information but is so willing to help that the request might motivate them to find out more.
Takes action - Asking for help stops procrastination. When you take the step to ask you’re putting the wheels of motion into play. And with someone else involved, it makes you accountable and you’re more likely to finish what you’ve started.
Invites spirituality - Asking for help creates a spiritual quality by putting your message out to the universe. Just by stating your intent, you let your need be known. It moves beyond you to whatever force will take it on.
Decreases stress - Asking for help decreases stress. By taking action and making progress, when you set things in motion and work towards a goal, you trigger the dopamine region in your brain which helps with stress and ultimately makes you happy.
Shows maturity - Asking for help shows that you have a growth mindset. It frees up space which allows you to move on to other things. Also, it shows that you have enough self-awareness to address something that isn't serving you and that you have the wisdom to not let your ego take control.
4. Create Closeness
As a single mom in a new community, I know how hard it is to meet people. Two-parent families have their own thing going on. School events seem like a great place to start, but they put me at my most vulnerable. It drives home the fact I’m single when surrounded by so many married couples. Our children’s sports and other activities are good opportunities, but when the season is over, the connections go away.
I decided that instead of making an effort to build new acquaintances, this was the time to focus on connecting with myself and my two boys. I still nourish the relationships with the friends I already have while I'm getting to know the new me. When the time is right I’ll be back to dinner parties, ski weekends and travel. I’ll be able to give back through volunteering. New connections await. But for now, my plate is full. And I’m in a good place.
Here are some things to consider about connections:
Forget about love. If love finds you, that’s great. But don’t wait for love to come before you stop feeling lonely.
Choose your connections wisely. “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” a quote attributed most often to motivational speaker Jim Rohn. And five is about as many people as you have time for. If they're not bringing you joy, get rid of 'em!
Reclaim Your Sense of Purpose. Owning the responsibility to raise our kids and be our best self is what we're here to do. Not only does it give direction but it also offers a deep sense of peace that no one else can give us.
Have something to look forward to. Even if it's a movie by yourself on Saturday night. Make an event out of it.
Make it a goal to reach out to one new person a day. Even if it’s just to say hello.
I created the Single Mom Handbook Facebook group as a place to connect, ask for help, and share successes. Join us!