Being a mother is the hardest job you’ll ever love, as they say. But until you become one, you will never know just how hard it can be. Perhaps we don’t talk about it often because we feel like that would be disloyal to our children. As if recognizing that motherhood is not this perfect, rosy picture of peaceful love will somehow devalue it. It’s true, the love you feel for your children is far beyond anything you’ve ever felt, it outweighs even the toughest aspects of motherhood. But that doesn’t mean that being a mom is a piece of cake. Is a relentless, mentally, physically and emotionally draining job that lets you take no breaks. And everything is just that much harder when you are going through this journey alone. Being a single mom is incredibly rewarding. But it’s incredibly difficult as well.

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1. Finding “alone time” is almost impossible, but really important

Saying that small children are a handful is a serious understatement. No one knows this better than single moms with babies. Childcare is expensive, especially if you have a single income. That means you can’t just plop the baby at the sitter’s every time you want to take a shower. No, you put the baby in a playpen just outside of the shower and don’t waste a single second when washing your hair. However, being in the “mom” role with no pause 24/7 can be really unhealthy for you, it can drain you out. To give your baby the best care possible, you have to take care of yourself first. Talk to friends and family or budget a tiny bit of extra money for childcare and have at least one day a week when you can go out for coffee with friends. Or simply stay at home and relax taking a bubble bath. Alone time helps you recharge.

2. Just because you are single, that doesn’t mean you are alone

Some people have this idea of single motherhood as this incredibly lonely endeavor, where you are isolated from the rest of the world and dedicating every single second to either work or childcare. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, you don’t have a partner to co-parent with, but you do have your friends and family, and they will be priceless in this journey. And this goes beyond the occasional babysitting. Being able to call your friend to vent about a difficult day or sharing an especially joyous occasion will take an enormous weigh off your shoulders.

3. You do all the work, but you get all the love

As demanding as it is, being a single mom can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world. You will make sacrifices, sure. But your child will notice. Maybe not while they are toddlers (or teenagers…), but they will. And they will be incredibly grateful for everything you did, and continue doing for them.