Single mothers are often faced with feelings of guilt for a myriad of reasons. It is important to know that feelings of guilt are normal, and any good mother will definitely have them from time to time. In fact, you would still feel guilty about your child rearing capabilities even if you were a stay-at-home co-parent! However, it is important to learn how to identify and cope with feelings of guilt so that they do not debilitate you in your efforts to love and bring up your children in a healthy and loving environment. Above all love them, love them unconditionally for who they are. It is difficult to be a single mother and it will be stressful and at times overwhelming but if you can reassure yourself that loving them is key. The messy house, the microwave dinners are nothing to concern yourself with if you are doing your best in giving them as much love as you’ve got to give.
One common reason for a single mother’s guilt is the fact that her children are in such a situation in the first place. If you intended to bring up your children together with their father, feelings of guilt could haunt you as you try to ensure that your children are not emotionally disadvantaged. While having a father figure is considered ideal, being in a dysfunctional relationship actually hinders you from being a good mother.
Providing for your children’s needs may require you to work in order to earn money. This probably means spending time away from your children. Even with all your efforts and hard work, you may still not be able to give your children everything they want. Comparing your situation with that of your married friends could definitely cause you to feel guilty. However, it is important to remind yourself that as long as you are giving your children unconditional love, nothing more is expected of you. Remember love at its core is selflessness.
Lacking a partner to share the pains, burdens and joys of bringing up your children will have its toll on any woman. It is undeniable that single parenting is a demanding and exhausting full-time job. One common mistake that single mothers make is trying to be super-parents to make up for the absence of the children’s father. However, participating in elaborate activities and putting your personal needs on the back burner will only make you less productive and your children will pick up on your frustration. Simple activities that allow you to relax with your children such as watching a movie together, combing each other’s hair or a bedtime story is sufficient.
It is important to accept that life is unpredictable; you may not be able to guarantee your children the finer things in life, but it is important to recognize when you have a choice and when you don’t. There are some things that you simply cannot change, and feelings of guilt in such a case inhibit your abilities as a good mother. However, the reassurance of your unconditional love is all your children need from you.
A single mother needs to be confident, because you are required to make decisions alone in most cases. Your confidence is influenced by how well you take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Effective stress management is a requirement for every single mother because it allows you to overcome feelings of guilt. Loving your children unconditionally is your prime responsibility, and guilt should never become a hindrance to being the mother your children need.
Above all what you as a mother have to give your child is love. Love can overpower any guilty feelings and empower you to do what is right for your children. Whether a single mother (or father!), or in a co-parent family, all children really need is love. If we are loving them then we will obviously be fulfilling their first basic needs of food, shelter and protection but over and above this love offers security of self to live their lives as the whole and beautiful people that they are.
About The Author: For Flo parenting has never been easy, even at the best of times, but after reading a very interesting article by Australian Biologist Jeremy Griffith, she can see the simpler way to parent is to simply love your children as unconditionally as she can.