Women of South Africa are disproportionately affected by poverty and much of this is due to the fact that many women in the country are single mothers.
There are many reasons that women become single mothers. However, the reason is less important than the psychological pressure that it puts on both the children and their mothers.
Being a single mother is not an easy task and with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the additional financial stress is hard to ignore.
How to Cope with Being a Single Mom in South Africa
Being a single parent can be extremely challenging but being a single mother in South Africa often comes with additional financial hurdles due to unfair work and pay opportunities.
However, there are ways that women can not only survive, but thrive as single mothers despite the difficulties that come with this monumental responsibility.
Despite the financial worries of being a single mother, there are other personal matters that can be more stressful.
So, in honour of women’s month in South Africa and the single mothers who are working hard and making silent sacrifices to keep their children happy and healthy, we have put together some tips on how to cope with being a single mom.
Grow Your Family
Family is made up of more than just blood relation. Family is defined more by people who love and support you no matter how difficult things are.
Call it your tribe, call it your support group – either way, make sure you have a circle of trusted individuals that you can call on in times of need.
Also remember that times of need can look different. You may need a shoulder to cry on or some help with moving a couch; whatever it is, it’s important that you have a group of people you can rely on.
Interacting with your ex-husband or spouse may not be the most enjoyable thing to do. In fact, it may be quite difficult to have a normal conversation with him.
However, for the sake of your children, it’s important that you try to be civil when dealing with your ex, especially when in front of your little ones.
Although it’s hard for children to live in single parent homes, the impact of witnessing conflict between parents can have a much worse effect on a child’s mental health.
So, be sure to make every effort to avoid conflict with your ex, even if it means you have to have most your conversations over email.
Set an Example
No matter how strong your gripe is with your ex, refrain from bad-mouthing him to or in front of your children.
Remember that your children have their own relationships with their father that is separate from your relationship with him. It’s not fair that you influence your child’s perspective of their father.
In addition, when you bad-mouth other people in front of your children, you teach them that it’s acceptable to do so and this is a bad example to set.
Find a Good Balance
As much as you want to create a fun environment for your children, it’s still important to maintain a sense of structure and routine.
The odd movie-marathon Saturday in pyjamas is totally fine, but make sure that from Monday to Friday, everyone sticks to their chores and does their homework.
Having said that, try not to put too much pressure on yourself by expecting everything to be perfect 100% of the time. Instead, focus on what’s important and hire some help if you must so that you can make time for yourself and your children.
Kay-Dee Educare Centre in Mowbray – Early Childhood Development
At Kay-Dee, we understand the challenges that come with being a single mother in South Africa. For this reason, we provide high-quality day care and edu-care programmes in Cape Town to assist single mothers in every way possible.
For more information about our after-care, day-care and educare programmes, feel free to contact us.