Single Mom Surviving: Divorcing in the middle of a recession blows, but it is beatable. When my husband up and left for another woman with a couple kids, my first reaction was not depression ... it was survival.
Times were tough enough before my husband bolted -- but add on the worst economy we've seen since the Great Depression and you have yourself all the ingredients for a pretty good nervous breakdown. I refuse to go there, however. I refuse the "poor me" pity party that many women bitch over after their husbands leave them high and dry. Instead, grab a bottle of wine and focus on the huge favor this guy did you by leaving. There is always a silver lining, even when you think your world is crumbling around you. Think about the skid marks you never have to look at on his underwear. Think about how long it took him to find your clitoris while never actually bringing you to orgasm. These are the little things in life that keep your spirits soaring when times are tough as a single mom.
Men walk -- this is a fact of life. Women left behind need to learn how to survive solo without complaining about it. I know it is tempting to call every girlfriend and bitch until the cows come home, but what does that really do for your situation? When we retell our sob stories, we force ourselves and others to relive it all over again, and that is no fun. Spend the time creating a game plan for you and your children instead -- it is much more productive, and will actually relieve stress.
The first concern should be prioritizing the bills that need to be paid. Mortgage, home equity lines, heat, and electric come first. When you can pay those and still afford food and gas, then anything left over goes toward credit cards. I sat my kids down and explained to them in a calm way that there would be some changes around the house. For example, I needed their sneakers to last all summer, and I needed the milk to last through the week. I gave them small examples of things they could do successfully to ease them into the new budget without a ton of stress. Don't talk about your money worries in front of the kids -- they internalize it. Instead, focus on explaining to them how you are opting to change the way you spend your money to be a smarter spender, and give them easy, attainable ways they can help out.
One of the most important things that has helped me through this is believing that I can in fact survive as a single mom. If we know we can do it, then we will do it. Failure does not become an option or a word in our vocabulary. Success is what we now live and strive for. While it may not feel like you are succeeding as the bills roll in with the red "you're late" line across the envelope, you are succeeding when you open the bill, face the music, and create a game plan to pay the bill. In some cases, the bill will only get paid if you cancel the account, and that is all right. At least you dealt with the issue and made a game plan.
Divorce is a test, loaded with empowering life lessons that single moms can thrive on. Even though I am surrounded with so many worries and bills, I am the calmest I have been in my entire life. I am also the happiest and most confident. I attribute this to my faith. I have faith that I will get through this stronger and smarter. I have faith in my ability to raise my children successfully. I have faith that my life will be OK when the dust settles from the divorce. I have faith knowing I will never be dealt a situation without also being dealt the resources to overcome it.
When you find yourself overwhelmed with money worries, pull out baby pictures of your kids and admire their beautiful smiles. Those smiles weren't made with money -- they were made out of your love for them. Always remember that.