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10 Things You May Not Know About Single Moms

10 Things You May Not Know About Single Moms

When I got married and had children and stepped into the world of parenthood and being a mommy, I never thought that one day I would be handling the majority of the parenting responsibilities on my own. I never imagined I would have primary custody of my children and that I would be living under the ‘single mom’ label.

I lived 3 years as a single mom and it was never easy but it was always rewarding. Some days I didn’t know how I would pay the bills or be able to provide everything for my children but by being blessed with great family and friends, we were always taken care of.

I was very blessed to have their father involved in their lives, so I did get breaks every other weekend and during holidays. Single moms who cope with no feedback or help from the father of their children are the true heroes. They are doing the work of two parents emotionally, financially and in every other way they can. Single moms and dads doing it alone deserve great respect.

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The photo accompanying this article is of myself and my two beautiful kiddos and they are the reason I was able to get up every day, and do the right thing. They helped me to support them, even when some days I just wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep after a full day of work and caring for them.

Here are 10 things you may not know about single moms:

1. We are resilient

We have experienced divorce or separation and watched our children go through the pain of a broken family. We have experienced hardships and situations we did not want or ever expect to have to go through. We continue to experience negative and challenging situations one after the other, and we just keep going with the main focus being our children. We know that it is our responsibility to do the right thing for them. Our motivation is driven by the fact that we are living for others now, not just ourselves.

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2. We love to snuggle

We have children that love us unconditionally and we love them back. We sometimes just snuggle in bed with our kids and we love giving them kisses and hugs. Our moments spent together are precious, especially if we lose every other weekend with them while they visit their father. We love our kids as much as we can and those special times are the reasons we do what we do: it’s for them. The other awesome thing is that it is also for us as our children provide us with so much love it makes it all worthwhile.

3. We want relationships with others

Just because we have children doesn’t mean we don’t like to have friends or our own lives apart from our kids. We want to have relationships with adults, especially when more than half of our time is spent watching reruns of Spongebob, Dora the Explorer, playing games, or doing crafts with children. We still like to have fun and we really don’t want to spend every single waking moment with our kids. We still need quality time with friends and others outside of our relationships with our children so we don’t feel isolated.

4. We deeply value family

We know what it was like to feel like a complete family. We lost that, but we still long for it. We look at other friends or family members who have issues within their relationships and we wonder how on earth they can be unhappy – they have a stable home, beautiful children and no real drama or issues like the ones we experienced. We hope for, and desire to be a part of a healthy, and strong family once again. We would be so thankful and grateful to have another chance.

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5. We want the best environment for our children

I could have stayed in my relationship to ensure that my children still had their father around. It would have been easier financially and easier for the kids to have their father around. But it was not the best environment for either of us, or the children. Single moms make hard decisions that many times will change our finances in a negative way. We choose the safest and healthiest environment for our children and we make decisions to protect our children as much as we can. Each and every situation is different but we truly want the most healthy environment for our children, and sometimes that includes hard decisions like ending the marriage if all avenues for working things out have been exhausted.

6. We don’t want pity

We do not want sympathy or pity for our situation. We accept where we are in our life as single moms, (even though we don’t love it), and we don’t want special treatment or for others to think that our lives are of lesser value. We do have a complete family, it just looks different than the traditional one. We just want love and acceptance. So, if you know a single parent that has no family nearby and you want to make their day, just offer to watch their kids for an hour so they can go to the grocery store in peace.

7. We wish we were always on time

We really do not like being late or want to be late. But when you have yourself and one or two children that need to be somewhere at a specific time, sometimes stuff just happens. We deal with scenarios like this: we’re about to walk out the front door but our son can’t find his other shoe, or, our daughter has to take that one special Barbie with her that she can’t find (rather than the 23 others she has in her toy box). Due to last minute issues like this, we get delayed. We sometimes need a little grace if we’re late. Just know that we really try and sometimes it just doesn’t work out like we planned.

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8. We have lots of patience

We don’t have a person with us to reinforce boundaries or rules when our children are testing us. Often times we are disciplining on our own and it’s hard to keep rules in place every single time. We pick our battles to keep from losing our temper and we try as hard as we can to have an extra reserve of patience for those days that no matter what we do, we feel that the kids have won and we are completely defeated. However, one more day of self control and patience is a victory, and we need to celebrate that instead of beating ourselves up.

9. We have no problem being alone

We love our kids deeply, we really do. If you give a single mom a choice of staying with her kids or spending some quality time with herself, 90% of the time they are going to take the time to just recharge for a bit without their children. We would be so excited to go see a movie alone that is not animated and has a higher rating than G or PG. We would love to just drive around with OUR music on the radio LOUD because we can. I encourage the other 10% that might feel they need to be with their children every single moment they have them to just try this. We all need time for ourselves so that we can better care for our children. Let go of the mom guilt- it’s not a bad thing to take care of yourself as well.

10. We wish we had a clone

Single moms often wish they could have a carbon copy of themselves made just to accomplish simple tasks easily, like getting the weekly groceries. Or as another example, if we had a clone we could then work out in the morning before work, when the kids are still sleeping. Many single moms work 40+ hours a week and still come home to feed, care for, and nurture their children on a daily basis. Having a clone would just make it so much easier to do the small things involved with taking care of an entire household.

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Wendy Redden

Digital Advertising Account Manager, Music Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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