Being a newly single mother can feel lonely at times, but take heart—you are by no means alone. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 2 million single parents in the UK in 2012, the majority of which are single mothers. That’s a large sisterhood, and we have advice and support to help you move on.
Sisterhood Tip #1: Clean House
You won’t be able to let go or move on if everywhere you look you’re slapped in the face with reminders of your life with your ex. This includes photos, jewelry, clothing, knickknacks or anything else he either gave you or that reminds you of him. Toss it, donate it, burn it—just don’t hang onto it. Your home should be a reflection of you, not a shrine to a dead relationship.
Do some cleanup in the virtual world as well. Relationship expert Dr. Lara Fernandez recommends unfriending people on Facebook if you have to. There’s no need to see photos of your ex and his new girlfriend a casual acquaintance posted. Your real friends will understand.
Sisterhood Tip #2: Do Valentine’s Day
With most major holidays, it’s relatively easy to avoid being depressed and alone by celebrating with family and friends. Valentine’s Day is the neon pink and red flashing exception to this rule, but it doesn’t have to be. You could take a page from the 2010 movie, “Valentine’s Day,” in which Jessica Biel’s character, Kara, organizes an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party for like-minded friends. Or, you can choose to embrace the day as an opportunity to show yourself and your BFFs some love by indulging in some fun and pretty Valentines Day gifts—after all, don’t you deserve to eat chocolate, buy flowers and wear pretty jewelry? Yes, you do.
Sisterhood Tip #3: Make It All About You
Make Valentine’s Day your jumping off point for living a life that’s finally about you. This doesn’t mean ignoring your children. It simply means taking the plunge and committing to yourself first. Do what you need to do to begin creating the life you want to live. This could mean going back to school, either for a degree or just for fun. You’ve always wanted to take a creative writing class? Now’s the time! You’ve always wanted to get more exercise? Join a gym with childcare. Whether it’s getting that mani-pedi or volunteering at a nursing home, start doing something that feeds your heart and soul. You’ll be a happier person and a better mother.
Sisterhood Tip #4: Give It Time… but Don’t Hide
Putting your toes back in the water can be scary, and that’s perfectly normal. Give yourself time between relationships. However, don’t fall into the trap of hiding behind your kids as an excuse not to date. If you need to, start small by simply accepting invites to friends’ parties. Once you’re feeling up to it, consider setting up a single parent dating profile. As long as you follow some common sense safety precautions, online dating can be a great way to meet new people and get yourself back onto the dating scene.