Lily Drake, my main character, begins her series as a single mom. I've said this time and time again - my writing often comes from real life experience. I wanted to write a book with a character that would be relatable to so many of us out there. Being a single mom is hard, and it isn't unusual these days. Some statistics actually show one in four children come from single parent homes.
This post is about what I have learned over the years. What every single mother needs or should have in her arsenal of single mom weapons to get through life.
1. A Strong Work Ethic - We rely on one income and we raise a family on this. Sometimes one job isn't enough when it comes to saving for our children's college and helping them through the teen years with more than just food and shelter. The little boogers actually need (and expect) so much these days. I work 40 hours a week at what a good friend of mine refers to as "the evil day job." I actually love my evil day job, but that isn't where it ends. I also flip houses, own rentals for extra monthly income. I stay busy planning for my son's future, as well as my own.
2. A Best Friend or Friends - I'm incredibly lucky to have a group of friends that vary in personalities, ages, everything. My mom is my best friend. She and my amigos let me vent when life gets tough, and I even have a couple that would bail me out of jail if I truly lost my mind. You have to have those supportive people in your life who don't mind listening.
3. A Hobby - For those rare times when you actually aren't busy, it is entirely possible you might just lose your mind if you're anything like me. My son went to see his grandmother over Spring Break and that was the longest week of my life. I rearranged furniture. I cleaned. I watched entirely too much television. Have something that relaxes you, even if it is cleaning out things and selling on ebay.
4. Vacations - This is a tough one. Having only one household income and being responsible for your family yourself doesn't always leave much time to jet set across the country and live a lavish lifestyle of travel, but once in awhile when it is possible, it is much needed. Sometimes we all need to get away. I, myself, have never used a babysitter, but I do have a wonderful mother who loves to watch my son anytime she gets the chance. I also have a fantastic website I love to hit up and find bargain vacations. www.bookit.com is in my opinion, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to travel. I've used them a few times and will be using them again this summer. It gives me something to look forward to and some much needed time away.
5. A Trusted Contractor - If you're like me, you're somewhat handy. I can rig up several things and make them work around my house. I have my own drill, basic tool set and I'm not afraid to get in there and fix things. However, I also am all too aware of my limitations and I know when it's time to call in the pros. I have a fantastic contractor who works cheap and is honest. Every gal needs to have someone they can call when stuff stops working.
6. A Multiple Personality Disorder - When you're raising a child alone, you are the mom, the dad, the good cop and the bad cop all wrapped into one. You're the one who compliments them on good grades or a great band concert, buys them a car when they turn sixteen and throws them birthday parties. You also have to be the one who grounds them. Sometimes you get to be the loving, nice, best friend, and sometimes you have to be the devil. I've had to learn how to play both roles. It isn't fun, but it's necessary.
My hat is off to all the other single moms out there.