(Part 1 of 2)
By: Cecile Anthony-Bryan & Charisse Jones
Single mothers are at a higher rate of depression that a married mother. Of course, there are some married mothers who still feel single when raising their child and/or children, because although married, there are some husbands that don’t spend time and/or help out with the daily duties of raising children.
There are 2 primary areas that catapult single mothers into depression. They are:
- Increased number of stress;
- Decreased amount of social support.
The majority of single mothers who have high stress are those who do it all by themselves. Not only do they not have a man helping them, but sometimes they also cannot rely on family either. So along with not getting any help, they also do not have the time for “ME TIME.” Their me time is surrounded around the schedules of their children, so they get 5 minutes to themselves while doing laundry or while they watch their child participate in a sport or activity. That is not enough!
Most people who sit and watch a single mother handle her day, probably needs 2 days to recoup from just watching and wondering “how does she do it?” For most women, when it comes to their children, they make it work, by any means necessary. Of course, then that adds to the increase of stress and the down spiral into depression. The hardest part for a single mother is trying to keep it together for the sake of the kids, so they keep a smile on their face and a cape on their back.
Most single mothers fighting a bout with depression have not turned their bitter feelings in better dealings. Children were not asked to be born, that was your decision. Do not let your child suffer because of a failed relationship. Be forgiven to yourself and to others. You must remember even more that as a single mother your child looks to you as their role model, give them a vision to be proud of, despite the person lacking from their life.
As a stepmother (Cecile) and a single mother (Charisse), our advice is to most importantly, allow kids to be kids. Yet, as they start to become of age, teach them independence, value and the necessities to help you out, as well as to prepare them to help themselves. Put down your pride and take all the help you can get, if available. Get organized and do not overdo it, your kids needs you. Buy a robe in a color and explain that when they see mommy in this robe, they are not to bother you for a few minutes, unless the house is on fire. Minimize the activities the kids are in, possibly one per season. Keep a sense of humor, because “if you do not laugh, you will cry.” Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, schedule your time appropriately, make time for family activities. The world is there with an abundance of things to do with your kids, take time to show them the opportunities. Freeing your time is good, but spending quality time is better.
Ladies, if you feel like you might have depression, we advise you to seek medical or professional help. There is no doubt you were carved out to do a very special job here (motherhood), but your health is also important! By the way, we salute you single fathers too!
In Part 2, we will hear from single mothers who have personally dealt with depression.