Originally published Wednesday, 17 April 2019.
Money. Just the word alone evokes strong emotion. For many single moms, it evokes feelings of sadness, anger, desperation, or at the very least, a collective sigh of disgust or an eye roll. The challenges of parenthood are only compounded when financial difficulties are present. Money problems often mean exhaustion and frustration that we sometimes parlay onto our children. Money problems mean anger from past relationships resurface with thoughts like How could he leave us like that?! If he were still here, we wouldn’t be struggling! Money problems mean you encounter sleepless nights that lead to exhaustion that leads to hindering you from being the best mom you can be. If you are reading this and shouting, “Yes! That’s me!” then read on, because there are 5 key questions that you need to ask yourself about money as a single mom.
- What is the plan? You may find yourself in a pickle financially right now. But if your only plan is to talk about how hard it is, then you’ll likely be in the same place a year from now. You must get a plan. The plan looks different for everyone. The plan needs to include long-term solutions to your financial challenges. Long-term solutions can include: securing additional education through a vocational school or college to enhance job opportunities, opening a new at-home business to supplement income, getting your real estate license to sell homes on the weekend, or getting a second or temp job for a while. There has to be a plan to begin to dig yourself out of the proverbial financial ditch. Otherwise, you stay there.
- What don’t I know? As the old adage goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. True, but it’s your job to find out! What don’t you know about money? Do you understand your credit history and the process of repairing it? Do you know how to pursue homeownership in your future or establish a savings account or 401k plan at your job? Will your current plan be enough to send your children to college one day? There are tons of online tools now that can help educate you on many financial areas. There are online budgets, financial future calculators, and low and no-cost financial education classes. Check out Single Mom University for some single mom-specific ones!
- Will I get bitter or better? Sadly, many single mothers struggle with the devastation of a divorce, death of a spouse, or the result of abandonment by a partner. The devastation can lead to anger and bitterness that, left unchecked, create a root far larger and deeper than you ever intended. None of us ever plan to get bitter! We don’t, as a little girl, dream of being a middle-aged divorcee who is still “madder than a hornet” about the circumstances she’s been forced to face. Yet, bitterness is where we can wind up if we don’t choose to be better. We don’t have a choice about the family we are born into, the socio-economic status we were in growing up, or the abandonment of a cheating spouse. We don’t have a choice about the abuse we may have been subjected to or hurt that unexpectedly came our way. But we do have a choice about how we react to our circumstances. Choose to continue to get better – better as a parent, better as a manager of money, better as a woman. Commit to growing!
- Am I committed to the process even if it takes longer than I expect? The Life of a Single Mom conducted a survey in August 2017 with 113 single mothers regarding their financial situations that included questions about debt load, credit scores, median income, age, and more. Do you know what surprised us the most? Approximately 40% indicated that the lack of a plan was not their biggest obstacle! Their biggest obstacle was their willingness or dedication to stick to the plan! In other words, once you’ve gotten your plan, educated yourself on what you didn’t know, and chosen to get better, the next obstacle you will face is a commitment to the process. Commit to putting your nose to the grindstone and just power through. There will be days when it’s hard. (Lots of them). But the commitment to the process is where change happens. It’s kind of like losing weight. There will be seasons of success and high motivation, but also periods of weight loss plateaus and lack of motivation. Commit to the process yields results. Stick to it! You got this, single moms!
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness, her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today’s marriages, Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues. Her passion is contagious, and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. Today, Jennifer works to ensure that no single mom walks alone as the founder of the national profit, The Life of a Single Mom. For more information and resources, visit the website HERE.