How to Live a Balanced Life as a Single Mom

Originally published Wednesday, 09 August 2023.

There are many roles that we, as single moms, answer to: mom, counselor, friend, sister, aunt, employee, homework consultant, soccer mom, dishwasher, clothes washer, chef, and fixer-of-all problems… and so many more. In order to really embrace who we are supposed to be, we must first understand how to live a balanced life! Here are a few tips we think can help you: 

  1. Know your role // When we understand that our role in life is not to be everything to everyone, we then understand that we do not have to fix the world or our kids or our co-workers. We are not in the business of fixing others. We enhance the lives of others. We aren’t called to fix everyone. When we fully embrace that, it relieves the guilt of having to be everything for everyone all the time. We are merely human. Our Heavenly Father is the “fixer.” 

  2. Rest // In the early months of life transition, this can be the hardest. Whether it be that we are a newly single mom, newly divorced, or newly recovered or something in between, the transition is hard. As women, we are typically driven, hard-working, and passionate. The desire to see our children succeed and be well taken care of often keeps us up at night. But we must rest. We must take time to simply sleep, sit on the sofa with nothing to do, and do nothing. It is vital to our effectiveness in relationships. It is vital for our children that we be well-rested and alert and at peace.  

  3. Set boundaries // Too often we refuse to set boundaries in our lives for fear we are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Consequently, our girlfriends call us and keep us on the phone for 2 hours every night because we can’t so “no.” Don’t misunderstand. Those girlfriend chats are great, but if it keeps up from getting the necessary things done that are important for our day, we need to have a stronger boundary. Boundaries are important for every relationship. Whatever the boundaries are, stick to them. You choose them, and you stick to them. For example, if you know that between 5pm-7pm, you have a sit-down meal with family at the dinner table, then don’t accept phone calls during that time. If you have decided that one Saturday a month will be used for a cleaning day, then protect that. When we set boundaries in our lives, it tells those we work with at our jobs, our girlfriends, and our ministries that we value our rest enough to protect it. It is important that you find boundaries that work for you and your family and understand that for your own health, you need to stick to them.  

  4. Stay healthy - physically, emotionally, mentally // You cannot give when you do not receive. Stay focused on your physical health, spiritual health, emotional health. Counseling, when needed. Support groups, social clubs, Bible studies, church. Exercise classes.  

  5. Serve others // Volunteerism gives your life value, gives others assistance, provides perspective on your own life, gives you a sense of purpose.  

  6. Accountability is healthy // Your life should be structured in such a way that you are accountable to others in your life - your pastor, a mentor, friends, etc. They see things that we sometimes can’t when we are knee-deep in the midst of life. They offer perspective. They help to keep us safe. 

  7. Sabbaticals are important // Know when it is time for an extended rest. It isn’t always possible to do so immediately, but for some, it may be intentionally taking a 5 to 7-day rest from social media, work, and ministry responsibilities. For me, I have always taken extended time off work during the summer, when my kids are home from school. Whatever that looks like for you, do it when needed.  This allows for a time of refreshing, extended family time, and perspective.  

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.