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Coping as a Single Mom

How do you cope as a single mom?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: My husband and I split up when our son was 2 1/2 years old, and I felt like everything just went downhill from there.  Aside from dealing with my new single status, and mentally readjusting to living life without a partner and someone to back me up, I was also dealing with one of the most notorious ages in childhood (you know you’re up against a challenge when the person you’re dealing with has an age that shares a name with Ivan the Terrible). I went through tremendous amounts of self doubt, not knowing what to do, pure mental and physical exhaustion, and worries that I’m doing everything wrong. But the most important thing I learned was to take it easy on myself, to ask for and accept help, and know that this too shall pass.

The one specific thing I can give to the readers who are newly single is that it takes about one year for us to get used to doing things; our mind works in wonderful ways – if we did something that caused a lot of physical discomfort, our brain somehow subconsciously remembers to do it differently next time. I remember the time when I couldn’t find where I parked my car (I live in a busy city where I park in the street), and I needed to get to a wedding ceremony with my toddler son; I learned to never take my son by myself on vacation for more than 4 days straight after I had a meltdown 4 days into a one-week, planned multi-family vacation (planned before my ex and I split); I learned to always come back from vacation 1 day early to recharge for work; I learned to never set an after-school play date in stone because my son usually needed to go home to decompress after a long day at school.

After the first year of being a single mom, everything just gets so much easier to the point where you could actually say, “Hey! I can do this!”

Cheryl Wu, MD, a mom of a four-year-old son, a pediatrician at LaGuardia Place Pediatrics in New York City, and a pediatric emergency department physician at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.