Are you a single mother struggling with self-doubt? Do you often second-guess yourself or feel racked with indecision? Are you fed-up of questioning your every move and analysing whether it was the right one?
Similar to guilt, self-doubt is a wasted emotion, but it seems to hang on in there like a bad smell.
Yet, there are ways to kick that constant nagging, doubting feeling out the front door and down the garden path. And when you do, you’re going feel waaaay better than you have for a long time.
My “You’ve Got This” Single Mum eCourse has already helped nearly 2k single mums work through feelings of doubt to find a clearer, happier way to live. So, I’m gonna share some tips with you that have worked for them and me … allowing us to clear our paths and live our best lives, all whilst being brilliant single mums.
Ok, let’s get started.
HOW TO STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF AS A SINGLE MOTHER
RECOGNISE HOW BRILLIANTLY YOU ARE DOING
I’m just gonna put it out there: Single parenting is hard … bloody hard.
Whether you’re a solo mum or a co-parent, it’s comes complete with a heap of challenges that leave the toughest, most organised and determined of us whimpering behind locked bathroom doors.
I will tell you something now and I want you to remember it from this moment onwards:
“You are flying there mumma. You’re rocking it. You are an amazing single mum.”
The trick now is to: REMEMER IT.
Please focus on these points:
- You are only human
- You are working though one of the hardest life events know to (wo)man
- You are winging this hun … like the rest of us … unless you found a rule book somewhere. If so, SELL IT, you’ll make fortune.
I want you to try and remember these things and change your thought pattern from:
“What does Google think”
Instead use these words:
“I have no interest on what bots, trolls and strangers think”
STOP YOUR INNER CRITIC
It’s all very well me telling you to stop self-doubt when your inner critic turns-up to attack you on a daily basis. And. What. A. Bitch. She. Is. You think she’d get bored, take a holiday or at least have the decency to take some time off sick.
But nooooo siree, your inner critic is a powerhouse.
And, if you’re wondering what your inner critic is, it’s that pesky voice inside your head that is constantly making you compare yourself to other people and telling you that you’re bad, wrong, undeserving … basically all the crap things.
Wouldn’t life be wonderful if we could mute her?
Now, I’m not going to lie and tell you that ridding yourself of your inner critic is easy, but only good will come of swapping out these negative thoughts for more positive ones.
Here are some simple tips to get started. Practice daily and greatness will follow.
- Listen to your thoughts. This may sound weird, but the inner critic will chat away, bitching about this and that, making us feel terrible, and we’re not aware it’s happening. Next time you feel down. Stop what you’re doing and take note of the negative thoughts that are spinning around in your head.
- Next, examine the thoughts. This is as simple as: Working out what it is that’s bothering you.
- It’s time to wrap some reality around these possibly crazy negative thoughts. Are they really as bad as you are making them? Possibly not. Or are you torturing yourself with something from the past that can’t be changed?
- Now you have some control over your negative thoughts consider what you can do with each one. Only you have this power, but it can help to talk to a friend or family member to get support. The smallest step in the right direction can quash self-doubt and take the inner critic along for the ride.
NOTE: Learning to meditate is a truly brilliant way to take control of the whirlwind of thoughts in your head. Here is a list of apps for guided meditation if you want to learn. I highly recommend having a go.
TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE (INSTEAD OF YOUR OWN HEAD)
There is nothing more frustrating and mind-numbingly boring as going round-and-round in your own head.
As a 50:50 co-parent, working from home … it would drive me crazy. I could go several days without seeing another person which was the perfect breeding ground for my inner critic to crack the champagne and party hard. I learnt the hard way how to get out of my own head. And, after a never-again-in-a-million years battle with addition, I was humbled to discover a much simpler way to find calm.
For me it was about getting out of my house. It’s almost embarrassingly simple.
I was the missing the basic human need (check out my eCourse to find out what these needs are, what you’re missing and how to get the lot!) of connecting with my fellow species (sorry Marley-Cat, I love you to the moon and back, but you can’t actually talk). I needed to engage, connect, laugh, cry. I even needed to hear someone else’s worries to stop me dwelling on my own.
Now here’s the thing …
Your situation is likely different from mine. You might be out and about all the time with young children, not a moment to spare BUT thoughts (6,000 a day I might add) are finding their way into your head and there’s no exit so they’re getting more frantic, like people trapped in a lift
If this is you, I want you to ask yourself this question:
“Am I lonely”
Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges that us single mums face but for anyone looking in it is almost laughable. We. Never. Stop. Where’s the time to be lonely?
But often it’s just that, are you so busy with your children, your career, your home … that you don’t have time to connect with people who can take YOUR load-off. Instead, your thoughts keep spinning and drive you quietly, silently mad. But heh, your boss is impressed, the kids are happy, and the house is clean, so everything’s ok right?
If you take just one thing from this article let it be to make time to connect with another human being to off-load your thoughts and get feedback several times a week. Ideally, see someone in person, but a phone call or online chat can be just as effective.
Share the load mumma.
NOTE: If you really feel you have no-one you feel comfortable doing this with, check out my eCourse as we work through finding you a support system … which is an absolute essential in every single mother’s tool kit.
HOW TO OVERCOME SELF-DOUBT AS A SINGLE MOTHER (CONT.)
KEEP IN MIND HOW FRIGGIN’ WONDERFUL YOU ARE
Raising children, especially young children can be relentless. Doing it alone is harder still. Not just physically, but mentally. We are constantly making decisions for our kids that affect their lives now and in the future. Add to this all the other decisions around finances, child support, the future in general … it’s a big responsibility which brings with it a steady of flow of fear and doubts.
What I’ll ask you to do next is simple.
When you are with your child (or children) just stop and look at them. Relax and take time to revel in the wonder of them. You. Made. Them.
See them think, laugh, play, chat … whatever it is they are doing at the moment. Obviously try and pick a calm, peaceful time to do this, not while said child is having a tantrum. Even do this while they sleep, they are always so gorgeous when they sleep!
I want you to consider these things:
- You brought this human into the world
- You have nurtured this human to be the beautiful soul they are today
- You have done all this whilst alone/going through a separation
- Your child is safe, fed, housed and clothed because of you
- Your child loves you more than anything else in the world and you deserve their love
Plus, you cook, clean, possibly work, pay all the bills, organise childcare and goodness know what else. Sorry, but in my eyes, that makes you friggin’ wonderful. End of.
STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Feelings of self-doubt are commonplace for a single mother. But you can get into an unhealthy thought pattern which can, if left to fester, have some pretty unpleasant effects on your life. Take it from me, I have learned all the mistakes in the book when it comes to mental health. But I live to tell the story and share my mistakes with you. Find out more here: How I manage my depression as a single mum.
We’ve already discussed how to mute our inner critic bitch which is super important to our mental health. Plus, I have suggested that you spend time other people, ideally on a daily basis. By this I mean adults/friends/family … people you can lean on, not just people who lean on you, such as your kids.
And, at the risk of sounding cliché, get some me time. Spend time with YOU. Spend time doing things YOU like to do. We all need a break and a moment to escape. Never feel guilty for it.
Make sure that whatever you do, you don’t allow feelings of self-doubt to creep in. Things like walking and listening to a podcast, reading, meditating or watching a movie will block out your spinning brain and allow you to chillax properly, whilst breaking the cycle of self-doubt.
Handy read: 107 Self-care ideas that cost you nothing
Handy listen: Beanstalk Single Mum Podcast
WARNING: STOP THE IMPOSTER
If you are really struggling with self-doubt. Say, the doubt starts the moment you wake-up, it’s taking over your life and ultimately affecting the way you live and parent, you might need professional support to overcome it.
There is actually a psychological syndrome called imposter syndrome which is like your average self-doubting x 100,000,000. Imposter syndrome can even make you doubt your greatest accomplishments and all the wonderful things about yourself. It becomes so all-encompassing that you feel like a fraud and live in fear of being exposed as one.
Now, I’m not telling you this so you start doubting your own self-doubt and look for a Google diagnosis … pleeeeeease don’t do this. But self-doubt can be a huge issue and if you feel yours is getting out of hand please go to your GP and tell them how you feel.
There IS help out there. Reach for it.