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negative thoughts

Let's face it - being a single mom may be one of the toughest things that anyone can experience. I don't like calling being a single mom a 'job' because it's not a job. I love being a single mom. It might be tough and I've made my share of mistakes along the way but it's not all doom and gloom. As a single mom, I am proud of the relationship I have with my son and I've worked hard to make it what it is. It has its ups and downs but in my opinion, we're doing quite well for ourselves.

As I said, it is tough because there's only you, juggling everything from work to school to handling endless, household chores, keeping finances in check, life admin stuff, and at the same time, trying your best to raise happy, healthy, well-rounded kids. ALL by yourself!

I mean, it's a lot for one person! So it's no surprise that sometimes, negative thoughts can creep in and make things even harder.

As a single mom for almost 20 years, even through a lot of self-empowering and trying to be the best version of myself so that I can be the mom my son needs, I still struggle with negative thoughts. And I know that I'm not alone in having these thoughts - we all do.

Whether you're a newly single mom or a seasoned one, lets together, explore ways on how we can tackle and crush these negative thoughts head-on.

What Are Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts are those pesky, annoying, nagging little voices in our heads that tell us we're not good enough, that we're failing, that we're never going to get out of the rut we're in, or that things will never get better.

They can range from fleeting worries to continuous self-doubt.

Imagine if you've just come home from a rough day at work, and then your kid comes home with a less-than-desirable grade. Suddenly, you start blaming yourself, you're thinking, "I'm a terrible mom", "I'm not giving my son enough time or attention", or "I can't handle this."

These are only a few of the countless negative thoughts at work that can play on your mind, and they can really drag you down if you let them.

Why We Have Negative Thoughts

The working of our brains never ceases to amaze me on every level. Those little nagging negative thoughts that we have are actually our brain's ways of protecting us against potential threats or problems.

This is our in-built survival mechanism. It was most useful way back when humans had to constantly look out for and anticipate dangers. But in our modern world, this survival mechanism can backfire, especially when we're dealing with single motherhood.

Financial stress, time constraints, and the pressure to be mom, dad, and everything else to our kids can amplify these negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts aren't to be feared. We can make a conscious decision to observe them but not give in to them. We also have the power to challenge them and turn them into positive thoughts.

Understanding why we have them is the first step in learning how to manage them.

Negative Thought Examples Single Moms Go Through

As single moms, we are often faced with situations that can trigger negative thoughts.

These thoughts can be persistent and overwhelming, sometimes even debilitating. They feel real and can fuel your self-doubt even further.

Let's look into some of these negative thoughts that can manifest in our daily lives and take residence in our minds.

Parenting doubts

"Am I screwing up my child’s future by not being able to give them everything they want?"

It's easy to feel inadequate when you can't provide the latest gadgets or experiences their friends might have.

"I’m not good enough for my kids. They need a father figure."

This thought can creep in during parent-teacher conferences, sports events, or family gatherings where traditional family structures are more visible.


"Will I ever find someone who understands and accepts my situation?"

This in itself has a negative connotation. Dating as a single mom can feel like an impossible challenge, which leads to fears of perpetual loneliness.

"I feel so isolated and alone. Nobody knows what I'm going through not even my closest friends."

Your social circle often changes when you become a single parent, causing you to feel isolated and lonely.

Comparison with Others

"Why can't be as organized/successful/happy/fit as other moms?

Social media can be a culprit in presenting polished versions of the lives of other moms, making us feel less of everything.

"Other single moms seem to handle things so much better than I do. What am I doing wrong?"

Comparing yourself with other moms can rob you of your self-esteem while increasing your self-doubt.

Financial Worries

"I'll never be able to provide for my kids like a two-parent household can."

This thought often consumes us when we're struggling to make ends meet, especially during unexpected expenses, holidays, and special occasions.

"What if I lose my job?" How will I support my family?"

The uncertainty of being the sole breadwinner can be daunting and will lead to constant anxiety.

Physical and Mental Exhaustion

"I'm so tired all the time. I must be doing something wrong. Why can't I cope?"

The overwhelming physical and emotional demands can make us question our abilities and resilience to keep going.

"I can't keep up with everything. I'm losing control and failing as a mom."

Juggling work, our homes, and parenting can lead to burnout and feelings of inadequacy.

Guilt and Regret

"It's my fault my kids don't have a complete family."

Guilt over the circumstances of your family dynamics can prove to be a heavy burden to carry.

"I should have tried harder to make my relationship work."

Regret about the decisions you've made in the past can lead to a non-stop cycle of negative self-criticism.

Fear of the Future

"What if I can't save enough for my kids' college education?"

Long-term financial planning and sticking to goals can be overwhelming when you're already stretched thin.

"What if something happens to me? Who will take care of my kids and do it the way I do if not better?"

Nobody knows what's in store for us in the future and concerns about our health and future security can take a toll on us and amplify our negative thoughts.

Everyday Challenges

"I forgot to pack my kid's lunch today. How can I be so stupid? I'm such a bad mom."

Small everyday mistakes can feel monumental when we're already dealing with existing pressures.

"I can't believe I lost my temper with my kids. I'm failing them. I should've done better."

When we're frustrated and in moments of anger, it will often lead to all-consuming guilt and self-reproach.

These are only a fraction of how deeply negative thoughts can infiltrate many aspects of our daily lives as single moms. Recognizing these patterns is important because it helps us understand that these thoughts, while common and most often make sense, don't define our reality.

Instead, what we can do is to view them as challenges we can learn to manage and overcome.

5 Powerful Ways to Overcome Your Negative Thoughts

We all have days when negative thoughts seem to take over and the more you play into them, the more real they seem, when in fact they are not!

Do not cave into your negative thoughts - it's a trick! There are plenty of ways to manage them and bring more positivity and if you allow, even some sparkle back into your lives.

Here are eight strategies that can help you as a single mom to overcome those pesky negative thoughts:

1. Take a moment to pause

When a negative thought pops into your head, take a moment to pause.

Instead of reacting right away, give yourself a minute to breathe and reflect.

Ask yourself if this thought is based on actual facts or it's just your mind playing tricks on you. Giving yourself time to reflect on this thought can help you see things more clearly and stop you from spiraling into negativity.

2. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Your negative thoughts can often be irrational and over the top.

Once you've identified a negative thought, challenge it. Ask yourself, "Is this really true?" or "What facts is this thought based on?". This can help you realize that many negative thoughts are baseless and often exaggerated.

For instance, if you think, "I'm failing as a mom." challenge this thought and remind yourself of the times that you've supported and cared for your kids. These moments will show that you are, in actual fact, doing a great job.

3. Replace Negative Thoughts

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, make a conscious effort to replace them with positive thoughts.

If you find yourself thinking, "I can't handle this," replace them with, "I am capable and strong, and I will take any challenge by its horns and I will overcome it!".

Be ruthless with your positive thoughts. Pump yourself up with them. Positive thoughts and affirmations have a way of boosting your confidence and help in rewiring your brain to focus on the good.

Another way to inject some positivity into your life is gratitude. Writing down 3 to 5 things you're grateful for every day can help center your overall outlook on your life. If you want to go a step further, keep a gratitude journal. It can be a powerful way to shift your focus from negative to positive.

4. Set Small, Achievable Goals

Sometimes, negative thoughts can be from being overwhelmed or feeling stuck.

Setting small, achievable goals for yourself can help you regain a sense of control and accomplishment in your life.

Try breaking down larger tasks into manageable steps and celebrate your progress along the way.

For example, if you're feeling overwhelmed and stuck with a long list of household chores that you don't know where to start and kicking yourself for not being on top of everything, set a goal to do one thing first without thinking about all the other things. After that tackle the next one. Just continue to put your focus on one thing at a time.

Having this approach makes an overwhelming task seem much simpler and easier to manage. This can boost your confidence and provide a positive focus for your energy.

5. Have a Plan and Stick To It

Negative thoughts can be vicious and brutal and can sometimes feel like they're attacking your every move. Sometimes it also feels like it has the power to stop you in your tracks, question your abilities, and distract you from the progress you thought you were making. But then again you do have the ability to take the power back.

I like to take my negative thoughts and challenge them. I use them as motivation. As mentioned earlier it is an inbuilt survival mechanism and I use them to take stock of where I am and what I need to do to squash them.

So create a plan that's able to reverse these thoughts. If your concern is finances, create a plan that helps you with your family budget and finances, and make sure you stick to it and adjust it as you go along. If you're slacking in managing time and schedules, you can create a plan so that your schedules are more manageable. If you find yourself losing your temper with your kids because you're exhausted and overwhelmed, then maybe you need a minute to care for yourself.

Having a plan will allow you to easily turn your negative thoughts into a positive 'time to take stock' system - to revisit, reflect, and put a plan in place so that everything will work to your advantage.

Overcoming negative thoughts as a single mom is no easy feat, but it’s definitely possible.

The key is to realize these thoughts for what they are: fleeting worries, not our reality. By understanding why we have them, challenging their validity, and replacing them with positive thoughts, we can take control of our mental space and move forward.

Remember that it is not about never having negative thoughts (that's almost impossible!) but it's about managing them when they do appear. With a plan in place and challenging the negative with the positive, we can turn the tide in our favor.

Being a single mom is not easy but we continue to move forward - one positive thought at a time.


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