19 Incredible Single Moms Who Will Help You Overcome Overwhelm

Single Moms Who Will Help You Overcome Overwhelm

I asked some of my favorite single moms for some pointers on overcoming overwhelm.

I was amazed and blown away by the heartfelt wisdom and sincerity of their responses.  I hope their words touch your heart the same way they did mine.

When you are done reading, I’d LOVE to hear your own responses to the same questions in the comments below.

Here are the questions I asked:

What one positive comment or piece of advice would you give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?



Single motherhood can feel overwhelming because we have this sense that without a partner, we must do it all.  In many ways, we do!  But the key is to outsource as much as we can.  Some of this is domestic: max out your budget when it comes to sending out laundry, hiring a cleaning service, and bringing in people to do tasks you hate (cleaning the gutters, anyone?!  How about running things to FedEx/USPS?).

This also extends to loving your kids — it is not enough for children to have one person to love them.  Nurture relationships with relatives, neighbors, friends and people at church who will help you cherish and adore your children.

Start viewing yourself as just one single, limited person — a person who can do WAY more than she ever expected, but one with limits and finite energy.

Follow Emma on Twitter, like her on Facebook, learn more at Wealthy Single Mommy or Emma’s Personal Website 



(Sidenote:  Julia had this to say about the photo below and her words were so wonderful that I just had to share them:  ”Here is a picture of me with my son and his wife at a trade show! When I was trying to figure out if I was going to leave teaching and go into the entrepreneurial world – He was the one who told me – ‘You always told me to follow your passion. What’s the worst that can happen- you can go back to teaching? Can you handle that!’ That’s when I knew I was successful- I had raised my son right!”)


What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Take care of yourself-if you don’t do that you can’t take care of anybody else.  Make the time to exercise, eat right and find good people to surround yourself with.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

Trying to do it all alone- don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Education is power- and a girl’s best friend!  Believe in yourself, do your homework and follow your dreams.

Follow KleenSlate on Twitter, like KleenSlate on Facebook or learn more at Kleen Slate



My one piece of advice would be to look at what is really important and do the best you can with what you have, then let the rest of the thoughts /worries go.  As long as you all have enough to eat, warm clothes, a cozy home, hugs and love your family will be OK.   Your time and attention are the most important things; they are where your kids get their self esteem, confidence, security and strength from.

My biggest sense of overwhelm is making big decisions without someone to discuss it with late at night when you can’t sleep and there is no one to give me a hug and say “it will be OK”.


LEXI LAMB,  WRITER, SINGLE MOTHER OF TWO BOYS, AGES 6 AND 10.  (Lexi recently left a 9 year career as a successful advertising executive to pursue her dream of being a professional writer and novelist.)

I spent a few days pondering what overwhelmed me as a single mother.  What type of advice could I give to all the amazing single moms out there?  At first, I decided to write about how incredibly frustrating and ignorant my ex husband is and how difficult it is to be forced to share custody with him;   so many of us are still responsible for our children’s daily needs even when they spend time with their fathers.   By the time I sat down to write about that relationships’ overwhelming qualities, my current exhaustion from the  juggling act I performed that day won over and I feel asleep face down on my bed, laptop open, fully clothed, shoes on.

When I worked at an Advertising Executive I was always being scolded for my time management skills because my desk was messy.   Yeah I get that messy means more time to locate things, but my bosses were clueless to the fact that I could get more done in one day that most execs could get done in two.  You learn to manage the heck out of your time when you have to pack lunches, dress kids, drop them off at school.  Then get to work, pick kids up, drop them off at sports, help with homework, etc.   Not to mention making all of our own daily appointments, running errands, maintaining a social life, and sleeping.  Sleep has to be in there somewhere!  The next day I woke up and thought, now that was overwhelming!  My ex is just annoying, and no one wants to hear another mom moan about their children’s’ father.

My refreshed state of mind morphed into disbelief as the people in my life chose that day to tell me how I disappoint each of them.   One by one, I was enslaved by their demands for my attention.  All of them needy for different reasons;  friends accusing me of being too busy to talk or hang out,  kids whining that I don’t have time to play with them, my mother complaining because I haven’t stopped by, and  my boyfriend pouting because he thinks I’m ignoring him.   Every free moment was injected with other people’s needs.   I was being pulled apart like a pizza at a kid’s birthday party.  There was nothing left of me by the end of the day.  What about what I need??  Do people forget that I need things too?  Yes they do, mommy, yes they do, I think, as I slam my laptop shut, down a sleeping pill and pull the covers over my head.

When I woke up my topic hit me like the smell of a dirty diaper.  Being a single mother is always overwhelming, if that is how you choose to see your life.  I listen to people complain constantly about their kids behaviors, the stuff they have to do, what the father of the children is doing wrong.  Listen ladies, being a single mom is challenging every day in a multitude of ways.  Trying to raise your babies to be intelligent, well-rounded, good people is hard, even for mother Teresa.  The problem is that most of us spend too much time focusing on it being hard.  Quit your bitching and focus on what makes you happy!  Once you do that the overwhelming parts begin to ebb.

You are in control of your responses to the challenges we face; those things cannot control you.  Laughing at things when they are hard is my trick (often inappropriately laughing at situations, which I would not recommend).  Next time you want to run your ex over with your minivan, put it in park and be happy you are not married to him anymore.  When your family and friends drive you nuts, stop and remind yourself how lucky you are to have those people in your life; you may not have them tomorrow.  When you want to cry because you can’t fit everything into the day, remember that each day is a gift and you can finish the rest tomorrow.

All of us in the “single mother” category must be thankful for what we have!  The best quote I have ever heard in my life is “Happiness is not a destination; it’s a way of life.”  We create most of our own frustrations because we allow those things to consume us.  Life, especially life with babies, is amazing.  Damn hard at times, but still a gift I will never return.

Like Lexi on Facebook or keep your eyes peeled for more of Lexi here at Small Key Big Door!



What’s one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Being a single mom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The freedom you have right now is a gift. When you realize that, and truly BELIEVE it, things will instantly become less overwhelming.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

Achieving financial stability as a single mother wasn’t easy for me, especially when I started with absolutely nothing.  I didn’t have a car.  I didn’t have a home.  I didn’t have a single penny saved when my ex left. In the beginning, trying to figure out how to support myself and my son alone was overwhelming.  Luckily I had family to help support me until I got on my feet.  It took me three years and it wasn’t easy, but I’m finally 100% financially independent.

Follow Melysa on Twitter, like her on Facebook or learn more at Sex, Lies and Bacon



When you are overwhelmed with parenting, budgeting, working, disciplining or whatever stress life may bring, stop, breathe and focus on your child.  My daughter’s smile wipes away my tears.  Her laughter cures my headaches.  And her unconditional love pushes me to become a better parent, a better person.  Being a single mom has made me stronger and wiser.  I’m more motivated and more forgiving.  Although I wouldn’t “choose” to be a single parent, I wouldn’t “choose” not to have her in my life.  Don’t let society stereotype you.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful, intelligent, confident and highly favored.  If you don’t believe it, you’re child won’t either.  Everyone has hardships in life.  Even married women with husbands helping them rear their children under one roof.

When dealing with your child’s father, redefine the relationship and set new expectations.  He is no longer your boyfriend, your fiancé or your husband. He is your child’s father—period.  Don’t be surprised if he is no longer the person you knew and loved.  Don’t fight over what went wrong in the past.  Instead, look towards the future and try to build a positive co-parenting relationship.  If you are unable to do so, use tools like Family Wizard to communicate effectively.  Use your head not your heart, and file for child support.  If you can’t come to terms on an agreement, let the court do so.  Both parents are financially responsible for the expenses.  If you file, it doesn’t mean you are greedy, selfish or money hungry.  It means you want the best for your child.  So, if if you don’t get as much money as you want, don’t prevent your child from forming a bond with his/her father.  Be resourceful.  Get a side job.  Apply for WIC without being embarrassed.  Half of Americans receive some sort of assistance.

Money.  My bills often outweigh my bank account.  I was a stay-at-home mother for the first nine months.  Fortunately, I had a savings account built up.  However, the stress sometimes led to headaches, sleepless nights, stress and a short temper.  Then, I stopped and asked myself, “When has God abandoned me in the past?”  The answer was never.  His grace and mercy carry me over obstacles.  I prayed for a new job by May, and He landed me an interview at the end of April.  The job was later tailored to match my background.  Somehow, I have enough to meet my daughter’s needs and some of her wants.  Complaining about a situation doesn’t solve the problem, so I praise God through all times.  (That confuses the enemy:)

Follow Heather on Twitter, like her on Facebook or learn more at Diary of a First Time Mom



What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Give it to GOD!!!

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

Not having family in the area.




Always talk to your kids…and listen to your kids.  Doesn’t cost a thing and there is no greater investment.  Do the best you can with what you have.

As far as overwhelm…Obviously financial.  Also finding a way to balance everything everyday…work, school, extracurricular activities  and all my responsibilities by myself.  Some days, you feel like throwing up your hands!  But, that’s not an option!  So you just do your best each day…

If you’re in the Charlotte area, check out Tri County Catering/Hawthornes,  follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook



How I deal with overwhelm is try to make time for myself sometimes too cause we all need our own time to relax and let loose! And just remind myself I’m all my kids have so I can’t lose it, and I have to remind myself to just take it one day at a time!

I get overwhelmed with the fact that my kids fathers don’t want to be involved, well one at least! But it hurts to see how beautiful and neat my kids are! And that their dads have no clue what they are missing and they don’t care!  Even though they will be fine without them it still breaks my heart for them!



What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Know that you are enough and see this truly as a gift and not a burden; you’re creating memories and lessons here with your child; the power of love, sharing the highs & lows, seeing the treasure of them both.  This is something that is special between only you and this child that no one can take away from the two of you; in the end you both will take something very rich from your own self discovery.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

When we would say our prayers at night together and he would pray for a daddy, I knew this was a prayer between him and God; It wasn’t for me to go find a man because my heart would break for him, so he could just say he has a Dad.  I didn’t want to settle to answer his prayers; It wasn’t for me to answer.  A amazing man came into our lives without my seeking; I promised to continue on in our journey and that was my focus.  His prayers were heard without my influence to control.

Follow Lisa on Twitter, like her on Facebook or learn more at Inner Spirit Rhythm



What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Build a strong community around yourself.  If it takes a village to raise a child, then one person is certainly too small a force.  Just because you’re a single parent doesn’t mean you have to parent singly.  A loving community will have your back and envelope you with love.  At the end of the day this has made all the difference for me.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

Finances.  It can be hard to be the sole bread winner, work a day job, climb towards fulfilling my dreams and be the loving parent I want to be. Sometimes it feels like no area of my life is getting the best of me.  I’m always falling short somewhere and I’ve had to make peace with that. However, when money doesn’t measure up my fuse shortens and everything feels more overwhelming.

Follow Michelle on Twitter or learn more at Michelle Fiordaliso.com or Motherhood Then Marriage



What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

First:  Be gentle with yourself.   To expand a bit:  It’s easy to become overwhelmed in today’s world, especially as a single mom.  The list of things to do is enormous, and there never seems to be enough time (or often, money).  The way I have managed this (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) is to make my spiritual connection the first priority and then trust that guidance will come as it is needed.  When I give myself a little space, I often gain perspective, and some things take care of themselves without me needing to take a lot of action.

The other suggestion I would make is to determine your priorities and evaluate what you have to do in light of those.  For example, if your priorities are your child(ren), your spiritual, emotional and physical well being, and having enough money to support you and your children, you may have to let go of things you “should” do to make time for those you want to do or need to do. (such as volunteering at school or church, having a beautiful yard or a spotless house).  Do what feels right for you and your family.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

When everything hits at once, trying to prioritize to meet all the needs and still stay healthy or sane!  With no one to share the burdens or divide the work, the loneliness and feelings of isolation can add to the feelings of being overwhelmed and sometimes foster resentment.  For me, this often happens when I have work deadlines, a lot of bills to pay, a sick child, and then something else goes wrong – like the car breaks down or an appliance stops working.  There’s no one to share the action items, or to get help means taking additional time to call, explain, research, etc.  Sometimes it can all seem like too much.

So it’s hard for me to pick a single area; it’s more the intersection of multiple areas when they hit together that causes me the most stress (and when I have to apply my own suggestion that I made above).

Learn more at The Divorced Breadwinner Mom 



My best advice to single Moms is too never feel guilty when you become stressed and overwhelmed with parenting by yourself….when everyday life of being a Mom becomes too much, seek help from a reliable friend, family member and never forget praying and asking for God’s guidance.  As a Christian, my faith in God has become my foundation for guiding me in decisions.

Do not think you have to do everything yourself…you cannot be at your best, when you are over-stressed with everyday issues….especially when you have more than one child.

The most overwhelming part of parenting for me is that my children’s Dad chose his new family and stopped seeing them at a very early age.  This was so hard for me to accept that their Dad would want to miss out on all of the experiences in their life.  This left such a vacancy…birthdays, holidays, family gatherings and school events.  Even though he paid child support, it did not take the place of a fathers love.  My supportive family helped me so much and my church family.



As a single mother my first piece of positive advice and comment is Never stop Improving!!!! Always and every time to the best of your abilities operate in excellence.

The second question was what area are we overwhelmed in I believe for me its FINANCES….ugh. I cringe just typing that. More often than not single moms are overworked and underpaid, and making and sticking to a budget is somewhat far-fetched.




First piece of advice – to stop, exhale, and trust God

The Area that is most overwhelming is finances

Worst part of single parenthood is being bad cop + bad cop





What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Some days I feel ever so swoony and dizzy with Solo Mama overwhelm.  On these special days I tell myself to STOP and I take a Breath.  I give myself a big Mama bear hug and I let myself Be human for a moment.  I may have a little cry or throw a little tanty.  I grap a cup of tea and I sit for a moment and in this moment I gather myself and I re-prioritize my day.  

Over the past few months I have learned to put my health, kid beans and creating a sacred home first before my creative pursuits.  This way I don’t run into burnout; it may take me longer to get my projects done but at least I will have enough energy to enjoy them and my babies!

Also as a Solo Mama I really try to be my own best friend. Oh and I cannot stress enough that going to bed at a decent time is the key to maintaining ones sanity!

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?  

I feel most overwhelmed when my head is burning full of creative ideas/projects and all 3 kids and family and friends want something from me first.  Bah.  Being a serious introvert I cannot stand people in my face all the time.  If I can’t have my ME space then I feel out of control and overwhelmed.

Like Angel on Facebook, check out her Etsy Shop or learn more at Indigo See Magpie Do



Being a mom is awesome, always but lets not fuck around; sometimes being a single mom, blows.  There is no shame in admitting that either.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re a parent. Sometimes, when you’re a single parent, there are days when all you can do is lock yourself in the bathroom and cry it out.

Things will get better.  Yeah, you’re going to get tossed around by angry waves here and there as you sail through life but sinking is not an option. Dori was right, Keep fucking swimming.

If someone offers to help you through a rough patch, let them.  There are good people out there among us.  If we refuse their offers of help due to stubborn pride; we’re killing their dream.  Some people LIKE to help others for no reason other than they CAN.  Let them.  One day when your life has leveled out,  you might just feel compelled to help someone just because YOU can.

Most of all, never forget that there’s a reason that little monster calls YOU, mama.  Make the most of that.  Live, laugh, learn, and love your babies.  There is no greater love than a mothers love.

Follow CC on Twitter, like her on Facebook or learn more at Not Your Average Single Mama



The one piece of advice I would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm is that, IT IS A PHASE AND IT WILL PASS. That is what I learned from my first child (who is 9 now) that helped me get through the first year of my second child (who is 13 months) much easier.

My biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom is not being able to afford day care and taking my baby to work with me every day. I own a personal training studio on East Blvd., so thank goodness, I can take him with me even though it is getting tougher and tougher the more mobile he becomes. But you know what…It will pass :)  I will make it work.

Like Body Work on Facebook, learn more at Body Work by the Park



What one positive comment or piece of advice you would give to a single mom dealing with overwhelm?  

Take time for you, moms.  We are so involved in our childrens’ lives, being mom, being dad when or if dad is not around, being the chef and chauffeur, the confidant, the teacher through the hours of homework, being their cheerleader and their shoulder to cry on, the adviser, the disciplinarian.  All while holding down a full-time job if you’re not one of the “lucky” ones.  Take time for you.

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?

Being a single mom. :)  Remaining strong even when you feel like falling down at the end of the night.  With each obstacle I tackle, I gain more strength.  It’s liberating to be a strong, independent woman who is also a single mom.



How about you?

What one positive comment or piece of advice would you give to another single mom dealing with overwhelm?

What has been your biggest area of overwhelm as a single mom?

Please share in the comments!

(Special thanks go out to Corbett Barr from Think Traffic who provided the inspiration for this post.  Corbett’s course Start a Blog that Matters was the reason this site came to fruition!)

Like what you read? Join the journey!

About Toni South

Toni South is the Founder of Small Key Big Door where she writes about the positive aspects of being a single mom.

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13 Responses to 19 Incredible Single Moms Who Will Help You Overcome Overwhelm

  1. Julia October 5, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

    I LOVE your BLOG! You have re-inspired me to reach out and thank my children for standing by me though challenging times and to keep showing up, participating and giving back!

    • Toni South October 5, 2012 at 10:29 PM #

      Thanks so much for the sweet words! I’m so happy that you participated by sharing your words and I just hope there are some single moms in the new stages of single mom-dom who will read these awesome stories and realize that things aren’t as bad as they may seem. It’s awesome to hear the inspiring stories of moms with grown kids who are successful because sometimes you can believe that the future looks bleak if you start taking to heart all the negative stuff out there. THANK YOU for being a part of this!

  2. Joy October 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM #

    Thanks for putting together and sharing all these inspiring tips and suggestions from single moms. I just re-read them all and found myself in good company once again! It’s always helped me to know I’m not the only one in a particular situation, and I see a lot of commonalities among those who shared their tips and areas of overwhelm. Knowing others have walked the path makes it easier and offers hope to the rest of us. Looking forward to more! – Joy

    • Toni South October 8, 2012 at 10:06 PM #

      Thanks Joy! I feel the same way and sometimes you feel like you’re the only one going through tough times and it’s so helpful to hear words of wisdom from others who have gone through similar situations. I have read and re-read everyone’s words of advice and I’m finding that I could read them a million times and still get something new. Looking forward to continuing this journey. Thanks for your encouraging words!


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