(Post previously published in 2018)
I’m rebuilding my life in a different town away from home and I still have the chills two months down the line. I mean, I’m used to having my family next to me but now they are all six hours away. It’s tough and I hate being the ‘new mom on the block’.
My neighbors still look at me like I just landed from Mars.
I’m trying to make new friends but either my neighbors are not friendly or I’m
not doing it right. To hell with all those who respond coldly to my greetings.
I’ve decided to do things differently and I’m not going to
give a crap to anyone who doesn’t want to make friends. I won’t let their
reactions limit my experience.
It’s hard adjusting to a new town, let alone the
neighborhood. I have to change hospitals and petty things like supermarkets and
my hangouts. My son has to adjust to a new school.
Speaking of my son, he is extremely terrified of his new
school. He is worried about making new friends and changing teachers. Sadly, I
understand him, but it’s been hard trying to help him adjust when I’m having a
hard time myself.
I know I’m not alone. Rebuilding your life as a single mom is
tough especially when you have to start from zero and you have to buy
Lucky you if you managed to get something from your
separation or divorce. This is not my situation though.
While there are some disadvantages to building a new life,
there are so many advantages that come with it.
For one, it is easy to pick up the pieces of your shattered
dreams and start a new life. Heck! No one knows you here and a few people care
about where you came from, what you do and who you live with. (This is how you
know you are living in KENYA!)
You have the opportunity (a second opportunity for that
matter) to become an independent woman and mother. Don’t screw it up this time.
Well, while this may be tough, but building a new life gives
you the chance to have a new network base. Hopefully, you don’t bring back into
your circle the crappy friends who put you down.
Don’t forget that you have a kid/kids to take care of so the
only thing you need right now is your self-esteem. I have mine way above 100
percent (J I can work with 80 percent though) and
I’m trying hard to keep away all the negative energy. It’s not easy I must
Solo parenting is tough and you need a boost of confidence to
make things work. You already made the decision to move, so thumbs up mama! Now
do away with the anger, pick your beautiful self up, shake off the dust and
have the courage to face your fears.
I’m talking to you mom who is having a hard time moving on.
You are not doing justice to yourself (and your kids) holding on to things that
are not WORTH IT.
No one can put you down unless you allow it
What Do You Love About Yourself?
Self Love is the key. It helps build confidence so stop
making that list in your head and write it down. It doesn’t matter how small
your achievement is, write it down.
Even if you choose therapy over my article, they’ll still
tell you that writing down things you love about yourself helps validate
yourself as a unique personality with potential.
Don’t believe me? Check
I took the liberty to gather some resourceful information
that should help you:
Exercise Sure to Make You Feel Better About Yourself
Can’t afford to pay for therapy? Here’s How
to do Therapy on Yourself
Steps to Like Yourself (More)
Okay, so now that this is out of the way, another method I
use to keep my mind busy and distract myself from the thought of having a few
unwelcoming neighbors is:
Learning a New Skill
You don’t have to do it my way; instead, you can think of a
new hobby or pursue a different interest. Since I moved here a few months ago I’ve
been learning a lot about being a virtual assistant. I’m particularly interested
in being a virtual assistant for therapists given that I have some background
in Counseling Psychology and I LOVE writing.
You can do something different like learning how to bake or
training on article writing. You can even take some driving classes. My point
is keep your mind busy with things that can help you grow instead of focusing
on things that pull you down.
Then there is this easy method you can use to make new friends
To hell with your neighbors (oops!) if they are unwelcoming like
mine. I won’t force it. I’ll wait and see if they will say ‘Hi’ to me one day.
For now, they’ll only see visitors walking in and out of my house like I’ve
been living in this town for years.
That’s the beauty of social media! You can easily make new
friends who share the same interest as you. I want to have as many single mom
friends as I can. They may understand my experiences more than my family.
Facebook Group Kenyan Single Mothers Club has a large base.
All you have to do is add a post and ask anyone within your location to connect
if they want to make a new friend. Try it on any group. You’ll be amazed at the
contacts you get.
Pray Big Time
Stop thinking that you can do everything alone! You are not
alone even if it feels like it. You can always turn to prayers and reflection
to understand yourself and build a new life. Pray every day, pray every time.
Read the Bible every time, it will give you enough consolation.
Not sure where to start? Look up these verses and reflect how
it relates to your life.
- Psalms 130:5
- Nahum 1:13
- Romans 8:17
- Proverbs 14:10
- Galatians 5:19-23
- Ecclesiastes 7:14
- Mark 11:25
- Ephesians 1:11
- Matthew 6:25-34
I could go on and on because when it comes to the Bible, you
can never get enough.
From Zero to Super Mom
At times I get frustrated when I don’t find what I’m looking
for on the internet. Before taking this bold step, I scoured the internet to
find success stories of single moms who actually managed solo parenting when
they had nothing to support themselves. I only landed articles that give tips
on thriving as a single mom. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good, but they
didn’t touch on my current situation.
Then I realized I was doing it all wrong. You will never find
all the answers on the internet. Ask around and you will hear success stories
that will make your situation look like nothing.
I even forgot about my mom and how she started her life after
my dad passed away. Damn! That was a hell of a journey! I was only 8 and I
could feel her pain. Two years without a job and an extra year trying to adjust
to a new town.
So picking a few tips from her, and some from my experience:
Leave the Kids Behind
If you don’t have school-going children, then don’t feel bad
leaving them with your family as you start out. I know, it is heartbreaking at
first, but with time, things will go back to normal.
If you can’t afford to provide for them as you start out, it
is okay to ask your parents to help you out. For me, my sons are my handbags,
but this is just because my oldest son is already in school plus my mom and
sister go to work every day. I’d leave them behind if I had the choice, but
thank God I can afford to put something in their stomachs.
Ask Your Family to Get You through the First Few Months
Budgeting becomes hard when you barely have enough to push
you through. Sadly, this is the situation for most single moms. You made the
decision to move because you want to build a new life. This means that you have
to look for a job and ways to make money.
Before your first paycheck comes in, why not make a call to
your parents and ask them to help you through the first month?
I was lucky enough because I make money online. My laptop is
my office so it goes wherever I go. Then I have a very supportive family. My
mother was on her annual leave at the time so she helped me move. Honestly, it
felt like high school all over again. She bought all the essentials, spent a
few weeks with us then traveled back home when she was sure we were okay (I
doubt if she thinks we are okayJ). This
saved me some thousands and I had to focus more on finding a good school for my
I know a single mom who started the same way. For her, she
had a whole village behind her back! Literally! One person chips in with a bed,
another relative offers to buy the sofa set, and a few friends throw in their
support with kitchen appliances and food. If you have a support network, turn
Reduce your Spending
Now that you have a few things to start out, it is time to
make a budget. You want to save as much as you can to buy the necessary
household items if you don’t have a village behind your back like my friend. A
single mother’s must-have items in the house include:
- Clothes (not a household item, but very important)
- Rent (again, not a household item but important)
- Television (Heck, yeah! You need something to keep your kids busy as you work. 100 percent necessary for the work-at-home mom)
Here is a full list if you want to learn how to
create a single mom’s budget. Forget about all the articles that ask you to
save first. A single mom’s budget is about being realistic. I mean why strain
and save 10% then pull the money out to buy groceries?
You need a workable budget; a single mom’s budget. It’s only
reasonable because you are all surviving on one income and you don’t have the
luxury of asking your spouse to pay the rent and school fees while you handle
While we are still on the topic of budgeting:
Do away with things you can live without. Will your life end
if you don’t eat out like other moms? Hell No! So ditch it and carry food to
Look for cheap but better alternatives to essential things
you need. Second-hand clothes are a thriving business in Kenya so must you
order your dress from Jumia at the moment? No.
Downgrade your living situation and look for creative ways to
Concentrate on Making More Money
Much as you want to cut costs and live the frugal lifestyle
as you start out, this is not how you should live your whole life. Do your best
to make sure your income is greater than your expense.
Focus your energy toward finding a better job. You can also
look for alternative ways to make money through a side hustle or if you have
enough capital, start a business.
You will never get far if you sit around and play victim to
your circumstances. Your outlook on life determines your outcome. Choose to be
happy and decide that you are going to make it as a single mom. Oh! And
everything takes time so don’t expect some miracle to happen overnight unless
you land a dinner with the President.
There will be tough days and it is up to you how you respond
to these moments. For me, I turn to my Bible and ask Jesus to take the wheel. I
don’t know about you; these are just some of the ways I chose to build a new
life as a single mom. What’s your secret?