Raising Kids Alone Can Be Very Hard at Times

Raising kids alone means facing challenges, responsibilities, and burdens that can be difficult to sustain. Learn all about it.
Raising Kids Alone Can Be Very Hard at Times

Last update: 11 October, 2022

Raising a child is always a source of equal parts of challenges and joy. However, when this task is faced alone, it can become even more demanding and exhausting. Being responsible for a life, its well-being, and development, and not sharing this task with another adult, makes these women brave and valuable. Despite this, raising kids alone can be very hard.

There are many reasons why a woman may raise a child alone, ranging from the death of a spouse to a rejection of parenthood by the other parent. Also, being a single mother can be a deliberate decision, as more and more women resort to adoption or assisted reproduction treatments to fulfill this dream by any means.

Raising kids alone is quite a challenge…

In any case, the difficulties and challenges faced by these women can be similar. For this reason, we want to dedicate a few lines to recognize them and offer some guidelines to deal with them. Don’t miss it!

A new mom holding her newborn and looking overwhelmed.
The postpartum period is a time of many changes and a great hormonal and emotional revolution. Try to go through it in the company of friends, family, or mothers that are in the same situation as you.

Postpartum without a partner

Postpartum is a particularly vulnerable time for women. Women have to cope with major physical, hormonal, emotional, and social changes at the same time. Intense feelings of sadness, worry, and fear can appear.

Seeing the body in the mirror, still “deformed”, but already with the child in her arms, can cause embarrassment and frustration. And to all this is added the responsibility of constantly caring for a helpless and dependent being, with the sleep deprivation that this entails.

In this phase, the role of the father or partner is to support the mother, support her logistically, and contain her emotionally. Without this figure present, and especially if there’s no help from other family members, the postpartum period can be a difficult time to go through.

Parenting without a tribe

Traditionally, parenting was a task that was undertaken in a tribe, and several adults collaborated in the care of the infant.

However, nowadays women are alone in this task, and often only have the support of their partner. In the case of single mothers, they have to carry out all the tasks.

They’re solely responsible for the economy and finances, housework, and childcare. They bear the financial responsibility, the day-to-day organization, and all the mental burden that this entails. They care for, clean, feed, protect, and educate their children. And, again, when there’s no support, this situation can become overwhelming.

The loneliness of motherhood

At the same time, a large majority of women say that motherhood can be very lonely. During the baby’s first months or years, the little one becomes the top priority and its care takes up most of the mother’s time. It’s common that at this stage women miss adult contact, the ability to socialize, devote time to themselves, or recover some of their other roles or hobbies.

Even when the child grows up, the facets of “worker”, “friend”, “sister”, “daughter”, or simply, “woman” continue to be subordinated to the role of a mother that’s responsible for everything. Therefore, external support is required to be able to combine and reconcile the different spheres. And, when raising a child alone, achieving this is much more complicated.

A great responsibility

On a psychological and emotional level, one of the aspects that sometimes make being a single mother so hard is being the sole and main person responsible for a child’s life. All relevant decisions (feeding style, sleep schedules, the school they attend, the extracurricular activities they do) fall solely on the mother.

Likewise, if the child becomes ill, is bullied, or faces any difficulty, it’s she who is by their side to attend to them, care for them, comfort them, and look after their well-being. As a woman, she also needs her own support in these processes and, as there’s no partner with whom to share the burden, she must find a network that can support her.

Victims of social judgment

Finally, in many cases, it’s the environment itself that makes parenting alone even harder. Relatives, close friends, or society, in general, may judge the woman for being a single mother, for not creating or maintaining a traditional family, or for having decided to be a single mother.

They may also judge her for trying to rebuild her life and have a new partner, or blame her for not being able to devote more time to caring for her child. All this criticism, so harmful and lacking in empathy, can be very hard on the mother.

People shaking their fingers at a single mother sitting on a park bend with her baby.
Society looks down on single mothers and questions what they do or don’t do. Often, this lack of empathy prevents them from enjoying what they’re capable of achieving.

Raising kids alone doesn’t mean being alone

Although single motherhood can be very hard, it’s also very beautiful and rewarding.

If you’re a single mother, you can decide how to raise your child, carefully select every aspect of their education, and carry it out by yourself with all the love and the most appropriate conditions for their development.

However, this burden can be heavy and difficult to carry if you don’t have a support network. Too much responsibility can burn you out, make you anxious or depressed, and prevent you from being the happy and fulfilled mother your child needs. So, don’t hesitate to use the resources available to you.

Surround yourself with people who love you, family and friends, and don’t hesitate to ask them for help when needed. Connect with other mothers in your situation, go to support groups that allow you to socialize and share your thoughts and feelings and, if you need it, seek professional support. Taking care of yourself, your emotions, and your well-being are keys to enjoying motherhood.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Landero Hernández, R. y González Ramírez, M. T. (2011). Apoyo social, estrés y autoestima en mujeres de familias monoparentales y biparentales. Summa Psicológica, 8, 29-36.
  • Rivas, A. M., Jociles, M. I., & Moncó, B. (2011). Las madres solteras por elección.¿ Ciudadanas de primera y madres de segunda?. Revista Internacional de Sociología69(1), 121-142.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.