Life as a single mom can be stressful, to say the least. Juggling the kids, work, and trying to carve time for yourself can be difficult to manage. However, you don’t have to go through it alone. In fact, there are around 13.7 million single parents in the United States. While it may feel like you don’t know anyone else who has had to go through what you’ve gone through, that’s likely not the case. Here are a few suggestions for how you can rely on others to manage the stress of being a single mom.

Simple Ways to Deal with the Stress of Being a Single Mom

Get Online

If you’ve just recently gone through a divorce, sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers than your own friends or family. Luckily, there are plenty of sites online where you can chat with other people who have gone through a divorce. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and if you’re using these sites, you’ll see firsthand all the other people going through what you’re going through.

While it may be uncomfortable, push yourself to make those connections. You don’t have to keep everything to yourself, especially when you’re in the company of those who can relate to what you’re feeling. More than 20% of first marriages end in divorce within five years, so you’re far from alone. Even if it seems like talking to strangers online won’t help, it’s very likely you’ll feel better once you’ve gotten some things off your chest.

Rely on Friends

If getting online and talking with strangers who have dealt with similar situations isn’t for you, rely on your friends for support. Call someone when you’re feeling low or go out for a drink with some friends when you need a break from the kids. Whatever the situation may be, your friends are there to help you. Maybe you just need someone to watch the kids for a night while you relax in your room. Whatever it may be, reach out to someone. They’ll be more than willing to help.

Stay Busy

This may seem a bit counterintuitive, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, sometimes structure is the best thing you can do for yourself. Plan something for you and the kids to do each day, each week, or once a month. Maybe you set a plan that on the weekends, the kids get to choose one place they want to go and that’s your activity for the week. Whatever it may be, have a structured plan. Even if the plan is to take some time for rest, having a plan will help limit the stress.

Another way to handle the stress of being a single mom is by keeping the kids busy so that you have downtime. For example, each year more than 11 million children and adults attend summer camp in the states. So, sign the kids up for a camp! Have somewhere for them to go where they’re cared for and having fun, but that also allows you to have your own time to do whatever you want. Maybe this means finally going to the grocery store uninterrupted by the kids. Or maybe you’re able to get coffee with a friend. Maybe you’re able to take a nap. Whatever it is, keeping the kids busy where they’re safe but out of sight will benefit you in the long run.

When dealing with the stress of being a single mom, sometimes you have to remember that you come first. You won’t be able to be as good of a momma for your kiddos if you’re running on empty. Take time for yourself, rely on others, and allow yourself time to recoup.