The Cost Of Being A Single Mom

Preparing Financially to Parent Alone

We all know that life has a funny way of pulling the rug out from under your feet before you even know what hit you.   In the course of the last five years, I have had three close friends – with three very different circumstances – become single moms.  Kara’s husband suddenly left their marriage when their daughter was just eight months old, Diane’s relationship with her boyfriend didn’t last through her pregnancy, and when Courtney turned thirty nine, she decided she couldn’t wait to find the perfect mate so she headed to the sperm bank…

While their situations and choices all differ greatly, the end result for all of these women is that they love their children dearly and love being a mom.  But that’s not to say that the financial and emotional costs of being a single mom are at all easy.  Simply put, whether your baby’s daddy is in the picture or not, single mothers typically have more financial stresses than if they lived with a partner.  So, we went straight to the source and got some fab single moms to give us some firsthand financial advice!

Try to Avoid a Big Custody Battle

Ending a marriage or a long term relationship is emotionally and financially devastating in of itself.  Add a child into the mix – and things can get even uglier!  Even if both parents are somewhat amicable and seemingly have the kids best interests at heart, many newly single moms find that just as they are trying to establish a new life for themselves and for their children, their baby daddy slaps them with a custody suit and all hell breaks loose.

Custody battles can drag out for years – draining all people involved financially.  If you can in ANY way stay on rational speaking terms with your Ex and agree on the basics of custody, visitation and financial issues before the lawyers take over completely, not only will your family be much less stressed – so will your bank account.

Choosing to Have a Baby on Your Own

If you choose to adopt or opt for artificial insemination, the good news is you will most likely have sole custody of your child.  But the expense of adopting or going to the sperm back is not cheap!  And even if you’ve financially prepared for your pregnancy or adoption process, preparing yourself to be a true solo parent from the get-go takes some serious thought and financial planning.  No child support, no every other weekend off- it’s just you and your baby.  How will you work?  How will you date? And can you afford full time child care? – Remember, many people choose this path and couldn’t be happier.  The key is to prepare yourself, save as much as possible, and set up a very solid support system before your baby arrives!

Paying for Childcare

Hands down, next to housing, childcare is the single biggest expense any new parent must plan for.  Being a single mom typically means you need to work, and because you are also the primary caregiver, this adds a whole layer of stress and financial burden that couples just don’t have in quite the same way.  What are your childcare options?  How will you structure your work life in order to spend time with your children?  A woman’s work is never done, and working to have it all means there is ZERO rest for the weary.

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One Response to “The Cost Of Being A Single Mom”

  1. ila says:

    Any advice for the awesome single dads out there? I always hear about single moms (and I come from a single mother household). There are some amazing dads out there. Just saying.

Any Thoughts?