There really is such a thing as being happy and single. Today, more and more women are choosing to be single. It’s not because they can’t get a man or because there’s something wrong with them. They happen to like their lives unattached to another. Yes, it does bring with it its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Just like those who are not single, they take the good with the not so good.
Women who are single are still women. They want many of the same things. That includes career, social network, financial freedom, confidence, hobbies and time for self. You might think that because they are single they have the latter already, but putting themselves last is still a problem for single women too. We are naturally nurturers and will often work to help satisfy the needs of others before our own.
Single women are not without their responsibilities either. Single moms also fall into this category. For whatever reason, they are raising their kids alone. It is often an enjoyable and worthwhile thing to do, but also a tough task at times, and they need just as much consideration as single women who have no children. Their lives have their advantages and disadvantages and they take the good with the not so good as well. Still, they want to enjoy life.
Keep reading to find out how, as a single woman or a single mom, you can go about looking good and feeling great. Just because there isn’t a man around, people may expect that you will “let yourself go.” Don’t give them the satisfaction. Be all that you can be as a single gal, with or without children. You deserve to have goals in life and meet them.
We would like to give you a few tips on how to go about that. The majority of the advice is for all single women, regardless of whether they have children or not. We will also offer some additional tips that are unique to single moms.
It’s more than just the name of a sitcom from the 1990s. It is the reality for many, many women. They are taking life by the reins and forging their own path – alone. The American dream is not a house with a white picket fence, a good job and 2.5 kids for everyone. Women are making a conscious choice to conduct their lives without giving in to the pressure of being attached to someone.
Believe us, there is still pressure. Aging parents want grand-kids. Friends want to set you up on a blind date or take you to a makeup counter to spruce up your look. Everyone else has their opinions about why you are still single. It may never have crossed their minds that it was a choice you made and not one that was thrust upon you.
The biological clock may be ticking but that’s alright. For some women, the preference is to ignore it.
Advantages of Being Single
Freedom – Shout it from the rooftops like Mel Gibson in “Braveheart.” You have the freedom to choose: to go to bed early or late, to go out of town or stay home, to follow your daily whims or stay more grounded. All decisions are up to you. Seek advice from those you trust, but the last word on any subject in your life is yours. The constraints of your life are governed by you and you alone.
Finances – When two people get married or move in together, they start sharing a financial picture for the most part. Their ups and downs are your ups and downs and vice versa. Women may earn less than men in many career fields, but they are also realizing that they have control of their financial picture. For single women, that equates to learning to live on less and still come out ahead. Single women are buying their own homes, investing in their retirement future and learning how to be smart with their money. One income is enough if you take advantage of financial opportunities and learn how to save.
Career – Depending on your choice of occupational field, you are limited only by your motivation and drive to move ahead. When the only concern is your preference, it opens up an entirely new chapter in your career path. You are free to travel for work, relocate for a more lucrative job opportunity, take classes or earn an additional degree to become more competitive in the workplace or apply for that open managerial spot. There are things to be considered but they all depend on you and what you want.
Independence – Empower yourself. When problems arise, you have to buck up and handle them. For women who have a talent for resourcefulness, this is more an opportunity than a problem. Discovering hidden resources, using your talents and making connections all build self-confidence and self-reliance. Instead of always looking to someone else to do it, you learn to count on yourself. It builds life survival skills that are indispensable, even if you later enter into a relationship.
Time – We are all given the same amount each day to use as we need to. For single women, there is time to explore – your own ambitions, interests and dreams. Your schedule depends on what you want to do. You can cram each day full of activities and fall into bed at night exhausted. Or, you can build in time for yourself among other commitments. There is more opportunity to take advantage of the time afforded to you. If you want to pick up and go to the islands with friends, you can do it (provided you get the time off from work).
Wider social network – Singles thrive on their social network. Friends take on a new meaning. For most women, girlfriends have always been an important part of their lives. They are your sounding board, your supportive shoulder to cry on and your comic relief. Women have always enjoyed the company of their own gender. As a single woman, this network is larger and more all-encompassing. Building a strong one means cultivating those relationships that mean a lot to you.
Drawbacks to Being Single
Finances – Some aspects act as a double-edged sword. While you have the freedom to make your own financial decisions, you are also solely responsible for them. With one income, it is up to you to figure out what to do when there’s a shortfall. This is not unique to single women with children, either. When there is no one else but you, a second job or longer work hours fall to you. Many people work more than one job to make ends meet and you may have to do the same if the financial picture ever turns dim.
Loneliness – It’s not pining for a man that we are talking about here. However, coming home to an empty house each and every day can be disheartening. If you don’t know anyone in town because you just moved, then staring at the four walls each night can bring on bouts of isolation. It doesn’t mean you need a man necessarily, just something to fill the empty hours.
Social network – If you are not an extrovert, it can be hard to make new friends. There are ways to do it (we’ll talk about those later) but it won’t be easy for someone who is shy or not fond of small talk. A supportive social network can make the difference in times of despair or loneliness.
Childcare – For single women with children, life doesn’t stop because you are unattached. That means that if you want to date, take a class, go out with friends or just be alone, there are little ones to consider. Finding decent and accessible childcare when you need it can be a challenge at times.
Those who mean well – We hit on this earlier. People will wonder why you are single and try to fix you as if you had a crack that needed to be repaired. You might get set up on blind dates, have to answer awkward questions and defend your right to be single. Let’s not even talk about how many cats they will assume you live with. The people who care about you mean well but the routine gets annoying after a while. Smile politely, answer their questions and then go about your business.
FEELING GOOD AS A SINGLE WOMAN
You can feel and look good as a single woman without a man on your arm. He is not a required appendage if you don’t want one or haven’t found the right one. Your life is not on hold because there is no companion there to “complete you.” You can complete yourself. Take a deep breath and live your life, happy and feeling fine.
It is hard to take advantage of career opportunities when you have a family. That’s the truth for many women. There are others to consider when you make such a choice and their needs are important. When you are single, that can all change. If your profession fulfills a dream for you, then it probably makes you happy.
Consider the opportunities – Just because you can relocate doesn’t mean that you have to. Look at ways to advance in your current company. Investigate other departments and what they have to offer. You have created a life and a network where you are and probably don’t want to give that up easily. On the other hand, relocating can offer the financial gain you are looking for along with advancement opportunities. As a single woman, it is easier to partake of the same prospects as the men in your company who seek to “have it all.”
Evaluate your goals – Are you restless and looking for more responsibility? Talk to your boss about it. They may be able to suggest ways to improve your skillset or add new ones. First, however, you need to determine what your career goals are.
Make a plan – Do you need more skills to take advantage of that management position? Take a class at the local college or online. Enroll in an advanced degree program. Most offer night and weekend options for working people who also want to advance their careers. Some companies offer educational supplements when the classes taken are in direct line with what you do now and can enhance your job performance.
When your financial picture looks good, you feel good. Having a stable financial outlook can do wonders for confidence and your purpose in life. There are more opportunities to pursue interests beyond your career. Life is not just about work but also about experiences and people. Financial freedom can provide a vehicle for making those things happen for you. You can choose what you want to do in life.
Monitor your spending – It is not as restrictive as you think. Having a budget offers you more freedom to move in your life. At first, coming up with a basic budget and plugging in numbers is tedious and so is saving receipts. Once you become more familiar with your spending habits, you can discover where the money leaks are and formulate a plan for plugging the holes. Using an ATM card is one way that mindless spending can ruin a budget. Take time each month to tend to your financial needs.
Create an emergency fund – Especially if you have no one else to rely on for financial assistance, an emergency fund provides you with ready cash in case the car breaks down, the kids get sick (if you are a single mom), or another situation arises. Try to keep at least $1,000 in there at all times.
Build a cushion – Beyond your emergency fund cash, put aside at least six months of income (gross, not net). If you become incapacitated or lose your job, you won’t lose your home, car or other property. You can survive as you look for other opportunities.
Keep watch on your credit report – Each year, you are entitled to a free credit report from all three of the big reporting agencies. Use that opportunity to check out what it says. The information found there can determine if you quality for credit when you need it. Question any suspicious entries and have inquiries removed if you never received credit from that company. A cleaned up credit report puts you in good standing now and in the future.
Pay off debt – No matter how small or large, devise a plan to pay off credit cards, store cards, loans and whatever else you have bought on time or credit. This shows a consistent payment history but also frees up your money for other things.
Invest – Meet with a financial advisor to evaluate your options. Investing builds long-term financial freedom. Whatever money you can do without using right now, put towards being comfortable later. Don’t forget your 401K at work. Look at increasing your contribution to at least the highest level of the company match. When you can do more, increase the percentage.
Appearance and Impressions
First impressions are everything. We are not talking about meeting someone for the first time at a job interview or going out on a date, although they are incidents of first impressions. We are talking about when you pass the mirror in the morning. What is your first impression of yourself? If you can’t look at yourself in the mirror without flinching, it may be time to update your look.
Some people already think that single women don’t care about their appearance. Prove them wrong. As a woman, it is not what others think but what you want from yourself that counts. You can look hot, sexy and desirable even if you are not looking for a man. It boosts your confidence in who you are and what you can do and that’s what’s important here – how you view yourself. When you look your best, you tend to feel better about yourself.
Visit your hair salon – A new more updated look might be in order. It is not uncommon for women to stick with the same hairstyle for years. It’s time to give yours a boost.
Hit the makeup counter – Go to the mall and experiment a bit at the makeup counter. Let their experts evaluate your complexion and the colors that best complement your skin tone. If you are short on time, opt for products that are easy to apply and won’t add significant time to your morning routine.
Find a stylist – The time and money spent will be well worth it. Think of Jeannie Mai. She shows people how to look their best on the outside. A stylist can help you marry your personal style with a color scheme and wardrobe that complements you. With stores like T.J.Maxx and Ross, you can find the same styles as in high end stores but for less.
Find time to relax – Finding time to de-stress can take years off of your life and your looks. It also helps to improve your health. Stress is a destructive force that can damage you from the inside out. Make a regular habit of engaging in activities that allow you to unwind.
Spend a day at the spa. Go for the full treatment: manicure, pedicure, salt scrub, hot stone massage, facial and more. Let someone else direct their attention towards you for a change. Regular massages of all kinds can be beneficial to relieving aches, pains and increasing energy levels.
Besides the spa, there are other relaxation activities. Try acupuncture or even Reiki healing. The goal is to unblock energy centers in the body and increasing the flow of healing throughout the body to help restore the inner environment to a state of balance.
Hit the gym – The reason is two-fold. One, you are taking time to work on yourself. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins to improve mood. It also improves health through cardiovascular fitness and strength training. You’ll lose weight and tone your body for a sleeker look in your favorite clothes. Two, you can meet new people. Lots of people congregate at the gym for classes or just to use the equipment. Strike up a friendship while running on the treadmill or taking an exercise class.
Clean your house – No one likes this chore but just like your hair, you feel better when it looks great. Turn up the music, get out the vacuum, the mop and the duster and go to work. Walking into a clean abode every day is like a breath of fresh air for your soul. You also don’t have to worry about surprise guests or hosting parties.
Attitude brings altitude – Own your style and your personality. No one else can be you but you. Let your star shine so others can see it. By embracing who you are you are telling the world that for all of your talents, skills, positive attributes and flaws, you love yourself. Your diva-tude just might help another single woman to come into her own.
Take Care of Self
Make the visit – A yearly check-up is important for women. That means seeing the gynecologist each year for a routine pap smear and your general doctor for a routine physical. Follow their recommendations for improved health so you can improve each successive year. If you are over 40, get regular mammograms. If over 50, have a colonoscopy. You can’t enjoy life if you are not here.
Have faith – Life is about more than having possessions and making money; it is about your purpose for living. We are emotional, physical, mental and spiritual creatures. Make contact with your spiritual side through meditation, church attendance or however you connect with your Creator. Faith is a powerful force that can conquer medical diagnosis, devastating circumstances and the everyday issues of life. Gain new perspective on your life through spiritual sight.
Eat for life – It’s not about a diet but about cleansing the internal environment. If you give your body what it wants, it will operate at optimal levels. Fix a smoothie. Fill it with blended fruits and veggies for an easy way to get your daily servings. If you don’t know how to begin a healthy lifestyle, find a health coach. They can help you merge wholesome food with physical activity for a well-rounded and healthy body.
Take a break – Go for a walk, swing in the hammock on a warm summer day, smile, read a book, listen to music, or see a movie. These are all activities that you might enjoy but they get you away from the daily grind to spend time with yourself. Re-evaluate your priorities, goals or just enjoy the world around you.
What are your dreams? As a single woman, there is the advantage of more time and opportunity to make those things happen.
Make a list – What types of activities are you interested in? Don’t worry about whether you have the money to pursue them or if they sound farfetched. The idea here is to get out all of your desires and interests. Once you have your list, you can prioritize them and research how you can make them happen in your life.
Learn a new thing – Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Rosetta Stone commercials tell us how easy it is to do so even as an adult. Read books. Reading fills your brain with new information that can be helpful for personal growth and also making conversation in a variety of social settings.
Fight the fear – Are you not pursuing your heart’s desire because you are afraid? A certain amount of calculated risk is healthy in life. Take a realistic look at the pros and cons and then go for it. You’ll always be glad of the experience even if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected. No one wants to be plagued in later life by “what ifs.”
Again we are not talking about a man. If you want to find love, doing the best that you can for yourself will boost your confidence so that you find the right man for the job. Knowing yourself is the key to allowing you to love the appropriate person when they come along. Your happiness in love is worth at least that much.
Get a pet – Pets have been shown to decrease the incidence and/or symptoms of depression as well as to help improve the health of their owners. It would be nice to come home each day to someone that wants to spend time with you. Pets also segue to meeting other pet owners and making new acquaintances. It doesn’t have to be a dog or cat. If you like other animals, try a bird, rabbit, gerbils, fish or exotics like snakes and iguanas.
Make friends everywhere you go – Friends are a girl’s best, well, friend. Join a book club, a cooking class, a volunteer group, a running club or other organization that feeds your interest and your need for the company of others. Give yourself permission to laugh and be yourself. If people accept that, then you know they are really interested in getting to know the real you.
The next time co-workers ask you to go out with them, accept the invitation. What else are you doing that evening? Friendships keep you from experiencing isolation, which can be a problem for singles. Get out of the house as often as you can.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR SINGLE MOMS
Ladies, you are in a unique position because not only are you single but you are also raising children. Whatever the reason you are single now, learn to embrace your current situation. The tips above can help you become financially, physically, spiritually, and mentally free in your life. That is one of the most important attributes that you can pass on to your children.
Single moms need to feel good, too. You have precious little ones to consider but that doesn’t mean that you have to put your life on hold. It’s not selfish; it’s living. You are a much better parent when you are enjoying your life along with your children and not marking time until they are out of the house and you can breathe again.
Create a support system – You will need help from time to time. You don’t have to do it alone. That can be stressful. If family lives nearby, use them as a resource for getting out of the house and spending time with friends or by yourself every now and again. Get acquainted with other single moms at work, the PTA and community activities. There is strength in numbers.
Believe in your abilities – Yes it will be hard to manage and juggle life raising kids alone, but it can be done. A confident woman is more likely to face problems with her head held high and a solution on her mind. It benefits you and also your kids who are watching you.
Create a positive financial future – Using a budget, learn to live more freely. Save money for family fun, fun with friends, college and other needs. When you have financial goals in mind, it is easier to forgo impulse buying, even when you are stressed. You’ll be glad you did when you can enjoy a night out without feeling guilty.
Join a support group – Single mom groups online and offline are a great strength to new single moms from divorce, death of a spouse or other reason. It is therapy for the mind, body and soul.
Own your situation – When it comes to dating, let any potential dates know that you have kids. That weeds out the unsuitable ones right away. There is nothing wrong about being a single mom; don’t act like it is by hiding the fact that you have children at home.
Being single is not a stigma but a state of grace. More and more women are choosing this path for themselves. With it come challenges but nothing that a woman can’t overcome. Use the tips and advice above to live a life that is full of promise, friends, experiences, love and confidence – whether you have children or not.