Emma Johnson

When it comes to single moms, there are specific limiting beliefs that I see women struggle with time and again. Messages we assume based on what the world tells us we are capable of, what our rates are.

None of it is pretty.

Common single-mom toxic, liming beliefs we will unpack, debunk and obliterate in this post:

  • “I will be lonely for the rest of my life because no good man wants a woman with children.”
  • “I deserve to struggle doing this alone because I got myself into this mess.”
  • “I need to work limited hours / earn low because my children need me at home. Especially now that they are from a broken home.”
  • “It is OK if I go into debt/ overspend on my children, because I’m a single mom.”
  • “I need to fight for maximum time with my children because I am the better parent.”
  • “I need a man.”

It’s no wonder we buy into these crippling lies: There are so many misguided, if not negative or out-right bigoted messages that you receive like gunfire simply because your family does not look like June Cleaver’s. However, you are a smart and strong woman. You have the power to identify your limiting beliefs, and break free to create any credible life that you chose!

What is a limiting belief?

Every human battles limiting beliefs — ideas that you consciously or unconsciously accept as true, and in believing it as such, it does become true.

A classic example of a liming belief is, “I’ve always been out of shape. That is just how I am.” If you accept that as true, especially if that message is reinforced by your friends, family, doctors and media messages, you will never get in shape. Only once you recognize that yes, you can get into shape, no matter how long it has been since you broke a sweat, that your habits can change for the better.

The key to changing your life is to change your behavior.

Before you can change your behavior, you have to change your mindset, beliefs.

Before you can change your mindset, you have to be aware of your current mindset. You may have an idea about what you believe, and what your values are. But I guarantee that your subconscious

Belief change => habit change => life change

Limiting belief: “I will always be broke. Single moms are broke!”

True: lots of single moms are broke. Also true: lots of single moms are not broke. Your family status does not preclude your financial status.

Think about it: In ‘traditional’ nuclear families, in which the dad works, and the mom stays home full-time, there is just one income in the house. One! Yes, the mom cares for the very young babies, which is a huge financial help, since child care in the United States is prohibitively expensive. But now most kids go to preschool around age 2 or 3, because we know that is what is best for child development. Yet, the mom is still home. Maybe she helps the household bottom line because she cooks meals that might otherwise be bought at a restaurant, and cleans the house, which might be outsourced to a cleaning service if she were to work full-time.

But that unemployed mom also costs the family. She needs a car, clothes, food. It is expensive to bring another adult on vacation, and to the theater and sports events.

If that breadwinning dad loses his job, becomes disabled, or dies, that mom’s earning potential is now questionable because she has been out of the work force for a few years — or even decades.

Yes, in a great marriage / partnership, both partners equally share in household duties, and are equal parents. In reality, that doesn’t happen in most heterosexual relationships. Whether or not the mom has a career, she does more housework and child care.

So many women I meet find their groove professionally and their incomes skyrocket after becoming single moms. This was my story. Here is what happens:

1. You are scared shitless of being a broke single mom.

Fear of homelessness is common, and normal (again, right here! That is how I felt!). That lights a fire under your ass to hustle, set higher goals, get laser-focused on getting rid of that horrible fear of not being able to take care of your kids. Success ensues.

2. You are now free from a toxic relationship that was likely holding you back professionally.

Here’s the thing about the patriarchy: It hurts both men and women. Women get paid less, are shoehorned into stereotypical female roles (mother, caretaker, subordinate), while men are shoehorned into stereotypical male roles (tough, breadwinner, the secondary, inferior parent). Regardless of how feminist anyone believes they or their partners are, these pressures are present in every heterosexual relationship. Some couples overcome them better than others.

But the likely scenario is that either you a) unconsciously held yourself back professionally to fulfil your presumed role as wife and mother, and appease his male ego, which was egged on by society that told him he would be less of a man if he earned less than you; or b) you earned more, he resented you for it, and conflict and divorce ensued. From the Miami Herald:

Despite the fact that women typically earn less than males, 24 percent of working wives earn more than their husbands. That’s good news for couples, right? Wrong.

A study from University of Chicago reveals that when the wife makes more than her spouse, divorce rates rise 50 percent. Tension arises between the couple due to the male feeling emasculated in his role as a provider, or from the woman feeling as if she is not being supported enough.

Now, you’re single. You don’t have all that pressure to be June Cleaver, or guilt / marital conflict because you were [I just spent 20 minutes on Google searching for pop-culture examples where the wife earned more than her husband, and came up empty :/]. Now you are free to build your career and earn as much as you damn well please.

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