Divorce Isn’t Easy For Moms


A woman removing her wedding ring.How many divorced moms are there in the United States? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 11.5 million single-parent families in the United States in 2020. Of those, 80% were single-mother households.

It’s important to note that not all single mothers are divorced; some may be widowed or have never been married. However, divorce significantly contributes to the number of single-parent households, and it is estimated that about half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Therefore, it is likely that there are millions of divorced moms in the United States.

Divorce isn’t easy for moms. It can be stressful and emotional. Raising children alone most of the time as the primary custodial parent can be overwhelming; I know this firsthand as a divorced mom and a licensed clinical social worker who counsels divorced moms. Divorced moms may face a range of challenges.

1. Financial Difficulties 

When a marriage ends, the family’s income is often split, which can cause financial strain. Divorced moms may have to readjust their lifestyles, learn new ways to handle their finances, and find other sources of income.

2. Emotional Distress

Divorce can be a traumatic experience, and the emotional toll can be exceptionally high for mothers who may feel a sense of failure, guilt, or shame. They may also struggle with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression.

3. Co-Parenting Challenges 

Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be complex, especially with disagreements over child-rearing decisions or visitation schedules. These conflicts can put added stress on the mother and children.

4. Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities 

Divorced moms may face added challenges in balancing work responsibilities with the demands of caring for their children. They may need to take time off work to attend to their children’s needs, affecting their careers or employment.

5. Social Stigma

Divorced moms may face social stigma and judgment from others who view divorce as a failure or hold negative beliefs about single motherhood.

6. Balancing Children and Social Life 

Single parenthood can be demanding and time-consuming, leaving little time for social activities. Divorced moms may feel socially isolated or judged by others who don’t understand their situation. Additionally, they may have to navigate the challenges of dating as a single parent with little time to engage with a future partner.

7. Children’s Adjustment

Children of divorced parents may experience emotional challenges, adding to the mother’s pressure and worries.

Despite these challenges, many divorced moms can successfully navigate these struggles and provide themselves and their children with a happy, healthy life. Here are some tips that may help divorced moms.

1. Take Care of Themselves

Divorced moms must prioritize their physical and emotional well-being. Make time for self-care activities like going to the doctor, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, etc.

2. Establish a Social Life and Connection With Others 

Divorced moms don’t need to be afraid of judgment from others for having a social life. Hire a sitter, or ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to babysit. Make time for friends, grab a quick coffee, or walk. Get involved in the children’s school or extracurricular activities and connect with other parents. Try exploring online dating; it can be convenient for single parents to meet others who understand their situation.

3. Seek Support

Be bold and ask for help. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for emotional support. There are also support groups for divorced parents that can provide a sense of community and understanding.

4. Develop a Co-Parenting Plan

Work with the ex-spouse to create a plan outlining custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and other important decisions. Having a clear plan in place can reduce conflict and uncertainty.

5. Communicate Effectively

Keep communication with ex-spouse respectful and focused on the needs of the children. Use “I” statements to express one’s needs and feelings, and avoid blaming or criticizing.

6. Prioritize Quality Time With Your Children

Make time to connect emotionally and check in with your children regularly, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Plan fun activities together and create special memories. Children’s emotional well-being, stability, and security are critical during and after divorce. Accomplishing this may involve seeking the support of a therapist or counselor, maintaining consistent routines, and fostering positive relationships with both parents.

7. Focus on the Positive

Instead of dwelling on the challenges of divorce, try to focus on the positives in your life. Surround yourself with positive people, practice gratitude, and celebrate your accomplishments and strengths.

Ultimately every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. These tips provide some general guidance and support, and at the same time, it is up to each divorced mom to find the best strategies for her and her family.

Always remember, divorced moms need to take care of themselves; the saying goes, one must secure their mask first before assisting others. Divorced moms prioritizing self-care and social life can help reduce stress, improve mood, provide a sense of fulfillment, and make them more emotionally present for their children.

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Monique Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, certified school social worker, and certified health and wellness coach, specializes in evidence-based counseling practices. In addition to owning her own private clinical practice, Monique is employed as a high school social worker for over 20 years. Born and raised in Westchester County, she continues to reside with her two children and two dogs (one of which is a certified therapy dog who on occasion attends school with her). A cancer survivor, Monique was diagnosed at age 34 with breast cancer after giving birth to her second child. She understands intimately the need for a strong network and community to help during times of crisis. Monique is joining Westchester County Mom because she is passionate about raising awareness and advocating for mental health, especially for mothers and their children. She is committed to reducing the stigma attached to seeking help when needed and accessing resources to improve overall well-being. You can learn more about Monique, her practice, and desire to help others on her website, www.westchestertherapyservices.com. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @gowestchestertherapyservices.