The Solo Mom Struggle at the Holidays


Moms are the keepers of the magic, the creators of memories and the coordinators of all of the chaos that comes with holiday joy. As a solo mom, there’s an added weight we can feel piled on to the daily list of to-dos, want-to-dos, and need-to-dos. 

My husband died when my daughter was 11 months old. He died on November 16, right before Thanksgiving, weeks before her first birthday and then BAM Christmas and the New Year. The holidays are a weird time, and the stress of that solo mom life can sometimes send me into a tailspin. 

Simple things I’ve learned over my last five solo Christmases are things many families may take for granted, but for us, they’re big and so easy for someone to step in, help and show the kids what the season is really all about (cue corny Hallmark holiday music now). 

  1. Santa’s Workshop. My lack of skills and tools for that matter have been tested late into the night as I try to create a freaking Santa village and build all the toys alone. I’ve been lucky to have family volunteers to help me each year, I’m thankful for the laughs, short tempers opening boxes and mostly the wine they bring. The truth is, it’s not just about the kids- those are my memories too and I’m glad I’ve had people offer to share them with me. 
  2. Dangers of Holiday Cheer. Cutting down a tree, putting up dangerously high lights and don’t even get me started on the iced-over car in the morning. As a solo mom sometimes you just can’t do the same things a 6ft tall man can. While my “I am woman, hear me roar” soul is strong, my biceps just aren’t. Last year, I had a friend loan her husband for a few of these simple tasks like getting my lights down in the garage and helping carry in my super heavy tropical plans as the temps dropped. God bless that friend, God bless the givers- I was so grateful to not have to ask! 
  3. Moms Like Gifts too. The holidays are a great time to learn about giving but for the kids of a solo mom, it can get difficult. My 5-year-old daughter can’t exactly go shopping alone but seeing her little face without a gift for me is heartbreaking. I now try and arrange a family friend or grandparent to take her out shopping and slip some cash for my little to have a gift to give her mama. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it is really nice to have something to open that morning too. 
  4. Christmas Cards. For some reason, the world doesn’t see us always as a family. Cards are made out to “Amanda & Mira”- it’s fine- it’s accurate BUT we are The Clark Family- just like you’re the Johnson Family. This simple reference makes my heart burst when we are recognized as a unit just like all the others. 

While the holidays can be lonely and hard for the solo moms- I’ve also never felt more proud than when I see those little pajama feet come down the stairs. I’ve done it on one income and lots of sweat, tears and so much love.

This Christmas I hope I can relish every hug and little hot chocolate kiss. I’m going to throw in the towel and leave my sink full of dishes, snuggle in with my little, and watch Elf for the 34234 time because I am the memories, the keeper, and the magic-maker. I’m not going to miss a single moment with my perfect little family. 

We are enough mama.