After you have a baby, plenty of people give you advice, suggestions, and should do’s. I listened to them all. Then I would worry and stress when something didn’t work. I wondered why, if it worked for her, it didn’t also work for me. I thought about how I could do better and be better, but unfortunately, I never had an answer, except for more pressure and stress.

I realized that doing things that work for others is great, if they work. If they don’t, then I needed to figure out what would work for me. I wasn’t the same as the mom it worked for, and my son isn’t the same as the child it worked for. Our mother child relationship isn’t the same as the other’s mother child relationship. With all of those variables, it’s no wonder why things didn’t work the exact same.

Often times when we are parenting alone, we get so caught up with making sure we are doing things the way someone else is doing them or did them, we often forget we aren’t the same people as they are, so the result may be different. We beat ourselves up, put extra stress on ourselves, and continue worrying what we’re doing wrong. Then we continue beating ourselves up thinking we aren’t good enough. If I can’t even get my child to sleep through the night, help with his homework, or figure out why he’s not talking yet, I just must not be a good enough mom, smart enough, or experienced enough.

Give yourself permission. Give yourself permission to not have all the answers, to not have it all figured out, to be imperfect, and to be exactly who you are. You are a great mom doing so much as a single mom. So what if you don’t have all the answers. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Are you ready to hear it? No one has all the answers, especially moms. Just when you think you may have something figured out, your child changes something on you keeping you on your toes.

Give yourself permission to be human, to have flaws, and to make mistakes. As a single mom, you will mess up. You will fail. You will do something which you could have done better, talked nicer, or reacted more calmly. You will fall down again and again and again. You are learning this things called momhood just like your child is learning about life. No matter how old your kids are, you will continue to learn about being a mom. It doesn’t stop just because they are no longer a baby or a teenager. You are still a mom, growing, learning, and expanding. So cut yourself a break.

Give yourself permission to figure it out. Another little secret—everyone else is figuring it out too. Do you think anyone knew the first, second or fifth time around how to do it “right?” No, because you know what? There is no right way to do it. What’s right is what’s right for you, your child, and the both of you together. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. So give yourself time, patience, and a lot of understanding to figure it all out. And just when you think you do, you’ll quickly realize you don’t when this magical thing called life happens.

You’re doing so much when you’re parenting alone. So just stop it. Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop beating yourself up. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop stressing if it’s not working for you. Stop worrying you’re doing it wrong. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect. Stop, stop, stop. And start caring for, loving and accepting yourself for exactly who you are, flaws, imperfections, messes, and all the beauty that goes along with it.