DO’S & DON’TS

Learning This Protocol Will Help You Find Treasures And Avoid Traps

  • Do briefly document all interactions with your child’s other parent, including visits, phone calls, and even rumors from friends in your calendar, even if you are going through a “smooth” time and don’t anticipate any trouble. In the event that any trouble does eventually start, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Do keep documentation of your child’s vital statistics records and expenses together in a file that can be accessed quickly and easily.
  • Do research all conveniences in your area, including full service gas stations, Automated Teller Machines, emergency day care, health clubs with day care, etceteras. Running errands becomes much more time consuming when you have a baby along for the ride.
  • Do assess the need for an item before buying it. Some things that are invaluable in certain settings are completely useless in others.
  • Do apply for and take advantage of every form of assistance available to single mothers, including WIC, state-funded health care options, single mothers’ scholarships, food stamps, and Medicaid.
  • Do continue to plan for your future as though you will be on your own forever. Although it is very likely that you will eventually find the right partner, you will be in a better position to choose wisely if your search is not motivated by financial or emotional need.
  • If you plan to work (as most of us will have to), do research day care options while you are still pregnant, and choose the very best one within your abilities. Life opens up a lot when you have free time, and your conscience will be free as well if you feel that your baby is in the very best hands.
  • Do continue to save your money. If you can’t afford to save 10% of each paycheck, make it a lower percentage and STICK TO IT. If you fear that your savings will disqualify you for financial assistance, keep your savings in a safe place (under lock and key) in your home. If you eventually plan to buy a house or make another type of large purchase, deposit this money into your financial institution at least three months before you plan to make your purchase.
  • Do keep your eyes and ears open for news about health-related issues. Our government continues to do research on our population through vaccinations that have not been thoroughly tested (example: chicken pox vaccine, whooping cough vaccine) and nutrition (example: genetically engineered soy and bovine growth hormone appear in all non-organic infant formula, despite being banned in other developed countries due to documented health consequences). The easiest research subjects are those who need things for free. Don’t let yourself of your baby become a laboratory rat. Do your own research and make your own conclusions about health and nutrition.
  • Do realize that this may be your last chance to have a child, and resolve to parent as well as you can, and appreciate every moment of your life and with your child. Although parenthood may have come along unexpectedly for you, realize that many people aren’t even capable of having children, yet you are. Embrace the gift of this opportunity.
  • Don’t Act hysterical or spin drama, even if you seem to have perfectly legitimate reasons to do so. Acting in a hysterical or dramatic manner will only reflect negatively on you, and in some situations, the difference between winning and losing will depend solely on how calmly you’ve conducted yourself while faced with drama.
  • Don’t speak negatively about your child’s other parent, no matter what’s going on between you. Speaking negatively about your child’s other parent may make you look like the one who’s been causing trouble, and may come back to bite you. Save all of your serious venting for “safe” listeners: family members, support groups, very close friends, and if necessary, law enforcement or advocates.
  • Don’t get an attorney until you know you will need one. Most child support, custody, and visitation agreements can be concluded for free through your Child Support Enforcement Division, even if your child’s other parent is a contrary or combative person. Attorneys WILL overcharge you, exploit you, anger you, and drag things out for as long as possible for the sake of lining their pockets. Some will tell you that going through an attorney will be faster than CSED, which is simply not true.
  • Don’t buy into the myth that a child needs a father figure in order to be psychologically and emotionally healthy. Single mothers have to be at least twice as careful and twice as patient when choosing a partner than those without children. Despite what some people would have you believe, the wrong role model, whether male or female, is much worse than none at all.
  • Don’t date men who do not have jobs. You have enough to take care of already. If a man can’t take care of his own life, he has no business being in yours.
  • Don’t allow your home to be a safe-haven for friends or acquaintances who have weaknesses for drugs, alcohol, sexual debauchery, or drama. The safety of your child must take priority over your social life. If a friendship is valuable to you regardless of the risks, continue to be a friend, but keep potentially harmful people away from your home.
  • Don’t lose sight of your goals. Although your progress will be slowed by your undertaking, you are still capable of attaining your personal goals of education, financial independence, or successful romantic relationships.
  • Don’t align yourself with other single mothers who don’t adhere to the highest standards of parenthood and personal conduct. Although our society’s negative perception of single pregnant women and single mothers stems from trashy TV talk shows and other irresponsible media, remember that you’re better than that. Your status as a single mother doesn’t qualify you as trash, regardless of the actions or prejudices of the mal-educated masses. Seek friendships and relationships with people who are as good as you are.
  • Don’t broadcast your hardships to co-workers or strangers. People who are going through a hard time make easy targets for predators. If you are having trouble with depression, ask your Obgyn to refer you to someone who can put you on a legitimate medication regimen to see you through this hard time. Let your trusted friends know that it is important not to discuss some of the more vulnerable aspects of your situation with people you don’t know or people who don’t have your best interests at heart.