Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Balancing the Emotions as a Single Mom

I think I already mentioned that I joined a private single moms group on FB (email me if you'd like an invite), and there are some themes coming up that I've written about before, but it's been so long, I thought it's a good time to revisit.

Loneliness is just another emotion: it has a beginning, a middle and an end. I know there can be times when it feels unbearable. But you know what? It actually isn't. It passes. Usually when a kid or work email distracts you, but it always passes. Fighting it, however, will usually make it worse. Just sit with it, maybe with a good song, and then get back to real life.

Accept your life as it is today...with an eye for what you want in the future. In the introduction of my eBook, I mention that you need to budget for your life as a single mom. You can't expect that your marital status will change before you have to deal with your debt. Similarly, you can't live your life simply biding your time. First, you have kid(s) to raise. Today, right now. But even more than that, you are free to think about what you want, what your dreams are outside of a relationship. You might not be able to pursue them at this moment, but you can start dreaming!

Seek help, accept help.   This was one that was hard for me, but essential. From therapy to a friend's offer to talk or babysit, accept the help. If you're in a situation where you can't go out with friends due to lack of babysitting (or money), now there's Skype and Facebook and all kinds of "places" to explore from the comfort of your own home. I'm not going to bother finding the link but I skimmed an article about how podcasts are also really good at filling the void of a social life. I think it was written as a criticism of "these kids today," but I see it as a more creative alternative for those who need or want it for one reason or another. (I posted about some of my favorite podcasts here.)

Your kids will be okay. I should add the caveat: if you take care of yourself. It's true that the more okay I felt about myself, the happier my kids were, too. It's not going to be easy, but it's not easy for any any situation. And, of course, taking care of yourself doesn't mean outrageous self-indulgence because that's not good for you, either. No, self-care is looking out for your mental well-being, your health and your wealth. Your kids will absolutely follow your lead. That doesn't mean they will listen to you the first time you say it, of course, but your lessons are coming through...the good and the bad. In that same vein, it's okay to let them know when you're wrong.

Take it one day, one hour at a time. Because really, what's the alternative? It can be overwhelming at times, particularly when you're worried that this one thing will permanently affect your child. And yes, divorce probably does permanently affect your child. But my girls will be the first to tell you that they're grateful for it. Yes, their dad still affects them, but usually, it doesn't interfere with their daily lives. Every family's situation is different, of course, but together, you will navigate it. Because really, you don't have a choice.

Honestly, the first few years, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. But I did, and the girls did, too. And more days than not, we are content with our lives today. And always with dreams for the future.

No comments: