One of the saddest days for me, as a single mom, was the day my daughter saw her father for who he really is. The day she could no longer lie to her heart. The day she called it for what it was. That was almost 6 years ago. That day, life for us didn’t get any easier. It actually got harder.
Today, I’m speaking to the single moms who are raising their littles with a father who’s been a perpetual heartbreaker to your babies. And you, mom, continue to catch the tears on your shoulders over and over through the years.
I have walked away from too many articles like this one and this one . I’ve come across too many books, like this one and this one. I’ve left one too many front row seats where “professionals” held the mic and delivered the age-old message of the negative impact of “bad mouthing” the other parent. I’ve left those books, articles, and speeches fighting back the shame of my emotions from the truth I have spoken to my daughter through the years about who her father is. Feeling ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough to parent with crazy.
For too many years, I’ve listened and entertained the idea that my child will be eternally damaged by my words of poor expression.
I call total bull shit on this theory and for the record, parenting with crazy doesn’t exist.
Cultivating Contentment. Can I just start off by saying this has GOT to be a life-long learning lesson that presents unique challenges with every new and old season we encounter.
It has proven this way for me and many of my friends. Even those that I think have mastered life’s problems, seem to land in places of discontent.
Like an unfinished piece of art.
I struggled with finding contentment most when I…
Boundaries. For some this concept is simple. Easy. A no brainer. They whip these things out like CHUDAN ZUKI — a wild karate chop delivered straight to their opponents gut. You’re welcome.
For others? It’s a disaster. An emotional debacle in it’s purest form.
I fall into the later category. Depending on the season I am in, the idea of setting boundaries can make my skin crawl. I am by nature the co-dependent, emotional nurturer to the state of depleted and broken. As a busy single mom with too much on my plate, the word made my head spin with one thousand three hundred and forty-two excuses.
But once I typed that seven letter word into Google and began to process the little fella, it all started to make sense. Now, six years later, I have become nearly dependent on them. They keep me safe. They keep my home in order by providing structure, guidelines, and expectations. When things get out of control around these parts I can usually track it back to slacking off on not carrying through with the boundaries I have already established.
Because starting something new and unfamiliar can be overwhelming, especially when you are inundated with so much as a single mom, I thought it would be nice to walk you through a few of the benefits you can expect to see as a result of putting a few simple boundaries in place.
Benefits that will give you more freedom and control over the mess you might currently be dealing with.
Stretched in too many directions, single moms have got a tall order of hectic on their plate. This plate, full of life’s stresses, doesn’t actually fill you up, instead, if we’re not careful, it will leave a momma hungry — and starved. I can recall a long season of being in desperate need of some good food. Not for the usual burger, slice of pizza or carton of ice cream, although that was and still is always welcomed. I was hungry for food that would feed my soul. Not fried chicken, chicken noodle soup or greens. No. Not that kind of soul food. But the kind of food that would set deep into my being and provide me the strength and hope to persevere the tough season I was moving through.
Being a single mom can do that to you. Turn you into a crazed and starving mad woman.
Looking back on that season, I didn’t consciously realize that I was barely hanging on. I didn’t know I was running on empty. I had been doing it for so long that it had become my new normal. Life was hard, but it was doable. I was doing it.
But I was barely doing it and at times I bet you are too.
So often, as a single mom, I was convinced I was standing in the middle of a large lake of quicksand. Regardless of the direction I stepped, it didn’t matter. It was as if I were just hanging out in this spot, sinking in the middle of the mess. Getting ahead of the grind felt like an unobtainable task. Like sitting in a classroom waiting to take a test I never studied for over and over again. Then…..Replay. Replay. Replay.
Does what I am saying sound familiar to you? Do you know that overwhelming emotion that sits in the pit of your stomach and drives you to a nervous wreck?
Because I love you and want to see you rise above your own storms, I sat down and wrote out what tools I gathered in those many lakes of quicksand. What I walked away with and how I could help you. So here are eight of my BEST strategies to help you rise above the single mom grind. Hand delivered to your heart in hopes you won’t struggle as long as I did!
**DISCLAIMER: if you are the awesome parent of a teen who is in the 1% population with straight A’s and no cell phone or no cell phone struggles: stop here. Least your judgment burn through and wreck havoc on my fragile ego.
For the rest of you, especially single moms, let’s talk about the headache of social media, parenting, and what we can do to gain control of it.
The first time I spoke with her was over the phone. She wanted to go to college, and I was working at the University of Phoenix as an enrollment counselor.
Her goal was to obtain a degree in art, and because she was in and out of the hospital with ongoing medical issues, she would need a college that would allow her to earn an education online.
I must admit, I had reservations about her physical ability to move forward in the completion of an associate degree, but it was her persistence, confidence, and determination that told me otherwise. She was going to college regardless of my enrolling her or not. I came to the decision that I was glad to be a part of her journey. I was more than excited to be the enrollment counselor who would cheer her on and help her succeed in whatever way was presented to me.
And that I did.
But what I didn’t know was that our crossing of paths that day on the phone would turn into an eight-year friendship where she would be the one enrolling me into a classroom of mine own. A class that would teach me life long lessons of love, courage, and friendship.
“Get your backpack little one and fill it with your favorites,” I called from the small open spaced kitchen as I reached into our old green faded fridge to grab fruit snacks consisting of red dye 40, a sugar induced Caprisun and a granola bar — her favorite snacks. Cause I was an awesome single mom, living before Pinterest came along offering thousands of “quick and healthy snacks for kids” ideas.
With her hands full and her little footsteps toddling down the hallway and into the living room, I looked at her adorable, barely three-year-old, face with those two messy-twisted buns on the side of her head, and I knew I had to work hard to stuff every bit of it into her little bag. It’s not an option to leave anything behind when you’re heading out on an adventure.
That was the beginning….
The family unit is everything. It is the heartbeat of our nation. The beauty of our communities and the backbone of our American culture. It is this very vital and precious piece of our country that remains broken at its core. Seeking to heal from an oozing wound that is in desperate need of attention.
According to the 2012 United States Census, approximately forty percent of the children in our nation are being raised by a single parent. That is so very close to 1 in 2 children that are not living with both a mother and a father.
This statistic breaks my heart, perhaps because I know the reality of it. I know the pain that is so very real and alive in the homes and hearts of these “statistics.” Pain that is masked by the busy burden of keeping up and maintaining the daily routine.
Pain that is covered up because there just isn’t enough time to deal with it.
December 2002 was my first Christmas as a single mom. We had the quaintest two bedroom apartment with hardwood floors. I loved it. It was all ours. Just me and my girl. Safe and far away from angry outburst and late nights brimmed with bitter fights.
In preparation for our first Christmas together, that little girl and I bundled up and set out to hunt for the perfect tree. Although it was just her and I, it was a tradition I always did with my dad and I wasn’t going to have it any other way.