Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Single motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes.
It could begin with an “oopsie” pregnancy with a guy you barely know ... or a guy you wish you didn’t know… Or one of the hardest scenarios, becoming a single parent because of a divorce. The hardest part is wrapping your mind around the fact that it’s mostly on YOU and you alone to handle business. To care for and provide for your child or children.
I have experienced and witnessed many of these scenarios. I have seen fathers rise above and take the responsibility, I have seen them abandon the situation, I have seen the half -ass fathers that want more credit than they deserve and I have seen those that want to do more but circumstances keep them from their full potential as fathers. With all of these different scenarios, the common denominator is the same…
Women find themselves feeling overwhelmed. Alone. Desperate and even afraid. The fear of not being able to provide for your child is the heaviest weight anyone can feel. Men too!
I am not a man so I won’t speak for them but I do respect that men can be very much in this position as well. As a single mother myself, I have a strong perspective on this one.
I became a mother at 17. I made choices that lead me there. I busted my ass and did everything I could to get by and it changed me forever. I now have 3 children and a step-daughter I adore. I got married believing it would be my new life, for the rest of my life. I am not the only woman who has gone through this. So what now? How the hell do we get through it?
First off, we need to stop thinking we are alone.
It is easy to fall into this one. Maybe it is pride. Maybe it’s grief and depression lying to us. The bottom line is we HAVE to stop living through these things like we are alone and no one is able to help us. Network. Get connected to mom’s groups, women at church, friends and family. Ask for help! You are going to need it. It’s ok to ask. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Life happens.
There are so many women who have different resources, perspectives, ideas and capabilities that we do not. We would be fools to not tap into that and benefit from it. Sometimes it’s our pride that gets in the way. Let it go. We need each other. LET others help you.
Hold yourself accountable.
When we get overwhelmed, it is so easy to fall into making excuses… about EVERYTHING. This coping mechanism is our way of pushing the responsibilities off our already exhausted selves. They pile up in the corner and haunt us, becoming bigger mountains to climb that we slowly feel incapable of overcoming. Let me tell you something sister… SUIT UP! (Sorry, Marvel Fan here)
You’re probably thinking “easier said than done Stephany!” … I AGREE. It is HARD AS HELL to be on top of this. Depression and anxiety are always knocking at our doors, whispering lies about how we aren’t capable or strong enough to overcome it. Well let me ask you, would you rather curl up in a corner and take the beating or stand up and FIGHT? We are stronger than we like to give ourselves credit for. Our society has taught us to downplay our incredible abilities… Well I’m saying ENOUGH, you with me?
Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Set intention. Get a hold of yourself and love YOU. Do this and you will nurture that spark of strength into a flame. I dare any enemy to come against you when you have discovered the will to rise above. Go to the gym or workout at home, eat well, care for yourself. Spend QUALITY time with your kids. BE KIND TO YOUR EX. (Even if he is a complete ASS)
Raise your energy and vibration to a level that no one can diminish. That will unleash your power.
LET GO of the constant need to CONTROL.
Frustration, anxiety, fear, disappointment, anger… all stem from overly attaching ourselves to an expectation or result that we don’t have the ability to control. WE can only control ourselves. Nothing else. All we can do is roll with the punches, flow with the river, adjust our action plan accordingly as needed. Never give anything enough power to steal your joy and determination to succeed. It is never worth it.
You’re children need this example in their life. We indirectly teach our children these negative emotions associated with control and we don’t realize it. Structure and routine set positive expectations for their daily life… but they also need to learn skills on how to manage a situation they don’t control. That starts with watching you :)
REMOVE excess distractions…
Can someone say PROCRASTINATION?! I know I am not the only one that will hit snooze and lay in bed on my phone, or watch just “one more” episode of my show that turns into 3, or even just avoiding tasks all day and then scrambling to get them done. We are all bad at this. It creates this laziness in us that is unintentional. We are TIRED AF. I agree. But we gotta get shit done, otherwise, it DOESN’T get done. Whether it’s laundry, helping with homework, bedtime stories, work emails, or whatever! We need to do better. I often find myself feeling guilty when I skip reading a book because I just want to get the kid to bed ASAP so I can collapse under my covers. As single mothers we have to stay ahead of the game. With our jobs, kids school, managing our household, managing our social life, and maintaining our own health (physically and emotionally…) See how I naturally put that one LAST?! That one should be first for all of us.
I try and get up at least an hour or two before my kids in the morning to give myself some “me time”. To meditate, do a Yoga flow, to pray or write in my journal, or simply just enjoy a cup of
coffee in silence while I mentally prepare for my day. I hate waking up with my kids because I have to jump right into WORK mode. I NEED that time to myself but I don’t always do it because it’s HARD. For me, waking up alone at the beginning of the day is one of the hardest moments as a single mother. It’s because I know I am on my own. I don’t have a partner anymore. I don’t have the husband that gets up before me to make coffee or to help me with breakfast. I don’t have the other adult to keep me laughing and staying motivated. It’s just on me. AND IT SUCKS. But I am good at being a mother. I am great at what I do for my family. I can even make it look easy. BUT IT IS HEAVY TO CARRY ALONE.
My final word.
I shouldn’t take full credit for this one. I have some pretty incredible women in my life. A piece of advice that I have received from my amazing Auntie S...
NEED NO ONE.
Do your best to create a life for yourself and your children that cannot be ripped apart by anyone else. Build your life around your capabilities. Learn new skills and explore with an open mind, how to accomplish your goals. Your children will thank you later.
Light and Love
The Village Doula
My 2 year old daughter is going through a growth spurt. The last few days she has been “off” and has become more clingy and emotional. She’s been telling me in her own 2 year old way that she needs a break and she needs my time. As I type this she is asleep against my shoulder after having a snack session with me and watching Clifford. By removing distractions, listening to ourselves and our children, we open the opportunity for nurturing ourselves and them. To slow down and breath, to eat a snack and REST. WE need that. They need that! WE get so focused on what we go through becoming single mothers, we don’t always realize how hard it must be on the little ones. They are confused too, especially if they are under 4 years old. My baby used to see her dad every single day. Now it’s different and how do you explain that to a 2 year old? You don’t, you can’t. All I can do is give her more of myself when she needs it.