For the single momma out there: Be encouraged. Keep going. You are not alone!

Like most parents, you work as hard as you can. Managing schedules. Giving guidance, instruction, and hugs. Making meals, cleaning spills, refereeing squabbles. Negotiations with little humans and not-so-little humans. Providing consistent affirmation and wondering about those new friends around the block. You are usually the earliest to rise and the latest to bed. And then, you start all over again.

The difference is, you are doing this all on your own. Maybe you carry the weight of two. Or, you have to navigate the painful and sometimes impossible waters of co-parenting or parallel parenting. Your clothes are somewhat worn out so that your growing kids have what they need. Nights out, vacations, and dating seem more like complicated dance routines. You often sigh on your own. Decide on your own. Lie down on your own.

Dear momma, it can be lonely and just really hard. But, as a friend reminds me often, you’re strengthening muscles you didn’t know you had. You are courageous and determined. You find that there is joy in your home and your heart. And bread at your table. Where there is pain, there is also laughter. Memories can be sweet and deep — keep making them! Friendship and community are helping you thrive. You are part of a growing network of families that inspires, overcomes, and sees beautiful things come out of ashes.

No matter how you became a single momma, be encouraged. Keep going. You are not alone.

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Ime Lopez is a transplant to Colorado Springs from the urban jungle of New York City. She is the doting mother to two funny and lively youngsters who keep her guessing and reaching for that box of hair color. Ime has practiced public interest law for nearly two decades, specializing in housing and education rights, making good, necessary trouble along the way. When she isn't trying to right the world's wrongs, she can be found enjoying 70s jams and world music, watching some good Nollywood or crunching on ice from Chick-fil-A.