I never thought in a million years that my life would have taken the twists and turns that it has. I have a big imagination, but I never imagined nor planned on doing this parent thing or life on my own. I never thought I would worry so much or pray so hard. I never knew that instead of new boots, I would buy a new drill. In all my dreams as a little girl, my mind never landed here. I know how hard it can be to do life on your own. I know the feeling of longing for a moment to eat without getting up six times, but then the second your children visit their dad, how badly you ache for them and how lost you get in the quietness.
So, for you newly single mamas here are ten things I have discovered trekking down this beautifully banal, but deeply rich path:
- Ask for help: This was soooooo hard for me to do. I spent the first year of my divorce hurt that I had very little support, not that I ever asked anyone for anything. People are not mind readers. Your people want to be there for you, even if they don’t know how. It is okay to need help. Ask. Allow people in. It is okay to receive help and love. You are not a burden.
- But, don’t abuse that help: It is easy to become comfortable relying on generous hearts. I say stick with the golden rule here. Don’t ask for what you wouldn’t sincerely be willing to give and remember that you are not entitled to help from anyone.
- YouTube it: You can YouTube almost anything. Seriously. Take advantage of this FREE ‘How to’ guide. You would be amazed by what YOU are actually able to do on your own. One single mama actually built an entire house from YouTube tutorials. If she can do that, I am sure I can figure out how to rewire a lamp or fix a broken dishwasher.
- If all else fails, use that emergency fund and hire someone: Ask around for recommendations. If you own your home, you may want to invest in a warranty plan. I know how hard it can be to save any money in a one income household, but you can’t afford not to. Start with your change and birthday money, then consider selling old toys and clothes. Little by little… adds up.
- It is okay to hate being on your own: Most days I hate it. It’s okay to lose your mind and smear your mascara because your garbage disposal stops working, or you have to light your own pilot light. It is okay to cry because you have to YouTube how to check your oil, or change a tire or carry all your groceries in by yourself. Every time I have to YouTube something it makes me so mad because I am reminded that it is all on me. It is okay to feel the loneliness and isolation. This can be a very dark and twisted spiral. Trust me. Stay on the surface of this one.
- It’s also okay to love being on your own: Most days I love it. In that same regard and maybe even on the same day, you look around and see that life is good, and for many, it may be so much better; You see what you have accomplished, you hear your child laugh. Soak this feeling up. Live in this one. Life is good; hard but good. Embrace the small wins and beautifully boring moments.
- Let go of status: You are not defined by the neighborhood you live in, the car you drive, or the labels on your clothes. You may have walked away from your marriage or ex with more than you went in or you may walk out with a much more humble lifestyle. Regardless, you are still you and that you is amazing! Don’t get stuck on the materialistic. A cage is a cage whether it is iron or gold.
- Embrace the one on one time with your children: Life moves fast. One moment. One word. One kiss can change everything (and for you mamas, I hope this is a very, very good thing and not simply the manifestation of a toxic cycle.) You may never have this special time with your children again. There is a deep bond that forms in a one parent household. It is unique. It is a gift. It should be cherished. Hold your children a little tighter tonight. I promise you that you will look back at this time with a heart full of love and gratitude. Besides, they need to know that you are their foundation. That they are safe, and so so loved.
- Find your tribe: Find people in the same season of life as you. It is important to have a few people that truly understand your plight.
- Stay positive: You are more than likely in a building season. Building a new life. Building new dreams. Letting go of former things. Stay focused. Look ahead, and not behind you. You will make it. You are capable. Your children will be fine. Breathe and remember that you are more than your relationship status.
You will face many battles regardless what season of life you are in. Hardship is temporary, but character isn’t. Fight to not lose yourself in the midst of all the trials. Fight for your heart, your children’s hearts and fight for your future. You are a warrior. Live in love. Live in hope.