This post is going to be specific to those of you who are working outside the home…..and even more specifically, those of you who may feel a little neglected on the interwebs.
I am talking about you awesome single moms.
Sister friend. I do not care one iota why or how you are a single mom. I only care that you are one. And I also care that you sometimes feel all alone in this and like people don’t really understand.
Can I be real with you? It is because they can’t. It isn’t because they don’t care or want to help or understand. But simply, they aren’t there. They are not experienced or have not experienced what you have experienced. It is hard to understand something when you have never had to walk through it.
I am there with you right now. For some of you reading this, this is a big announcement. I want to clarify that I didn’t think I wanted to share this piece because honestly, I have felt some shame in admitting that my prayers and hopes have relatively gone unanswered. I don’t know why and I don’t understand. And truthfully, this status as a single mama may change. Things could completely do a 180 and be brand new right after I hit publish on this post.
But that is not the case right now. I am a single mama for the time being.
And the struggle is real.
Having to figure out how I am going to: go to work every single day, get the kids to school on time, coordinate child care, baseball practice, getting homework done, make dinner, KEEP THE KIDS ALIVE, not lose my cool, pay bills, take care of myself, have some sort of community/social life, not losing my religion, coordinate when the kids hang with their dad, laundy, laundry, laundry…….You get the picture.
For those of you who are married and work outside the home and mutter under your breath “I do those things too….” I am not here to tell you that you don’t.
But it is compounded times 1000 when you don’t have someone doing this with you. Especially if you once did, as is the case with me. It is hard.
And it is time we stop ignoring them and telling them to suck it up and get over it. The single moms of the world tell themselves this all the time. Trust me.
So, sister friends, my fellow girls who find themselves here and need some encouragement on how to take care of you while you take care of everyone else all by yourself: here is what I am going to share with you.
They aren’t earth shattering. They might be brand new in terms of fitting it into your schedule, but you can do this. You are worth it. Please, if nothing else. You are worth it.
Move that beautiful body of yours: For years, I promoted fitness as a way to just get strong and fit and be able to play with my kids and look good for myself and my spouse. Now, I move my body because it reminds me that I am still alive. Tiffany is still here. She still matters. The weight loss? Sure, it would be amazing to look fabulous and throw it in his face about how awesome I look and what he is missing. But this isn’t for him or for anyone else. I am choosing to move because I am still here and I will continue to move until God says it is time to go home. So move. Do Barre, yoga, Crossfit, Run, home workouts (total plug, but I love Beachbody on Demand!) ….I don’t care. Come alive and move. You are worth it.
Go out with your girlfriends/Find Community: This is so hard because you have so many responsibilities on your plate. People don’t make it easier on you either when they think they are being helpful by reminding you that you have a responsibility to your children. Tell them “No DUH!” and grab your girlfriends who get it and want you to come outside and shine bright and have some fun and get a break. I am so fortunate for my friends who encourage me to go have fun and be myself and break loose a little bit. I tend to be uptight and I hate letting people down. And I certainly don’t want to let my children down. But a happy and rested mommy is good for them. When I am less stressed, less stress fills my home and my voice. That is really important to me. Again, you matter. Take a girls weekend!!!! Go to the mountains, the beach, Vegas, out for dinner or shopping.
Invest in therapy: Chances are, you may still be hurt or you may need to just deal with some ugly stuff. Or maybe things are suddenly changing in your world and you aren’t sure if you are ready to deal with all of this. Therapy is so good. Even if you only go for a little bit. Talk to someone. If you truly can’t afford therapy, often churches will have counseling resources that operate on a sliding scale depending on your income. Don’t be afraid to ask around.
Rediscover your gifts/hobbies/find an outlet: One hobby I really enjoyed that I stopped doing over the years was journaling. Journaling this last year and allowing myself to process all of my emotions, (even if they weren’t correct) without fear of someone reading them and using the words I penned against me has been absolutely therapeutic. So much so, that it has inspired me to begin writing again and writing that story that has been hidden in the recesses of my heart for so long. I have dreamed bigger than ever before, even though my circumstances are certainly darker than they have ever been. My prayers are still the same: that this would change. But so far, since it has not, I can only speculate that perhaps this is what God is allowing me to go through because He has something infinitely greater for me to experience and to really see HIS power work through the darkest of moments. That is what I am believing. Although, a side note, I still wouldn’t mind if God came through on a large amount of money suddenly appearing in my bank account. Ha! It would certainly help some things.
Finally, give yourself permission: Permission for what exactly? Permission to dream a new dream. Permission to forgive yourself for any mistakes you may have made in the past. Permission to say no to what no longer serves you or encourages you, let go of the things that have hurt you or the words that wounded your soul or to get rid of toxic behavior. The permission to move forward. Permission to grieve what you may have lost, but also permission to have hope in the new. You are not done yet. No, Ma’am.
For those of you who have read this, and maybe you aren’t a single mama, can I encourage you to encourage her to do these things? And will you remind her that she isn’t forgotten? A lot of single mamas feel as though things are just not made for them, that they are forgotten and honestly, sometimes it is true. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me sometimes to just receive a text or an email from a friend with a $5 gift card to Starbucks. It was small, but it told me that they thought of me and wanted to give me a quick blessing that day. Single mamas carry a lot and she just isn’t always going to share it all out loud. So be her friend and encourage her to move, to speak, to use her gifts, to not hide away. Because she is valuable and loved and her dreams matter, too.
To My Squad,