I have been a single mom, off and on, for over 10 years. I began my single mother journey in my late 20’s with two small boys, ages 5 and 3. Now, those little boys are teenagers and to that collection, I have a simply spunky mini-me who fills our lives with all the drama that is a girl. We are quite the four-some!
The other day, my 16-year-old son told me that he had a great life.
Music to a single mother’s ears!!!
Now, I don’t know if that is how, as a single mom, you know you have “done it” but man, it felt pretty darn good to have one of my kidlets make that proclamation. As he shared this with his siblings they concurred. I know a lot of single moms struggle with the idea that they are "doing it right". They desire to have the reassurance their children are happy and healthy.
That is what makes the trials, errors, and pains of being a single mom worth it. That is what it is all about for me, anyway.
Making the decision to become a single mom for the second time was one I fought with for two years. I remember the moment when the reality struck me. I was two months pregnant with my spunky daughter and I just finally realized I had married the wrong man. As I looked into his eyes the moment that harsh reality struck me I recognized my second divorce staring back at me.
Despite my lack of an in-depth desire to be married, I truly didn’t want a second divorce.
For the next twenty-something months I did everything and anything I could think of to hold that marriage together. This meant he didn’t have to do anything. He certainly seemed to have lost his desire to be a husband. My daughter was two when I told my husband to move out. I was exhausted. I was tired. I felt unloved. I felt alone. I was mad. I was infuriated. So, yes, yes, I gave up. I gave up on him.
But, I didn’t give up on me!!!
Recently, I earned my bachelor’s degree. Prior to that, I earned my associate’s degree. I did this while working full-time to support three kids. I kept up with my mortgage, my debt, my monthly bills and my car payment. I went through two lay-offs, an unhealthy relationship, a miscarriage, and family loss. Through all of life’s ups, downs, curves, twists, and turns I refused to give up on me.
How did I do it?
Simply put: I am too damned ignorant to know that I’m not supposed to be able to achieve my dreams despite my self-created circumstances. I figured out that being ignorant isn’t always all that bad. In fact, during my time as a cosmetics and skin care consultant, I learned about the bumblebee and how it shouldn't be able to fly and yet it does. Supposedly, the bumblebee’s body is too heavy for its wings. The bumblebee doesn’t know what it should or should not be able to do - it just knows what needs to be done because the hive depends on the work.
My children needed me to rise above my divorce. They needed me to put my mind to work. They needed to me follow through. More importantly, I needed me to follow through. I needed me to be a success.
My journey isn’t done. My education is just the beginning. As a 38-year-old mother of three, I still have goals ahead of me. I'm always moving towards them despite the nay-sayers, negative nellies, and the jerks. I won't be held back or held down because I choose NOT to be. It isn’t always an easy choice and because it is not always easy I am stronger, smarter and happier.
I could tell you that if I can do it then you can do it. Of course, you can do it. You know you can and that is the scariest thing of all!
Part of planning and achieving dreams is not so much the goal but the journey.
We know what the goal is because we design the goal. It is something we can see and feel within our minds. What’s scary is the path. We can plan all day long but we cannot specifically construct a path the way we want it. If we could, there would be no risks, no what-ifs, and no challenges.
The truth is, there is more to be learned while on the journey. The goal is not where the lessons are taught. It is the ups, downs, curves, twists, and turns of life that teaches you the most. Those are the things that teach you how to stick and move, jab and throw a left hook. Those are the things that strengthen you, make you smarter and wiser. The goal is just the reward. Sometimes, you don’t make it to your goal the first try. Doesn’t mean you fail – just means there is more to learn.
Maybe your divorce is not what you had in mind and that is okay. None of us have it in mind when we marry. But, it is always a possibility despite the clearest and purest of vows. There is no way to prepare for it but there is a way to respond to it. You respond to it by not giving up on yourself. So, fasten your seatbelt, put yourself into drive and floor it.
You can do it! (I did.) ;-)