“Alexa play calm mediation on Pandora.”
Alexa has indeed become a dear friend to me every morning as we start the day together at dawn. My Keurig has been loaded and the coffee gurgles as it falls into my favorite cup. A cup given to me for Mother’s Day by my kids that says, “Mom turned upside down, says Wow!”
What keeps you calm?
I love the stillness of the morning. Nothing has happened yet. The first sip of coffee is bliss to me as I sit in my thoughts outlining what may lay ahead of me in the day. I stare out the window and watch how the light slowly unfolds on the hill behind my house. The outside world around me has yet to wake up and I feel safe. This is how I have started my day for over 20 years. The addition of my Alexa and my Keurig has made my start that much sweeter.
When I became a single mom over twenty years ago, my kids were both under the age of four. As the years went on and as they grew up, those magic moments of sitting and sipping my coffee in the morning before the ruckus of their days began were almost imperative.
There was a methodical madness of getting them both up and dressed, fed, packed up for school, and out the door, while squeezing in time to get myself dressed and fed all before the frantic dash of delivering them to school and then driving myself to work. That quiet and peaceful start has always been a meditation space for me each day.
The ending of my days has taken on new forms over the years. When my children were young, the endings had a laundry list of to-do checklists to scratch off. Dinner, homework, baths, jammies, and bedtime stories. I tried to place a quiet checkmark on each task before I slid them both into their beds.
But it wasn’t just me who dashed about. They too had to accommodate a lot being raised by a single mother who had a busy career. They had more expectations and challenges on their patience than their friends. None of them were being raised by a single mom. Children of single parents are my heroes. They tolerate so much! It was not until many years later that I realized what was really being asked of them on a daily basis.
Growing up in a divorced household
Growing up has its own set of challenges. But growing up in a divorced household is particularly hard when the parents are not friends and when the one who doesn’t have custody lives far away. When the home weekends come, they plan accordingly. Sleepovers, pizza parties, and time for playing were all they thought about. Those two weekends a month became a cherished time for them.
Now that they are grown and have voices they both have shared with me how hard those other two weekends were for them. They felt dragged away from home to go where they had no friends to play with. For the first time, I truly understood why those two weekends a month were so exhausting for me. I too had to smash so much into them as well in order to give them the full expression of their plan.
A candle in a dark room. How powerful and beautiful
My evening ritual which I have also done for the past twenty years is to turn down the lights in the family room…the same room I start my day in and light a candle. Music is not necessary. I just want quiet. I stretch out on the couch and take a deep breath and slowly exhale as I surrender the day for good. It is when I finally give myself permission to stop being in motion. My mind starts to unwind like the gears of a well-tuned Range Rover slowing its speed…slowing its gears, as it comes to a final stop.
The beginning and the ending of my days are what have helped me stay as stable as I possibly could amidst the trials of raising a family alone as a single parent. The pauses I take not only keep me in balance, but they keep me in a state of gratitude too. Grateful for having the means and the desire as a single person to provide whatever home I can for my two amazing kids.
Grateful to every person who within that day or week has helped me. Grateful to myself for recognizing not only my triumphs but also letting go of any of my perceived failures. Grateful to even to the man who fled us and for giving me, my children.
Whether you are stressed or not, and I would guess that as a single mom you are… I urge you to create your own sacred space to quietly rally your spirit, your gratitude, and your energy. Now more than ever requires you to self-care. You are worth it.
You are exactly what your child needs.
Don’t ever doubt that, not even for a second.
Not even through a quarantine.