It troubles me whenever I watch examples of women like those on the Housewives franchise, who tear each other down. Are we supposed to somehow believe that it is representative of who women are?
And since many on those shows are single moms too, it makes me always wonder what their kids really think of the behavior. Of course much is scripted and the qualifications to remain on those shows seem to be keeping up the scrappiness and the drama and showing their lowest selves.
Clearly, those shows have been received with much interest in that kind of entertainment. But when we watch them isn’t it really the nice women we are actually rooting for? The ones who seem to know a calmer, smarter side. But those women usually only last a season or two and are soon replaced with other angry women ready to exhibit their worst sides of themselves. But do any of us really conduct ourselves with that kind of behavior on a daily basis?
When my mother was alive and raising my sisters, brother, and me, she instilled the mantras of:
You will be strong enough to tackle whatever it is that life throws at you.
You can be all that you dream of being and find fulfillment in the process.
You must do all you can, to be all that you are and share this with your children. Pay it forward.
Never stop being inspired and never stop inspiring others.
Not a day has gone by that I haven’t remembered these tenets that have served me so well since becoming a single mom. I think about what would have become of my life; of my children’s lives if I hadn’t been given this kind of permission to be strong when I was growing up?
In October 1986, I had no idea that when I married a man who I promised to love forever in front of God, before two priests, on an altar, in a Catholic Church, before 150 people, that 14 years later this very person would want out of this promise. And that through the course of our marriage had broken that promise time and time again without my even knowing. An event like that can indeed challenge your strength and your beliefs.
But beyond that promise made on that altar, was the forever mantras of my mother that one day would be my lifeline to survival. I knew I had what it took to keep moving my life forward. I knew I could keep my promise to myself, my family, and of course to my mother to pay it forward with knowing my true strength.
Of course, during the past 20 years that I have been a single mother, there have been some tough days. Some really tough days. I can’t say that I have embodied wonder woman every day either. But through every tough period that my children and I endured, was the knowledge that we made it through to the other side of it. I would love to say that we made it through unscathed, but that would not be true. And those blisters that may have formed as a result of those experiences I believe, will serve us well.
These experiences created a skin of resilience that proved that we will, we can, and we must keep moving forward to the life we all insist on having.
So my advice to single moms who are reading this is to pay it forward to their children. And pay it forward to other single moms who you may or may not know are struggling. Single moms are profoundly known for not asking for help. So stay alert and share your strength with them. In return, it will inspire you as much as you will inspire them.
Always remember that within yourselves you will, you can, and you must be everything you dream of being, having, and doing. By your example, your children will be given permission to know how strong they are too. And they will pay it forward as well.